CLARE, DIGBY COUNTY - This year’s Gran Fondo Baie Sainte-Marie, the largest cycling event in Atlantic Canada, is modestly ahead (at 475) of last year’s registrations, says Larry Peach, tourism manager for the Municipality of Clare.
“And out-of-province registrations are significantly up: 144 in total or 30 per cent of registrations, compared to 105 this time last year,” he said.
The Clare event, which this year is scheduled for Sept. 22, has quickly become a bucket list cycling and cultural experience. It hosted 970 cyclists in 2018 from Alaska to Australia. This year organizers expect to draw more than 1,000 participants.
Participants who register by July 15 will receive an Acadian-themed fifth-anniversary event jersey. The $99 registration also includes a swag bag, transponder timing, nutrition stops and entertainment along the route, a free massage and a finishing medal.
This year, the event is partnering with the HeartLand Tour, which will offer cyclists four opportunities to win a free registration.
Organizers offer 10 reasons to take part in the Gran Fondo Baie Sainte-Marie:
1. There’s a ride for all skill and experience levels - choose from five routes on low-traffic roads.
2. Spectacular scenery. Rides showcase a diversity of breathtaking ocean views, fishing villages and inland landscapes with river views and rolling hills.
3. Feast on Nova Scotia lobster. Enjoy fresh local lobster (or barbecue pork or vegetarian chili) for your post-ride lunch.
4. Experience Clare’s famous Acadian hospitality and exceptional community spirit.
5. Meet fellow cycling enthusiasts from all over the world.
6. Get a cool custom jersey. Register by July 15 for Corsino full-zip jerseys or sport t-shirts.
7. Take the entire family for a weekend of cycling. The Mini-Fondo two and four-km trail rides will take place on Sept. 21 for children ages five to 12.
8. Save time and fuel and take the ferry. Ride on any of three Bay Ferries vessels and use promo code GFONS* (15% discount) from Sept. 17 to Oct. 2, 2019.
9. Take a selfie with Alfondo the lobster.
10. Enjoy a medal, win a prize and check out the photos.