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Meet our Crankworx Rider

Meet Honza, part of our Summit Family, who is competing in Crankworx 2017. We sat down to chat with him about his upcoming event, as well as why he travelled over 8000km from his hometown of Pardubice, Czech Republic to come and live in Whistler.

When asked how he thinks he’ll do, he answered “I think I can win it! If not, I’ll never hear the end of it!”. Read the rest of the interview below.

Summit Lodge: Thanks for sitting down with us Honza. It must be coming up to almost a year that you’ve been with us at the Summit Lodge?

Honza: Yeah, nearly a year. Its flown by!

SL: It certainly has. What’s your favourite thing about the Summit Lodge?

H: My old room in staff housing! Haha, but seriously, I like room 301, it has a really cool Whale rug.

SL: So this will be your 5th Crankworx, which event are you entering into?

H: I’m entering into the Enduro Challenge for the second time. The format of the event means you get to compete alongside the professionals, which really adds to the atmosphere.

SL: How do you think you’ll do?

H: I think I can win it! If not, I’ll never hear the end of it!

SL: How long have you been biking?

H: 30 years

SL: What are your three favourite events at Crankworx?

H: Enduro Challenge, Whip Off and Pump Track

Whip Off. Photo by Justa Jeskova

SL: Sounds pretty exciting. What are you doing to prepare for the race?

H: I’m riding as much as I can, keeping my fitness level high so that I’m in the best shape for race day.

SL: What are your top 3 bike trails to ride?

H: Hawaii in Pemberton, Original Sin in the Whistler Blackcomb Bike Park and Out There near Wedge Mountain

SL: And your favourite hiking trail?

H: Black Tusk. I love the views you get from the top, and it is one of the quieter trails in the area.

SL: Favourite restaurant?

H: Rim Rock

SL: What’s your favourite beach in Whistler?

H: Lost Lake (when its quiet) because of how close it is. It is also smaller than the other lakes, which means its warmer! I also like Hippie Lake because its so secluded and has a slide.

View over Lost Lake. Photo by Mike Crane

SL: What is the best bike shop in town?

H: Evolution

SL: What is the best way to experience Crankworx?

H: As a volunteer

SL: What are your top three hangout spots around Whistler?

H: 1. The skate park and dirt jumps near Rebagliati Park
2. Lost Lake
3. Cal-Cheak recreational campground

SL: When you go biking, what do you never leave the house without?

H: A pump and a spare tube

SL: Finally, what has kept you in Whistler so long?

H: My friends and the mountains

Feel the wind in your hair with Spitfire Rentals’ new eBikes: The next best way to see the sights of Whistler

My initial reservations had we worried at first, but they quickly vanished

When I first found out that eBikes were a thing, I have to admit, I had a few reservations. I was sceptical, having owned one too many failed battery powered remote-controlled cars in my childhood, that there existed a battery with enough capacity and power to move a bike, with me on top of it, faster than a crawl and further than a couple of hundred metres. Secondly, the presumptive feeling of shame that would occur as I wheeled the bike back to the shop after it had, inevitably, ran out of battery. And finally, the thought that, having never ridden a motorcycle in my life, I would instantly fall off and injure myself.

These reservations began to melt away as I spoke to Yohann, owner and operator of Spitfire Rentals in the Summit Lodge. He explained that his 10 new Evox City780 electric bikes were top of the range cruisers, designed to be used by anyone who could ride a conventional push bike. With two modes, one for assisted pedalling and one ‘full throttle’ electric mode, he said you can do as much or as little work as you want, all whilst cruising at over 30km/h on flat, and over 12 km/h on the steepest of hills. After a short explanation of the controls of the bike, I donned my bike helmet, climbed on and set off.

The wind rushing in my ears made for an exhilarating ride

The first few pedals felt like any other bike that I had ridden, until the assisted pedal mode activated, the battery kicked in and I pulled away up to 20km/h with minimal effort from my legs. The feeling was exhilarating, I could feel the wind rushing past my ears as I easily made my way to the valley trail, my reservations of falling off or being hit by a car forgotten as I effortlessly reached 32km/h along Lorimer Road.

I decided to jump onto the valley trail alongside Blackcomb Way towards Nesters to test the eBbike’s full electric mode. The long straight section of cycle path was deserted so I pulled over, switched modes with the push of a button and began to pedal to activate the battery. After a couple of cycles, the electric motor engaged with a click and the eBike pulled away easily up to max speed with just a twist of throttle. The effortlessness of being able to zip along the valley trail was truly special, and within minutes I was on the promenade across Green Lake with an exceptional view of the mountains and the Harbour Air Seaplanes taking off.

Increased speed made for more time to take in the view

As the valley trail began to wind its way around the stunning Whistler scenery, I found myself with a sense of inner calm. I was able to concentrate more on how beautiful this bike ride was, stopping whenever I wanted to take in the views from both North and South of the village. Even when I hit the inevitable hills, I just gave the eBike a couple of pedals to help the electric motor along, and it hardly broke its stride.

In a couple of hours I had managed to visit Lost Lake, Green Lake and Alta Lake in my 38km bike ride without even breaking a sweat, despite it being over 30 degrees out. Doing this on a conventional push bike would have taken me more than twice the time and definitely 10 times the effort and, without the ability to stop and go with such ease, I would have been less inclined to stop and take in the dramatic lake views with mountainous back drops.

Truth bombs about the true power of the electric bike

Returning back to the store, I told Yohann the truth, that it was the most fun I had had on a bike for as long as I could remember. We discussed how, with a range of over 200km on assisted pedalling, the eBikes could travel the vast extent of the valley trail on a full charge. I asked Yohann what made his bikes so popular vs. the electric mountain bikes that other stores offered. He explained that the eBike’s cruiser style was designed to make them accessible to anyone who may have difficult getting onto a conventional mountain bike, as well as being far comfier and able to tow a chariot for your kids. I had to admit, the cruiser design of the bikes made the feeling of powering past everyone else on the uphill all the more satisfying.

It really is the next best way to explore Whistler.

For more information on Spitfire Rentals, visit their website: http://spitfirerentals.ca/ and their Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SpitfireRentalsWhistler/