Ride On!

By Lisa Fender

Last night I went out for a ride with my mountain bike club.

We're a group of women who get together every Tuesday to ride trails in downtown Toronto.

In the heart of Canada's largest - and some say concrete - city is more than 80 kilometers of single track. Some of it flat and peaceful, parts of it steep and rooty and other sections layered with fun and challenging features like skinnies or jumps.

The trails are a little-known secret that part of me wants to keep close to my chest and part of me wants to share with everyone I meet.

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photo courtesy of City of Toronto

Last night the proud side of me was out in full support. The Wild Bettys hosted an open house to celebrate CBC's Sports Day in Canada.

For the third year in a row, CBC - in partnership with ParticipACTION and True Sport - has asked sport organizations to come together to celebrate what we do. To recognize and share our passion for sport.

Melinda Davie, founder and Queen Betty, explains it best, "It's the 'who knew!?' feeling that I get with the ever-increasing challenges mountain biking presents. 

"Having not been a particularly active young person, getting acquainted with sports as an adult and the awesome sense of accomplishment from learning and putting a new skill into practice has been a truly eye-opening experience and I feel compelled to 'spread the word'."

Of course, mountain biking isn't the kind of sport you can just walk into. You need a few tools. A bike, helmet, appropriate shoes and - depending on how aggressive or tentative you are - armour.

Last night, those details weren't a barrier for people who wanted to come out and try the club. 

Alan Chow, the owner of Sport Swap and one of our club's biggest supporters, brought out a fleet of full-suspension bikes, a mechanic, tools and helmets for anyone who wanted to give the trails a go.

"Sport Swap, and I since we're essentially the same, believe that sport and culture are essential to the quality of life in our communities.

"Not to be a Pollyanna but physical activity and connection with what's going on with your neighbors enriches lives in a way that can't be measured in simple dollars and cents. By supporting the Wild Bettys last night we were able to support an organization that is in sync with our beliefs and also to connect directly with the public at large."

To me, the connection we all share is a sense of accomplishment; a simple decision to get outside instead staying glued to the couch, confronting fears to tackle a steep decent or ride a narrow bridge, finding the strength and determination to propel your wheels over a series of rocks or roots.

At the end of the day we got on our bikes and did it.

Ride on ladies! Ride on.

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