Located on the edge of nature, Coquitlam is an up-and-coming mountain biking destination. Burke Mountain and Eagle Mountain are right on our doorstep, home to the West Coast style of riding that the North Shore and Squamish are famous for — a maze of big trees, roots, rocks, flowy singletrack and well-built features, most of which are built and maintained by the volunteers of the Tri-Cities Off Road Cycling Association (TORCA).
First of all, Kim says, decide on what kind of bike you need, depending on the types of trails you’ll be riding. If you’re riding on easy, hard-packed trails, you can get away with a basic mountain bike. But once you hit the mountain trails — with their steeper grades and obstacles — you’ll need full suspension (front and back).
“It’s more fun. You get better traction and impact,” says Kim, explaining that the tires with full suspension are closer to the ground, so it’s safer and less bouncy.
His advice is to first borrow or rent a basic mountain bike to see if you like the sport. If so, you’ll likely want to purchase a “lightweight bike with decent components,” which won’t come cheap. For the local trails, Kim recommends all-mountain bikes, which are best suited for climbing as well as downhill. “It’s an expensive sport to get into but once you start, you’ll get hooked.”
And hey, as Kim points out, the trails are free. His final advice for riders?
“Try to have fun. That’s what it’s all about. Mountain bikes keep on changing — new standard size, new geometry — and sometimes people get caught up with this, but as long as you have fun on two wheels, that’s all that matters.” Gee Louter, who also works at Kinetik, agrees. “Don’t get caught up on the gear and which bikes to ride. Just get out there and try it,” he says.
TORCA holds an awesome free event each September at Mundy Park Skills Park called Take a Kid Mountain Biking. Leaders teach the kids new skills and then take them on a guided ride.
Ken Porter of TORCA suggests taking your kids to the Riverview Forest, which is “very beginner-friendly, and Mundy Park is nearby, where kids can work on their skills.”
For more information on TORCA or the free event, visit TORCA.
- A bike, any bike. Try it, and if you like it, you can advance to a better bike
- Gloves (essential for grip)
- For aggressive riders, Kim recommends knee and elbow pads
- Map out your route
If the idea of heading out onto the trails on your own sounds intimidating, why not join a group? The Tri-Cities Off Road Cycling Association (TORCA) leads guided rides twice monthly to trails throughout the area. Sign up as a member for $20/year.
If you’re interested in road biking, check out the Tri-City Cycling Club group rides and Mountain Equipment Co-op organizes the popular MEC Vancouver Century Ride, departing from Coquitlam. Choose between a 50-kilometre or 100-kilometre ride. events.mec.ca
Go car-free and discover the freedom of being on two wheels! Coquitlam has been steadily investing in new bike routes and riders have plenty of options. Riders can take advantage of on-street bike routes, as well as off-street paths, including those along Pinetree Way and Johnson St.
Take your bike on the SkyTrain and explore the city by road. For bike route information and maps, visit coquitlam.ca/cycling and translink.ca/en/rider-guide. There are also plenty of trails — some paved, others gravel — near the SkyTrain stations: coquitlam.ca/trails.
Hard to pick just one day or moment because I have too much fun every time I go out mountain biking, especially with a great group of people.
If mountain biking, definitely Burke Mountain. Burke Mountain has tons of trails for beginners to advanced riders. If looking for a casual recreational ride, the Coquitlam River trail or Mundy Park is great.