With family and friends cheering them on, more than 2,000 cyclists took part in Ryder Hesjedal’s Tour de Victoria Saturday.

“My husband is riding,” says Liz Vibert. “He’s only being cycling for a few years, he took it up in his early 50’s, so it’s pretty amazing to see him to the 140-kilometre race with all that climbing today.”

“We’re here to see their dad finish the race,” adds Meghan Winters. “I think it’s the 5th time he’s done it.”

“I’m here to support my husband,” says Tori Feldman, watching from along Dallas Road. “You could say he’s a little obsessed with cycling. He and his friend are riding together in the 140-kilometre.”

With seven different races, ranging from a kids’ ride to an ambitious 160-kilometre route winding its way throughout the Capital Region, the popular event attracts riders from all over the world — and of all ability levels.

“It’s not easy,” says Israel Akpadiaha. “We have hills in Maryland but up here in Canada it is consistently hilly.”

“I’m from north Vancouver and my first time doing it and was great,” says participant Greg Veitch. “Beautiful surroundings with the parliament buildings and the rolling hills, and you’re in the forest and then you’re by the ocean.”

This is the 9th year for the popular event — which isn’t for the faint of heart.

“It was tough, started to cramp up there at the end but it was a good ride it was beautiful,” said Scott Waters.

And the tough terrain wasn’t the only challenge for some riders.

One family forgot the key for the bike lock on their vehicle and had to have it cut off by police so they could take part in the 15-kilometre ride.

“The family rides are to make sure we’re encouraging our youth to get on their bikes and use their legs and get out and be healthy,” says mom Doral Ofarrell.

Tess van Straaten