Airline loses Kelowna athlete’s custom-built bike ahead of his first World Cup race

Airline loses racer's bike

Max Halchuk realized his dream of qualifying for his first World Cup downhill mountain bike race, but now that dream has turned into a travel nightmare.

The 16-year-old from Kelowna flew out to Snowshoe USA on Tuesday, and while he arrived at his destination, his valuable bike did not. It got lost somewhere on the way when it was supposed to be transferred from Air Canada to United Airlines at Vancouver International Airport.

His mom, Nancy Phillips says the bike is basically part of his body in this sport. The competition is this weekend so time is running out for Max to be reunited with his prized possession in time.

“He’s been focused and worked hard, now he’s there at 16 and can’t compete. What makes it worse is the manufacturer whose frame he competes on had several of their bikes go missing on the trip as well so they don’t even have one for him to borrow,” said Phillips.

She did get a bit of good news this morning, after being on the phone for hours. United Airlines said it has found the two parts of the bike, but now they have to get it to Max in time for Saturday.

She adds that with the shortage of cycles and parts, along with shipping challenges, it was unlikely he could get a replacement bike in time.

Max built this cycle to his specifications, and Phillips told Castanet that using another bike could be life-threatening because downhill mountain bike racing is an extremely dangerous sport.

“We’re just hoping that the staff at United Airlines can make this happen and that people all over North America who are trying to get their belongings get them in good shape and as quickly as possible.”

Max is coming off a 5th place finish at the National Downhill Mountain Bike Championships last weekend in Kicking Horse and won the B.C. Cup in Whistler in June and Silverstar in early July.

When he’s not racing or training he helps other cycling enthusiasts at Fresh Air Experience and Concept, where he has worked over the past few years.

More Kelowna News