It was a mountain bike race, it was fun, and it was an opportunity for families to get out and spend a day together.
This is precisely what Monica Johnson, executive director of Williams Lake’s Boys and Girls Club, had in mind when helping draw up plans for this past Sunday’s first ever Shifting Gears mountain bike race, barbecue and fundraiser.
“The purpose is to provide an opportunity for kids and families to participate in mountain biking together,” Johnson said.
The event saw 75 participants meet at Esler Sunday morning before embarking down ‘Snakes and Ladders’ and ‘Spokey Hollow’ trails, and finishing at the River Valley Trail. From there, riders were shuttled to Boitanio Bike Park for a barbecue, more riding and games.
Johnson said the ride’s youngest competitor was eight years old, while several adults also took in the ride, which is exactly the type of fundraising event they wanted to host.
“That was our idea this year,” she said. “We sort of wanted to refocus our fundraising efforts for kids and families to do something together.”
City councillor Surinderpal Rathor was on hand barbecuing, preparing and serving food, as was fellow councillor Geoff Bourdon, who took part in the race, along with countless other volunteers who helped ensure the day went off without a hitch.
“It was certainly a key to the success [our volunteers],” Johnson said. “It really made it a community event.”
Johnson said based on initial fundraising totals around $7,000 was raised for the Williams Lake Boys and Girls Club. That money, she said, will be used to help keep the club’s activities running in the community.
The idea for Shifting Gears, she added, came together with the help of Red Shred’s Bike and Board Shed and the Williams Lake Cycling Club, who Johnson said were great with helping plan for the day.
“We were really happy to see the number of families out enjoying the event together, which was our goal,” Johnson said.
“We got great feedback on the success of the event.”