GRAVITATIONAL PULL

Words by Nicole Rippel
Photos by Jenn Dykstra

Straight across the strait, a manicured bike park and cycle-forward community provides a draw for amateur and experienced riders alike.

 


 

Though the Comox Valley leaves little to be desired for the Island’s mountain biking community, our excitement often fuels the desire for new terrain. When I lived in North Vancouver I visited the Sunshine Coast often, and even did the Rat Race (now called Sunshine Coaster). The people, trails, restaurants, and local hostel kept me coming back for more.

So when Dodge City Cycles and the CV Collective learned that Sechelt’s Coast Gravity Mountain Bike Park was available for private bookings, they made it happen and sent out invites. And we got stoked.

The trip was planned for the end of October, which isn’t always the ideal time for bike trips. Still, we kept an eye on the forecast and the rainy weather broke. We packed our bags, ditched the rain gear, and headed to the ferry. Our 20-person crew was made up of mostly Comox Valley locals, as well as a few friends from Whistler. We arrived in Sechelt, hit up our Air BnBs, and gathered on Saturday night to catch up, blow off the steam of travel, and share in our excitement for what was to come: a full day of riding the local trails followed by the bike park all to ourselves on Monday.

Sunday morning began with a dance party, and the young ladies of the house, Jolene, Piper, and Nadia, danced up a storm. (Look out clubs of 2035!) We ate an energizing breakfast, packed our things, and headed to the parking near the equestrian club to meet with the rest of the gang and make a plan. We were treated to the luxury of shuttling during our visit. We all like our Cumberland pain-cave pedalling, but it’s nice to switch it up. Shuttling takes more organizing, but we took turns driving, and ended up with a wicked day in the sun with bikes, friends, and fun trails.

Roberts Creek has many trails to choose from, such as the famous Mach Chicken, which is part of many local races, as well as other trails like Built to Spill, Highway 103, Dudette, Hand Solo, and Black Tower. There is a great selection of beginner, intermediate and advanced trails, with a mix of fun flow, technical terrain, steeps, jumps, and features. After a full day we basked in the glow of fall sunshine before retreating to our home bases to relax with good food and great company.

Monday finally came, and having the bike park to ourselves felt too good to be true. We eagerly packed up and headed to the park. Comprised of 160 acres, Coast Gravity’s trails are built and designed by Coastal Crew’s Dylan Dunkerton and Curtis Robinson who have crafted the park in their home town as a playground for all to enjoy. Opened in May of 2014, the park has received rave reviews ever since.

The park offers a shuttling service so again, no climbing. We loaded up the bikes and took the quick drive up. With a variety of levels in our group, we dispersed at the top and chose our own adventures. With 12 runs in total, you can take your pick. It took time for the fall sun to get high in sky, but with repeated laps we warmed up quickly.

There were options to suit every need and style, from smooth trails to steep terrain, technical sections, drops, and step downs as well as perfect jumps to evoke the smoothest airs imaginable. Each of us beamed when we met at the low elevation base. We rested and fueled up in the sun, enjoyed the views, and prepared for the next shuttle up.

We continued all day, taking breaks when needed, with everyone helping to look after the little ones. It was impossible for anyone passionate about mountain biking not to enjoy this day. This bike park is a great reason to pack your bags, grab your friends, load up the bikes and head to the ferry. The area has a plethora of riding to explore; enough that the BC Bike Race brings racers there every year. Coast Gravity Park is an extra bonus to add to your itinerary when planning a bike trip to the Sunshine Coast.




Category: Volume 14