Ride for Refuge organizers weren’t sure how their first charity cycling event in Victoria would fare next month, especially in a city full of charity and cycling events.
But it seems their fears were all for naught.
The Oct. 4 ride is drawing great interest for all three of its distances: 10, 25 and 50 kilometres. The ride starts and ends at the Saanich Community Church in Royal Oak, and is organized by the Cridge Centre for the Family.
“The response is well beyond the 150 we figured would be registering,” said location director Shannon Whissell, Cridge’s manager of communication and fund development.
“We’re already at more than 110 registrants, but based on projections we expect 300 riders. Victoria’s known for how late people register for events.”
Ride for Refuge is a community minded charity fundraiser that started in 2002 in Ontario and is run by Blue Sea Philanthropy, a foundation that runs events to promote charities by partnering with a host in each city.
Eight of the 217 charities registered with Ride for Refuge are from Victoria.
“It’s been in Vancouver for a few years, and now it’s the Cridge’s intention to make it an annual event, adding to the $7,000,000 raised so far,” Whissell said.
“We encourage families to come out, do the ride and eat a hot lunch.”
Cyclists can sign up individually but are encouraged to join a team. The $25 entry is waived for those who raise $150 or more ($75 target for youths) for charities, which represent all 25 cities holding Ride for Refuge events across Canada.
The Ride’s community approach attracted Saanich cyclist John Turner, who is inviting interested cyclists to join his team, the Gap Foundation Cruisers.
His team has chosen to dedicate their pledges to the Stand as One Ministry, which seeks to build soy milk factories in Malawi to provide nutrition to the children while creating employment and opportunity for local populations.
“Life takes you different places, and in mine, I overcame a lot of obstacles,” Turner said. “It led me to local volunteering, and seeing how we can better streamline and integrate help for those in need.”
His ride is for “the vulnerable,” and said Stand as One Ministry has values and a vision that are in line with his own. Turner also has big aspirations for helping people here in Greater Victoria one day.
“I want to build a better community here through socio-economic strategies and helping people empower themselves,” he said.
The ride leaves at 9 a.m. from Saanich Community Church, 4566 West Saanich Rd.
Visit rideforrefuge.org for more information.