Travellers from far and wide come to Outerbike in Whistler 

Over 300 sign up for inaugural Canadian event

click to enlarge PHOTO BY DAN FALLOON - Into outerbike Michigan's David Thompson is shown at the first outerbike in Whistler.
  • photo by Dan Falloon
  • Into outerbike Michigan's David Thompson is shown at the first outerbike in Whistler.

Some came up from Vancouver and some came up from the southern United States.

The first-ever Outerbike demo session held outside of Moab, Utah was a major draw for cyclists of different backgrounds, with over 300 signing up to test different high-end bikes.

The event took over Day Lot 2 from June 4 to 7 and included guided rides. Several participants were also keen to access Whistler Mountain Bike Park.

Outerbike also helped foster a spirit of cycling camaraderie, as athletes from all over interacted with one another.

Vancouver's Quinn Duffy and Traverse City, Mich.'s Todd Riecke were comparing notes in the parking lot the afternoon of June 5 toward the end of the festivities. Duffy acknowledged he was "feeling (his) hangover with every climb" after a night out after the first day of riding.

"I can't blame the bikes," he said.

Riecke was impressed with the setup of the event, with several different kinds of riding offered a couple pedals away from the parking lot home base.

"It's fantastic to build a whole event to try out all this nice hardware in this setting with the variety of trails, cross-country stuff to the downhill stuff at the park," he said.

Duffy was looking for a bike that's "a little beefier for the North Shore" to build his collection of bikes.

"I'm not stopping at one," he said. "To be able to try them all in one spot, back to back, that's fantastic."

Riecke was looking for a bike to handle climbs back in Michigan, but still appreciated the opportunity to experience the bike park as well.

"It's like the Disneyland for bikes," he said. "We don't get anything like that."

Fellow Michigander David Thompson, up from Ann Arbor, met his father-in-law, who flew in from Tennessee, at Vancouver International Airport to come up to Whistler, which is different from his midwestern home.

"It's so flat. It's always cross-country," he said. "I just ride a hardtail because there's no elevation. It's the complete opposite of riding here with the park and rocks and roots and drops and jumps."

Thompson became interested in a hardtail, but was looking for a bike that would be a little more versatile at home.

He recommended any future visitors should come up for more than just the festival's four days.

"I had an amazing time and we decided to make our way up here," he said. "The one in Moab is a lot bigger and it seemed like there were more people and more vendors.

"But, really, it's a unique opportunity that you don't have anywhere else. Having this setup anywhere is really awesome."

Keith Stark, a Rocky Mountain Bicycles B.C. sales rep, said in the first couple days he's met with visitors from as far away as Florida and Texas.

"There are definitely some consumers that are looking to actually purchase a bike," he said, "but it seems like a lot of people here are from out of town and they just wanted to come to the event, ride different bikes. They have nice bikes at home, but they just want to come test some stuff and ride around on the trails."

The company brought bikes ranging from $5,700 to $7,100 with primarily trail bikes in its stock. Stark said the Altitude model, in particular, was a popular option with people looking to ride it in the bike park.

"It's not a specific park bike, but it handles all that terrain very capably."

Norco brought a mix of bikes for the park and for the trails with a price range between $3,000 and $7,000. The carbon Aurum, in particular, was popular among the big bikes the company brought with it.

"Guys are lining up to wait for them in the morning and when they are back for exchange, they are out within a couple minutes," Norco marketing manager Peter Stace-Smith said. "Definitely big bikes are a hit. I think a lot of people maybe expected more big bikes when they came to Whistler."



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