University of British Columbia Okanagan - A Rider's Perspective

Nov 5, 2012 at 14:12
by Pat McCarter  
When applying for university I had a different motivation than the rest of my high school friends. I wanted to ride my bike. Riding had become such a major part of my life I realized university was not only an opportunity to educate myself, but also an opportunity to move to where I could do what I loved most. I knew right away I wanted to leave Ontario and move to British Columbia. At first I didn't even care what part of BC I went to, but looking back, I realize I couldn't have made a better choice or ended up in a better location. I chose to attend UBC Okanagan, and I think anyone else who rides bikes and is planning on going to university should come here too.

The following article was written on behalf of the UBCO Mountain Bike Club with the goal of bringing mountain bikers to UBCO. How are we hoping to do that? The plan is to convince those of you that want to ride your bike and go to university that attending UBCO is the best of both worlds.

Bike Ranch September 23 2012
  UBCO MTB Club Vice-President Kirk Mcdowall riding in Kamloops. Kirk raced his first world cup at Hafjell Norway, finishing 46th. Photo: Liam Mullany.

UBCO is UBC Vancouver's satellite campus in Kelowna, BC. The school was opened in 2005 and currently has 8300 students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs. UBCO have the faculties of Engineering/Applied Sciences, Arts and Sciences, Fine Arts, Management, and Nursing. More information can be found on UBC Okanagan's website: www.ubc.ca/okanagan/

The UBCO Mountain Bike Club was started as a Facebook group 5 years ago by founders John Fisher and Liam Mullany. Even though the club has evolved a lot since then, the club's purpose remains the same: provide a platform for university riders to meet, organize ride days, events, trips, and trail building. The club became an official UBCO club 2 years ago and now receives funding from the university. The club owns its own trail building tools, as well as a Freelap Timing System that we all fight over every weekend.

Boostin Photographer Nathan Dobson
  Ryan Bath showing the trick step-up who is boss. You wouldn't believe how much better he's gotten since he first came here. Photo: Nathan Dobson.

Why choose UBCO? Two reasons: First, Kelowna has an amazing trail network. Any type of riding you want to do is available here; DH, XC, All-Mountain, DJ. The second part is that the UBCO MTB Club provides the other piece of the puzzle needed for amazing rides, which is friends to ride with. The club currently has over 90 Facebook members and ride days take place 2-3 days a week. All active members of the club know each other well and the buddies you ride downhill with are usually the same you'll ride XC, dirt jump, or build with. This is what our newest member had to say about his experience at UBCO:

bigquotesEven in such a short time, the riding here has made a huge change in me. The camaraderie of the riding club and riding community is incredible in helping intermediate riders improve their skills. Being in BC has opened my eyes to a whole new aspect of building and riding that I never had in Ontario. -Stephan Rayner

Geoff Hodson shredding on campus. Photo: Pat Taillefer.
  Geoff Hodson shredding on campus. Photo: Pat Taillefer.

The other thing that makes UBCO special for riding is the amount of riding available right on campus. The club has built a downhill race track, massive trick step-up, multiple-loop pump track, dirt jumps, and a berm/jump trail all within a 5 minute ride of the university. Although a lot of riding is done off campus, over 50% of the riding happens within a kilometer of the school. The following video made by one of the club's founders, Liam Mullany, shows what some of the sessions are like at our pumptrack.

Views: 68,988    Faves: 1,557    Comments: 92


Steve Leslie on the pumptrack. Photo: Pat Taillefer.
  Steve Leslie on the pumptrack. Photo: Pat Taillefer.

bigquotesSurprisingly, coming to UBCO has allowed me to ride more than ever. With such high quality riding on our doorstep, it makes it possible to sneak in daily rides, even in the thick of exams. Can't beat a study break at the pumptrack! -Josh Toohill


  Josh Toohill riding the top section of Legacy. Photo: Nathan Dobson.

  Pat McCarter riding Legacy. Photo: Nathan Dobson.

Check out the UBCO promotional video featuring bike club members from 0:38 to 1:14:


The UBCO Mountain Bike Club is a proud partner with Cyclepath Kelowna, 250-868-0122.

The UBCO Mountain Bike Club would like to thank Freelap Canada, the industry leader in wireless timing systems.

Contact us: If you have any questions send an email to ubcomtbclub(at)gmail(dot)com

95 Comments

  • + 62
 Dear God,

We need two lives, the second one would be to catch all the opportunities that we have missed in the first one. Can you please do that for me? And if it is possible, I would like to start my second life in British-Columbia, Canada.

Thanks
  • + 2
 Hey, I'm looking to get an internship in BC next summer, i'm a mechanical engineering student from Québec. Do some of you have any hints about where i can start searching? (yes, it is higly related to my desire of riding my bike in BC.)

P.M. me if you have any idea!
  • + 4
 We have these in the U.S. as well. I went to University of California Santa Barbara because of their downhill team. Many schools have them and there are some schools that are practically run by their mountain bike team. It would have been cool if Pinkbike had an article about Collegiate Nationals in the U.S. at Angel Fire last month but a school in B.C. is cool too I guess...B.C. needed more advertising, i feel like nobody knows you can ride a bike there.
  • + 1
 Guess what guy's I live in BC and all the riding is not like that most of it is as good or better but just in other ways. I live just north of nelson BC and the riding here in the Kootenay's is awesome though i do plan to move to Kelowna to study a UBCO
  • + 1
 I'm going to school at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, and we pretty much have this same setup. Our bike team has ben the collegiate national champs for over 10 years now, and we have all sorts of riding on and off campus. It's a pretty sweet place to go if you really want a strong cycling atmosphere, and going there is pretty cheap compared to other places. So if you aren't in Canada and can't go to this school, check out FLC.
  • + 1
 Was debating between UBC Okanagan or Vancouver campus, but now I think I have a clear winner Big Grin
  • + 1
 The Vancouver campus has the north shore only minutes away and Squamish 40 minutes away! Whistler is only another 40 past Squammy. The riding in Kelowna is good, but I don't think this should make it a clear winner the Vancouver campus is UNBELIEVABLE!! Vancouver is also a much, much nicer place than K town in my opinion. It's worth looking into for sure Mitch.
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  • + 8
 sorry to burst your bubble if you're from outside of Canada, but we have "international rates" here. It costs twice as much to go to school in Canada if you are from another country. That means tuition alone is probably $15k CAD a year, without living expenses. tbh I wish I went there, but just couldnt afford the expensive living in Western Canada. Anybody from away should look at possible "exchange programs" that allow you to pay regular rates and do half your studies in one country, then half in the next. The school I go to has students from amsterdam that pay the regular rates they would be paying there, and pay the regular Canadian fees when they come here, and vise versa, you guys from Europe/Australia should look into that.
  • + 5
 For me I have the next best thing. If I do my masters I can get a year abroad and one of the places to go is here
  • + 1
 Yeah so for international one year living in BC at UBC university costs about $30 k. After 4 years it add up to a little fortune....
You'd better save that money for riding or moving to B.C after getting degree in your country but...
later it could be hard to find job with some other country's degree - couldn't it?
  • + 7
 15k a year for tuition? pssh over here at UCSD tuition is 35-40k a year not including living, parking permits, and meal expenses. i would gladly pay 15k a year and i am a resident of california out of state pay 15% more and out of country pay 30%
  • + 2
 Civil Engineering Masters, very tempted, looked at Vancouver Campus few weeks ago and people said riding wasn't that nearby. This has got me thinking...
  • + 4
 UBC vancouver has no riding within like 30 km.. well i mean you can ride anywhere but nothing thats great, GO to Simon Fraser, it actually is built on a mountain, you ride down the trails, and bus it or bike up... totally free cuz you get transit passes when you go here...and you live on rez, which is at the top of the mountain as well
  • + 2
 Ya even your international tuition is similar to in state tuition here. I just have to decide which school in BC I want to go to.
  • + 1
 I had no idea how expensive school was in the states. 25k a year is ludicrous for tuition, here in Nova Scotia I pay about 7k a year on tuition. I would have gotten a trade if it was any more costly.
  • + 2
 @bullitproof, you have no idea what you're talking about. You have the iconic Shore right on your doorstep at UBC, join the UBC mtb club and make some friends with a shuttle truck. And SFU is probably the worst riding in the region.
  • + 2
 My University is partnered with Okanagan College, is it any good? Would I still be able to come ride with you UBCO guys?
  • + 2
 Bullitproof - seriously?! Loads of good dirt jump spots in Vancouver, along with downhill not far away.
  • + 3
 I wouldn't say SFU has the worst riding in the region. I live at the base of the mountain and have plenty of fun just doing bus laps on any saturday. It definitely works for me instead of driving out to North Van. Appreciate what you have.
  • + 1
 @flamshmizer there's a few college guys that come now, you are more then welcome!
  • + 1
 @cjwanner, I would agree it's a good ride and can be fun, 'worst' was a bad word. But it's only a few minutes down, and it just doesn't compare to what's on the shore.

Either way, if you're picking your university for the riding it's close to, your not going to university for the right reasons. Pick a school with a good program for what you're interested in.
  • + 1
 Agreed, if you're looking for a longer decent the sfu is not for you.
  • + 1
 well, if you know exactly where sfu is, then it is waaay closer to the north shore than UBC, andddd thats all i have to say
  • + 2
 Well since we are on the subject of colleges... I spent days searching for a good college for mtbn and chose Oregon State University in Corvallis. not much riding local but there is awesome riding everywhere around it. Blackrock freeride park is 40 mins away.
  • + 2
 love oregon man i have family in eugene and my buddy goes to U of O says theres some decent singletrack to get lost in. my plan is to go to university of washington seattle for grad school
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  • + 10
 Hmmmm... where to apply next year...
  • + 1
 I was planning on applying to the Vancouver campus. F- that
  • + 3
 Why not just go to Capilano University?? - You would be in North Vancouver, The tuition would be cheaper than any of the big uni's, smaller class sizes and still get an education. Just a heads up
  • + 2
 Go to ubc van! Frekin awesome, i shred whistler most weekends in summer and winter. Good shore riding too and the campus life is amazing!
  • + 7
 good luck getting into UBC van, your last name has to be chang lol
  • + 1
 University of Colorado Boulder!
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  • + 6
 Fuk yeah. That was boss! You cats are throwing backies to ice, while I almost rode over a poisonous Brown snake on my trail here in Adelaide, Australia last night in 36 degree celsius heat. Worldwide baby!
  • + 1
 Watch out bro, living in Central America I learned to keep my eyes on the ground.
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  • + 6
 To any Canadian who likes to bike... never come to uwaterloo.... just don't do it...
  • + 2
 comon its not that bed if u like cross country that is lolol! but ya wish i would of know about this before i enroled at conestoga lol! there r some nice dj spots around so its not all bad i also know a few DH runs down on my end of Kitchener too i make the best of what i got! Big Grin
  • + 2
 Come to Cambridge 40 minutes away via the 401, Right off the exit onto town line road is access to a awesome trail networks on Puslinch lake in Puslinch county, 35km of xc/trail riding with easy sections through a 2 different pine tree forests all the way up to a crazy section with insane climbs/descents we like to call the Dark side. Don't forget the K/W hydro cut as well, Joyride is a short drives away; and for a longer drive head up to Waterdown for some Insane downhill.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Good job guys, Ryan killed it. Amazing article , well done. The scene at this school is awesome, can't wait to check it out this summer and get some riding in. I'm thinking this will be where I want to go to school. Inspired.
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  • + 2
 Wow! Great article. That is so progressive for a Canadian school... I suppose it just takes the right students to become active and make it happen. Now if only I can have a bunch of money fall on my lap and an excuse to go to University. You're lucky to have this amazing experience!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Great Article; as an Alumni from UBCO I can say there is nowhere better to go to school if you want to ride. Just wanted to add there is also a med school there now, and a department for Human Kinetics (this is the program I graduated from). I am currently doing my Master's in Physical therapy at The University of Alberta and I go through withdrawls from the lack of riding here. Also wanted to add that Silverstar is very close by for great lift access riding, plus great skiing and snowboarding.
  • + 1
 sounds like someone's missing the Okanagan right now...! Razz
  • + 1
 yeah real bad, but I don't need to explain why to you. How is School going?
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I've spent my first year in UBCO, now a third year student in UBC Vancouver. UBCO definitely brings back good memories, but If you are into any type of street or trials riding, then you are pretty screwed. The campus security ride around in their golf carts just looking for people to pick on. Whereas UBC Vancouver campus security just tells me not to hurt myself then moves on. Just something to consider for people thinking about UBCO
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I live in Colorado and recently wanted to go to a school in British Columbia after highschool. After reading this article it's really inspired me to get into a school up north. My life so far has consisted of school homework and biking until I broke my bike and my motivation for everything isn't he same without a bike. Going to school where I have the opportunity to do what I love and benefit from it in so many ways is pretty sick. Im defenitly setting goals into getting into UBCO.
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  • + 2
 i would give anything to go there,but everything,my parents house,car,computer everything that i have in my life just to go there and enjoy in life,but i think that never will..
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  • + 2
 if you're in the UK and want to ride DH at uni come to Plymouth! half an hour from some of the best DH riding in england and a load of DH riders in the club!! (Gawton) www.facebook.com/UniversityOfPlymouthCycling
  • + 1
 What about exeter uni, theres great dh\enduro tracks minutes away (Stoke woods), you can ride there on your DH rig easily, it's that close! Smile OH it's also just had a multi-million pound refurbishment and Haldon cafeside is just 30 minutes away!
  • + 1
 Anywhere other than ply thats decent for riding? A nice skatepark and some decent downhill would be nice..
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  • + 3
 As a french rider, I wanted to apply in BC for my next year study...but fees are too much expensive in the other side of the Atlantic !
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  • + 3
 props to you guys for getting this out there! god to see the locals like Toohill reppin out in BC!
  • + 3
 TOOOOOOOOOOHIIIIIIILLLLLLLLLLL
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  • + 2
 Wow i just spent the last hour researching this Uni and how i could go. I have less than a year to make a decision so this could have just changed my life.
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  • + 2
 International rates? Well that just about killed it for me! I'll stay at the U of Hawaii for now. That was a smoking hot video though! ( :
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  • + 3
 Hmmm could there be a better time for this article? Just applying to uni now and i think i just found my top choice
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  • + 4
 Well, that gap right into the campus impressed me!
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  • + 1
 I was admitted in Okanagan for this fall, and I didn't go because it is way too expensive for international students. Instead I came to the Netherlands where there are no mountains at ALL!!!
  • + 2
 i´m really sorry mate, this article must be very painful for you.
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  • + 5
 i picked the wrong uni..
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  • + 3
 im going to selkirik collage in nelson bc coming next fall i cannot wait
  • + 1
 so many pow days!
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  • + 2
 i think pinkbike should put together a list of good universitys that have awesome mountain biking groups
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  • + 2
 I've been accepted!!! I will be moving up start of next school year and can't be more stoked!
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  • + 3
 now, to convince the parents...
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  • + 1
 I graduated from UBC, Van campus, but man I wish we had something like this during my time there. Gonna have to make a trip up to the OK campus and check this out!!
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  • + 1
 Cant wait until grade 12 to apply here. Ive been looking at it for months because of the biking locations. Thanks for the article!
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  • + 3
 Any one else notice the full moon in the second picture?
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  • + 1
 These godfathers started the movement back in 07. youtu.be/DUFek3NEjlY
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  • + 1
 Well, it's about that time to apply to grad school for the fall anyways. YEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!
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  • + 1
 I went on exchange to UBC from Australia purely for the riding and skiing. Best 6 months of my life, i miss it so much!!
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  • + 1
 And im stuck wondering how much it would cost by the time im out of high school, probably wont change though haha
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  • + 2
 Sucks for those College bound... Frown
  • + 1
 OK college is right down the street radney
  • + 1
 The course im applying to is human kinetics and its only at the Penticton campus.. Sadness
  • + 1
 UBCO has a great Human Kinetics department with some amazing profs. I have found that I am just as prepared in Grad School as anybody with a kin degree from any school in Canada. Besides I don't think you can get a bachelors from Okanagan College, just transfer credit for your first two years.
  • + 1
 Hey Radney, Im in HK here and its legit! Best course for sure. Helps a lot with the training for racing too
  • + 1
 What year are you in?
  • + 1
 2nd year. Plus taking a couple third year courses.
  • + 1
 @Damo, id love to go to UBCO for human kinetics but i dont have to courses in highschool to get into university unfortunately. Im stuck in the college stream due to a last minute decision change on what i actually wanted to do so i closed alot of doors for myself
  • + 1
 I transferred to UBCO from Selkirk College out of first year so there is still hope to get in
  • + 1
 Wow thanks for the info!
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  • + 1
 my reactions are not as quick as these guys but saying that i don't need much sleep now and can get up real early
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  • + 2
 We need more universities like this one!!
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  • + 3
 Where do I sign?
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  • + 2
 That pump track looks legit.
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  • + 1
 The UBCO club even helped put on a cyclocross race on the campus grounds this fall. Thanks guys.
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  • + 1
 Gonna be damn hard to pick between here, SFU, and U of Nevada Reno....And not because of the academic programs! Big Grin
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  • + 1
 Now meanwhile here at the University of Toronto... Razz
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  • + 1
 I sent in my application to the Vancouver campus 3 weeks ago........
  • + 4
 The shore isn't too far away and vanier dirt jump park is also pretty close, and a pretty ride if you feel like pedaling your dirt jumper down there. I broke my collar bone at vanier the day after I moved in though and haven't ridden a bike since... Hopefully this weekend! Depending on what program you're enrolled in you wont have much time for bikes anyway. Full course load in engineering only gives you a handful of weekends where you may be able to pull off a ride.
  • + 4
 Don't listen to this guy ^^^^^. I have a full engineering course load and get out to ride at least twice a week.
  • + 1
 Its true! half the guys in the club are engineers and we ride all the time!
  • + 1
 Personally, I second that. I'm In school for biomedical engineering and I have very little time to ride. I still get out, but it's not easy. I guess a lot of it has to do with how you handle your course load. Each person is going to be different.
  • + 2
 Hahahaha, thanks to all you guys, why is it that everyone wants to be an engineer? That's what I applied to, but regardless there is no way I'm going to move to BC and not ride every other day.
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  • + 1
 High hopes of going there come 2015!
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  • + 1
 weres the 2016 app
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