A huge lineup of events spanning more than two weeks are on order for the Victoria International Cycling Festival.
Local Olympian and Tour de France competitor Ryder Hesjedal will return to the region for the event that will “showcase Victoria as the cycling capital of Canada,” he said in an e-mail from Spain, read by festival founder Rob Fawcett.
From May 27 to June 12, a series of events will showcase local cycling talent, bike merchants and opportunities for wannabe and current cyclists.
“This (festival) certainly beats anything I have ever been able to put together, so it’s certainly an exciting thing for Victoria,” said city councillor and cycling enthusiast John Luton at an announcement last Friday.
“People will be coming to ride the roads that Ryder trains on.”
One aspect of the festival is Hesjedal’s Tour de Victoria, scheduled for May 28. It’s a 140- or 90-kilometre ride through the region, with the longer distance led by Hesjedal, and the shorter by fellow Olympian Simon Whitfield. Silken Laumann, another Olympian, will lead an easier community ride starting in Beacon Hill Park. Registration for the Tour de Victoria is at www.tourdevictoria.com.
The festival hopes to attract cyclists from around the world “so (people) realize Victoria’s not only a great place to live, but a great place to compete in as well,” Community, Sport and Cultural Development Minister Ida Chong said at the launch.
In addition to the many cycling events, the festival will also team up with the Collective Works Gallery, 1311 Gladstone Ave., for a bike-inspired group art show called Peddling Art, June 10-30.
Mark your calendar
n May 27-28 – Reels in Motion bike-inspired films, various locations
n May 27 – Harbour Sprint Series 1, 400-metre races, Belleville Street
n May 28 – Jordie Lunn Open dirt track jump demos, downtown
n May 28 – Time Trials, Dallas Road
n May 28 – Ryder Hesjedal’s Tour de Victoria, region-wide
n May 29 – Timbits challenge for kids, Bastion Square
n May 29 – Bastion Square Grand Prix, Bastion Square
n June 3 – Harbour Sprint Series 2, 400M races, Belleville Street
n June 5 – Classic Bike Ralley, B.C. legislature lawn
n June 5 – Family Bike Festival, including Bling Your Bike, B.C. legislature lawn
n June 10 – Harbour Sprint Series 3, 400M races, Belleville Street
n June 11-12 – Balls in the City bike polo tournament, Wharf Street
n June 11-12 – Jumpship freeride mountain bikers perform tricks on a barge, Inner Harbour