"We love bikes, and we’re throwing a party in their honour." That is the tagline that MEC Barrie used to promote their Bikefest on May 24, 2014 at Hardwood Ski & Bike, and we at IMBA Canada were thrilled to put on our party hats!

A long-time supporter of IMBA Canada’s work, Mountain Equipment Co-op has been on side promoting mountain biking opportunities and access to trails — But the evolution of their MEC-branded "Bikefests" is taking their commitment to cycling to the next level. With demo bikes available and multiple free "learn to" clinics, participation was the emphasis of MEC Barrie’s event. And with its move to the amazing trails facility at Hardwood Ski & Bike (another IMBA Canada supporter!), off-road cycling was a larger focus of the festivities than in past years.

Another theme at the event was "community", and IMBA Canada affilate, the Simcoe County Mountain Bike Club, was on-hand to answer questions about their trail development activity. While controversial in its approach, this new group is literally breaking new ground by successfully attaining trail management and development rights for a number of Simcoe County Tracts: Strachan, Johnson, Arbour, Crawford, Tustin, Amos, and Schumacher.

In addition to rides and clinics, MEC offered participants the chance to browse exhibitors’ booths, score deals at an MEC Bikeswap, and join in a poker run —  In all, more than 250 riders came out to enjoy the festivities, the gorgeous weather, and the great trails. Not a bad way to spend May 24!

Thanks to Carly Marshall, Barrie Bikefest Coordinator, who did an outstanding job of putting together a professional and fun-filled event.

We look forward to seeing you out on the trails next year!