Trails for all – BC is a leader in adaptive mountain biking

Adaptive Rider Jeremy McGhee. Photo by Nate Collins via The Loam Wolf

The Covid-19 pandemic has inspired people to engage in more outdoor sports and activities. However, this can be a challenge for those with disabilities. British Columbia has a strong reputation of making outdoor snow sports accessible to all, as outlined in our previous blog on Vancouver Adaptive Snow Sports (VASS)  but the province has also emerged as a leader in adaptive mountain biking.

Adaptive mountain biking, or aMTB, is a young but fast-growing sport that allows athletes who have suffered spinal cord injuries, as well as those with developmental disabilities who have never had the opportunity to mountain bike, to participate in the sport and enjoy the outdoors. While those with injuries spend much of their time using mobility devices that are relegated to pavement, adaptive riders like Jeremy McGhee through his website theunpavement.org are on a mission to find and document trails that adaptive riders can access safely, so that everyone can reconnect with nature.

BC is home to trails for adaptive riders with varying skills and degrees of mobility challenges. Bobsled, a mountain biking trail in North Vancouver, was upgraded specifically to accommodate the width of adaptive mountain bikes by the North Shore Mountain Bike Association, in keeping with the society’s motto of “Trails for all, trails forever.” Other aMTB options in the area include Sidewinder in Burnaby and Half Nelson in Squamish.

In September 2017, the Spine Trail was opened near Rosebery, BC. The vision began with the North Slocan Trails Society with the goal of becoming a destination for adaptive mountain biking.

In the Nakusp area, the Mount Abriel project is managed by the Nakusp and Area Bike Society. Intertwined within a large-scale traditional mountain biking trail network are some of the regions most accessible adaptive mountain bike trails as well as 30 campsites built with accessibility in mind. The creators of the trail network have a goal of breaking barriers between able-bodied riders, adaptive riders, experts, beginners, and children. Before leaving the area, riders can visit one of the areas many hot springs. Nakusp Hot Springs has a lift for easier access for those requiring mobility assistance.

In May 2018, Revelstoke’s first adaptive trail, Miller Time (named after local adaptive rider, Chris Miller), opened. Ethan Krueger, who runs the adaptive mountain biking website AMTB Trails, was in attendance for the opening which was packed with riders of all abilities. Kreuger is an adaptive mountain biker following a spinal cord injury and his website provides details, accessibility ratings, and videos of adaptive trails. He heard of the opening of the new adaptive Revelstoke trail through the online aMTB community: “For me, the biggest thing was the people realized that there was a need for trails that accommodate adaptive mountain bikes and went through the time and effort to make it happen,” Kreuger said.

Participation in adaptive sports is growing around the world, and British Columbia is emerging as a leader in the creation of adaptive mountain biking trails that make outdoor sports accessible to all. At Pacific Medical Law, we are committed to helping those who have suffered life-altering injuries achieve their full potential. If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury or other injury that may have been caused or worsened by medical negligence, please contact us to discuss your concerns. We will provide you with our opinion on your legal rights and options, for no charge.

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Andrea Donaldson

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