A new event this Sunday will celebrate cycling, community and local food.
The Cariboo Gourmet Velo, taking place Sunday, Sept. 16, is a friendly cycling tour seeking to highlight the relationship between the Cariboo’s hard-working farmers and local food entrepreneurs, while enjoying community, great food, and a ride through some of Quesnel’s landscape.
Organizer Amanda Woollends of the Gold Rush Cycling Club (GRCC) says she was partly inspired by the Wells International Gourmet Ski, which she has done the last couple of years and loves. Her hope is the Cariboo Gourmet Velo will bring people together to celebrate farmers and local food entrepreneurs and share a love of cycling in a fun, supportive atmosphere.
“I think, even a few years ago, I was the kind of person who felt I wasn’t able to do this, or there was a certain community around activities I didn’t belong in, but that’s just something we create,” she says, noting the cycling community is very welcoming. “This is just meant to be fun. It’s meant to be a good way to get out, enjoy some sunshine and enjoy community.”
Cyclists will begin at EdgeWood Farm, where they will be treated to a gentle yoga session from Katie Haber to limber up before they start. Cyclists can stop at four to five pit stops, where they will sample food sourced from local growers. The tour culminates with a post-ride feast, dessert and prize draws held at Long Table Grocery, with beer from Barkerville Brewing Company available to purchase.
Cyclists are asked to meet at EdgeWood Farm at 1215 Maple Drive for staging and check-in between 10 a.m. and 10:20 a.m. The Cariboo Gourmet Velo officially begins at 11 a.m. at EdgeWood Farm, where cyclists will enjoy espressos and Italian cookies and biscotti.
“I think this is such a beautiful place to start the ride,” says Woollends. “They already work so hard to be part of the community and support local entrepreneurs, so I love the idea of starting here and spending time in the shop and supporting such a great business.”
From there, participants will ride on the bike trail to Rocky Peak Adventure Gear/Cycle Logic on Reid Street, then head out to Bouchie Lake via North Fraser Drive. There will a stop at Long Table Cattle Company, and then cyclists will take Pinnacles Road back down to town. The ride will end at Long Table Grocery at 141 Marsh Drive, where there will be charcuterie boards featuring Long Table’s local suppliers and cake made by Morsels Moveable Feast. There will also be the option of a 13-kilometre add on to the Koster’s Farm area in West Fraser and back.
Pit stops along the way will include treats from Stay Golden Nutrition, Morsels Moveable Feast, Little Gold Bakery and The Inn at Moose Heights.
This tour takes place on paved roads, with the exception of gravel drives at farms. Cyclists are asked to ride responsibly, follow traffic laws and ride at their own risk.
Woollends wants to emphasize this is a tour, not a race, and participants are encouraged to ride at their own pace.
“This is not a race, it’s not timed, and it’s totally ride at your own pace,” she says. “We think it’s super fun if groups want to participate together, and if there are any singles, we’ll make sure they are not riding alone. It’s a very welcoming community. Mostly, we just want to share biking with people and share good food with them.”
The tour is a mostly-gentle 32 kilometres in length, with one longer hill section. There is also the option of a 13.5-kilometre additional section.
“Bouchie Lake hill sounds intimidating, but the rest of the ride has gentle rolling hills or downhill,” says Woollends.
Tickets are $50, plus an additional $20 Gold Rush Cycling Club 2018 membership fee for non-members. The membership fee goes toward supporting this non-profit in local trail building initiatives and building the Quesnel cycling community.
Cyclists will need to bring their bike and helmet, a water bottle and a small reusable plate and cutlery for pit stops along the way, as well as appropriate clothing for the weather and cash for post-ride beers. Cyclists are also asked to arrange their own transport to and from the event.
“This is not just for people who consider themselves cyclists,” emphasizes Woollends. “We want this to be just a way to connect all these people who are riding on their own and might have trouble connecting with people and also connect them to local businesses.”
For more information and to purchase tickets online, visit facebook.com/events/2155650561381985/. Tickets must be purchased by 10 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 12 to give vendors enough time to prepare. Anyone who needs help purchasing tickets can contact Woollends at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Cycle Logic at 250-992-2711. Tickets will not be available on the day of the event.