‘ They all get into the groove’

Big Bike brings fun and fundrais­ing to Cape Bre­ton

Cape Breton Post - - CAPE BRETON - BY GREG MCNEIL gm­c­neil@cb­post.com

Fundrais­ing is the main ob­jec­tive of the Heart and Stroke Foun­da­tion Big Bike tour but there’s no rea­son fun can’t be a fo­cus, at least for the ride por­tion of the ven­ture.

That’s the per­spec­tive of Darryl Turner who ma­noeu­vres the bike and its 29 riders in and around dif­fer­ent streets and towns from one end of the coun­try to the other.

“These peo­ple have raised a lot of money,” said Turner, a Cal­gary na­tive. “They’ve worked hard to get their money to put to­wards a good cause. For us, as far as a driver of the bike we have to make sure they are en­joy­ing it. It’s all about the ex­pe­ri­ence. If they have a good ex­pe­ri­ence, hope­fully they’ll say ‘ Let’s go back next year.’”

On Mon­day, Turner’ guided teams con­sist­ing of em­ploy­ees of lo­cal busi­nesses through Syd­ney.

Gen­er­ally speak­ing, those who board the big bike are in a good mood but some­times they need help loos­en­ing up a bit.

“If you get on and get them go­ing, they all get into the groove. We work them ... so by the time they are done they are all into it.”

The Bos­ton Pizza team joined groups from Nova Sco­tia Power, Sobeys, Mayflower Den­tal and the Steel City Credit Union who took the ride in Syd­ney on Mon­day.

Bos­ton Pizza team cap­tain Bri­anne Walsh said her group con­sisted of a nice mix of vet­er­ans of the big bike ride and some new­com­ers.

“The young ones loved it,” Walsh said shortly af­ter their ride. “It is some­thing new and you have to drag them out but once they get on the bike they have fun with it.”

Though fun to ride through down­town as peo­ple are wav­ing and horns are honk­ing, she said the bike is also a bit of a work­out.

“You would think that 20 riders- plus would be a lit­tle eas­ier but ev­ery­one still has to put their pedal to the me­tal and push re­ally hard, es­pe­cially go­ing up those lit­tle in­clines.”

Turner has been pi­lot­ing the bike bike for five years. The se­cret to ped­alling, he said, is to go at your own speed.

“What’s re­ally in­ter­est­ing is all the ped­als are in­de­pen­dent of each other,” he said. “Peo­ple think they have to pedal to keep up with the neigh­bour next door but they don’t have to. They can just pedal on their own and the torque they are adding on their ped­als will add to the over­all torque and it makes it hap­pen.”

He said engi­neers and mem­bers of the gen­eral public are of­ten fas­ci­nated with how pedal power moves the gi­ant bike. He cred­its the de­sign to his Cal­gary neigh­bour Wally Pouzanoski who in­vented it decades ago.

These days there are nine vari­a­tions of the orig­i­nal in­ven­tion at the cen­tre of big bike fundrais­ing events across the coun­try.

Turner ar­rived in Cape Bre­ton with the ver­sion he pilots on Satur­day and will be in 11 lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties through 10 days be­fore ven­tur­ing across Nova Sco­tia.

He ex­pects his tour to end some­where near the end of Au­gust.

Tracey Pierre, a Heart and Stroke Foun­da­tion pro­gram co- or­di­na­tor, said the lo­cal ride gets big­ger ev­ery year.

“Syd­ney and Glace Bay are our big­gest events,” she said. “We usu­ally have close to 10 teams on each of those days.”

The ride moves to New Water­ford and North Syd­ney to­day, Syd­ney Mines on Wed­nes­day, Thurs­day in Glace Bay, and Baddeck and In­ver­ness on Fri­day.

Pierre said team fundrais­ing to­tals of­ten vary from $ 2,000 up­ward. This year, a big in­crease in online fundrais­ing to co­in­cide with lo­cal ef­forts has been no­ticed, as well.

GREG MCNEIL/CAPE BRE­TON POST

Mem­bers of the Bos­ton Pizza team who rode on the Heart and Stroke Foun­da­tion Bike Bike on Mon­day are shown with mem­bers of the ride or­ga­niz­ing team. From the left are Kather­ine Dono­van, Tracey Pierre, Bri­anne Walsh, Alex Dono­van and driver Darryl Turner.

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