A new bike repair station that’s part of the Cariboo Waggon Road Restoration project officially opened in 100 Mile House Tuesday at the South Cariboo Visitor Centre.
Canim Lake Band representative Irene Charley ceremonially cut an innertube to mark the occasion, with the help of New Pathways to Gold Society indigenous co-chair Cheryl Chapman, Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association secretary-treasurer Mike Retasket, 100 Mile House Mayor Mitch Campsall and High Bar First Nations Chief Roy Fletcher.
The ceremony was part of a grand tour of the trail taken by members of the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism and the New Pathways to Gold Society. The group started in Lillooet and were going to Lac La Hache. They stopped at the Clinton Museum on the way.
“For the last two-and-a-half years I’ve been telling them what we’re doing but it’s hard sometimes for them to know exactly what I’m talking about,” project manager Richard Wright said. “We’re hoping they get a better idea of what the potential of the trail is and also what the problems are and how we can solve them.”
Bike repair stations are being installed in communities along the Cariboo trail that don’t have their own bike shops. The stations consist of a set of tools cabled to a stanchion, a bike rack and a tire pump, which Campsall demonstrated during the ceremony. Wright said the station is designed to allow those biking the trail to stop and make simple repairs.
He said he and his partner, Amy Newman, came up with the idea while biking on one of Idaho’s rail trails. Kamloops has three scattered across the city where they’ve found that they’re useful to not only cyclists but also people with strollers and carts.
“Hopefully they’ll be a benefit to the community beyond people just travelling on the Cariboo Waggon Road route.”
The goal for the 100 Mile House portion of the route still remains finding a bikeable route into 100 Mile that avoids using Highway 97. Wright said they’re trying to find a bypass that works due to traffic and a lack of shoulder but that it will take time. Overall, he said completion of the entire project is still at least two years away.
“For the last two summers, we’ve had quite a few problems moving things forward. We haven’t been able to have community meetings because of COVID, then our trail crews were busy fighting fires,” Wright said. “We’ve made progress but we haven’t made the progress we’d hoped for.”