Victoria Fenninger sets up three bicycles in the Sir Sam’s Ski and Bike parking lot; one for her, two for a couple she’s taking on a tour of Eagle Lake and beyond.
They aren’t the bikes most people grew up peddling. They’re e-bikes, battery powered cycles which mean anyone, regardless of skill level, can follow Fenninger on guided tours of Haliburton County through her company FR Bike E-Bike Tours.
“I found out there was a somewhat local supplier that was doing e-bikes out of Burlington and they were looking for someone in the area to represent them,” said Fenninger.
She’s been a mountain biker for years, as well as running the ski cross racing program out of Sir Sam’s in the winter.
With RBSM Sports supplying her with bikes, Fenninger said she’s guided locals and tourists, showcasing how e-bikes “level the playing field” of cycling. Her bikes are pedalled like normal, however there are five power settings which determine how much the battery assists in pedalling.
“The e-bike is a great equalizer, where you can ride at different speeds and ride at different levels,” she said.
But it can be a thrill for experienced riders too.
“You can go on wild climbs you’d never be able to do on your own.”
Fenninger has also developed FR Bike tours to showcase other industries, tourism hotspots and local events within the County. She leads tours through custom tour company Yours Outdoors, combines bike rides with yoga sessions at Head Lake Park and often stops by Abbey Gardens.
Many tours are geared to those who want to dip a toe into the world of e-bikes, with lessons ranging from drop-in one-hour sessions to four hour tours that combine biking with scenic views for snapping instagram shots.
Fenninger was instrumental in developing Abbey Gardens’ new disc golf course, and one hybrid tour includes a stop to send frisbees soaring towards far off targets around the Gardens’ grounds.
She’s even partnered up with Hike Haliburton to offer an “e-bike and hike” tour of the Haliburton County Rail Trail.
Bikes are in famously short supply this year. Staff from Sir Sam’s, Algonquin Outfitters and Fenninger herself said there’s been increased interest in cycling, likely driven by the pandemic.
“I think a big part of it comes down to the pandemic,” Fenninger said. “A lot of things have been closed but nothing stops you from getting on a bike and riding on your local roads or trails.”
She’s sold multiple e-bikes to customers around Haliburton, and said interest in her tours continues to grow. She’ll be leading e-bike tours until the snow begins this fall.
Visit frbike.ca for more information.