Tour de Victoria expected to draw 2,100 cyclists on routes around Greater Victoria

The forecast is for sunny skies as cyclists from Canada and countries around the world converge in Victoria for Ryder Hesjedal’s Tour de Victoria, presented by insurancebyhugo.com, on Saturday.

This is the ninth year of the mass-participation cycling event, with more than 2,100 participants expected to take part in one of seven rides, including a children’s event.

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“We started the Tour de Victoria to introduce more people to cycling and to promote the healthy lifestyle and environmental benefits of riding,” said Seamus McGrath, tour director. “This ride welcomes cyclists of all ages and abilities. It’s a ride for everyone. This year, we are welcoming riders from eight provinces, 11 states and 10 international countries.”

Riders have the opportunity to ride, wheel to wheel, with some of the world’s best cyclists, including Victoria’s own Ryder Hesjedal, who founded the festival.

Visitors will leave with memories of a unique riding experience, with car-free traffic-controlled roads, with medical and mechanical support throughout the ride.

“We have incredible support from the community: police, municipalities, the volunteers and the riders all working together to create an amazing atmosphere,” said McGrath.

The Tour de Victoria caters to cyclists of all ages and abilities with seven rides: The Factor 160-kilometre, Harbour Air 140-km, Trek Bicycle Store Victoria 100-km, Christie Phoenix 60-km, Spinnakers 30-km, Bike to Work Week 15-km and Ryder’s Kids Ride.

The start times are staggered, with the longest-distance group leaving at 7 a.m. and the shortest distance leaving at noon on Saturday (the Kids Ride starts at 1:30 p.m.) from the grounds of the legislature, 501 Belleville St. All rides end at the same location.

A finish-line festival, with music, a beer garden, face painting, an inflatable amusement and other activities, will take place between 10:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on Belleville Street in front of the legislature.

“I’d also like to invite everyone who isn’t riding to cheer on the riders and come to enjoy the festivities downtown,” said Ryder Hesjedal.

The event is still looking for volunteers to support the riders, with positions all over Greater Victoria, as well as various volunteer roles downtown at the start and finish lines. Send an email to volunteers@tourdevictoria.com.

You can register online until 11:59 a.m. Friday at tourdevictoria.com. Onsite registration is available from noon until 8 p.m. Friday at Trek Bicycle Store of Victoria, 338 Catherine St.

Registration for the Kids Ride is available at the event before 1:30 p.m., Saturday.

In support of youth cycling development, a subsidized registration is offered to all riders age 18 years and under.

The Ryder’s Kids Ride is free and takes place in the driveway of the legislature grounds.

There is a secured parking area for bicycles on site.

The ride is also a fundraiser for two organizations — Opportunity International Canada and Ryders Cycling Society of Canada.

Ryder Hesjedal’s Tour de Victoria presented by insurancebyhugo.com is produced by Ryders Cycling Society of Canada, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and supporting cycling across the country.

parrais@timescolonist.com

For more information, go to tourdevictoria.com.

Tour de Victoria map

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