GUYSBOROUGH – On Saturday, Sept. 9, hundreds of cyclists will head out on some of Guysborough County’s most beautiful cycling routes. Less than two months from now, they’ll converge in Guysborough for the 2017 Lost Shores Gran Fondo. And after pedalling through spectacular vistas, cheered on by local residents, they’ll enjoy cold beverages, BBQ ribs and live music back in Guysborough.
There are already 150 riders registered, well ahead of last year’s pace. The Fondo gained an excellent reputation from the inaugural 2016 event for great local hospitality, stunning scenery and a great feed prepared by Days Gone By Bakery. The national publication Canadian Cycling featured the event in its latest issue published just this week.
The Fondo partnership between the Municipality of the District of Guysborough and Lost Shores Gallery has been able to showcase local scenery and cycling choices to attract a completely new category of tourist.
Gran Fondo is Italian for ‘big ride’ and it’s all about having fun in a non-competitive atmosphere. MODG Recreation and a small army of volunteers look after logistics for the major event, which could attract 500 entries this year.
So who are these new tourists? The average Fondo rider’s age is 54 with an even split between men and women. Education level and household incomes tend to be above average.
By far the most popular routes are the 90 km Lost Shores Loop and the new 120 km Tickle Loop through Canso and back through Hazel Hill.
Organizers will again be recruiting 100-plus volunteers. While the pay is terrible, the food is really good and it’s a fun day of story telling with participants. Local businesses are encouraged to add flyers to participants’ swag bags. Please let Angie Tavares at MODG Recreation know if you would like to participate.
MODG residents on the routes will get mailers in late August again this year advising them of when to expect the cyclists on September 9. Riders really appreciate friendly encouragement and some noise.
One of the more interesting sights will be Larry’s River shortly after 9:30 a.m. as a band of loud, noisy Acadians wave their flags to an expected 300-plus cyclists as they turn the corner and cross the Highway 316 bridge.
For 2017, organizers want to enhance rider visibility for a safer experience on our country roads. Early bird entries before July 31 will get a distinctive bright yellow participant jersey included and all riders will receive red ‘blinky’ LED taillights.
Construction of the new Chedabucto Lifestyles Centre means the event site will look a little different but will still be the same basic concept with a big tent, craft beers, BBQ ribs, live music and prize draws. The Athletic Association is again offering to host the bar and Brian England is providing the entertainment.
All five cycling routes are shown with maps, elevation profiles and Lost Shores Gallery pictorial tours at https://www.lostshoresgranfondo.ca. The new Gran Fondo map is also available at the Old Courthouse Museum and local businesses.