YANA Ride brings together cyclists of all ages

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Seven-year-old Sophie Clark will ride 25km on August 16th to raise funds for YANA.

What started out as a way to help save the polar bears has turned into a love for riding bikes and now, a way to raise money for a charity that Sophie loves.

“I’m really proud of Sophie, and what she is doing,” says her dad, Aaron, “Sophie really loves bike riding, I remember trying to pick her up from school one very rainy day this year, she refused to get in the car, in the end she rode home with some friends. She really enjoys riding her bike, and we’re a biking family so we think it’s just great.”

The Comox Valley gets on their bikes for YANA, from left to right: volunteer, Jill Grant, 25km riders Aaron and Sophie Clark, sponsor and 100km rider Dr. Andreas Conradi.

The Comox Valley gets on their bikes for YANA, from left to right: volunteer, Jill Grant, 25km riders Aaron and Sophie Clark, sponsor and 100km rider Dr. Andreas Conradi.

Sophie explains she started riding when she learned about global warming, “I like polar bears but the ice is melting so where will they live? It’s because of gas and how we use energy, but bikes don’t use gas.”

Seven-year-old Clark says she registered because she “wanted to try something hard and I also love YANA. I like riding my bike because you get exercise and it’s really fun.” Sophie has been practicing for the Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride all year, “I just did a 24km bike ride with my family in Vancouver, I rode my bike to school all year, and I might try the Saturday training ride with the YANA group. I’ve also been trying to make it up hills.”

Last year Sophie rode the family ride for the second time and raised over $800 for YANA. On August 16th she will ride her longest ride yet, the 25km route. Anyone wanting to pledge Sophie can donate by visiting the Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride registration site via: www.yanacomoxvalley.com

YANA’s Executive Director, Marcie Dumais, is overwhelmed by the community support, “I love this community. It never ceases to amaze me how we work together to support our own. People of all ages get behind our ride in so many ways, we have our partners at Simon’s Cycles, participants, sponsors and volunteers all coming together to create one incredible event,” Dumais has many examples to share.

Sponsors cover all costs and expenses ensuring that all registration and pledges go directly to helping Comox Valley families. Dr. Andreas Conradi shows his community spirit as the ride’s premier sponsor, “Twenty years ago, my first-born was on life support and YANA supported our family. Having experienced that, I know first-hand what it means to have your community’s support.” Now he and his team give back in as many ways as they can. This year they chose to provide t-shirts to nearly 500 participants and volunteers, “We really wanted to provide people a permanent reminder of the great thing they are doing when they choose to participate in this ride for YANA. I hope it will remind them of the unity of the ride, the good feeling we all share on the day and the knowledge that it was all done to help others.”

The YANA Ride is made possible by over 100 volunteers, like tri-athlete, Jill Grant, “When I was asked to volunteer I thought it was a perfect fit because this event is about fun and fitness and I have been involved in so many of these events as an athlete, it’s great to give back because it feels so good.

Many of the cyclists in the YANA Ride are joining us for their first community ride. I just love encouraging them to come and enjoy the day,” says Grant, “I remember at last year’s YANA Ride, I was helping a group who were training hard for the 25km route. Some of them ended up doing the 50km route. And oh man! When they came back across that finish line, they were so happy at what they had achieved, and so was I. That’s what I love, I’m just a natural cheerleader.”

The Simon’s Cycles YANA Ride is a challenging and unique bicycle ride through the beautiful Comox Valley with a variety of routes. Participants will enjoy bike support on all routes, special treats at fueling stations along the way, a delicious BBQ lunch, entertainment, draw prizes, congratulatory medals and discounts at Simon’s Cycles.

With the ride just over 3 weeks away there is still plenty of time for the community to get involved by pledging any of the registered riders, registering to ride or becoming an event sponsor. For more information, click here.

Comox Valley Record