Sustainable Orillia Bike Challenge Winners

By Susanne Laperle – Special to SUNonline/Orillia

The 2024 Sustainable Orillia Bike Challenge, Sustainable Spokes Healthy Folks, concluded June 8. Last Saturday winners of this year’s challenge received their well earned recognition. The group met at The Bike Stop where event co-chair Doug Daley kicked off the presentations with a brief intro on the event, its objectives and the assembled community of enthusiasts.

This is the second year Sustainable Orillia organized in partnership with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit the Bike Challenge, with great help from lead sponsor The Bike Stop. Participation in the 2024 event increased by 20% over 2023, which is a promising sign for the future of cycling in our community. 

Alongside Doug for the presentations were The Bike Stop’s Paul Belanger, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit’s Charlotte Knegt and Orillia councillor David Campbell. They presented certificates and prizes to the winners. This year there were first, second and third prizes awarded for three categories:

  • Adult  –  most kilometres cycled
  • Youth (14 and under) – most kilometres cycled, and
  • Adult – most cycling trips registered. 

In the youth category, one family, the Oldfields, swept the category and took first, second and third place. Encouraged and accompanied on their rides by their grandmother, Heather Shilling, eleven-year-old Madelynn Oldfield and her seven-year-old sister Kaydence both rode 23.9 km.  And believe it or not, their younger brother, three-years-old Greyson rode 15 km. to earn third place.

In the adult most kilometres cycled category, dedicated cyclist Matt Thomson once again claimed first place having travelled 1723 kilometres during the challenge period. Second-place, with 924 km cycled, was Jay Rothenburg, followed closely by first-time challenger, Donna Winters, who cycled 914 km. 

The adult most trips cycled category was won by returning participant, Michael Bells with 57 trips. Matt Thomson earned second place with 53 trips, and third place went to Wilfred Wong who registered 37 trips.

Overall, participants were challenged to cycle a total distance equal to or more than 7560 kilometres (the distance across Canada). The Sustainable Orillia Bike Challenge participants blew through that goal handily.  By the end of the challenge, in geographic terms they had cycled across the country and half-way back, having registered a combined total of 10,767 kilometres. In response to that accomplishment, Sustainable Orillia is making a $100 donation towards the local Eco-Justice project to implement a community refrigerator at St. Paul’s United Church. 

Everyone present expressed enthusiasm for the event and for cycling as a healthy, enjoyable and eco-friendly alternative. Matt Thomson shared how cycling gets us out into our neighbourhoods and on the many trails we have close by. Michael Bells built on that, referencing the increased support for cycling as more bike trails and lanes come on stream.  Donna Winters is looking forward to catching Matt’s mileage next year.  

Hats off to Heather Shilling who saw an opportunity to involve her three grandchildren in this event and cycled with them to and from their local school, where she also works. It is a testimonial to how families can make cycling a healthy part of their shared lifestyle.

In addition to the generous contributions of The Bike Stop, Sustainable Orillia and the  Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit thanks the other valued contributors to the success of this year’s event, including Crank and Sprocket, Bikeland, Pedal People, Hardwood Hills, Horseshoe Valley Resort and our neighbouring townships of Severn, Oro-Medonte and Ramara,  along with Sustainable Orillia director, Dave VanAlstyne, who was unable to attend the award presentations, but without whom, this event would not have gotten off the ground

(Image Supplied) Main: Sustainable Orillia 2024 Bike Challenge Winners


Support Independent Journalism