Kenny Podmore wants to see Sidney’s streets packed when a cross-Canada motorcycle tour raising funds for children who are visually impaired arrives in town.
“I’d like to see people on the side streets, cheering and waving,” Podmore, Sidney’s town crier, said. “It’d just be great to give them a nice, warm Sidney welcome, with the hope they’ll come back next year.”
The tour, the Military Police National Motorcycle Relay, is raising funds this year — as it has done for several years — for the Military Police Fund for Blind Children. The charity, founded in 1957, aids Canadian children who are visually impaired.
The motorcycle relay, now in its 11th year, raised close to $100,000 for the organization last year and has raised about $600,000 for charity since the first relay.
“The reason why I like this one is because it’s not one you hear of all the time,” Major Dale Troia, a military police officer with the Canadian Forces and national chair of this year’s relay, said of the Military Police Fund for Blind Children.
This year’s tour starts Saturday at about noon when riders will roll through Esquimalt before town crier Podmore delivers a proclamation at the B.C. legislature building. The relay’s Saturday leg will then travel through Victoria and head to Sidney, where a small parade is expected on Beacon Avenue before a meet-and-greet event at the Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans club.
Podmore, who will deliver a second proclamation at the end of Saturday’s leg of the tour, will be taking part in this year’s event, riding in full regalia.
“It’ll be a little challenge in my regalia — just make sure I don’t get it caught in the back wheel or something like that,” he said. “I’m hoping to be ringing the bell as we go along, as well.”
The entire relay is set to last about 18 days, with riders finishing in St. John’s on the east coast.
Troia said he expects roughly 300 riders to join the relay at some point during the tour, with a handful completing the entire cross-country trip.
The success of the event comes down to the local volunteers and provincial representatives.
“They’re the ones who are really, really doing the work. I’m just the coordinator,” he said.