Heartland bike tour July 15

Anticipation is building in Pictou County for the arrival of the 11th annual Heartland Bike Tour on Saturday.

The tour will grace the county while drawing on the Canada 150 theme to complete its 2017 edition of rides around Pictou County after visiting Halifax, Yarmouth, Annapolis Royal and Bridgewater. The tour visited Truro on Wednesday before stops in Sydney on Thursday and Antigonish on Friday.

Kathy Saulnier is the local co-ordinator and has been a local core member of the team since the tour was founded and helps with the Pictou County visit. She was among those who took part in the tour in Truro.

“I think we’re getting people moving,” she said. “There are only a couple of us left who have been to all 11 tours, but our numbers are higher than they’ve ever been and I have been having a wonderful time.”

The goal is to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary by encouraging people to commit to 150 minutes of physical activity a week.

The day begins at 8:30 a.m. with opening ceremonies and warm-up exercises at the Pictou County Wellness Centre. Pre-registration is preferred and can be done on the Heartland Tour website.

The adult cycle tour will start at 9 a.m., is 50 kilometres long and winds through Lyons Brook for a break there and back to the Wellness Centre by noon.

Walks begin at 9 a.m. over distance of either 3.5 or five kilometres from the Wellness Centre and back.

“The walk numbers are highest in Pictou County,” Saulnier said.

A cycle event at 12:15 p.m. in the Wellness Centre parking is being provided for children under the age of 10 on a closed circuit. The more they ride the more chances they have to win a new bike and other prizes.

There will be lunch and prizes awarded at 1 p.m. inside the Wellness Centre. The event will include the Big Heart Award before wrapping up the 2017 Heartland Tour.

The Heartland Tour began 11 years ago when two medical doctors, brothers Nicholas and Carman Giacomantonio, started the event to advocate for fitness and spread the message that cardiac disease and cancer could be combated through physical activity.

They chose the bicycle to promote how essential physical activity is to a population’s health and well-being.