ARNOLD LIM: Tour de Rock more than a long bike ride

Four months ago, I barely knew a single rider or trainer on the Tour de Rock team.

Four months ago, I barely knew a single rider or trainer on the Tour de Rock team.

Looking around at the faces gathered around a horseshoe-shaped table at the Saanich Police Department, I remember a sea of unfamiliar people chatting and laughing with each other – and feeling somewhat removed from a group comprised primarily of members of police and RCMP.

It was February, and I had just been selected by Black Press to represent them as a media rider on the Canadian Cancer Society’s Cops for Cancer, Tour de Rock.

After a month-long process involving internal selection and personal essays written to the president of Black Press and the Canadian Cancer Society on why I wanted to be part of tour, I had gotten as far as the first orientation meeting at SPD, and I was uneasy.

Having followed the tour for five years as a photojournalist for various media outlets across Vancouver Island, I was extremely excited for the opportunity, but had yet to be officially selected by the cancer society – but I knew I wanted to be.

In fact, I had wanted it for years, but for one reason or another the stars had not aligned. I hoped this was going to be my year.

I certainly didn’t feel like I was a lock. At 280 pounds, with limited biking experience and two decades removed from any athletic endeavours, a sense of self-consciousness was front and centre.

I wasn’t poised to break any land speed records on a bike and knew I had an uphill battle regardless of where the chips fell. The only certainty in my mind was I needed to do this.

Truth be known, I don’t think I truly understood what I was getting into when I first signed up. I didn’t fully grasp that I wasn’t just signing up to be a bike rider for the cancer society. I wasn’t just writing personal essays about how much I wanted to be a part of the tour so I could fundraise for a 1,000 kilometre bike ride down Vancouver Island.

What I didn’t fully understand then, was that I was signing up to be part of a team.

I was getting an opportunity to do my part in the battle against paediatric cancer, and although I signed up alone, I realize now Tour de Rock is experienced alongside 21 other riders, a fleet of trainers, Canadian Cancer Society staff and volunteers who make up a family. This wasn’t something I would experience just myself.

Every bike crash, fall or illness is shared equally by all riders, including trainers who put their bodies on the line biking into busy intersections to stop traffic. Every pedal stroke on tour is a pedal stroke fuelled not only by the riders, but by unsung volunteers and staff behind the scenes that may never get the recognition they deserve.

Four months ago I walked into a crowded room of unfamiliar faces.

Today those faces are teammates I couldn’t have hand-picked better if I tried. Anyone who tells you biking is an individual sport hasn’t ridden Tour de Rock.

Arnold Lim represents Black Press on the 2013 Tour de Rock team. To donate to his campaign, visit copsforcancerbc.ca/tourderock/arnoldlim.

alim@arnoldlimphotography.com

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

PHOTOS: A morning in a physically-distanced Victoria

Residents commute in a pandemic-changed city

‘Someone knows something’: a look into Vancouver Island missing persons with interactive map

There are more than three dozen people listed as missing throughout Vancouver Island

Summer program helps Greater Victoria teens sharpen writing skills

Registration for the program runs until Aug. 17

Saanich bylaw sparks EV charging infrastructure requirements in new builds

All new developments to be EV-charger compatible starting Sept. 1

Langford cuts red tape, engages in random acts of kindness to uplift spirits

‘I Am Langford’ campaign promotes supporting local

QUIZ: Are you ready for a summer road trip?

How much do you really know about roads, motor vehicles and car culture? Take this quiz to find out.

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

B.C. Ferries increasing passenger capacity after COVID-19 restrictions

Transport Canada 50-per-cent limit being phased out, no current plans to provide masks

Shellfish industry get funds to clean up at Island sites and beyond

Businesses can apply to cover half of costs to clean up so-called ‘ghost gear’

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Most Read