Susan Russell and Dave Sandsmark beaming with pride, holding their victory certificate. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)

Susan Russell and Dave Sandsmark beaming with pride, holding their victory certificate. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)

Burns Lake’s Burnt Bikes voted B.C.’s favourite bike shop

Wins the 2020 Cycling BC Community Award for bike shop of the year

The local favourite shop for all things bikes, has now been voted as B.C.’s favourite bike shop.

Burnt Bikes, the local bike shop owned by Dave Sandsmark and Susan Russell, has just won the Bike Shop of the Year award through popular vote in the 2020 Cycling BC Community awards.

According to Russell, these province-wide awards generally go to larger communities and larger shops but winning despite being in a remote place, has been amazing. Sandsmark agreed, adding that this would’ve never been possible without the shop’s customers and it just meant so much to them that they voted for the shop as the best in BC.

Cycling BC’s awards are an annual celebration of the effort and commitment of individuals and groups that have demonstrated exceptional achievement, contribution, and dedication to the sport of cycling in the province.

“I believe these awards demonstrate that cyclists have strong feelings of connection for their local bike shop. These businesses are more than just retail outlets. They serve as important hubs where local knowledge is shared and relationships are formed. Obviously Burnt Bikes has had a big impact on the community as we saw folks from that area really rallying to show their support for this shop,” said Cory Ostertag, the operations manager for Cycling BC.

Burnt Bikes was among the 25 shops nominated by members of the cycling community in B.C. The voting was conducted online with members being able to nominate and vote for any shop all throughout the province.

Burnt Bikes has been around in Burns Lake for over a decade. It started with Sandsmark fixing his own bikes because of how far any closest bike shop was. He then moved on to fixing friends’ bikes, and later doing more repairs, part-time. This turned into Sandsmark starting the bike shop with a partner before buying him out completely.

Sandsmark doesn’t just stop at the bike shop though; he is also very involved in trail development for the entire biking community.

“We ourselves are so passionate about mountain biking and maintaining the trails and if we can do something that puts back into the community as well, we are always happy to do that. We have seen a lot of customers from surrounding areas too and so a lot of acknowledgement there as well. We do so well because we have such a strong and active community and we are just very humbled and appreciative of all the support,” said Russell.

While Burns Lake is a small community, it still sees a lot of biking-enthusiasts. From mountain biking to fat biking, interest in the local bike shop is always at a high. This gets a bigger boost thanks to the support of and the relationship with the local club Ride Burns, formerly known as the Burns Lake Mountain Biking Association, she added.

In fact, in the past year when things were extremely tough for most retail outlets, Burnt Bikes did really well, according to Sandsmark.

“The challenge was definitely that we didn’t get to run our shuttles last summer and there was less of guiding and training. We did do some modified workshops and those went great. Plus a lot of people who came in were new, or just valued how much recreation they could do in this area,” said Sandsmark, adding that he feels this year would be tougher just because of how much the demand for bikes or their parts has increased compared to the supply.

The two are however encouraged by the award and by the support they have received from the community.

“Burns Lake residents were really active in submitting nominations in the other awards categories as well. The local pride and community cohesion among Burns Lake cyclists showed itself throughout Cycling BC’s community awards process,” said Ostertag.


Priyanka Ketkar
Multimedia journalist
@PriyankaKetkar

priyanka.ketkar@ldnews.net


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