An Oak Bay couple is embracing the power of the pedal for this weekend’s Cycle for Life, a two-day group cycle fundraiser for hospice care on the Island.
It’s year two for Greg Goldberg, who joined the ride for the first time last year in support of his wife, Dr. Jody Anderson, a physician with Victoria Hospice, at the Royal Jubilee Hospital.
“Greg is a big cyclist and I told him about the ride last year,” Anderson recalls. “I went along as a guest and it was a fantastic event.”
Goldberg agrees. “It’s so fun and collegial and just a really nice atmosphere,” says the recreational cyclist and staff member with the Cridge Centre for the Family’s brain injury services.
“It’s challenging but it’s great because it’s not a race. You’re all trying to raise money for a common goal,” says Goldberg, who enjoys cycling for exercise and fun.
The 200-kilometre route takes cyclists past ocean vistas and country farmland of the Saanich Inlet and through the Cowichan Valley, before finishing the first day of riding on picturesque Salt Spring Island.
The scenic route – which also includes several built-in breaks during the ferry rides from the Saanich Peninsula, Crofton and Salt Spring – is also part of the appeal, he adds.
At each stop along the way, volunteers are ready with drinks and treats, and to make sure every heads in the right direction. “There’s never a rider who is left behind,” Goldberg says.
Both Goldberg and Anderson commend the tireless work of organizers Graham Robertson and Beth Turner, not only in creating a great event for participants, but also on the fundraising front. “They do such wonderful work,” Anderson says.
And, because of their efforts to operate with zero-overhead, 100 per cent of the proceeds goes directly to hospice care.
To date, the Cycle of Life Tour has raised $115,000 since its inception in 2011, and with increasing totals every year, the goal is $70,000 for 2015, building on the $63,000 raised last year.
Although Anderson isn’t riding in the event herself, she is undertaking her own fundraising and joining the event again as a guest.
The support of events like the Cycle of Life is invaluable she says.
“About half of the funds we have at [Victoria] Hospice come from private donations so it has a tremendous impact on the patients and families.”
Victoria Hospice typically has between 400 and 500 people registered at any one time, and in addition to staff, relies on the efforts of hundreds of volunteers, Anderson says.
In addition to palliative hospital and home care services for people near the end of life, the organization also provides a variety of other services, such as education, resources and bereavement counselling for loved ones.
While registration for this year’s Cycle of Life is filled, there’s still the chance to support the riders – and the cause.
Link to Goldberg and Anderson’s fundraising pages – and those of the 49 other participating riders – at www.cycleoflifetour.ca/