Cycle fest rides into awesomeness

Tour de Victoria a success, say organizers

Tour de France hometown hero Ryder Hesjedal (pointing) heads out with fellow riders on the inaugural Tour de Victoria from Belleville Street.

Mission accomplished.

Those are among the first words Seamus McGrath said as he reflected on the success of the inaugural Ryder Hesjedal’s Tour de Victoria.

“My original vision of how this event could look and feel and operate – that’s exactly how it went on Saturday,” said McGrath, the tour’s founding director.

The same can be said for the weekend lineup of cycling events in the new Victoria International Cycling Festival, which kicked off Friday night and continues in downtown Victoria until June 12.

Enthusiasm among spectators was high during several new features, from a 400-metre sprint to the longer time trials, as well as the returning Bastion Square Grand Prix and Tim Bits kids challenge.

“The vibe, the feeling of them was all great and I have a feeling they’re all going to grow and become really part of the (cycling) culture,” said festival organizer, Rob Fawcett.

Ryder Hesjedal’s Tour de Victoria attracted 1,350 cyclists from as far away as Nova Scotia and Texas. Upwards of 800 riders registered for the 140-kilometre course, about 400 for the 90-km and 150 participants cycled the four-kilometre community ride in downtown Victoria.

More than 500 volunteers were involved, including more than 300 road marshals, who ensured vehicle traffic and cyclists didn’t mix at intersections throughout 13 municipalities.

The event was marked by some minor collisions between cyclists, others suffered from rain-related hypothermia, and there were traffic tie-ups in James Bay where crowds gathered for cycling and to watch the start of the annual Swiftsure international yacht race on Saturday, said tour spokesperson Kim Van Bruggen.

The Swiftsure has, in part, prompted organizers to move the date of next year’s Tour de Victoria by a month to June 24. The extra time will also allow more cyclists to train for the event longer and in better weather, said Van Bruggen.

It’s still too soon to know if the Tour de Victoria will once again coincide with the cycling fest, which could be expanded from two weeks to a month next year, said Fawcett. “The objective is to grow the festival. How it will take shape, we’re not exactly sure yet,” he said.

emccracken@vicnews.com

 

 

Just Posted

500 pounds of turkey served at Cool Aid community Christmas dinner

Annual dinner serves hundreds of community members

VIDEO: Annual Tuba Christmas concert draws large crowd to Market Square

Over 100 tuba and euphonium players gathered to play festive tunes

Revisit Christmas past as Point Ellice House displays Victorian-era traditions

Antique bobbles, cards, decor and more are on display

Bold and brassy quintet touches down at UVic

Internationally recognized Canadian Brass performing with Victoria Symphony on Dec. 21

Saanich church kicks off holidays with peaceful Winter Solstice service

St. Luke’s song-filled Christmas services come later

VIDEO: Success of wildlife corridors in Banff National Park has advocates wanting more

Demand for more highway protection escalated after seven elk were killed by a semi-trailer near Canmore

Sharks beat Canucks 4-2 to snap 6-game skid

Vancouver visits Vegas on Sunday

Fans sing Canadian anthem after sound system breaks at BMW IBSF World Cup

The Canadians in attendance made sure their team and flag were honoured on the podium

VIDEO: Fire destroys Big White Ski Resort chalet

Social media eulogies peg the property, nicknamed “The Pharamacy,” as both loved and hated

Prince George RCMP use bait packages to catch porch pirates over the holidays

First-in-Canada program with Amazon looks to combat parcel theft

Nanaimo mechanical engineer creates thief tracking program

Nanaimo Thief Tracking lets users plot and share information about thefts online

Mayor wants B.C. to institutionalize severely mental ill people who are homeless

Those suffering from mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia, need specialized care, mayor says

Five things of note from Trudeau’s mandate letters to his ministers

Some marching orders come from the Liberal Party’s campaign, while others are new additions

Scheer’s resignation tips party into internal war over school tuition payments

The Conservatives have a Toronto convention already scheduled for April

Most Read