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July 3, 2024

The path to tranquility—west coast summer hikes and E-bikes

by Erin Linn McMullan

For me, I always talk about the tranquility and the calmness when I’m on a bike riding that bike path. Everything’s left behind. Identifying where you are. The sense of smell. You’ve got the forest, you’ve got the ocean smell, you’ve got rain smell. Seeing the different growth is also appealing whether it’s ferns or trees. Wildlife just overcomes you. So, it’s a sense of being within yourself. It’s just how I feel when I’m on the path.

—Gordon Taylor, T̓iick̓in (Thunderbird) Ebikes

Rediscover your inner rhythm this summer on the west coast with an Ebike adventure that immerses you in nature and is kind to the planet.

T̓iick̓in (T-Bird) Ebikes is partnering with Tin Wis Resort to offer onsite rentals of Vellec A2, R48, and ENVO ST50 Ebikes (19+) as well as a dozen Specialized and Norco 24-speed and 8-speed bikes from 14”-22” frames to accommodate families with children 12 and up. These rentals are available to both Tin Wis and Tsawaak RV Resort & Campground guests with a discount code using T̓iick̓in’s easy online booking system.

Cycling offers a great way to zip into downtown to visit the Saturday market or plan a longer adventure to the co-managed Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, pack a picnic, and go. Their Ebikes are outfitted with batteries capable of making the 80 km-round trip from Tofino to the Junction via the local MUP and connecting ʔapsčiik t̓ašii (pronounced ups-cheek ta-shee) multiuse trail, with judicious use of the pedal assist.

Each bike comes with a helmet, a lock, a map and recommendations for scenic points of interest along the way whether you want to park your bike to enjoy the sandy shoreline at Long Beach or Wickaninnish, wander the winding boardwalk of the Rainforest Trail or descend to Comber’s Beach, a haven for migrating shorebirds.

Now in their fourth year of business, the Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ Taylors’ family-run business became the first Indigenous-owned E-bike company in Canada, originally launching in 2021 at their main hub at the Junction. In the future, they are planning a new green-built shop incorporating Hemp, Hempcrete, and Hemp insulation building materials, solar and wind power.

Experienced entrepreneurs, the family previously ran Cynamoka Coffee House, a community favourite in Ucluelet.

T̓iick̓in’s (pronounced Teeets-kin) second location at Tin Wis is staffed by their new addition, Taras John, who came from Gold River and Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation and trained in customer service and Ebike maintenance under Gordon’s son, Gordy Taylor Jr.  

When people come into Tbird Ebikes, they’re getting expert advice on the right fit for their age, fitness, mobility, and quest for adventure. Pedal assist helps propel this heavier bike (39-50 lbs.) further, expanding the possibilities for an inclusive workout and exploring the west coast.

With quick scenic stops, that 70-km return trip direct from Tin Wis Resort to the Junction takes roughly an hour and a half each way or you can make a day of it with T̓iick̓in offering both half- and full-day rentals.

At low tide, you can depart from the ʔapsčiik t̓ašii, locking up your bike at the Incinerator Rock parking lot to walk Long Beach all the way to Green Point below the campground.

Further along the ʔapsčiik t̓ašii, you can turn at the sign for Kwisitis and coast down towards Wickaninnish. Enroute, you can park your bike to meander the boardwalk loop at the Shorepine Bog Trail then stop next at the Nuu-chah-nulth trailhead, and choose whether to explore Florencia Bay on foot or take the righthand fork to South Beach, which you may recognize from Twilight Saga: New Moon.

“That’s such an easy bike ride,” agrees Gordon, adding that the walk to South Beach is “three-quarters of a kilometre to get to. Nice sandy beach there.”

The value of Vitamin Sea can’t be underestimated. Today, the benefits of nature immersion are so well recognized that doctors can now prescribe a “dose of nature” and access to national parks like the co-managed Pacific Rim National Park Reserve via the PaRX program, which started here in BC.

A perfect pairing with an Ebike outing using a cruiser like the Vellec R48, which Gordon describes as “the Cadillac of bikes”, offering a comfortable trail ride and with a step-through frame making it easier to mount. “You just swing your knee through the frame of the bike and hop up on the seat.”

The Vellecs, available at Tin Wis, are commuter bikes and T̓iick̓in’s Junction location also carries OHM 2 road bikes with a 90- to 160-kilometre range which are great for the trail.

Gordon explains the three levels of pedal assist to help strategize when you’re planning your adventure. “They have an eco-, a medium, and the high. This is where you stage it from. The highest one is going to give you 90 kilometres to medium gives you 130. The lowest one is going to give you that 160 kilometre-range.”

T̓iick̓in is adding a dozen ENVO Bikes to their Tin Wis fleet. “They’re all going to be outfitted for dual batteries so they’re going to have 100 plus km-range,” says Gordon. There will be six small and six large to fit a range of heights from 5’4” up to 6’6”.

About 60% of their Junction-based rentals head to Tofino. On the Ucluelet side, Gordon also recommends people go to Parks Canada’s Willowbrae Trail which winds through old-growth cedar and hemlock rainforest splitting into access either to the south end of Florencia or Halfmoon Bay (3.6 kms return). “It’s such a beautiful scenery from Halfmoon Bay when you’re on top of the steps,” marvels Gordon.

His own personal favourite ride is the stretch of trail between the Junction and Radar Hill (23.2 kms one-way) but he cautions that you can’t go full throttle the whole way without exhausting your battery supply.

The company’s launch illustrates how visionaries seize opportunities – in this case, the development of the 25-km-long ʔapsčiik t̓ašii (pronounced ups-cheek ta-shee) multiuse trail, meaning “on the right path” which would connect Tofino and Ucluelet – to help shape the west coast’s future.

While providing inclusive eco-adventure, T̓iick̓in aims to help reduce traffic congestion and parking challenges faced by both communities.

Gordon emphasizes the collaboration between Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ and Tla-o-qui-aht with the formation of the Elder’s Committee for the Development of the ʔapsčiik t̓ašii. “It was an elder group effort from both nations to come up with that name— ‘on the right path’, And this is when I meet Tofino. I said, ‘The ʔapsčiik t̓ašii, making sure we’re on the right path,’ And that we do in creating partnerships.” 

The partnership with Tin Wis “is going to help us grow that extra step in developing our E-transportation system,” says Gordon, “because it’s not just Ebikes. We want to help heal our land as well, so trying to be environmentally conscious.

“Because understanding both Ucluelet and Tofino and the rest of Canada, we have to develop sustainably, making sure that we’re not impacting the ecosystem,” he stresses, adding, “I always say we live in heaven here.” 

Gordon recounts how the spark for the idea came from a conversation with his daughter Catherine, who is now the company’s manager. “It’s a great opportunity for our family to create this E-transportation business and our motto is ‘Everything E.’ Our mission is to help us heal our land. Park your car and rent an E-bike.

“One night I had a dream,” Gordon explains his inspiration for the company name and logo. “I was dreaming about my late, great-grandfather, George Clutesi. He had a drum that had a thunderbird and a serpent, and, in its claw, it had a lightning bolt. And I woke up the next day and it was Tbird E-bikes, thunderbird, lightning, light, Everything E.”  

Keeping it in the family, his niece, Jacqueline Williams created the distinctive Thunderbird logo, after he explained his vision, in black with blue lightning – a detail he suggested for the spokes “because we’re talking about E-transportation.” In addition to their signage, the logos adorn water bottles, and black t-shirts and windbreakers with a Thunderbird on the back all available for purchase. 

Discussing the new partnership with Tin Wis, Gordon points out that, “We have close family ties with Tla-o-qui-aht. I am closely related to Elmer Frank,” Chief Councillor for Tla-o-qui-aht, with whom he has shared more conversations lately. “His mom, Nelly, was a Clutesi from Tseshaht, and my mom also is a Clutesi from Tseshaht.”

“And just seeing that culturally, how strong Tla-o-qui-aht it is, and our nation, Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ, is just starting to develop, being culturally stronger by doing language. How many teenagers are singing our songs? Women are singing our songs, or being taught other songs that women can sing?

“They want to be involved with the canoe’s traditional canoe journey. So now they’re practicing doing that. Carl (Martin) came over to help our nation carve a canoe out.” 

T̓iick̓in Ebikes in British Columbia 2024, for Zen Seekers.

Looking towards the future

Gordon envisions a future for the company developing tours throughout the year such as sunset- and storm-watching tours using an enclosed bike with headlights and backlights that would provide extra comfort—a single rider called an ENVO Veemo.

Beyond ordering baskets and panniers, he also plans to acquire toddler trailers and dog trailers for added family comfort this season, and is anticipating the arrival of a couple of tandem bikes for T̓iick̓in’s Junction location.

Always looking ahead, Gordon has been diligently collecting data on future E-transportation for the company such as cargo and utility TukTuks, which could carry food, drinks, and gear to Kwisitis and Long Beach. TukTuks or micromobility EVs could potentially carry two to five people and be assigned a driver or available for rental.

“We need to help change the mindset of how we travel, especially locally,” Gordon emphasizes.

Indigenous stewardship of this incredible place has been practiced since time immemorial.

Shortly after the 40th anniversary celebration of the establishment of the Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Park on Meares Island, new Indigenous-led conservancies to protect 76,000 hectares here in Clayoquot Sound went into effect on June 26, 2024, as a result of a collaboration between Tla-o-qui-aht and Ahousaht First Nations with the province of BC.

The 10 new conservancies comprise 76,000 hectares of forest.

“These newly established protected areas will ensure the survival of Tla-o-qui-aht Culture by providing access to monumental cedar, and will protect watersheds to once again lead to a system of abundance,” says Saya Masso, Manager of Lands and Resources.

Tla-o-qui-aht owned Tin Wis Resort is recognized as an Original Original by Indigenous Tourism of Canada (ITAC) and as Authentic Indigenous by Indigenous Tourism of BC (ITBC).

The partnerships between Indigenous-owned businesses like Tin Wis Resort and T̓iick̓in Ebikes supporting one another are key to revitalization within a much larger framework of collaboration across #IndigenouscoastBC.

Everything at your doorstep

When you stay at Tin Wis Resort, everything you need is already at your front doorstep from the breathtaking beach with Surf/SUP rentals to the onsite restaurant to eco-adventure partners on land and, a quick phone call away, on the water.

Plan ahead before you bike & Be safe on the trail

It’s always a great idea to refresh your knowledge of the rules of the trail, including hand signals and other safe biking practices. Ebikes are governed under the Motor Assisted Cycle (E-bike) Regulation. If you encounter wildlife, give them plenty of space and don’t stop to take pictures. Carry a fully charged cell phone to call T̓iick̓in just in case of mechanical trouble to help get you quickly back on the trail.

Pack a picnic to go and explore

Before you set out on your adventure, Tofino Browns Socialhouse offers to go orders through their online portal. Perfect for to go bike rides! Go that extra distance whether you’re craving fish and chips or burgers and handhelds like Baja fish tacos, a crispy chicken or fancy tomato sandwich.

Leave no trace

As you witness the beauty around you, show respect for the land by practicing Leave No Trace. Take only photos. Leave only footprints in the sand. Kiosks for day passes are available throughout the co-managed Pacific Rim National Park Reserve and help contribute towards regional stewardship. You may also wish to consider supporting Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks.   

Après adventure – Unwind in the hot tub

Reward yourself after your Ebike adventure by unwinding in the hot tub overlooking Tin Wis Beach. As you relax, remember that exquisite feeling of the trail beneath your wheels and the scent of cedar rainforest as you inhale the cool Pacific breeze. Imagine tomorrow—limitless.

Guests of Tin Wis Resort and Tsawaak RV Resort & Campground receive a 10% discount with their discount code on TBird Ebikes’ rentals now available onsite. Book Here.

Guests of Tin Wis Resort enjoy a 10% discount for online bookings at Tofino Paddle Surf onsite year-round. Open daily in July from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Book Here.

Register for our new Best Western promo and get 10,000 bonus points when you stay three nights between now and September 2, 2024. Book Here.

You can also return for Storm Season (3-night minimum from November through February) at a 30% discount by following the link OR by using the promo code “STORMS30”. Book Here.

Order food to go or make reservations for lunch or dinner via Tofino Browns Socialhouse online portal here. Open from 12 p.m.–11 p.m. with a full menu until closing time. Social Hour daily from 3–6 p.m. Come relax and #socialize after your bike ride on their dog-friendly patio.  

Beach Yoga is available this summer on Tin Wis Beach at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. Online reservations are mandatory. Book Here