GORE BAY – The Gore Bay Rotary Club Bay to Bay Century Ride was a huge success, substantially surpassing its fundraising goal of $5,000.
Peter Carter, who had spearheaded the event held this past Saturday, told the Recorder after the ride that “we raised in excess of $15,000.”
The funds derived from the ride will support the Food Cupboard at Lyons Memorial United Church in Gore Bay.
An official opening took place at about 7 am on Saturday in front of the Lyons Memorial. “I think it is wonderful for all of you to be doing this, especially during a pandemic,” said Reverend Mercedes Hughes. She explained the church food cupboard, “has been delivering food boxes to 25 families throughout the last few months.”
Kidane Gebrekristose, president of the Rotary Club wished everyone, “a good morning. Thank you to everyone for coming out here today to participate in this ride. It shows your dedication and service to the community, human beings and society as a whole.”
Reverend Hughes said, “I just think this is fabulous what you are doing. “Special thanks to the Rotary Club for raising funds to help feed families on Manitoulin Island. It demonstrates that even in a pandemic there are ways to come together as a community and help others.”
Reverend Hughes then blessed the participants. “God bless these bikes and bless these riders. Let them be like flashes of lightning. Pour out your protection on their helmets. Take their handlebars and steer them ever true. Bless their wheels that move upon your good Creation. Anoint their brakes that they may know their limits. Fix their seats that whenever they roam, they might always return safely. May their wheels rise. Amen.”
Gore Bay Rotary past president Keith McKeen acknowledged all the riders for taking part, noting those from Rotary (from off-Island) who were taking part in the ride. They included Peter Edmonds, area district governor, Dr. Richard Denton riding with his daughter Sarah, Bill Hagborg, past district governor, Daphne Wilkinson, Canadian Rotary Cycle to Serve Fellowship along with her husband Nelson Dawley, and Rotaract Junior Rotarian Rachel Redmond. He also noted that Island Promotions provided the time place cards for the riders.
“We would also like to mention all the in-kind donations we have received, including one from a local national company who made a substantial contribution,” said Mr. McKeen.
“This is amazing,” stated Mr. Carter of the turnout. “This is going to be an annual Rotary event, and I would like to thank the over 100 people who put their hands in their pockets to help contribute $5 and up, including a $2,000 donation from Manitoulin Transport. Every little bit helped.”
“I would also like to thank Daphne and Nelson for coming from Hanover for this, and all the Sudbury and area Rotarians for being part of this. It’s awesome.”
The ride had originally been proposed to take in 150 kilometres, but ended up being 162 kilometres or 100 miles—denoting the century ride.
The 20 riders started out in Gore Bay (with 13 completing the entire distance, including Rachel Richer and Steve Redmond who not only travelled the 162 kilometres but bicycled their way through the road work being done on Highway 540 to Meldrum Bay and back) and travelled through Spring Bay, Evansville, Gordon and Silver Water to Meldrum Bay. The riders then had a fabulous lunch in front of the Meldrum Bay Inn, hosted by the operators of the business, and then made the same route back to Gore Bay.
John Bayers was the first rider to arrive back in Gore Bay late Saturday afternoon. “That was ridiculously long,” he quipped, noting, “we had good roads to travel on, it was quiet and there was stunning scenery on the way. It was awesome.”
The youngest rider in the ride was seven-year-old Ejay Gilmore. He travelled six kilometres with his father Jeff on the ride and even made several signs posted along the route encouraging and supporting the riders.
Once all the riders had arrived in Gore Bay, the group then headed out to Mr. Carter’s for a barbecue that evening in Evansville.
“This has been a tremendous day, and I would like to thank all of you for taking part,” said Mr. Gebrekristose. “This all started with a simple idea, and Peter (Carter) was only expecting to draw three or four riders.”
Mr. Edmonds said, “on behalf of district governor Lynne Chant; she asked me to tell the Rotary Club how sorry she was not to be able to be on hand for the fish fry this year, and to thank everyone for their tremendous support of this event. It is absolutely amazing.”
Rotary President Gebrekristose then presented certificates to all the participants in the ride on behalf of Rotary.