The stage is set: a 278-kilometre one day bicycle ride across one of the world's most scenic and quiet islands, Prince Edward Island, takes place on Saturday, August 4, 2007.
The writing is on the wall, as early registration is at an all-time high, that the largest field in history will participate in the event and set a new record for the most people to bicycle in one day from tip to tip across P.E.I.
The Biking for Breakfast Challenge (BFBC) is in its third year. It is the longest one-day bicycle fund-raiser east of Montreal, inspiring men and women of all ages, to spend an entire day out of their mostly ordinary lives on the bicycle for this monumental challenge of pedaling across an entire province of Canada to test the utmost limits of their physical strength, mental spirit, resilience, and commitment.
"But it is also a lot of fun," says Ken Trenholm of Summerside, chair of the organizing committee.
For many, it may be hard to fathom how a 278-kilometre bicycle ride in one day is fun, let alone possible. Trenholm explains the event itself is like a "rolling community" where "riders pull up beside each other, introduce each other, and help each other get through the day. Switch positions and chat with another rider."
Returning off-Island rider, Tom Plunkett of Calgary, Alberta, perhaps can best sum up the event with three greats: "great people, great course, great cause". Plunkett will be making the trek from Calgary to participate in this event again this year.
Riders can select either to participate as a Relay Team, Solo Partial Course, or Solo Full Course; however, the most popular registration selection is the Solo Full Course registration.
So, exactly what type of riders participate in this event?
The youngest rider to complete the tip to tip was Erik Charron of St. John's, Newfoundland (2005), 22 years of age; the oldest rider was Jeff Proctor of Litchfield, New Hamphire (2006), 62 years of age. The average age of riders in 2006 was 44 years of age.
The event was developed by the community to address the shortage of funding for breakfast programs across P.E.I. and to raise awareness of the need for school breakfast programs across the Island. More than $10,000 has been raised to support much-needed breakfast programs across P.E.I. through this event to date. Breakfast programs are a vital mainstay for over 5,000 island children who come to school not eating breakfast.
Some early registration prizes have been awarded such as a Country Pines BFBC Starter Kit that includes a free night's lodging and transportation to and from the start location contest for those non-P.E.I. residents. Winners of this contest were James Young (Toronto, ON), Keith Ebbett (Yarmouth, NS), and Darrell R. Gauthier (Kington, ON).
"I love the EPIC nature of the ride and the fabulous people associated with the ride," said James Young, Toronto, who participated in the event last year. When asked why he is riding in this event, he said, "it is also a wonderful cause. It was fabulous last year and I am hoping for the same in 07".
The next 19 riders to register from today's date will be awarded a free BFBC classic long sleeve t-shirt as an early registration prize. No shirts will be sold and only a limited number will be printed.
Refueling Stations spaced every 50 kilometres along the 278-kilometre route offer a location for riders to check in and refuel, relay teams to switch riders on the road, event support crews to regroup, members of the media to gather interviews, and spectators to cheer on these incredible athletes.
The end result is thousands of dollars raised and great awareness for breakfast programs across P.E.I. as well as for P.E.I. as a bicicling tourist destination. There is a $10 registration fee and $50 suggested in pledges to be raised to participate in the event.
"The BFBC represents a victory over poverty, neglect, fear, and physical weakness," says Trenholm. "It offers cyclists the opportunity to work towards an ambitious personal goal, while drawing in others to supprt the future of our community and a right of all children."
Visit www.bikingforbreakfast.com for more information.