By Matt Law [Media Editor]
On July 24, Gavin Johnston and wife Laura, along with 11 other riders, will embark on a 1,300 kilometre ride through much of south western B.C. to raise money for Parkinson’s disease.
The Just Giver for Parkinson’s ride began in 2006 organized by Kelly Jablonski and Branco Radmilovic.
The ride has gained more support and distance in the five years it has run. Starting at just 400km, the ride now covers 1,300 km in 10 different stages, starting in Vancouver and heading north to Pemberton, over the Duffy Lake Road to Lillooet , then on to Kamloops, Kelowna, Osoyoos, Merritt and back to Vancouver.
This is a new route for what will be the final year of the Just Giver ride.
Johnston has been involved with the ride at some level for the past five years but has only been able to ride in last year’s tour.
“A friend of mine David, who is a friend of Bronco’s, told me about this ride. These two guys were going to try raising money for Parkinson’s and they were going to have this big send off at the Safeway out in Langley. So we wanted to just go out there and support them. We rode with them out to Mission and we turned off and came back. That was the first year,” Johnston said.
“Finally last year we were able to just jump in and do the five days of the trip and this year is going to be the final year and we are going to do the whole thing,” Johnston added.
Johnston has been riding bikes for most of his life, participating in the master’s race series in B.C. and training on a regular basis with a number of local clubs.
In preparation for the ride Johnston has had to put in more than a few training miles.
“Right now I’m up to about 400-450 km, I brought it up from about 200-300 km, the weather this year has been pretty bad so I just get out when it’s nice, I know I’ll be fit enough,” said Johnston.
The group tries to train together as much as possible, riding Saturdays and Sundays as well as climbing Cypress Mountain on Tuesday nights.
“We’ve been working on bringing our times down and every week we seem to beat our last times,” Johnston said regarding the 80km ride that starts at the Arthur Laing Bridge.
Over the course of the 10 day ride the team receives a lot of volunteer support including a masseuse who is donating four hours a day to keeping the riders’ muscles fresh.
Many of the communities they stop in come out to support the ride as well.
“In Kamloops they had the TV camera set up for us when we rolled into town and you ride down the street and everybody is lined up clapping, so it is pretty emotional. In salmon arm they had a big BBQ dinner set up and everybody pays by donation, they have a live band and square dancing and the mayor was there,” Johnston said.
The ride will leave on July 24 from Stanley Park at 9:30 a.m. and will finish at the Langley Safeway on Aug 2 around 1 p.m.
For more information on the ride visit Just-Giver.com
Filed Under: News
About the Author: Matt Law is a freelance journalist based in Vancouver, B.C. He is currently finishing a degree in journalism and serving a second term as media editor at The Runner.
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