A group of Victoria grandmas aren’t letting their age define them as they get ready to take on a massive ride from Campbell River to Victoria, raising funds and awareness to support the work of African grandmothers caring for children orphaned by HIV/AIDS in Africa.
Victoria Grandmothers for Africa leave Campbell River on Friday, riding 100 km the first day, 95 km the second and 75 km the third, taking them into Centennial Square for 3 p.m. on Sunday for the welcome home celebrations.
Laurie Wilson completed her final training ride with the whole group on Monday morning. She’s done the ride four years in a row now and says it’s a great way to show young people that staying active can keep you young.
“There’s probably lots of young people who couldn’t keep up with us,” she says with a laugh, adjusting the bike that she just rode 37 km on — the shortest ride the group has done in the past six months.
Training starts mid April with a prescribed ride every week, adding kilometers and hills to each ride throughout the rest of the season. Wilson says there’s a real sense of joy and camaraderie between the woman that ride.
“There’s a cliche saying that it adds years to your life, but also life to your years and that’s true,” says Wilson.
Carol Crane is in her fifth year of doing the ride. She sat out of the final training race because she’d done a longer one earlier, opting to make treats and coffee for the group of 16 who did ride on Sunday. Crane says its the stops along the way, meeting up with other Grandmother groups across the Island for coffee, treats and lunch that keep her going.
“I break it up in my mind — 30 km to coffee, 60 km to lunch,” she says. “Nobody loses weight on the trip.”
Crane’s grandchildren are pretty young but she’s already having an impact on them, recalling a conversation she had with her three-year-old granddaughter just recently.
“[She said] remember the day you rode your bike in and I was so proud of you … we were so proud of you,” says Crane.
Victoria Grandmothers for Africa is one of over 250 Canadian groups working to raise funds and awareness for the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign of the Stephen Lewis Foundation
The 2019 Cycle Tours Welcome Home Celebrations are on Sept. 8 taking place from 2:15 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. in Centennial Square. For more information on the ride, or to donate visit victoriagrandmothersforafrica.ca.
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