Nanaimo Mountie overcomes shyness to ride tour

NANAIMO – It's too good a cause to not do it, says Nanaimo Tour de Rock rider.

Every Tour de Rock rider discovers his or her limits during training.

Nanaimo RCMP constable Ryan Blakey, 35, came up against his at 34C on the steep grade of the Strathcona Parkway on a training ride up Mount Washington.

“I heard someone yelling get back on the right side of the yellow line,” Blakey said. “I thought, ‘Who the heck is yelling?'”

That’s when Blakey realized he was riding on the far left side of the road with no idea how he got there.

Trainers coaxed him off his bike and into an air conditioned van to cool down and hydrate. He finished the climb, but made slow progress through heat which didn’t diminish with altitude. Blakey and another rider he describes as someone who normally “crushes” hills dismounted among the last five finishers at the Mount Washington lodge where the temperature was still 33C.

Preparing for the Tour de Rock doesn’t require superhuman ability, but physical demands and time requirements for training and fundraising from the first training rides in March until the tour finish in October are gruelling and mentally and physically exhausting. Most potential participants back off upon realizing the commitment needed and for 2014 the Nanaimo RCMP didn’t have a rider to represent the Island’s largest detachment.

“The final kicker, as bad as it sounds, is there was no one from the detachment who volunteered and it is way to good of a cause to not have a rider,” Blakey said. “I’ve toyed with the idea. I’ve served at the dinners. I’ve flipped burgers. I’ve done something tour-related every year.”

But Blakey got strong backing from his wife, a nurse who works around cancer patients, and from RCMP Cpl. Norm Smith, a long-time tour supporter, who is handling Blakey’s fundraising.

Blakey, by his own admission, is an introvert and expects the toughest part of the tour will be its public relations aspect.

“When I was doing my homework, I was still somewhat on the fence even though I said this is such a good cause,” Blakey said. “I don’t put myself out there… I talked to a lot of riders and a lot of riders who know me said, ‘You know, you’re going to have trouble on tour just being that shiny, happy person all the time and that’s going to be your hardest part.’ It’s worth it.”

The Canadian Cancer Society Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock raises money for pediatric cancer research and programs, including Camp Goodtimes, a summer camp for children with cancer and their families.

The Tour de Rock team cycles to communities across Vancouver Island to Victoria from Port Alice to Victoria, covering 1,100 kilometres over 14 days.

This year’s tour runs Saturday (Sept. 20) to Friday (Oct. 3).

Just Posted

New COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island by local health area for the week of June 6-12. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control image)
New COVID-19 cases up on Island, but health officials say trends going right way

There were 22 new COVID-19 cases in Greater Victoria last week after just four the week before

Regional District of Nanaimo is looking to repair sewage pipe in the Hammond Bay Road area, which was corroded by gas. (Black Press file)
Corroded sewer pipe along Nanaimo’s Hammond Bay Road will cost $5.5 million to fix

Pipe replacement and reinforcement part of $6.9-million infrastructure project

Kimberly Bussiere and other laid-off employees of Casino Nanaimo have launched a class-action lawsuit against the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Laid-off Casino Nanaimo workers launch class-action lawsuit against corporation

Notice of civil claim filed on April 6 at Supreme Court of B.C. in Nanaimo

Beban Pool is expected to re-open Oct. 4 after a vote by councillors at a finance and audit committee meeting Wednesday, June 16. (News Bulletin file photo)
City of Nanaimo will re-open Beban Pool in October

User groups warn COVID-19 pool closures have left a gap in water safety education

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth and Attorney General David Eby attend opening of the first government-run B.C. Cannabis Store, Kamloops, Oct. 19, 2018. (B.C. government)
B.C. government to allow home cannabis delivery starting July 15

Added convenience expected to persuade buyers to ‘go legal’

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
BC Green leader Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

B.C. Premier John Horgan leaves his office for a news conference in the legislature rose garden, June 3, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. premier roasted for office budget, taxing COVID-19 benefits

Youth addiction law that triggered election hasn’t appeared

BC Ferries’ newest Island Class vessel is experiencing an issue with one of its thrusters off the Algerian coast. Photo courtesy
BC Ferries newest vessel having mechanical issues in Mediterranean

Island 4 will be repaired in Spain before crossing Atlantic

Most Read