Mike Overend is one of the new additions to the team at the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association. He has come on board as a Rail Trails Coordinator and recently participated in the Ride the Riding tour. We invited him to share a bit about his experience.
At the end of August, I had the opportunity to join MP Richard Cannings on his Ride the Riding tour. The campaign saw Richard bike along the Trans Canada Trail from Nakusp all the way to Penticton. I spent two days cycling alongside him, and several local residents, during his final leg along the KVR trail. Here’s how my journey went.
I joined the group early Monday morning in Midway B.C where we met for breakfast at the Bored Room Café. We spent about an hour drinking our coffee and getting to know one another before we headed over to the Midway Museum to start our day’s ride. The plan was to reach Rock Creek by noon to meet up for lunch with other residents.
On the Road to Rock Creek
This was my first time cycling along this segment of the KVR trail and it really gave me a sense of what the KVR trail has to offer in regards to the amazing landscapes and scenery it passes through. A large portion of the ride followed the Kettle River through grassy fields and beside large coniferous and deciduous trees. The river provided some spectacular views and the water was so clear I could easily make out the bottom. In no time we had traveled the 19 km’s to Rock Creek, arriving in little under 2 hours.
For my second day, I met with a new group of cyclists in Osoyoos for our ride up to Penticton. This section follows along the southern spur of the KVR Trail passing through Oliver and Okanagan Falls before reaching Penticton. We started at the Osoyoos Oxbows and it wasn’t long before Richard was pointing out different bird species as we made our way along lower Okanagan River. We had a brief stop in Oliver at a local Gelateria before cycling the highway beside Vaseaux Lake through to Okanagan Falls. The highway provided good cycling with a few tricky corners to navigate.
One of the highlights of the ride was just north of Okanagan Falls along Skaha Lake. The trail hugs the lakeshore on one side and the base of steep hillsides on the other. The trail itself is narrow and provides an exciting ride around rock outcroppings, sagebrush and pine trees all the while looking out over Skaha Lake and the surrounding hillsides. We completed our ride in just under 4 hours covering a distance of 55 kms.
The residents who came out were positive advocates for the future development of the Rail Trails system. They all agreed that the sustainable growth of these trails could be very valuable to the many communities adjacent to the trail and provide excellent experiences for both locals and visitors.