About 100 cyclists are expects to stop by at Thrifty Foods in Parksville for lunch during the Boomer’s Legacy 10th anniversary ride from Comox Valley to Victoria on Saturday, June 10. The ride concludes June 11. — Tony Norris

100 Boomer’s Legacy cyclists to lunch in Parksville

Thrifty Foods to host riders, entertainment by QB Pipe Band

Cyclists will be departing from 19 Wing Comox for the last time on Saturday, June 10 in what has been the annual Boomer’s Legacy B.C. bike ride.

One hundred cyclists are expected to take part in this 10th anniversary ride, which is the main fundraising event for Boomer’s Legacy — a 100-per cent Canadian charitable organization that provides funds for Canadian soldiers to help those affected by conflict.

The organization came about in honour of Cpl. Andrew “Boomer” Eykelenboom, who died in 2006 while serving as a medic in Afghanistan. More than a million dollars has been raised since then, according to a Boomer’s Legacy news release. The money has been used in recent months to give hydrotherapy treatment to Ukrainian children, to purchase a prosthetic limb for a Ukrainian veteran and to benefit an orphanage in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

The 240-kilometre, two-day ride is expected to arrive in Parksville around 1:15 p.m. on Saturday, June 10, at Thrifty Foods, which is hosting the cyclists for lunch.

The Qualicum Beach Pipe Band is scheduled to provide entertainment.

This 10th anniversary ride will also be the last Comox Valley to Victoria ride.

Camille Douglas, a Canadian Forces Newspaper manager, said the ride grew from a single cyclist travelling from Victoria to the Comox Valley in 2007 to what it is now. As the fully supported, two-day ride for riders of any ability took shape, significant assistance from the RCMP was necessary to keep cyclists separated from vehicle traffic, said Douglas.

However, as the RCMP Auxiliary program changed, co-ordinating an escort has been more challenging, though support from municipalities and the RCMP throughout the island “is tremendous,” she said.

“Safety being our primary concern, and this being the 10th anniversary, it is time to explore another fundraising activity that is more inclusive — not just aimed at cyclists,” she said.

“The 2018 event will include a cycling component as part of a single day celebration and community gathering that will involve all ages.”

Members of the public can cheer on the riders as they depart 19 Wing Comox at 8 a.m. on Saturday, June 10, or join them Sunday, June 11, at 4:45 p.m. as they arrive at the B.C. Parliament Buildings for a short ceremony.

To donate, go to boomerslegacybc.ca.

NEWS staff and Boomer’s Legacy