PHOTO: Kevin Kelly and Michael Kelly were up early Sunday to offer a welcome song to the participants of the Prospera Valley GranFondo 2016 on behalf of Kwantlen First Nation.
Clark and Annie Wong and Allan and Anna Lee decided to do the Prospera Valley GranFondo in a novel way Sunday morning.
The four from Burnaby, part of the Buy Low Foods team of about two dozen riders, set out on two-person tandem bikes on the MedioFondo (the 88-kilometre course).
Clark and Allan have done Langley’s GranFondo in the past and returned for 2016 because, as Allan said, it’s “tons of fun.”
Now their wives have joined in on their first GranFondo.
So who gets to ride in the front seats of the tandem bikes – “the men,” chuckled Clark.
“It’s the woman who does all the work in the back,” added his wife, Annie. “You know what they say, ‘Behind very man there’s a hard-working woman’.”
On the morning of July 24 there were about 1,500 hard-working cyclists taking part in the local GranFondo. They set out at 7 a.m. on routes around the region.
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The Prospera Valley GranFondo offers riders one of three routes ranging in length from 50km to 160km. Some riders also compete in the Sumas Hill Climb when they cycle through Abbotsford, tackling a 1.8km hill with a 7.7 per cent grade.
Proceeds will benefit youth cycling education and safety programs, including Cycling BC’s iRide School Program, DEVO, and Global Relay Bridge the GAP, as well as the London Drugs Ride for Hope raising money for Canuck Place.
Event director Marc Campbell said organizers have received lots of positive feedback from participants and the community for the fifth granfondo.
“A lot of the comments are ‘We’ll definetely be back next year’,” he said.
Campbell said this year was about 10 degrees cooler so racers enjoyed themselves more. The granfondo had cyclists from around the Lower Mainland, the Interior, Washington, Alberta and even Ontario.
“A lot of people don’t reliaze how beautiful the riding is in the Valley,” he noted. “We live in the mecca of roadriding out here.”
Organizers moved the parking to the Fort Langley airport this year. He noted that it has room for about 1,100 vehicles, which would mean about 2,000 cyclists, and that’s about the largest he would want to see the event become.
For the future the organizers are looking at adding professional child care so both parents can ride.
Campbell lives in Fort Langley so he doesn’t want the event to negatively impact the village.
“We want to keep a very intimate event,” he said.