Organizer Marc Campbell, his staff and an army of volunteers have been prepping for the Prospera Valley GranFondo for months. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance)

GranFondo riders to rally in Fraser Valley Sunday

The massive bike ride will send 1,400 cyclists through the Fraser Valley.

This Sunday morning, hundreds of cyclists will roll out of Fort Langley on journeys ranging from 50 to 160 kilometers through the Fraser Valley.

“It’s really quiet exciting to be at the start gate with 1,400 other people,” said Marc Campbell, event director of the Prospera Valley GranFondo.

The Prospera Valley GranFondo is only six years old, but it is still one of the oldest events of its kind in British Columbia.

A GranFondo (from Italian for “big ride”) is a non-competitive mass bike ride. Unlike a race, most participants aren’t worried about finishing first. Cycling clubs, friends, and individual riders can all sign up to take part.

The Fraser Valley’s fondo includes three rides – a 50 kilometre PrestoFondo, a 100 kilometre MedioFondo, and the GranFondo itself, a little more than 160 kilometres (100 miles) in length. Riders pick the route that lines up with their fitness level, allowing less experienced riders to get a taste of the sport.

Each route starts at the Fort Langley National Historic Site, and riders wind through Langley, Abbotsford, and as far east as Yarrow before looping back to its starting point. On the way, riders on the longest route will go over rolling hills, the flats of the Fraser Valley, and face the challenge of scaling Sumas Mountain.

“There’s so many different stretches out there that are just stunning,” said Campbell. He mentions stretches of River Road along the Fraser, Majuba Hill in the Fraser Valley and the descent of Sumas Mountain as some of his favourites.

Local riders know about the scenery and open country roads with light traffic, but some cyclists from Vancouver and other urban areas are surprised to discover what’s in their back yards, Campbell said.

“It blows their minds,” he said.

Staging the Valley GranFondo isn’t just about getting the riders lined up for the start, though. There are support crews and road control workers along the whole route, keeping intersections safe and refuelling the riders with water and food.

“We have over 200 volunteers,” said Campbell, who said it is ultimately a grassroots event with just five actual employees.

The biggest expense is the more than 130 traffic controllers from Universal Traffic who will be at intersections along the route on the day of the ride.

The goal of the event is to create a positive cycling experience that’s safe and fun, Campbell said.

The Valley GranFondo is a non-profit enterprise. Remaining funds are poured into youth cycling programs around B.C.

Despite running the program, and other popular cycling events, Campbell has yet to take part himself – he’s been too busy on ride day before.

“I am considering it this year,” he said, as he might take part in the 100 kilometre ride.

Just Posted

Kelly Janveaux announces her candidacy for School Board Trustee

A long-time youth advocate, this will be Janveaux’s first time running in a public election

Mt. Hicks fire 15% contained, continues to burn north of Agassiz

The fire, suspected to be caused by a vehicle with a flat tire, not threatening any structures

UPDATE: Anonymous tip leads DFO night patrol to Fraser River poachers

Charges pending after poachers arrested at night while fishing, 48 sockeye, harbour seal seized

Chilliwack is home to Sasquatch, the first Canadian-designed hops plant

Created by Hops Connect, the Sasquatch hop is the country’s first patented hops plant

Retro meets modern design with idea for iconic Paramount sign

Proposed Paramount Project plans for downtown Chilliwack unveiled Monday

B.C. wildfires 2018: Hazy skies impacting crews in spotting new fires

18,000 people are on an evacuation alert, with 3,000 homes under an evacuation order

Minister optimistic after 2 days of Columbia River Treaty negotiations

Canadian and U.S. officials met in Nelson Wednesday and Thursday to discuss future of the treaty

Man dies in B.C. police cell while awaiting court hearing

An independent investigation is underway after a man died while in Penticton police custody Aug. 16

RCMP appeal for tips, dashcam footage in German tourist shooting west of Calgary

The Durango crashed into the ditch after the shooting near the Goodstoney Rodeo Centre

2 nurses attacked at B.C. psych hospital, union calls for in-unit security

PHSA says that in-unit guards would do more harm than good

Former B.C. optician won’t be jailed for sexually assaulting minor

Kenneth Pilkington sentenced to 24 months’ probation for offence three decades ago

Police responding to ‘unfolding’ incident in Maple Ridge suburb

Helicopter, dog team, guns drawn and 16 police vehicles at Maple Ridge property

Red Cross now accepting donations for those impacted by B.C. wildfires

The Canadian Red Cross is asking for help now and in the weeks and months ahead.

1954-built trolleybus hits Vancouver roads for 70th anniversary

TransLink to offer free rides on a retrofitted electric trolley bus to commemorate anniversary

Most Read