Nanaimo cyclists riding to conquer cancer

A group of cycling enthusiasts in Nanaimo are gearing up to spend two days in the saddle, all in the name of conquering cancer.

A group of cycling enthusiasts in Nanaimo are gearing up to spend two days in the saddle, all in the name of conquering cancer.

Members of the Nanaimo Rides Again team need to raise almost $40,000 before the B.C. Ride to Conquer Cancer June 18-19.

The event, a two-day bike ride from the Lower Mainland to Seattle, Washington, is a fundraiser for the B.C. Cancer Foundation, a charity that raises money to support the B.C. Cancer Agency’s research and support to cancer patients.

All of the money raised by Nanaimo Rides Again will stay on the Island, said team member Ian Drown.

This is the team’s second year in the event. It formed last year after Drown, who has multiple family members who have battled cancer and was looking for a physical challenge for himself, went to an information meeting about the fundraiser and met Luc Begin, a teacher at Nanaimo District Secondary School.

The two men put together the team and raised $47,000.

“It was quite the experience,” said Drown. “All the enthusiasm, you kind of get caught up in it. Every time you go through a rest stop, you’ve got people cheering you on.”

So far the team has raised about $20,000, but the group needs to raise about $39,000 so all 12 team members can ride – each individual must raise a minimum of $2,500 to participate, he said.

A 13th team member is unable to ride due to an injury, but is coming along as a volunteer.

The ride is about 130 kilometres each day, although there are several rest stops along the way with food, water, toilets and bike mechanics on hand.

To prepare for the event, the team has gone on group rides together and will cycle to Victoria on May 24 to visit the B.C. Cancer Agency’s Vancouver Island Centre.

Nanaimo residents might have already seen members of the team putting kilometres on their bike trainers at the Real Canadian Superstore, Save-On-Foods, Woodgrove Centre and NDSS.

Drown said the group has more fundraising ride-a-thons planned before the big event.

The team wants to do a video documentary of the experience this year and is looking for riders for next year’s event.

For more information or to donate to Nanaimo Rides Again, please go to www.nanaimoridesagain.com.