Cyclists are taking over the roads in Victoria for the 11th annual Ryder Hesjedal’s Tour de Victoria, with an expected turnout of at least 2,250 riders.
The event will host eight different routes ranging from 400 metres to 160 kilometres, spread across multiple municipalities on the south island this Saturday.
The traffic-controlled event is open to all types of riders and organizers say that about 63 per cent of participants will be visitors from countries around the world.
“I heard of a U.S. Paralympian coming to town and he rides a tandem, so there’s a local rider who’s going to pilot the tandem with the fellow from the States,” said Seamus McGrath, Tour De Victoria director.
Hundreds of riders made their way to Trek Bicycle Shop on Friday to collect registration packets and the shop’s owner says it takes a large team to get everyone on the road.
“The volunteers make these events happen. Like without volunteers, none of these events happen,” said Bill Fry, Trek Bicycle Shop owner.
McGrath says it was all hands on deck as volunteers prepped participants ahead of the big run.
“We have 250 volunteers that help produce this event and we travel through ten different municipalities,” said McGrath “We deal with six different police jurisdictions, 125 traffic controllers. So yeah, it’s a huge logistical undertaking.”
The event also has charities involved that are raising funds in an effort to promote cycling initiatives, including Opportunity International, Ryders Cycling Society of Canada and World Bicycle Relief.
“Last year, Opportunity International brought in $200,000 for charity. Incredible numbers there so we hope to get up there,” said McGrath.
All legs of the tour begin and finish at the B.C. legislature, with traffic expected from 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. A festival is also taking place at the finish line with a featured beer garden.
For more information on the event, including times, route locations, and traffic restrictions, visit the event website here.