Video: The Story Behind Cumberland, BC's Trail Network in 'For The Love Of Dirt: Dodge City'

Jun 2, 2021
by Salsa Cycles  
Views: 5,518    Faves: 17    Comments: 0

Mountain biking would be nowhere without its strong community of rider-workers. Whether they built the local mountain bike scene or sprouted up because of it, every good trail system has a dedicated group of people working (often behind the scenes) to keep it thriving. From the trail builders shaping the dirt to the lodging owners taking a chance on tourism to the bartender pouring your post-ride pint, these people are the heart of every vibrant mountain bike scene.


Our new video series, entitled For The Love Of Dirt, celebrates these people and tells their stories. Each episode will focus on a different trail network and the people and places that give it life.

Our first episode takes place in Cumberland, BC, where local villagers are buying land back from timber companies to cultivate a biking and hiking paradise. With more than 170 trails winding through the lush mountain landscape and a town full of friendly faces, “Dodge City” is about earn a spot on your must-ride list.

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  • 14 0
 I finished my high school years in the Comox valley, and stayed on the island ever since. I can say with a degree of confidence that this is and was a long process. I am old enough to remember when Tomatoe creek, Two sheiks and a dog, pity da fool and buggered pig where new and the must rides in the valley. If you wished your community had such a parcel of land or you are currently working with you town council prepare to be patient, I am amazed at how hard a group(s) of people will work to make trails that are amazing and free to play.
Currently I am in Port Alberni and there is a small group of young men and women who are working hard to help bring back and build what use to be great riding in this valley. It also appears that they are trying to follow the lead of UROC and other user groups to keep things on the up and up. It would also have the added benefit of keeping trails for as long as possible.
  • 5 0
 @StinkyTO I think with having the same land manager for the whole South Island it should smooth out a lot of the processes that have been paved by the existing trail orgs on the island. It certainly seems they see the recreational value in the trails. Future of MTB looks pretty good for islanders abroad I'd say.
  • 3 0
 @Gmang: I do think there is a shift in understanding the value of recreational tourism. All of us middle agers have been riding MTBs since our teens and we now have money to play as well introducing our own kids to the sport. From a township point of view. Trails are cheap. What is needed is access to the land, either a parcel exchange from a private cooperation or a lease agreement. (a logged area, is usually left untouched for 20+ years after. That is good return on an investment.)
  • 7 2
 @Gmang: Manager of stolen land
  • 6 0
 @Gmang: I dunno it’s a tough battle in Victoria with the CRD who manages all parks in the area. CRD seems to be managed by a bunch of crotchety old hikers that see no value in mountain biking.
  • 4 0
 @Victoria mike: not jealous dude… The rest of the island is leaps and bounds ahead of the OG advocacy group on the island. Pretty awful how SIMBS has been handcuffed all these years. Victoria is also not a working forest like the rest of the island though. Grew up there and don’t miss it at all…
  • 2 0
 @starblanket: in more ways than one. I hear that.
  • 12 0
 with a lot of thanks to UROC for their amazing work, it just gets better.
  • 7 0
 I have lived on the island for 25ish years and have just recently moved to Cumberland and am really loving it! Not too many places where within a few pedal strokes you are on the trails, where the community (for the most part) supports MTB and the outdoor lifestyle. Thank you to all the amazing humans who make the area so great! Love you all!
  • 5 0
 Gotta love how everyone in every small town in BC needs to quantify how long they have lived somewhere so they can be "more local" than others...

Loved Cumberland and their trails! Would recommend asking a local for some recommendations though. Can be pretty dang confusing up there.
  • 5 0
 if you've been in Cumby, WHOOOPS, Dodge for more than 2 years, you get to claim OG status and wear the t-shirt. they are developing their own tongue i hears. (secret insight, don't admit you live in Comox, you'll be shunned)
  • 7 0
 @jamesbrant: I live in Comox and get left with dregs and solace of Forbidden Plateau… it’s just awful
  • 7 0
 If I were to move into a home in Cumberland I would certainly let out a WOOOO!
  • 5 1
 wonderful it is, but putting the word paradise after biking and hiking (when those 2 words are combined) is a bit of a stretch, haha. stop hiking up the DH trails!!

but seriously, it's the best dam riding around.
  • 5 0
 Cumberland is amazing! Only thing missing from the video is Al Munday's iconic facial hair Wink
  • 7 0
 River Rats ain't dead
  • 1 0
 I wish my local area was like this. We have a great trail with great nature and all but it seems like riding is a private thing. It would be great if the community was more into mountainbiking and not just normal tourism and recreation.
  • 1 0
 Cool vid - good showcase of Dodge - I think it captured the vibe pretty well.. I often count my blessings to live so close. The system has so much variety to offer. Coincidentally I shot the sh*t with a couple River Rats today mid ride re some great improvements made to a hallmark trail they have recently done work on. Massive kudos to the Rats.. and UROC too.

That all being said, to anyone viewing this vid and wanting to visit (you def should!) the Comox Valley as a whole has additional riding spots that aren't as expansive as Cumberland, but are stones throw away and arguably just as impressive in their own way. One (newish) prominent Canadian MTB manufacturer bears one of these 'other spots' namesake..
  • 1 0
 @CDT77 shhhh… they’re cutting down all the trees remember? Nothing but a wasteland over there now.
  • 1 0
 @Gmang: lol. Yes indeed.. I am gutted about Upper Cabin.. at least the Ironhorse side is pristine.
  • 3 0
 Top notch community and riding scene. Looking forward to my next visit once inter-regional travel is good to go.
  • 4 0
 I rode there in april and wow.. the investment in mtb is impressive.
  • 3 0
 Love my local trails...14 years riding and living in the Valkey and they just keep getting better
  • 2 0
 What an awesome video. I hope Salsa Cycles releases a four hour long director's cut that features ALL of the people who have contributed to making Dodge City so good.
  • 1 1
 Grew up riding these trails as many other in the comments have. I would love to see a machine top to bottom built black trail with some double black options. Much like Turnstyles in Nelson but with some drops/step ups. In general - more freeride.
  • 3 0
 Cumberland, the village with more km of trails than roads
  • 8 0
 a little drinking village with a mountain bike problem.
  • 2 0
 love this place, great video
  • 3 2
 River Rats? Al Munday et al? Please give credit to who actually created the scene that it is now.
  • 4 0
 Lots of different people built the early trails (even before the Rats!). Good article on some of the trail names here:

I don't think the video was giving credit for the trails one way or another. Just presenting what a unique effort there has been in that town.

That said Bear Buns, Pot Luck, Thirsty Beaver, Trent River and on and on are some of my favorites and I have endless gratitude to the River Rats for the trails they have built and continue to build and maintain!
  • 4 0
 Not to detract anything from the Rats and their work, but there are many hard working people who pre-date those guys by a long time. Many people involved in Cumberland's rise to mountain bike mecca status.
  • 3 0
 @universe: Booker is the true Godfather of the Cumberland scene.
  • 2 0
 ... or the Pale Rider himself.
  • 3 0
 @DrPreroll: Those original dump trails were all rake and ride master pieces - you knew you were getting close to the dump when all the bear crap turned 1/2 plastic bags.
  • 1 0
 @bookerb: indeed they were.
  • 2 0
 Cumby!!! My fav trails on the island.
  • 2 1
 Ford Lovers won't ride there...
  • 1 0
 Lotta Toyotas in Dodge City...

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