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THREE DAYS ON THE NARAMATA BENCH

Our first Park ’n Ride session takes us to the renowned Naramata Bench wine region, a sub-region of the Okanagan (AKA “Napa of the North), and a place Fox News described as “The best wine region you’ve never heard of.” The Bench is a narrow stretch of land perched a few hundred feet above Okanagan Lake, a massive fresh water lake 135 km in length located in South Central British Columbia, just 80 km from the Washington State border. The Bench is a little gem-of-a-destination that has something for everyone. Foodies and wine lovers come for the idyllic vineyards and boutique wineries & eateries; sun seekers and families enjoy the hot summer weather, sandy beaches and warm water; and sports enthusiasts come for the hiking and biking the local mountains have to offer.

 Okanagan Lake fat bike riding

OKANAGAN LAKE FAT BIKE RIDING

The Bench stretches between the town of Naramata to the North, a sleepy hamlet with almost no services, and Penticton to the South, a much larger centre with a population of 30,000. Points of interest are densely packed along the 15 km strip, including nearly 40 wineries where you can wet your whistle with a crisp sauvignon blanc or enjoy a wood oven pizza. It’s hard to imagine a better way to explore the Bench than on the seat of an electric bike.

Tightrope Winery

TIGHTROPE WINERY

The wineries are a bit too far apart and the terrain too hilly to make walking practical. Biking without power assist is certainly possible, but you’ll probably show up to the next tasting looking a little overheated. Another nice thing about electric assist is that you can load up your basket with a few bottles to take home, or since you’ve come all this way, grab a few cases and throw ‘em in the trailer. No sweat.

Naramata Bench Vineyard

NARAMATA BENCH VINEYARD

There are lots of B & B’s in the area so setting up a home base from which to explore is easy. We were lucky enough to spend a few days staying with good friends that own the Tightrope Winery located mid-way between Naramata and Penticton, and one of 24 wineries that make up the Naramata Bench Wineries Association. It just so happens that Tightrope is just a few hundred metres away from 3 Mile Beach – once home to nudists from near and far – where you can cool off with a dip in Okanagan Lake, a nice perk in a region that can see temperatures nearing 100 degrees. The Lake is also a nice perk should you choose to bike 100+ km along the Kettle Valley Railway… in the blazing hot sun… wearing flip flops. But that story will have to wait.

Breathtaking Okanagan Lake

Written by
DAVE HEIGWAY

Since he was a kid, Dave has been building, riding, crashing, customizing, touring and generally having good, clean fun on all kinds of bikes.

 

 


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