Penticton Cy­cling Rocks

Pedal Magazine - - Contents - by San­dra Wal­ter

Nes­tled in B.C.’s Okana­gan Val­ley and hemmed north and south by two lakes, Penticton is renowned for its award-win­ning vin­tages, boun­ti­ful or­chards, sum­mer heat, beaches and fam­ily-friendly vibes, along with fab­u­lous cy­cling ad­ven­tures.

o help guests make the most of their time in the area, the tourism boards for Penticton and nearby com­mu­ni­ties Nara­mata and Sum­mer­land have launched a “Chain of Events” pro­gram with nu­mer­ous ac­tiv­ity sug­ges­tions, in­clud­ing an en­tire branch ded­i­cated to cy­cling, with route ideas, up­com­ing events, tour com­pa­nies, rental shops, equip­ment providers, ac­com­mo­da­tions, maps and other re­sources.

The com­mu­nity’s ex­cep­tional and var­ied cy­cling opportunities are quickly mak­ing their way up the list of Penticton’s top at­trac­tions. Beau­ti­ful wind­ing roads flanked by vine­yards, easy-pedal­ing rail trails with sweep­ing lake vis­tas and a mul­ti­tude of Pon­derosa-pine-lined sin­gle­tracks pop­u­late the re­gion, if you know where to look.

And they’re get­ting much eas­ier to find, thanks to the ef­forts of or­ga­ni­za­tions such as PACA (Penticton Area Cy­cling As­so­ci­a­tion), which has helped main­tain, build, sign and ad­vo­cate for the trails and cre­ated a great trail data­base with up­dated con­di­tions on its web­site via the TrailForks app.

Map kiosks at trail­heads and clear sig­nage and maps direct rid­ers through­out the labyrinth of the of­ten mind-bending net­work of the Three Blind Mice area, which boasts more than 150 kilo­me­tres of trails that can be con­ve­niently ac­cessed from town via a short pedal along the Ket­tle Val­ley Rail­way (KVR) trail. The vi­brant lo­cal cy­cling com­mu­nity also hosts lo­cal races, events and trail days, and re­cently opened a per­ma­nent pump track thanks to nearly $40,000 worth of com­mu­nity fundrais­ing.

The KVR is a bike-friendly recre­ational rail trail on the bed of the his­toric Ket­tle Val­ley Rail­way, which snakes along the Okana­gan Val­ley and takes users through tunnels and over tres­tle bridges, the high­est of which is not for the faint of heart, loom­ing a dizzy­ing 55 me­tres above the canyon floor. The bridge

is a feature of the most spec­tac­u­lar por­tion of the KVR, start­ing near the neigh­bour­ing city of Kelowna and span­ning 80 kilo­me­tres to Penticton. It takes rid­ers from the dra­matic Myra Canyon across 16 tres­tles to Penticton. The rail trail never ex­ceeds a grade of 2.2% and fea­tures a wide, rel­a­tively smooth gravel sur­face, mak­ing it an ideal recre­ational cor­ri­dor. Con­tact Okana­gan Tres­tle Tours for day trips and in­sider knowl­edge.

For years, Penticton has been a hot­bed for triath­letes, due to the iconic IRON­MAN Canada event that the city of ap­prox­i­mately 32,000 hosted for more than three decades be­fore mak­ing the switch to the Chal­lenge-branded event in 2013 and, most re­cently, Super League in 2018. In 2017, Penticton wel­comed the ITU Mul­tis­port World Cham­pi­onships. The area’s ter­rain and dry cli­mate rou­tinely at­tract rid­ers and teams from across Canada for early-sea­son train­ing camps.

The com­mu­nity has a strong his­tory of wel­com­ing cy­clists of all dis­ci­plines, with BC Cup XC and DH races on Camp­bell Mountain in the 1990s and, in re­cent years, stops in the BC En­duro Se­ries and the Tran­sBC En­duro. Other pop­u­lar Penticton cy­cling events in­clude the Pros­pera Gran­fondo Axel Mer­ckx Okana­gan (July 8), which of­fers four dif­fer­ent dis­tances and is named af­ter the for­mer ProTour racer from Bel­gium, who re­tired to the Okana­gan Val­ley. Okana­gan Tres­tles Tour of­fers a guided ride of the KVR’s most scenic spots (July 1), while the Test of Hu­man­ity (Sept. 16) in neigh­bour­ing Sum­mer­land is a mountain-bik­ing fundraiser for Cana­dian Hu­man­i­tar­ian that sees com­peti­tors strive to com­plete as many laps of the fast and swoopy 10.2-kilo­me­tre track as pos­si­ble within a four-hour span.

For cy­cling en­thu­si­asts who want more than just sweet trails and beau­ti­ful roads, the town is quickly gain­ing a colour­ful foodie and craft-brew­ery scene, cruis­ing on the coat-tails of its wine tourism. Don’t miss Bad Tat­too Brew­ing’s Los Muer­tos dark lager and gourmet piz­zas, Can­nery Brew­ing’s malty smooth-drink­ing Nara­mata Nut Brown, or for some­thing com­pletely dif­fer­ent, try Tin Whis­tle Brew­ing’s award-win­ning Pinot Noir Rasp­berry Blond Ale. For cof­fee lovers, The Bench Mar­ket pulls an ex­cel­lent shot, while its cafe and deli also feature de­li­cious baked goods and sand­wiches, of which the BC3 is not to be missed. Many of the winer­ies of­fer out­stand­ing bites in ad­di­tion to world­class wine tast­ing.

Penticton in the Okana­gan Val­ley ffea­tures such amaz­ing cy­cling op­tions as the his­toric Ket­tle Val­ley Rail­way fea­tures such amaz­ing cy­clingop­tions as­the Okana­gan Tres­tles Tour.

You’ll also find fab­u­lous MTB trails plus events such as the BC CupXC/DH and Tran­sBC En­duro and Sin­gle­track 6 stage races.

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