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WN becoming a cycling destination

by Isabel Mosseler

What a great day for a bicycle ride. For the first time since the inception of the West Nipissing Cycle for Charity event three years ago, the sun shone on the 183 cyclists who made the ride to Lavigne from Sturgeon Falls, and the 45 who went further still to North Monetville.

The 2018 West Nipissing Cycle for Charity, held on Sunday, June 3 was a spectacular success, despite a pile-up involving several bicycles and relatively minor injuries to one rider on Leclair Rd. Organizer Dan Roveda was very pleased to announce that 192 participants (9 registrants did not make it to the ride) raised $8,629. Of that sum, $4,200 will go towards the purchase of bicycles for youth in the community.

But more importantly, this ride is beginning to put West Nipissing on the map for cycling enthusiasts. This was underscored by pairing the West Nipissing Cycle for Charity with the launch of the Discovery Routes cycling routes initiative, officially opening and promoting the local section of a cycling route that will go from Sudbury to Ottawa.

The day started with cyclists meeting at the Caisse populaire parking lot in Sturgeon Falls to register, and they came from everywhere. “Oh, they had a good time! We had quite a few from North Bay, Sudbury, Callander, Noelville, Gloucester, Gatineau and Témiscamingue (PQ), New Liskeard and Ottawa,” crowed Dan Roveda.

He said that cyclists from North Bay and Sudbury conveyed that they had no similar event in their communities. “They have their club, but they cycle alone; they don’t have organized rides like this. They loved it! And they are going to come back next year and they are going to promote it for us in their own communities.”

Overall, the day went off with very few hitches, but one hitch was the accident. WN municipal councillor Norm Roberge volunteers at the event by offering a watering station in front of his home on the Leclair Rd. portion of the route to Lavigne. One cyclist took a nasty fall just before the station when he was crowded. Roveda related that in the ensuing confusion, Mr. Roberge called 911 to report the pile-up, and EMS first responders attended quickly. Roveda said some of the cyclists were riding 3 and 4 abreast of each other and that will have to be corrected in future years. “They were riding too close and hit their two bars together, both fell; the ambulance was right there. We were fortunate that [the ambulance] followed. It was fantastic they were there on the spot, and we had doctors and nurses on the spot so everyone was looked after. …The congestion is what we have to watch for.”

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