The Parkinson Canada cycling community came together on three separate occasions this year to raise money for research, challenge themselves physically on various cycling courses, and connect with old and new friends. Organizers and volunteers did an incredible job of pulling things together and making each event special for all participating. Together, the Pedaling for Parkinson’s Prince Edward County (PEC) event, the inaugural Summerside PEI event, and the Growling Beaver Brevet raised over $600,000. Congratulations and thanks to all who participated!
The cycling season kicked off with Pedaling for Parkinson’s in the PEC wine region. Organizers Jim Redmond and Krista Simonett of Ottawa, Ontario, have been planning the event since .
For Jim, who lives with Parkinson’s, the ride and what it represents has a special significance. “Riding has given me my freedom back… I feel like I can do anything when I’m on my bike.”
The popularity of PEC with local tourists and the ongoing restrictions around COVID-19 created a few logistical challenges, but, by all adavccounts, Jim and Krista did a great job of balancing health and safety with fun for the 126 participants, and some great sponsors added to the enjoyment of the event. Behind the success of this event are the dedicated individuals who understand the importance of the research that their fundraising dollars enable.
The next event, held on September 25 and 26, was the inaugural Pedaling for Parkinson’s in Summerside, Prince Edward Island. Dan Steele pulled together a community for a fantastic event in the City by the Sea. He noted that Pedaling for Parkinson’s events mean a lot for people living with Parkinson’s – both socially and personally. “It was a tough year for people living with Parkinson’s. I was thankful to lead a great planning committee whose primary goal was to encourage people with Parkinson’s and others to train or be part of our event.”
The inaugural Summerside event hosted around 85 enthusiastic participants. We hope and believe it will grow into an event people in the Maritimes and beyond can look forward to supporting for years to come.
The Growling Beaver Brevet rounded out the summer pedaling events on October 2 on a spectacular fall day in Ontario’s Beaver Valley. This event, co-founded by Evan Siddall seven years ago, was designed “by cyclists for cyclists to be accessible to everyone from the hardcore road warrior…young and old, uber-fit or slowed by Parkinson’s.” Inspired by the Davis Phinney Foundation’s ethos of “Live Well Today,” its vision celebrates cycling with 250 participants riding 40, 60, 100 or 200 km routes on scenic country roads in Georgian Bay and the Beaver Valley.
When Evan was diagnosed at age 51, he decided to live well. He turned his passion for cycling and staying active into a fun and inspirational event for others in his community. After growing the event into an incredible success over the past seven years, Evan is stepping away from the helm, passing the management of the event to Parkinson Canada. Parkinson Canada is deeply honoured to carry forward this incredible tradition, which has inspired thousands of donors. We are also grateful to the Davis Phinney Foundation for supporting the event in the past.
Finally, for those who may not have access to a live event, the Go the Distance virtual event is an opportunity for dedicated cyclists to ride together on the path to impact, with personal distance and donation goals. This year’s participants rode more than 15,000 km to raise money for a world without Parkinson’s.
Though this year’s cycling events have wound down, Parkinson Canada Events Coordinator Lance Letain is already in planning mode for next year. He notes, “There is so much growth in the cycling community generally, and individuals living with Parkinson’s are becoming increasingly aware of how beneficial physical activity is. It’s giving people hope and helping them live well and raising much-needed funds for research. I can’t wait for next year!”
Neither can we, Lance. We look forward to the return of cycling events next summer! To stay up to date and learn more about Pedaling for Parkinson’s visit our website here.