Luxury Bikes

Big bike, bigger balls? Explore Whistler Bike Park with Bella Chen and the ROSE SCRUB.

How do you react in critical situations? What life lessons can we learn from going downhill? And what do a beer-fueled idea and aliens have to do with the Whistler Bike Park? We traveled to Canada with ROSE Ambassador Bella Chen and the new ROSE SCRUB to take big leaps and make big progress – risks and side effects included!

We struggle up the Teide on thin tires. The asphalt is burning. The sun is relentless. We pant to the rhythm of our cadence. Our sweat drips steadily onto our top tubes. Our calves get cramps. We are on a group ride with the two Tour de France sprint legends André Greipel and Marcel Kittel and are still miles away from realizing that this ride will take us to Whistler.

Aliens on racing bikes

The landscape of Pico del Teide, Spain’s highest mountain on the island of Tenerife, resembles that of the moon. And for the racing bike scene, our group has to look like a bunch of aliens. And that’s it – at least in part. There are the absolute beginners Leo and Fred, who still have to get used to how the helmet fits and how to shift and brake on a drop bar bike. And then there’s bike park rat Bella, who combines an aero outfit with sneakers and flat pedals. ENDURO founder Robin wears leather shoes and stylish sunglasses instead of “real” sports glasses, with his typical hairy legs (of course!). The rest of the group consists of road influencers, ROSE team members and professional ROSE riders. Before we set out, we had some reservations about how the whole thing would go.
You can read the very entertaining story “Group ride or suicide?” Find out how it ended and why it actually turned out to be a brilliant idea in our sister magazine GRAN FONDO. It doesn’t matter if you’ve won 14 stages in the Tour de France, are just out and about in the bike park like Bella, or are swinging your leg over a racing bike for the first time like Fred and Leo.

The Whistler Maiden

“What?! You founded ENDURO but you’ve never been to Whistler?” Bella looks at me in disbelief at dinner in Tenerife. She probably thought to herself, “What’s wrong with this guy?” But I have an ace up my sleeve: us already have tickets to Crankworx in Whistler and will be staying there for another two weeks to produce our North America’s Finest comparison test for the magazine. Bella, on the other hand, has family in Vancouver and can already be considered something of a local in Whistler. As it turns out, We shared the table with Anatol, marketing director at ROSE, who was hoping to recruit Bella as a brand ambassador. After a few barley-based refreshments, he reveals that ROSE is about to launch a new downhill bike, and after a few After a few more drinks, he has a flash of inspiration: “Robin, as a Whistler virgin, we can let you take the SCRUB to Whistler before the launch, and maybe you can tell a cool story over there about the new bike?” No sooner said than done. Ideas with beer are simply the best!

Oh-My-God redefined

“Do you want to go down there? Absolutely not!” Bella looks at me almost in horror on the edge of a rock face in Whistler… Whistler pushes each and every one of us to our limits. But what looks unrideable at first glance often turns out to be rideable after a few rides.
And there are good reasons for this, but they have less to do with (too much) fear and more to do with an environment that makes it almost impossible not to move forward. For one thing, there’s the peace of mind that the tracks in Whistler are built sensibly and safely, and that most features can be approached slowly as you build up the confidence to tackle them. Then there’s the incredible number of experienced locals and pro riders who will whiz past you as you watch an Oh My God feature. Or you’ll meet other drivers who have stopped in front of the same feature with whom you can check out lines, discuss and make silly jokes. This makes progress almost playful. Plus, I had Bella. And Bella had me. So I told her how easy the 80° steep wall was, showed her how to climb it, and lo and behold – no problem at all! Before we knew it, we needed a larger feature film for their next Oh-My-God. But not so fast… It was my turn first.

Bella’s goal for this week: the Crabapple Hits professional line. Famous for its 20 meter jumps and home to the legendary whip-off champions. Crap. I was scared, but she had confidence and guts! I, on the other hand, prayed: Dear bike, lend me wings and give me self-confidence.

Risks and Side Effects of Whistler Bike Park

Sometimes the line between paradise and hell is thin. No one knows this better than the crew at Whistler Bike Park. That’s why you’ll find posters everywhere around the lift with calls for common sense like “Ride like there’s a tomorrow.” And as you know, you should never do a final run. This also applies to Whistler. Still, we did a sweep run at the end of each day. Not the last runs, just the very last runs of the day! When Whistler Blackcomb closes its doors at 8 p.m., bike park visitors can help “sweep” the park to ensure there are no riders on the trails. For this purpose, each driver is selected or assigned a route combination. As luck would have it, A-Line to Crabapple Hits was the only option left. And of course, we did exactly what you shouldn’t do: we did it! The next thing you know, we have completed our fighter licenses. At least on the first big jumps – after sunset we didn’t want to push our luck too much. But it felt right that day to try.

Bella and I didn’t make it through our week in Whistler without an accident, but we were lucky not to get hurt. Others weren’t so lucky. Some of our friends, including Bella’s sister Donna, suffered broken bones, and you’ll definitely hear some of the horror stories that unfold every week at Whistler Bike Park. Ultimately it just depends on your form, fitness and concentration, and that can vary from day to day. Or sometimes you’re just unlucky!

An emotional roller coaster ride

Sometimes the line between paradise and hell is thin. Now we know that too. A bike park is an emotional roller coaster ride: from woaaaah, oh-no, oh-fuck and OMG on jumps and tech trails to dozing in the sun on the chairlift. A large part of riding in the bike park also takes place in the head: there is a fine line between a successful feature and an accident. between bravado and skill; between healthy self-confidence and healthy self-doubt. Trying to get the most runs and adrenaline out of your day ticket or pushing yourself to impress others can quickly become dangerous. So hold yourself together: even the best bike won’t help if you don’t!

Once you’ve selected a line, you need to commit. Many of us fall because we panic and give up in critical situations, be it in the bike park or in everyday life. If the rear wheel slips, you have to stay even calmer. The moment you give up, you have lost. Pro riders know this and it’s something you can learn little by little – especially in Whistler. A bike that allows this is not only incredibly helpful and recommended, but it will also make your insurance company happy. The reward: progress in bike skills in turbo mode!

Choice of bike and route – Do we still need DH bikes these days?

Enduro bikes have become just as capable as mini downhill bikes in recent years, allowing you to ride almost anywhere with confidence. That’s why I haven’t ridden a DH bike for a long time. I keep hearing not only from my friends but also from readers that a downhill bike just doesn’t make sense for them.

Well, what can I say? I’ve been mountain biking for over 20 years now – but I’ve never made as much progress in such a short time as in Whistler. And to be honest… without a downhill bike I wouldn’t have progressed so quickly. I probably wouldn’t have had as much fun either. Riding a DH bike in the bike park is a completely different experience. The level of self-confidence, composure and performance is unmatched. Mobile? Secure! Although it’s still risky, it’s safer in most cases because the increased reserves give you greater margin for error and allow you to get away with things that wouldn’t be possible on more moderate bikes. In this respect, a large DH bike also increases self-confidence: A-Line. Dirt dealer. Repeat. And what about Crabapple Hits? I definitely wouldn’t have gotten it with any other bike!

Whether it’s sweating on Teide or getting an adrenaline rush at the Whistler Bike Park – life on two wheels is always an emotional rollercoaster, whether it’s about leaving your comfort zone, overcoming fears or practicing determination and perseverance. Push your limits and push them further. Ultimately it’s always up to your attitude and in your hands, but with the right equipment it can be much easier!

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Words: Robin Schmitt Photos: Peter Walker, Paul Masukowitz

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