The 11th version of Ryder Hesjedal’s Tour de Victoria will have close to record participation when it hits the streets of the capital region on Saturday.
There will be about 2,250 people taking part, just shy of the field of 2,350 that lined up in 2019.
The Tour de Victoria wasn’t held in 2020 due to COVID-19, but returned in 2021.
The community oriented spectacle is named for Ryder Hesjedal, who graduated from Belmont Secondary and went on to compete in three Olympic Games. He finished fifth in the Tour de France in 2010 and won the 2012 Giro d’Italia before retiring from competitive cycling in 2016.
Hesjedal said he is proud to be from Victoria and to be part of the Tour.
“This event brings such an incredible experience to our cycling community and I’m awed by the event each year,” he said.
There is clearly an attraction to the Tour de Victoria, said Seamus McGrath, the event director and a two-time cycling Olympian.
“It’s such a cool and unique event that it brings the people out.”
The eight different distances that people can choose from (including three rides for kids) are part of what makes it special, McGrath said.
Out-of-towners are a key part of the Tour, making up about 63 per cent of riders, he said, with visitors from the United States, Australia, Mexico and elsewhere.
“It’s quite a destination event, a big draw.”
While similar cycling events tend to be for the “hardcore” participant, “our event is more welcoming to cyclists of all ages, all abilities,” McGrath said.
“And we welcome people on e-bikes, we welcome young kids and we welcome the elderly. It’s a really, really fun event.”
The longest leg of the Tour is 160 kilometres, which goes from the legislature out to Colwood and Langford, then to Metchosin and East Sooke before coming back through Langford and the Highlands. From there, it’s on to Central Saanich, Prospect Lake, Elk Lake, Cordova Bay, Cadboro Bay and Oak Bay.
The shortest legs are the three kids’ rides at 400 metres, 3 km and 6.5 km.
The public is advised to expect some minor traffic delays. The last riders should be off the roads by 3:30 p.m.
All legs start and end at the legislature. The longest distances begin at 7 a.m., the middle distances at 9 a.m. and the shorter distances at 11:30 a.m.
The task of organizing 2,300 people and running 10 events takes a lot of support, McGrath said. “We rely on the help of 250 volunteers, an incredible response from the community,” he said. “We deal with 10 different municipalities, it’s a logistical beast.”
The Tour has a charitable component, helping Opportunity International Canada, World Bicycle Relief and Ryders Cycling Society of Canada.
Registration is going on Friday from noon to 6 p.m. at Trek Bicycle Store, 338 Catherine St.
Road closures for the Aug. 20 Tour de Victoria
While there could be minor issues for motorists on Saturday during Ryder Hesjedal’s Tour de Victoria, police officers, professional traffic-control workers and a host of volunteers will be on hand to keep things flowing. The event winds through several municipalities, and full closure information is available at the Tour de Victoria website.
• Belleville Street — Closed 4 a.m. to 7 p.m. between Government Street and the Hotel Grand Pacific.
• Belleville Street — Closed 8:30 a.m to 4:30 p.m. between the Hotel Grand Pacific and Oswego Street.
• Belleville Street — Closed 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. between Oswego and Pendray streets.
• Menzies Street — Closed 4 a.m. to 7 p.m. between Belleville and Quebec streets.
• Government Street — Closed for 20-minute intervals from 6:30 a.m. to 9:15 p.m. between Superior and Humboldt treets.
• Dallas Road — Closed 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. between Crescent Road and the Hotel Grand Pacific.
• Crescent Road, Hollywood Crescent, Dallas Road and waterfront perimeter of James Bay including Erie Street, St. Lawrence Street, Kingston Street, Montreal Street, Quebec Street, Pendray Street and Belleville Street — Closed from 10:30 a.m.-3:20 p.m. Residents will have access.
• Esquimalt Road, Harbour Road, Tyee Road, Skinner Street and Craigflower Road — Vehicle traffic will be permitted in the direction opposite cyclist travel at 7-7:25 a.m. and 9-9:35 a.m.
• Beach Drive and King George Terrace — Full road closure 10:20 a.m. - 2:45 p.m. Traffic control personnel will allow residents to access their homes. Access to Royal Victoria Yacht Club, Oak Bay Marina, Oak Bay Beach Hotel and Victoria Golf Club will be controlled by traffic control personnel.
• Island Highway and Old Island Highway — Vehicle traffic will be permitted in the direction opposite cyclist travel 7:10-7:35 a.m. and 9:10-9:45 a.m.
• Atkins Avenue and Burnside Road West — Vehicle traffic will be permitted in the direction opposite cyclist travel 8:20- 10 a.m.
• Ocean Boulevard, Lagoon Road and Metchosin Road — Vehicle traffic will be permitted in the direction opposite cyclist travel 7:10-8 a.m.
• Happy Valley Road, Glen Lake Road, Langford Pkwy, Jacklin Road, Goldstream Avenue and Atkins Avene — Vehicle traffic will be permitted in the direction opposite cyclist travel 8-9:50 a.m.
• Metchosin Road, Duke Road, William Head Road, Lombard Drive, Rocky Point Road, East Sooke Road, Kangaroo Road, Liberty Drive, Lindholm Road and Happy Valley Road — Vehicle traffic will be permitted in the direction opposite cyclist travel 7:40-9:20 a.m.
• Rocky Point Road, East Sooke Road and Gillespie Road — Vehicle traffic will be permitted in the direction opposite cyclist travel 8-9:45 a.m.
• Munn Road — Vehicle traffic will be permitted in the direction opposite cyclist travel 8:55-11:30 a.m.
• Millstream Lake Road and Ross Durrance Road (between Munn and Willis Point roads) — Northbound traffic only, travelling in same direction as cyclists.
• Willis Point Road — Two-way traffic controlled by traffic control personnel.
• Wallace Drive, Garden Gate Drive, and Old West Saanich Road — Vehicle traffic will be permitted in the direction opposite cyclist travel 9:25 a.m.-noon.
• Benvenuto Road and West Saanich Road — Two-way traffic will be permitted.
• Burnside Road West, Prospect Lake Road and Munn Road — Vehicle traffic will be permitted in the direction opposite cyclist travel 8:45-11 a.m.
• Wallace Drive — Vehicle traffic will be permitted in the direction opposite cyclist travel 9:15-11:45 a.m.
• Old West Saanich Road, Spartan Road, Prospect Lake Road, Burnside Road, Charlton Road, Granville Ave, Hastings Street, North Road, Hector Road, Conway Road, Quayle Road, Beaver Lake Road, West Saanich Road, Old West Saanich Road, Oldfield Road, Brookleigh Road and Hamsterly Road — Vehicle traffic will be permitted in the direction opposite cyclist travel 9:30 a.m.-1:05 p.m. Two-way traffic allowed on West Saanich Road.
• Interurban Road — Two-way traffic controlled by traffic control personnel.
• Doyle Road, Forest Hill Road, Elkwood Road — Northbound traffic only, travelling in same direction as cyclists.
• Prospect Lake Road, Burnside Road, Charlton Road, Granville Avenue, Hastings Road, North Road, Interurban Road, Quayle Road, Beaver Lake Road, Doyle Road, Elkwood Road, Oldfield Road, Brookleigh Road, Hamsterley Road, Sayward Road, Alderley Road, Cordova Bay Road, Santa Clara Avenue, Wesley Road, Haliburton Road, Sea Ridge Drive, Stormtide Way, Seaperl Place, Lochside Drive, Royal Oak Drive, Cordova Bay Road, Ash Road, Grandview Drive, Ferndale Road, Gord on Head Road, Arbutus Road, Queenswood Drive, Telegraph Bay Road and Cadboro Bay Road — Vehicle traffic will be permitted in the direction opposite cyclist travel 10 a.m.-2:10 p.m. Cadboro Bay Road between Sinclair Road and Beach Drive will allow two-way traffic where needed to relieve traffic build-up.