By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express
Pump up your tires and fill your water bottles – Ride4UnitedWay is back in Durham.
The ride, which is in its 11th year, will feature 400 to 500 riders, according to Robert Howard, chief possibility officer and vice president of external relations for United Way Durham Region.
He notes the number of riders will depend on the weather, as if it’s too hot or is raining, the numbers go down.
“I think two years ago we had a really hot day… and we had a bunch of no shows because the media was telling people… ‘Oh, the humidex is 38 to 42. Don’t go outside, don’t exert yourself.’ So we had like 80 no-shows,” chuckles Howard.
Howard says 385 cyclists participated last year in Ride4UnitedWay, adding every year they usually have around 20 no-shows.
The ride started with a dual purpose, according to Howard. The first was to promote bicycle tourism, and the second was to raise money for United Way.
“I think we’re succeeding at both of those things,” says Howard.
The ride begins and finishes at the same place, Sinclair Secondary School, 380 Taunton Road East in Whitby.
A significant number of the riders are from Durham, says Howard.
“It’s clear to us that they want to come and ride in Durham, and enjoy it and raise some dough for us,” says Howard.
There will be five routes this year, as a 25 km route has been reintroduced this year.
Other routes include a 60 km, 100 km, 160 km route for more avid cyclists, and a gravel route.
“We really have a full inventory for all riders of different skill levels,” Howard says.
There will be support from Durham Regional Police Services, as officers will assist at major intersections and accompany riders out from the start of the ride.
All money raised through the ride goes straight to the organization.
“100 per cent of the proceeds support the United Way because we don’t pay marketing companies and event companies,” he says.
It costs $50 to register for the 25 km route, with the four longer options costing $75.
Riders are also asked to fundraise, but Howard notes it is not mandatory.
About $44,000 was raised at last year’s event and United Way officials are looking to hit $50,000 this year.
Ride4UnitedWay is on Aug. 18, with most of the rides starting at 8 a.m. The 160 km route begins at 6:30 a.m. so the riders have more time to return.
For more information or to sign up, visit http://support.unitedwaydr.com/site/TR?fr_id=1071&pg=entry