North

Group raises $6K for Yellowknife bike park after cycling in from Whistler

A group that cycled from Whistler to Yellowknife has raised thousands of dollars for a bike park in the works in the latter.

Cyclists faced bad weather, road closures and flat tires

The cyclists travelled from Whistler, B.C., to Yellowknife. (Submitted by Graeme Meiklejohn)

Bad weather and wildfires didn't stop a group of cyclists from Whistler B.C., who rode 2,000 kilometres northeast to Yellowknife, to raise money for the N.W.T. city's proposed mountain bike park.

"The fact that we can help start that kind of community initiative here is really, really valuable," Quinn Lanzon, the ride's organizer,said on Wednesday of the mountain bike park planned for Yellowknife.

Lanzon, who was born in Yellowknife and lives in Whistler, originally planned to do the trip for fun, but as more cyclists joined in, people began asking if they were fundraising for a cause.

Those questions inspired the riders to collect money for the mountain bike park.

As of Friday morning, the cyclists' online campaign had raised $6,675.

Damaged bikes, battered bodies

After11 days, the team finally arrived in Yellowknife, shortly before midnight on Tuesday.

Along the way, the group grappled with cold and rainy weather, 15 flat tires, and an unexpected route change due to raging wildfires near the Alberta-N.W.T. border.

It was a hard ride, conceded Lanzon. There were "a few broken wheels, some damaged bikes, and some battered bodies, for sure."

Of the eight cyclists who started the trip, six finished it.

For Lanzon, the trip was also an opportunity to return to his childhood hometown.

"I had never really been here as an adult before, and it seemed like a really good reason to come back and visit the North," he said.

Quinn Lanzon, who was born in Yellowknife, organized the ride. (Steve Silva/CBC)

'Cycling builds community'

The Mike Haener Memorial Bike Park, set forthe Bristol Pit area, is estimated to cost $500,000 to build, said Geoff Foster, president of the Yellowknife Mountain Bike Club.

About $141,000 has been raised so far.

Foster said the park is a multi-year project, and the hope is to start construction on the asphalt pump track of the park this year.

Foster said donations are still coming in, which shows how "cycling builds community and how people that are cyclists, they get it, and they want to share it, and they want to get more people into cycling."

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