Calling All Cyclists

Category: community 96

The New Brunswick Lung Association’s annual Bike for Breath will take place September 11.

Maggie Estey

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There is only one month left to register for The New Brunswick Lung Association’s sixth annual Bike For Breath, being held on Sunday, September 11th, in Fredericton.

The Bike For Breath has come a long way, from an event that saw 17 cyclists participate in 2011, to 2015, its first year as a Gran Fondo, when it drew 250 cyclists. This year organizers hope to see 350 cyclists on the road and trails. In order to accommodate out-of-town participants, the Fredericton Crowne Plaza is providing special room rates to Bike For Breath registrants.

The Bike For Breath Gran Fondo borrows from the Italian Gran Fondo tradition — The first ever Gran Fondo was the Nove Colli held on July 12, 1970 held in Cesenatico, Italy. Today these rides take place all over the world, and the Bike For Breath is one of more than 60 Gran Fondos that take place in North America.

Bike for Breath 2016 features five routes all together, three of them advanced – The 127 km Gran Fondo swings up to Penniac along the Nashwaak River and then grabs the Marysville Bypass to Riverside Drive, taking cyclists along the St. John River through Maugerville and then to Grand Lake and Ripples. The 167 km Century Fondo pushes the route further, all the way to Minto, while the 202 km Gigante Fondo stretches up to Taymouth before it makes its own trek to Minto.

The event isn’t only for elite cyclists: The Breve Fondo is a 24+ km Beginner/Novice trail ride hitting the Northside Trail, the Bill Thorpe Walking Bridge, the South Riverfront Trail, the Salamanca Trail, the Lincoln Trail and the New Brunswick Trail. The Medio Fondo is a very level Novice trail ride, but an endurance test at approximately 68 km. The Medio Fondo extends along scenic Riverside Drive all the way to McGowan’s Corner.

While there are chip timing segments on the advanced routes, the Bike for Breath is not a race. Cyclists use Gran Fondos to challenge themselves against the clock, challenge the distance they have chosen, or simply ride for fun and support lung health in New Brunswick. No matter their fitness level, speed, or purpose, all cyclists gather at the end of the day for the Chill Out, the finish line after party at Leo Hayes High School, with fundraising prizes and a hearty supper with a Picaroons craft beer tasting.

Picaroons Traditional Ales has been a sponsor of the Bike for Breath since the first event. This year, along with leading the Chill Out beer tasting, Picaroons hosts a pre-ride sign-in party at the Picaroons Roundhouse on Saturday, September 10, the day before the ride.

Funds raised in the 2016 Bike for Breath will go toward New Brunswick Lung Association programs, including the annual free Asthma Camp for Children, the Lung Transplant Support Program, and national lung health research programs. This includes monies raised through registration fees and participant fundraising.

Fundraising is not required to participate in the Bike for Breath, but last year’s blockbuster top prize returns to motivate cyclists to push their commitment. Any participant who raises $500 has a chance to a round trip flight for two to anywhere WestJet flies – you get a ballot in a draw for the tickets with every $500 they raise, and the winner is announced at the Chill Out.

To register, visit bikeforbreath.ca, and remember, “When you can’t breathe, nothing else matters.”

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