The 5th Annual C.O.B. Mass Bike Ride took over Main Street this weekend as dozens brushed off the dust and officially started another season of riding in Smithers.
The event kicked off with a film presentation by the SMBA. Featuring the new Strength in Numbers mountain bike film to not only promote the growing sport in Smithers but to build excitement for all bike enthusiasts in the valley.
“It’s a great opportunity to welcome in the new riding season by getting a bunch of people together on bikes and taking over Main Street,” said Katie von Gaza, SMBA Vise President.
“We showed them a bike film to get people psyched about riding season and raise some money for the SMBA.”
For the past few years the SMBA has spent a lot of time and money revitalizing the mountain bike trail network on Hudson Bay Mountain and surrounding areas. This year however, the association is taking a different approach, hoping to promote the sport and build a sense of community around the SMBA.
“This year we’re going to try and shift our focus more to maintaining the trails we have and trying to build more of a bike community,” said von Gaza.
“Building the community, getting more people out on bikes, having more group rides. Just really trying to build that sense of community rather than just focusing on trial development, which is what we’ve been doing.”
The first mass ride that C.O.B. held was more of a selected group, just a hand full of riders. Now it has grown far beyond that with numbers reaching 120 riders last year. Now it seems that Smithers is on the brink of becoming a mountain bike destination.
Although the SMBA is not doing anything specific to attract fellow riders to Smithers as a mountain bike destination, the word is getting around.
“I think it would be key to start working with other mountain bike clubs in the area like Burns Lake for example and start making a whole circuit of it,” said Leanna Helkenberg, Communications Director for the SMBA.
Still, the C.O.B. Mass Ride continues to be a staple event in Smithers and as it reflects mass rides in the south, it remains not only a sport to many, but also a way of life.
“This is a great way to get people out, to get people excited about getting on their bikes,” said Dave Percy, Co-owner of C.O.B. Bike Shop.
“Stay out of the car get on your bike. If you got to go two blocks to extra foods bike over. We have to change our mentality, jump on a bike and create a healthier life style.”