It was 10 years ago this month that the now internationally recognized Riding Fool Hostel opened its doors in Cumberland.
It took seven months of extensive renovations to restore and retool the vacant former hardware store into a world-class hostel. The
Tarbellʼs building, rich in history and a cornerstone of the once thriving community, had laid vacant for three years.
This set the stage for a young entrepreneurial spirit that turned
the vacant structure into a vibrant business at a time when tumbleweed was blowing down the main street of Dunsmuir and vacant storefronts abounded.
Residents and community organizations like the Cumberland Community Forest Society were eager to see something happen with the derelict building and offered their help in a great
showing of community support.
This was the start of things to come in Cumberland. Over 10 years the hostel has seen great changes along Dunsmuir with those once-vacant store fronts becoming filled with boutique retail shops, unique restaurants and a grocery store that services the now vibrant village.
Beyond main street, the mountain bike trail network of Cumberland has continued to grow creating a world-class mountain
The hostel has carved itself a niche with the recreational traveller. Specific to mountain biking, Cumberland and the Riding Fool have become known destinations for the experienced rider.
Helping fuel this is the rate and style of trail development as well as
the advocacy work of the United Riders of Cumberland (URoC). Bringing it full circle, the hostel often opens its doors to URoC and other non profit organizations as a venue for fundraising events.
“Weʼve raised a lot of money over the years for various organizations including URoC, the Cumberland Community
Forest Society and the Vancouver Island Avalanche Centre Society,” says hostel owner Jeremy Grasby. “Itʼs a great opportunity to help organizations that serve our community.”
Being a destination for mountain biking and skiing, the hostel sees primarily regional travellers followed by international clientele.
Grasby says, “I can take pride in the fact that people choose the Riding Fool time and again.”
The Hostel is a Tourism BC-approved accommodation, an affiliate of Hostelling International, Trip Advisor Recommended and the local pick of the Lonely Planet, which goes on to say itʼs “one of the best hostels on Vancouver Island.”
Aside from fundraising events for non-profits, the Riding Fool has hosted wedding receptions, school groups, AGMs, family reunions, all candidates meetings, community open houses and the list goes on.
The Riding Fool will celebrate its 10th anniversary this Saturday with Sixgun Buddha along with DJ Soulshock and DJ Upside Down Ninja. Tickets are available at the Riding Fool, Tarbellʼs Deli and Blue Toque. The event is 19+ with proceeds going to the United Riders of Cumberland.
The United Riders of Cumberland is a non-profit organization serving the mountain bike community of the Comox Valley through advocacy, group rides and events. URoC is working with the Village of Cumberland on the re-establishment of the jump park as approved in the parks master plan.
Most recently UROC has entered into a partnership with the Village of Cumberland to pursue land access agreements for non-motorized recreation on private forest land surrounding the village. The partnership will focus on developing agreements that will allow access for recreation.
— Riding Fool Hostel