Rustic northern B.C. trails have attracted an international tour of off-road motorcycle riders to the region this July, with riders coming from as far as Australia and Europe.
Called Grizzbait, the tour is organized by Traction eRag, an online off-road motorcycle magazine based in Ontario. The magazine runs tours every year in Canada and the United States, and also toured here twice in 2014 and 2016, riding in Terrace, Kitimat, Smithers, and Telkwa.
“It’s a very authentic place,” said tour organizer and magazine editor Dallas Shannon about why they keep coming back.
“It’s unspoiled, not commercialized … and it has its own vibe … people are tougher, hardier, and happy.”
Local guides will lead the five-day tours with riders both local and from Australia, Switzerland, Germany, the United States and other parts of Canada.
Shannon says the mountain-side trails, remote rides and rustic trail networks combine to create a dynamic sense of adventure.
“There’s such a vast network of fire service roads and ATV trails, so we can travel on the bikes from Kitimat to Smithers,” said Shannon, “so it really turns into an adventure.”
Plus, the mountains are rideable, and the trails are remote, not scattered with people like most places, he said.
Grizzbait starts June 29 and includes a series of three tours running through July 20 and bringing 20-25 people, mostly between ages 45 and 70.
The tour is based at the Skeena Cat Skiing lodge just south of Hazelton, and this is the first year it’s drawing international participation thanks to a fleet of Beta Canada motorcycles the riders are using.
Grizzbait will also benefit riders by bringing Kelowna-based dirt biker and racer Megan Griffiths to the area to offer several fundamental skills clinics here. Griffiths has drawn an 87.4K following on Instagram (@Megs_Braap) and offers tours and private dirt bike lessons in the Okanagan.
The Get Schooled clinics will offer techniques and tricks for novice and intermediate riders and will be in Terrace June 30 and July 8, and in Hazelton/Suskwa July 15.
Aside from the tour and clinics, the Terrace Motocross Association has gotten official approval for 40 kilometres of off-road trails that they are building in the area near the motorcross track on Jack Talstra Way off Highway 37. So far the club has built 15 kilometres of the basic, single-lane trail for people to ride, with 35 more kilometres still to be built.
The trail is similar to the hiking and mountain bike trails in the region: low-impact and too narrow for ATVs, said Chris Andrews, who built much of the trail along with Richard Lawrence from Hazelton.
The club plans to organize off-road group rides on Thursdays on the new trails, and motocross track rides are Sundays and Wednesdays — weather depending — with kids/youth rides Tuesdays.
The big MCQMX Northern B.C. Series motorcross race this year is May 19-20. Find Terrace Motocross Association on Facebook for more.