If we’re being honest, which we like to be, Whistler is bike-crazy once the snow melts. If you’re not biking up a mountain then you’re certainly getting a lift up (A Line anyone?). But if anyone goes past our Whistler Mountain Bike Park, some might be a bit worried that it’s way out of their league. The good news though? There’s a variety of ways that you can enjoy biking and get into it without getting launching off a 6 foot drop (this is by pure choice only). We came up with a few things that you need to start mountain biking to hopefully lessen the stress and up the fun factor:
I know this is a given but hear me out because it’s important to distinguish what kind of biking you want to do to determine where to get your bike from. It’s best to rent bikes first and get a sense of whether you like it (we think you will) but ask yourself whether or not you want to pedal up and down the mountain or whether you want a lift to take you up and you’ll pedal your way down. Once you’ve made that choice, then you’ll either get a cross country bike (a pedal bike that’s lighter than a downhill bike so it’s easier to pedal up) or a downhill bike, which tends to be on the beefier side as it doesn’t need to be as pedalling efficient as the terrain can be a bit tougher and you’re using gravity to help you get down the mountain. There are a few places you can rent bikes in town, some hotels offer rentals or you can rent from Summit or Whistler Mountain Rentals under the GLC. That’s just to name a few, there are lots of places to go in town so just ask your hotel concierge or your Google concierge.
THE LEARNING CURVE
… isn’t so bad! The reason for this is because Whistler is as bike-crazy as it is, we’re also pro-getting people into the sport so Whistler has developed a range of learning options. Men’s and Women’s nights in the bike park is a great way to get into the downhill side of the sport as it’s gender and level specific and is guided by world class instructors. Not only that, there’s apres right after where you can win prizes! There are also general beginner lessons that happen during the day as well called Bike Park 101. These options are great intro’s into the sport if you’re curious about the sport. Now moving to cross country, local biking organization WORCA hosts a variety of bike rides throughout the week catering to various abilities. Monday nights are geared towards all ability levels and are broken down as such. You have to have a membership but it’s only about $50 for the season and then for each night you bike with WORCA it’s just $2, however this gets you a drink ticket at the sponsored location for apres.
A photo posted by Terry Phillips (@blackcombterry) on
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
So you have the option to do downhill biking and just use the Whistler Mountain Bike Park, but if you’d like to venture outside of this and throughout Whistler then the options become endless. This would be for those wanting to cross country bike. Lost Lake is the best place to start with a variety of trails for all abilities otherwise if you feel like you want to conquer more you pretty much literally have the entire valley. Check out Trail Forks for an extensive list of trails throughout Whistler. Just remember, like the bike park and like skiing… green means beginner, blue is for intermediate and black is for advanced.
Finally, the number one thing you absolutely need is a helmet. This sport is more than just jumping on your cruiser down the beach (although we advocate helmet wearing even for that) so make sure you protect your head. Other accessories are optional such as a pack and if you try downhill biking then you’ll be given armour for further protection. At the end of the day, it’s something to just have fun with, give it a try or perhaps even an activity to cross off your bucket list. Enjoy!