Every Ride Counted, 2023 Bike Challenge Sets Stage For Annual Event

By Fred Larsen – Special to SUNonline/Orillia

Active transportation (walking and cycling) is a key contributor to reducing our personal carbon footprints, while boosting health benefits and getting us outdoors into the fresh air. Over the past few years, Orillia has become much more bike friendly by increasing trails, bike lanes and resources to support more cycling year-round. Cycling is also a very efficient way to get around the city. Witness the Mariposa Folk Festival when cars were lined up on Highway 12 to get into Tudhope Park while cyclists whizzed through to handy lock up areas.   

Sustainable Orillia is pleased to support events that increase active transportation. In partnership with the Bike Stop of Orillia and the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, SO hosted a four-week Bike Challenge to encourage more Orillians to increase their cycling activity.  

The Challenge was launched with registration on a sunny, mid-May Sunday and got underway for real May 19. Cyclists were challenged to keep track of their rides for frequency and distance over a four-week period, using the app STRAVA for shared record-keeping.  For those unable to access the app, forms were available at the registration and at the Bike Stop during the Challenge period. Fifty cyclists registered, and as of, the closing date June 16, there were some impressive entries among those that completed the entire challenge.  

Using the app, cyclists entered the number of trips they took and the number of kilometres (by trip and in total) they cycled over the four week period. Two participants, one registering the most mileage and the other having made the most trips, were recognized with prizes at a presentation on June 24 at The Bike Stop.  Altogether, the participating cyclists completed 331 trips, covering 4,250 kilometres. 

Our two top winners were:

  • Matt Thomson for most distance travelled at 1,415 kilometres
  • Michael Bell for most trips with 42 trips recorded

Both Matt and Michael earned free bike tune-ups courtesy of the Bike Stop Orillia.

In addition to the awarding of these top prizes, a random draw was conducted to recognize other cyclists who committed to this year’s challenge.  The winners of the random draws were:

  • Mary Jo Pollack  – $100 gift certificate
  • Kathy Manners –Knog bike lights
  • Janet McMordie –Evo Clutch Bike Bag
  • Josh Lawlor McDonald – a T-Shirt from Pedal People
  • Carolyn Walsh – a Water Bottle & Cage

Congratulations and hats off to all of the participants in this inaugural bike challenge.  

Sustainable Orillia sends out a huge thanks to our partners, in particular to Paul and the team at the Bike Stop Orillia who hosted the presentation on June 24. 

(Image Supplied) Main: Josh Lawlor McDonald, Dave Campbell (City of Orillia councillor), Bike Challenge prize winners Matt Thomson, Mary Jo Pollack and Michael Bells, Paul Belanger (Bike Stop) and Dave VanAlstyne (Sustainable Orillia)


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