Raj Makkar remembers waiting for the cyclists to show up during the first Heartland Tour ride in Truro, but they never appeared. He and two other organizers were the only people around.
“We had zero participants,” he said with a laugh. “We’ve learned to promote it better since then. There were more than 150 participants last year.”
Dr. Nick Giacomantonio created the tour 13 years ago and is a member of the core team, which spends a week travelling to eight communities across Nova Scotia to take part in rides.
Makkar has been an organizer for the Truro ride each year.
“I’ve always been into biking; it’s something I enjoy,’ he said. “We have a very vibrant cycling community here and we have great support for the ride. Subway provides food, The RECC provides shower facilities for the core team, and Hub Cycle and Bike Monkey get involved. It’s the huge community partnership that makes it happen.”
People can take part in a 15K trail ride through Victoria Park, a 20K road ride, a 45K road ride or a walk in the park.
Makkar was thrilled when, after one ride, a woman told him about the positive change it had brought about in her life.
“Even if this changes one person’s life, it’s worth it,” he said. “It provides mental and physical benefits and it’s not just for people who bike a lot. It’s a fun event and I’d encourage people to come out and give it a try.
“The main theme is getting people out and moving and having fun. You can give yourself the gift of fitness and it’ll pay off for the rest of your life.”
The Truro event begins at 8:30 a.m. on July 10 in Victoria Park.
Saturday, July 6: Halifax
Sunday, July 7: New Glasgow
Monday, July 8: Sydney
Tuesday, July 9: Antigonish
Wednesday, July 10: Truro
Thursday, July 11: Bridgewater
Friday, July 12: Annapolis Royal
Saturday, July 13: Yarmouth