Richard Faber was taking part in his first group ride when he headed out on the HeartLand Tour ride Wednesday morning.
The Truro man is finding cycling helps him in several ways.
“I got into it for mental health reasons, and now I’m in better shape and I’ve lost weight,” he said. “This has helped me a lot.”
Although he hadn’t biked for about five years, he started cycling again in February.
“Doing 12 kilometres on the flat just about killed me at first,” he said. “Now I do 30 kilometres most days, sometimes twice a day.”
His longest ride was 100 kilometres, and took in the Maitland area.
Kerry Chisholm has ridden with the tour for the past three or four years.
“I like the people; everyone is so supportive,” she said. “This is a great way to get people active and out together and it’s a great workout.”
She does quite a bit of mountain and road biking with her boyfriend.
Both Faber and Chisholm were cycling in long ride, which is 43.9 kilometres.
Raj Makkar has been the organizer of the Truro stop for all 12 years.
“I was asked, just the day before the ride, to organize the first one,” he recalled. “We only had a handful of people, and now we have over 200. We just want to get people moving, so it’s great to see this turnout.”
Dr. Carman Giacomantonio, who has been travelling across Nova Scotia with the tour, noted that “without community leaders like Raj these things don’t happen.”
He said there has been great support, from individuals and businesses, across the province, and that all costs are covered through sponsorship.
Dr. Nick Giacomantonio, creator of the tour, and director of cardiac rehabilitation and prevention at the QE ll Health Centre, is thrilled with the growth of the tour.
“It’s a community entity,” he said. “In each area, the event is owned by the community, and that’s what makes it successful.
“It’s all about health. Health is wealth.”