Video: Exploring The Enduro Scene In Kamloops

Jun 13, 2018
by Ted Morton  



Growing Up Boldly Unscripted // Kamloops, BC
By Ted Morton



Kamloops, BC is known for being one of the birthplaces of Freeriding, it's a downright mecca in the mountain bike world, a right of passage for any rider. Kamloops has been a staple of the MEC Canadian National Enduro Series for the past three years, and some riders say it's "better than the shore."

With the recent explosion of everything 'enduro', it's been an interesting ride to see how this transition has changed this world-class riding destination. Kamloops is home to five distinct riding areas, Kenna, Pineview, Lac du Bois, the Kamloops Bike Ranch and Harper Mountain. The latter two riding areas helped shaped decades of freeriders from the early fro-riders to the likes of Matt Hunter, Graham Agassiz, Dylan Sherrard and more recently the next generation, Taylor and Jesse Munden and Lane Bodor. A recent generation of dirt-jumpers and freeriders are lucky to have honed their skills on Kamloops' unique terrain and in North America's largest municipal bike park. But the town is more than just freeride and jumps.

The 'Helly' family has been moulded by their towns affinity for everything mountain biking. Father Frank Helly grew up riding motocross and mountain bikes, and is probably one of the original riders in Kamloops. He was shredding slopes since before v-brakes and you can still find his name amongst the top ten on Strava, with times from the apps early inception. His wife, Sue Helly, is one of the city's main parks/recreation and horticultural experts, you can find her eagerly sprinting up trails in Pineview or Kenna. This family doesn't play hockey, soccer or baseball, their rinks are singletrack, their fields are dirtjumps, everything about their recreation, happiness and why they connect with cycling is based on Kamloops. Kamloops is a rare gem, very few towns have riding right from the back door. At my house in Pineview valley, I have access to over 30kms of trail without needing to drive. The other major draw for Kamloops - it's a real city, we have all the amenities and a strong coffee culture!

Their two boys, Jeremy and Johnny likely need no introduction. Jeremy (16) has been killing the high school xc league, while Johnny (14) has been routinely cracking top 20 pro times since he was 12. I've been seeing these boys on the trails since they were 9, always pedalling. They've not ever known life without mountain bikes, and that's a true treasurer. Just think about that for a second these young professional athletes have always had access to world-class riding. It's just "the way it is", wake up every morning and shred! Call it enduro, XC, DH, whatever, the kids don't care, they just want to ride. Imagine growing up with facilities for every discipline a pedal-kick from your front door. It also is pretty neat when Matt Hunter lives down the street and frequents your local bike shop, the Bicycle Cafe. The town of Kamloops has created a culture of cycling that is multi-generational.

Enduro is here. The Helly brothers are likely part of the first-ever "Enduro Generation", that seems weird to say, but it's true. They're exploring every inch of Kamloops, BC and this year, crossing the border to compete. I owe a lot of thanks to the Helly family because when they're not racing in the Canadian National Enduro Series, they're helping me prepare for events, whether it's course marking, prepping, or just offering advice they're there to help. Sue and Frank are our most reliable volunteers, they base their entire summer off of travelling around the events.

So, why should you move to Kamloops? If you want to ride every day and avoid the mountain tax (what you pay for living in a ski-town or similar), then Kamloops is your place. We've got everything you could ever want, the only hard thing is trying to keep up with the locals as Frank and his boys will leave you in the dust. It's time for you to live your life Boldly Unscripted!

-Ted Morton




If you're looking to come to explore this beautiful and booming mountain bike destination, start planning your trip with Mountain Biking BC and Tourism Kamloops, and be sure to send some love to the crew at the Kamloops Performance Cycling Centre via Trailforks.



MENTIONS: @canadianenduro




15 Comments

  • + 9
 Kamloops is rad, but I'll still take Sea to Sky any day. That said, you cannot argue about the real estate prices; Loops wins that hands down by a long shot.
  • + 7
 I lived in the sea2sky (Squamish) for 10 years loved riding my bike in Squamish, got married had 2 kids. Realized That we couldn’t afford to stay in Squamish. Moved to Kamloops got jobs really fast. Made really good friends in the bike community. As an avid biker had to change my game to keep up with the local riding. Kamloops has some hidden gems that will make you a better rider and it doesn’t have the rain like Squamish and the mass amount of people on the trails.
  • + 4
 Nice article! I've had the pleasure of knowing the Helly's for 25 years (or since whenever Frank kidnapped my sister and took her into the interior - LOL). It's been rad to see the nephews grow up and pass you...well I still got them on the climbs. they can call their uncle for a clinic anytime...
  • + 3
 Kamloops has so much amazing riding , problem is most of it isn't sanctioned or on a map and the locals seem to want to keep it that way. There are so many awesome towns in BC where the riding is great and more available to everyone.
  • + 3
 Yeah we're working hard on that one, but in the meantime, it's a great excuse to tuck the keyboard away and meet some friends, besides, all the best trails are usually the hardest to find!
  • + 2
 The locals who ride don't want the trails hidden, but have to respect the wishes of the land owners. There is a ton of legal awsome riding right in town.
  • + 2
 Between Pineview, Batch, Kenna, the Ranch, Harper, Stake and Sunpeaks there is at least 200km of quality legal single track. Yeah there is another at least another 100-200km of off map trails but still 200km of legal trails is good for a couple of days of riding.
  • + 0
 @canadianenduro: I know where all the goods are and thanks, I do have friends. I’ve been here for 10 years and I love it. I could ride different trails every weekend. My point was , unless you live here and have joined the secret trail society, there are better options out there.
  • + 2
 "unless you live here and have joined the secret trail society, there are better options out there"

I disagree @rivssss . I rode just one day in Kamloops on my first BC trip with Squamish/Whistler friends; a lap on Rio then shuttle/peddling Harper the rest of the day. I have no doubt there are better and certainly gnarlier local trails that are hidden away but that was still a really fun day.
  • + 1
 I want to ride Kamloops, especially Kamloops Bike Ranch more than just about anything. So jealous of people that live nearby or can call that area home. Any place that can keep something like that going for so long must have an awesome community.
  • + 3
 I know where I am moving to raise my kids
  • - 3
 Kamloops is great! I've ridden every thing within two hundred miles,and it's still the best.
I've ridden the clay banks,now called the bike ranch since grade 2 [1963],it's good if you like dirt sidewalk type trails,but Lac du Bois/Wheeler Mt. is way more my style,endless miles of cow trails.
Bicycle Cafe ripped me off,they will never get another chance,f*ck them,don't go there.
[Dylan Shredhard wasn't involved in the burn,I still like him]
By the way, Strava is for ego enlargement.
  • + 9
 And stay off my lawn, damn kids
  • + 1
 Great article
  • - 1
 horrible video. kamloops has way more to offer than what they showed in this video like the bike ranch

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