Tour de Lakeland sets 60 km biking challenge
Forget about the Tour de France; St. Paul has its own non-competitive version in Tour de Lakeland, in which people can come out and take on a 60 kilometre bike ride from St. Paul to Saddle Lake and back again in an event set to take place Aug. 11.
Dolu Ashani, with Barrier-Free Outreach Advocacy, is organizing the event that he hopes can become one where “everybody in the community can come together in the spirit of unity and togetherness.”
As part of his job, Ashani said he tries to introduce social development projects that will reduce crime and bridge the gap between service providers and people at risk of alcohol or substance abuse problems, mental health concerns, homelessness, unemployment, family crisis, discrimination or other personal difficulties that lead to crime.
One of the barriers for accessing help for some people at risk of these difficulties that has come up in discussions is “discrimination and racism,” he said. “This seems to be one of the major problems we’re facing in St. Paul.”
He felt a bike ride to Saddle Lake would give people the chance to see the First Nation reserve firsthand, when they may have never been there before, and learn more about it.
The other aspect of it is to encourage people to be physically active too, he added.
Following the biking, there will be a barbecue that is free of charge to all participants and gifts will be presented to all the participants, including items like water bottles, helmets, athletic bags, baseball caps and more. “Three bikes will be given to the first three people to complete the event,” said Ashani. Each participant will also be given an orange T-shirt, as all riders must wear clothes that are bright or stand out during their ride.
Registration for the event is free, and begins at 9 a.m. and runs until 9:30 a.m. on Aug. 11, with the biking beginning from St. Paul’s UFO landing pad at 10 a.m. People are encouraged to pre-register beforehand by calling Ashani at 780-645-5311 or emailing email@example.com. He is hoping to have 100 participants for the event, and is already envisioning a bigger event next year, with people from other communities in the Lakeland and beyond taking part.
He encouraged all people to come out and participate as friends and community members. “The more we do things together, the more we understand ourselves and our own individuality . . . and be able to respect our personal differences.”
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