Local cyclists prior to a June 5 group bike ride included (from left) Jack Harding, Don Cook and Clare Harding.
By Eric Bourque
This is the seventh year for the HeartLand Tour and the tour’s Yarmouth leg is scheduled for Friday, July 12.
The tour was launched in 2007 as a way of raising awareness of cardiovascular disease, the impact it can have and how to prevent it.
Yarmouth has been a part of the tour from the start and a spokesman for the Yarmouth leg says he hopes to see another good turnout this time. About 300 people took part in the various tour-related activities last year, including cyclists, runners and walkers.
“We would like to match it or exceed it,” said Jack Harding, Yarmouth HeartLand Tour community leader. “There seems to be more and more interest every year and great support.”
The Yarmouth leg will begin at the Rodd Grand Hotel, starting with a five-kilometre fun run at 8:30 a.m. For bikers, the event again offers various distance options. Participants may choose to do the entire 97-km route or shorter rides of 71, 39, 14, five or two km.
Asked how the course for this year’s Yarmouth leg compares to last year’s, Harding said, “It’s basically the same route, but what we do is go clockwise one year and counter-clockwise the next year, just to vary the route a little bit.”
From the Grand Hotel, participants will head out on a ride that will take them through Sand Beach, Chebogue, Pleasant Lake and Tusket. After taking a break at the Par-en-Bas school, the riders will hit the road and make their way through the Raynardton area and eventually to Port Maitland, where it’s a lunch stop. From there, the participants will take Main Shore Road and head towards the lighthouse and then it’s back into town.
The Yarmouth event is scheduled to wrap at 3:30 p.m. at the Wesleyan Church (corner of Forest Street and Haley Road), where there will be prizes, including five new bicycles and helmets from Manser’s Bike Shop.
This year’s HeartLand Tour consists of seven legs, starting July 7 in Cape Breton and finishing July 13 in Halifax.
As he has in recent years, Harding plans to do the entire tour. “It’s a busy, busy week,” he said, “but it’s really interesting to see all the areas of Nova Scotia we cycle through. It’s a great way to see the province.”