You can join hundreds of other biking enthusiast this summer to ride the Historic Kettle Valley Rail Trail, 80 kilometres from Kelowna all the way to Penticton on one of the most scenic trails in BC.
Over 800 people attended last years inaugural event, this year the tour date is July 6.
This self-paced recreational ride is not a timed race, but it is a chance to do a one-day trip on the historic trail.
“It is not a race, it is a supported ride. A lot of people bring their cameras, bring their families, a lot of couples do the ride. It is all about fun, fitness and amazing scenery,” boasted Glenn Bond, Event Director of Okanagan Trestles Tour.
The 80km route starts at Myra Canyon (A National Historic Site) and goes all the way to Penticton with the addition this year of a 40km option starting at Chute Lake and ending in Penticton.
While taking your time, enjoying the scenery and stopping for breaks, you can enjoy riding over trestles, through tunnels & witnessing stunning views of the Okanagan Valley.
There will be designated rest stops along the ride offering food, drinks and mechanical support.
“It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Okanagan, but most people only ride a small section of it, the Myra Canyon, but there is much more to do,” shared Bond.
He says last year people from all over the country and as far away as Texas and overseas came to town to ride the event.
80 km may seem like far too long a ride, and it isn't easy, but if you have a basic fitness level Bond says you will have an enjoyable day.
“Last year it was described as an 'easy ride' because it is an easier course that is flat or downhill, BUT it is a big day because an 80 km ride is not easy, it is a long ride,” warned Bond.
“The new 40 km option is much more manageable and I suggest people who have not done many long distance bike rides do the 40 km event this year.”
He says if you are a typical Okanagan resident and perhaps a golfer and maybe do some stand-up paddle boarding and have a mountain bike or can rent a bike then you can have a great but challenging day.
“On that note there were people last year as young as 10-years-old and as old as 80-years-old who rode the 80 km no problem,” added Bond.
A point he thinks makes the event so special, is that it can be such a fun-filled family day.
“We had three generations of families doing the event together last year which I thought was really unique and cool about the event,” said Bond.
Now the popular question many have is how do you get back to the start?
Bond says the ride does start in Kelowna but it is really staged where it ends in Penticton. Which means all the people and their cars and bikes will meet all the busses in Penticton.
“Sunday morning everyone meets in South Okanagan Events Centre parking lot in Penticton and we load the busses and they shuttle everyone up the start of the ride in Kelowna,” says Bond.
“So your car is at the finish waiting for you and you can leave on your own schedule. You get bussed up to Myra Canyon and ride all the way to Penticton and then enjoy the BBQ and the festivities there and then depart at your leisure.”
Bond says the inaugural event had over 844 riders and 600+ chose to use the shuttle service
“You finish the celebration in Penticton at the lakeside, so imagine the beautiful Okanagan Lake in July. The Penticton Lakeside Hotel and Resort is hosting the finish celebration which includes a BBQ, beer and wine, a wine expo and of course live music!,” shared an excited Bond.
For those who did the event last year you may be pleased that the group has announced some improvements.
2014 improvements include:
- No bypass (Trestle #3 has been repaired)
- 6 km of trail has been surfaced
- We will give everyone energy bars and gel at package pick up to ensure everyone starts with a supply of food
- We have added another food station at Ruth Station which is at the 12 mark and will be the first food station
- Fresh fruit will be on route this year
- Waivers are online which will speed up package pick up.
- Package pick up will be inside the South Okanagan Events Centre on Saturday which will keep everyone out of the hot sun and have access to washrooms.
- We are working hard to ensure a great event for everyone.
2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the completion of the trestles in Myra Canyon (construction took place 1912-1914), the trestles were destroyed in the 2003 Okanagan Mountain Fire then rebuilt with the efforts of the Myra Canyon Trestle Restoration Society and the Federal Government Disaster Fund spending $17.5 million dollars to rebuild the national historic site.
Bond adds that these abandoned railway corridors hold unparalleled opportunities as recreational trails, and the Kettle Valley Railway is no exception.
Registration includes a special event T-shirt, BBQ, wine/beer & live music. Early bird pricing starting at $100.00 (adults)($30.00 for the shuttle Service) is in effect now until March 31, 2014. Registration fees starting at $120.00 from April 1 -June 15.
The event also supports the Myra Canyon Trestles Restoration Society.
Okanagan Trestles Tour is proud to partner with BC Parks, Trails BC, Trans Canada Trail, Tourism Penticton, Tourism Kelowna and the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association.
Note: All bikes are welcome, mountain bikes are recommended.
Space is limited; register early to avoid disappointment! Register online at www.okanagantrestlestour.com.