Day Lot 2 was a hive of mountain biking activity last week (June 4-7) with the first Outerbike demo event bedding down in Whistler.
Over the four days hundreds of visitors tested high-end bikes from a dozen different manufacturers, as well as accessories and components from exhibiting brands.
With 335 registrants, the event was well below its capacity of 600, but event director Grant Lamont said that it actually worked for the better given how many bikes were available at
“I’d like to sell it out, but I’m pretty happy because we were challenged by the (number) of bikes anyway,” he said. “We had just over 370 bikes, if we had any more (people) I think (the experience) wouldn’t have been as good for people. We had really good feedback.”
Despite losing some attendance to a date conflict with the Evergreen Mountain Bike Festival near Issaquah, Washington, Lamont was encouraged by the number of destination visitors from all over North America. For the last month he was receiving calls from previous Outerbike Moab attendees who wanted to come and experience the riding in Whistler.
Comparisons to the Moab event was a big talking point during the week for both attendees and the bike companies.
“So far we’ve put out all our bikes for all three days, so it’s been fantastic for us,” said Kirk Telaneus, head “Demo Guy” for Ibis Bicycles who has attended every Outerbike in Moab. “I only see it getting bigger and better next year. I definitely like it better here in (Whistler), having the event on pavement is a big thing. The only thing here is people question where the trails are.”
The Moab Outerbike has obvious trail heads directly adjacent to the “tent city” out in the Moab Desert, whereas the Whistler location in the day lots was more convenient for amenities. Lamont noted that the guided rides were available to all attendees and proved very popular and that improved signage to the Whistler trail systems is currently being installed by the Whistler Off Road Cycling Association (WORCA).
What both organizers and brands were not expecting was the popularity of riding in the Whistler Bike Park. With only a handful of long-travel bikes available, many attendees were patiently queuing for their turn to test ride in the bike park, for which they received a three-run pass for the first two days of the event.
“I was really surprised with how big a hit (the park) was,” said Lamont. “A lot of guys had never been on downhill bikes before. They all wanted to get up there. I think Whistler Blackcomb are happy with how many people were upgrading to three-day passes. Next year we’ll be bringing a lot more DH bikes.”
Also on the list for next year’s Outerbike Whistler is more kids bikes to encourage people to travel with their families. The footprint in lot 2 will likely expand as the event grows in popularity.
For more information on Outerbike Whistler and Moab events go to outerbike.com.