Whether you’re a novice on two wheels or a competitor preparing for a Gran Fondo, the annual Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride offers something for cyclists of all ages and abilities.
Proceeds from the Aug. 21 event will benefit You Are Not Alone (YANA) — a charity that provides accommodation and funding to Valley families that need to travel outside the community for medical treatment for a child under 19, or for an expecting mother.
“Our planning crew is in high gear,” YANA executive director Marcie Dumais said.
Routes include 25-, 50- and 100-kilometre rides, and a 6km family loop. There will also be a run bike race for little ones not yet using pedals.
The longer loops will incorporate various stops at fueling stations, while the family ride includes a scavenger hunt with clues hidden at parks.
“It’s meant to be celebratory and joyful,” Dumais said. “It’s important, particularly in YANA’s work when so much of it is sad and so much of it is hard and challenging, to be able to have those good times together.”
The event has been growing each year in terms of participant numbers and funds raised. The 2013 ride had 271 cyclists and raised over $28,000; 2014 attracted 411 cyclists and generated more than $39,000; and the 2015 ride had 525 cyclists and brought in more than $44,000.
This year, the fundraising goal is $45,000.
For the first time, organizers are capping the event at 600 riders. Registration will close the day before the ride.
“We want to make sure that it’s safe and high-quality,” Dumais said. “Sometimes events get so big they get out of hand. We don’t want the quality to deteriorate.”
The YANA Ride is another example of a local event that is driven by volunteers. For 2016, Dumais figures they are already have 60 to 70 people.
“Volunteers really add to the spirit of the event, and they’re so important,” she said. “We rely on about 100 on the day of.”
The ride is at 9 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 21 at Marina Park in Comox. Those who register before July 22 will receive a souvenir T-shirt, thanks to Dr. Andreas Conradi.
For more information or to register, visit www.yanacomoxvalley.com; those wishing to volunteer can call YANA at 250-871-0343.