The riders of the Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock 2021 pedalled quietly along the streets of Parksville Qualicum Beach on Friday, Sept. 24.
Missing were the usual pomp and circumstance with police vehicles and fire trucks, sirens blaring, escorting them to their usual stops. However, at each of those stops, the enthusiasm and excitement were in abundance as people greeted them with smiles and applause.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s ride is different and features Tour de Rock alumni teams pedalling though different legs of the tour.
The team that rode the Parksville, Qualicum Beach, Port Alberni and Tofino segment consisted of former riders Samantha Caram, Cassie Loveless, Kim Laidman, Simon Douthwaite, Ben Hughes and Arnold Lim.
Allison Roberts, who rode for Parksville Qualicum Beach in 2018 and is riding again for the alumni team, said she was impressed to see so many people, despite the ongoing pandemic, still giving their support to the Tour de Rock and the efforts to fight cancer.
“It’s amazing seeing the members of the community and the schools still coming out,” said Roberts. “The schools are blowing our minds with their energy and excitement. Some of them they haven’t had the chance to get together as a whole school so this is their first time. They’re incredibly excited. And the community supporters. It’s been a hard couple of years. People want some good news. They want to contribute. They want to celebrate and get together. So it’s just an amazing feeling when we come down the Island.”
The tour made stops at Kwalikum Secondary, Arrowview Elementary, Dashwood Volunteer Fire Department, Tim Hortons, the Bayside Oceanfront Resort, Thrifty Foods, Bailey’s Cafe and the Parksville & District Chamber of Commerce Visitor Centre, where donations were handed out. Close to $25,000 was collected by the Tour de Rock from individual donors, schools, groups and organizations in the Parksville Qualicum Beach area.
Bradd Tuck had his head shaved in memory of the late Joan LeMoine, a prolific fundraiser and ardent supporter of the Tour de Rock every year. Tuck, a member of the 100 Oceanside Fine Gentlemen Who Give A Damn group that donated $9,800 to the Tour de Rock, raised $1,500 for the Joan Lemoine Memorial Head Shave.
“We thought that after Joan, who had been a big rock in the Parksville community, after she had passed that this would be a great way to pay tribute to her and keep the tradition going alive here,” said Tuck, whose young son Oliver, 7, also had his head shaved, drawing donations from individuals who came out to the event at the Visitor Centre.
Tuck said he aims to keep doing it every year.
“I don’t see why not,” he said. “I can have one haircut a year now.”
The Tour de Rock riders go from PQB to Port Alberni and Tofino and then head to Nanaimo on Sunday. From there, the tour heads south, making stops at communities along the way. It wraps up in Victoria on Oct. 1.