Biking For A Cause In Manitoba

(Story previously published in The Cottager)

For a summer adventure in your own backyard, tune up your two-wheeler and sign up for a fundraising bike tour. Glide down country roads, inhaling the fresh air and exhaling your worries away. Soak up the sun from the seat of your bicycle while challenging your fitness – and it’s all for a good cause.

The RONA MS Bike Tours raise money each year for the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada.  A total of 22 one-day and two-day events take place across Canada between June and September. In 2010, two Manitoba rides raised more than $700,000 that went towards research, and funding services and programs for Manitobans living with MS.

Manitoba Cyclists can choose from two routes in 2011. The 22nd annual Biking to the Viking happens August 27 and 28 through the sprawling Interlake region.  Starting from the Stonewall Veteran’s Memorial Sports Complex, 800 participants will travel 160 kilometers to Gimli and back, while enjoying ‘big sky’ country at its beautiful best.

The Riding Mountain Challenge takes place September 10 and 11, beginning at the Parkland Recreation Complex in Dauphin. Journeying south to Clear Lake and back, 350 riders will experience firsthand the splendor of Riding Mountain National Park.

Registration for either route costs $40, along with a minimum of $250 in pledges. Prizes of t-shirts, gift cards, and biking gear are given out based on how much is raised in pledges. Tax receipts can be requested in lieu of prizes. Services provided include rest stops with refreshments, bike repairs, post-ride massage therapy, dinner and entertainment on Saturday night, start line breakfasts, and finish line barbeque. For more information about the RONA MS Bike Tour in Manitoba visit http://mssociety.ca/manitoba/biketour.htm.

The newest kid on the bike-riding block is the Red River Century Ride for Diabetes. Now in its third year, the one-day ride features four distances to choose from (25, 50, 75 or 100 kilometers), allowing for cyclists of all fitness levels. In 2010, the event raised nearly $5000 for juvenile diabetes research at the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba. Registration costs $40 and a  minimum of $250 in pledges must be raised.

This year, the Red River Century Ride for Diabetes will again take place in late July. The scenic route begins in Selkirk and winds along the Red River all the way, as you zip through the town of Lockport, past Lower Fort Garry, and over Manitoba’s infamous ‘Bridge to Nowhere’. The day’s festivities include lots of  prizes, dinner, and live music. For more information visit Brian Burke at Olympia Cycle & Ski (326 St. Mary’s Road) or call him at 204-237-8909.

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