It is a crisp, clear Sep-tember morning and I am riding my bike on one of my favourite trails in West Sechelt: Parbac.
The freshly fallen leaves crackle under my tires as I twist and turn through beautiful single-track. In an instant, I forget all of life's challenges and feel only gratitude - gratitude for the West Coast weather, for my sweet bike and, most importantly, gratitude for these wonderfully wicked trails and the men and women who build and maintain them.
Who are these people, and why do they do it? Ask any trail builder on the Coast and they will tell you simply that it is a part of who they are. It is their calling. They build because they love to ride and because they love to share this with us, the riders. This sense of pride and responsibility drives them to maintain the trails year round. They are all volunteers who have spent countless hours doing work that in many other biking communities is done by paid staff.
Trail building on the Coast is not new. In fact, the first official linking single-track trail was established 18 years ago. It took more than two years to build and link from Sprockids Park to Roberts Creek. It is known as the legendary Highway 102 and is arguably one of the most ridden trails today on the Sunshine Coast.
It is easy to see the economic impact that these trails have had here. Simply check out a ferry coming from Vancouver to Langdale on any given weekend, and you will see countless cars loaded with bikes ready to explore the trails from Gibsons to Pender and beyond. These riders include racers in events such as BC Bike Race and the Sun Coaster as well as weekend warriors who are eager to unlock the secrets of the Sunshine Coast.
So the next time you are out on the trails and enjoying the classic line of Mach Chicken, the gnarly roots of Pterodactyl or the challenging stunts on 103, remember the men and women who have made these trails possible. Without their collective passion, we would be riding on logging roads.