Search and rescue volunteers are keeping up with the latest tech to make it easier and quicker to pluck people off the mountain trails or even city streets.
Four new electric-powered Giant Trance mountain bikes are now part of Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue inventory, replacing pedal-powered cycles that were used as quick ways of getting up trails.
Brent Boulet, with search and rescue, said the bikes could be used on higher elevation trails in Golden Ears Provincial Park along with the logging roads on Blue Mountain, or on mountain bike trails and even remote logging roads north of Pitt Lake. They could also come in handy for searches in urban areas.
“The E-bikes allows us to cover greater distance, faster and with greater ease,” Boulet said.
“When we did our first test we were able to bike halfway up Alouette Mountain in an hour without breaking a sweat, where normally that would be a two-hour hike and our legs would be pretty tired by then.”
The bikes allow them to go uphill easier so that when they get to a rescue site, their legs are little fresher, “We haven’t expelled a bunch of energy getting there,” Boulet said.
The bikes cost about $6,000 each. They bought them from Pitt Meadows Cycle who also fitted out search and rescue with accessories such as lights. Half of the rescues take place at night, Boulet said. Search and rescue just bought the bikes a few weeks ago and are training up their members.
“With our varying terrain, we have to have multiple tools to make access more efficient. We have an ATV. We have boats. We have bicycles. We have trucks. We have our legs. Whatever gets us there quicker and more efficiently, we like to utilize,” Boulet said.
Other search and rescue teams such as Squamish and Whistler are already using electric mountain bikes.