Charity riders participated in a modified version of the annual Cops for Cancer Tour De Rock fundraising event in Parksville Qualicum this year. The challenge, which normally takes over two weeks, was broken up into segments because of COVID-19. The change allowed different teams to complete the challenge like a relay.
“I’m only riding today. Historically, the tour is something that goes on for about two weeks. Basically, a giant team building exercise. And this year it’s all made up of about 50 alumni riders,” said RCMP Constable Jordan Reid.
The cyclists trained mostly individually or in very small groups to allow social distance.
The money raised will go to Camp Good Times, a recreation program for children and teenagers with cancer.
“The day we were there, there were 39 children, ages one to seven and they all had cancer,” said Joan LeMoine, who has been volunteering with the Canadian Cancer Society and other causes in Parksville for many years. “They do a lot of wonderful things for the kids and they entertain them and feed them well and they’ve got lots of wonderful volunteers. I’m just so grateful I went.”
LeMoine said she and Parksville Councillor Adam Fras had the idea to hold a modified fundraising event after COVID-19 meant the tour could not happen in its traditional form.
“I wasn’t getting the head shaved and I wanted to do something, so this works,” said LeMoine, who has shaved her head eight times in previous years to raise money for Camp Good Times.
This tour was the first year riders have been allowed to participate a second time. Reid completed the tour in 2014 and said he was happy to get another opportunity to ride for charity.
“The goal is to get out there and fly the flag and make sure everybody knows we’re still here and we still care,” said Reid, who serves in the Oceanside RCMP detachment and grew up in Parksville.
Reid said it was important the team rode today, in spite of the changes and restrictions the pandemic caused to the event.
“We’re still here and we still care,” he said.
This year’s 22nd annual tour began Sept. 23 in Port Alice and will finish in Victoria on Oct. 2.