Mountain bike shuttles tried in Williams Lake

Williams Lake tries out a pilot project involving free mountain bikes.

Williams Lake Tribune

A joint pilot project between three organizations will pave the way for free mountain biking shuttles in Williams Lake throughout the month of July.

The city, in partnership with the Cariboo Regional District and the Cariboo Mountain Bike Consortium, announced Tuesday the project will begin July 5 and will continue each Saturday and Sunday all month long.

The purpose of the project is three-fold, the city said.

First, it wants to use the free shuttles as a marketing tool to further cement Williams Lake as a preferred destination to mountain bike tourists and to draw them to the region.

Second, it will use the project as a study for a potential new shuttle business in the area.

Lastly, the city recognized the need for a unique service for local riders to help promote mountain biking.

“Free shuttles, a draw to any downhill and gravity mountain biker, offer the opportunity to broaden the tourism experience and showcase the extent of the Williams Lake trail network,” the city said in a release.

During weekends in July the shuttles will pick up and drop off riders at designated trail network locations.

“We want to give people another reason to come to our region and try our mountain biking trails,” said Williams Lake Mayor Kerry Cook. “We feel that this initiative will help those visitors we draw here to understand the scope of the trails and the riding available in Williams Lake.

“At the same time we can get a better sense of what mountain biking means economically to our community and possibly open some business opportunities that will help enhance our community and its economy.”

Mark Savard, owner of Red Shreds Bike and Board Shed and CMBC board member, said if you spend any time at his shop in the summer months you’ll quickly hear requests for shuttling services.

“The Puddle is doing the right thing,” Savard said. “The mountain bike world knows how awesome our trails are. Now they can catch a ride back to the top. This is a positive thing that can really make you love the Cariboo.”

Final details of the weekend shuttle schedules are still being ironed out, but the shuttles will follow a strict schedule running each hour between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. each Saturday and Sunday in July.

Riders utilizing the shuttles will be required to sign a waiver and fill out a questionnaire.

The city said since the initiative is partially designed to attract mountain bike tourists, 25 per cent of the seats will be reserved for out-of-town visitors, however, seats will be released to locals if not required each shuttle run.

Detailed information about the shuttles will be available at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex, Red Shreds Bike and Board Shed, Barking Spider and the Tourism Discovery Centre in early June.