Red Deerians ready to pedal for good cause

Red Deerians are being invited to take part in the Heart & Stroke Big Bike Event Days at the Bower Mall on May 27 and 28.

“Mostly what people are riding for is to raise money for heart disease and stroke and they usually have someone in mind when they’re riding the bike,” said Michelle Sluchinski, area manager in Red Deer for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

The event is a team-building, fundraising event on a bike built for 30 that travels to communities to raise life-saving funds in support of the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

There is no registration fee for a group or team so Red Deer residents are encouraged to coordinate a group of 29 people, a captain is provided at the event, and ride the Big Bike.

“Currently there are seven teams signed up and we’re hoping to recruit at least a few more to get to 10 teams,” said Sluchinski.

On Saturday there will be a community ride on the bike at noon. During this time, people from the community can come down, make a donation and jump on the bike.

“The bike is big and heavy so if we get enough people to have a community ride, people can come out to try it out and have a bit of fun.”

Riders must be 14 years of age or older. A parent or guardian must sign a form for any rider between the ages of 14 and 17.

The event days run from noon to 7 p.m. on May 27th, and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on May 28th. Each of the rides is expected to take 20 – 25 minutes.

The Big Bike is one of the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s largest fundraising programs that is held annually. It has been running for well over 25 years.

People may recognize the Big Bike from events like the Sylvan Lake Parade, Westerner Days Parade as well as some of the other small town parades in Central Alberta.

Teams involved in the ride will receive prizes based on how much money they have raised.

“The highest level prize for $2,000 or over is a digital camcorder plus all of the other prizes underneath it.”

The RCMP, fire fighters, and Titans Rugby teams are involved as well and are riding for fun, fitness, and fundraising.

“If people want to come down to cheer on the teams that would make this event much more fun.”

The teams will be lead by a driver who brings the bike up from Calgary and makes sure it is in top shape for the event.

“They play music and shoot water guns at each other. The groups sing and sometimes wear group t-shirts or silly hats.”

Last year’s Central Alberta events raised over $50,000 and the goal this year is $66,500.

“The funds that we raise go to support world class research. The research takes place in Alberta. Last year the Heart and Stroke Foundation funded over 60 research projects.”

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