When Jason Rekve looks at the ridgelines in the Coast Range east of Powell River, British Columbia, he sees endless mountain biking potential. High above the treeline, it’s all smooth granite rolling along at a gentle, rideable grade. “We call it Moab North,” he says, referring to the famous sandstone mountain biking destination in the Utah desert.
The problem is the only way to access this sublime riding paradise is by helicopter. That means two trips, one for riders and another for bikes slung beneath the whirlybird. That’s hard on the pocketbook and the mountain bikes—they take a beating banging together in-flight and then again as they touch down on rock. Happily, an easier landing is in sight.
Rekve’s company Aero Designs, a manufacturer of helicopter accessories, just started selling the first helicopter bike-rack ever approved by Transport Canada. The racks carry four bikes riding side-saddle and attach with the same quick-release fittings as the ones heli-ski companies use for ski baskets.
To design the rack, Aero worked with Blackcomb Helicopters, a pioneer of heli-biking in the Whistler and Pemberton area. “Interest in heli-biking increased exponentially in the last couple years,” says Jordy Norris, marketing manager at Blackcomb Helicopters. “The rack is going to make it accessible to an even larger group of people.”
The rack reduces the cost of a local Whistler heli-shuttle for five people from $900 to $625. Combined with tougher bikes and a growing hunger for adventure riding, Norris imagines a near future where heli-biking is as popular as heli-skiing. Blackcomb is already working on securing a larger heli-biking tenure so it can shuttle bikers much like it does skiers in winter, with multiple trails that are heli-access only.
Blackcomb already has two racks and Rekve says he has more than 50 others ordered. Transport Canada only approved the rack in August of 2016.
“This rack is going to change the mountain biking industry,” he says. “It’s going to elevate BC as a biking destination to a higher level than it already is.”
Which brings us back to those ridgelines above Powell River. Rekve is working on a helicopter bike tenure of his own: ”Every time we fly up there we see another amazing area that we can’t wait to ride,” he says.
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