More than 160 bikers pedalled through parts of Pictou County last Thursday in profiling a healthy heart through exercise during the 2016 Heartland Bike Tour.
The Pictou County Wellness Centre was the headquarters for the 10th edition of the tour that takes place in various parts of Nova Scotia each summer.
Kathy Saulnier organized the local group that hosted the event.
“We had a great turnout, especially considering it was a week day,” she said. “This is the biggest ride yet (in Pictou County). We have brand new cyclists who make this grow. I’m so impressed.”
Those taking part vary in age and skill level but all have a joint effort of celebrating fitness and athletic excellence through cycling.
“I’ve doing it for eight years,” Anne Chisholm said.
For Richard Cameron, his Heartland ride on Thursday was his first since undergoing open-heart surgery.
“I feel amazing,” he said. “A lot of it is being positive. If you have a positive attitude, you perform better.”
Kade Moser and Peter Corbin were among the younger bikers in the tour.
“This is my third year doing it,” said Moser, who is 10 and completed a five-kilometer portion of the ride.
“I’ve been doing them since 2012,” Corbin said. “I thought I’d support the original one. My father was on the committee with Kathy. She asked if I’d take part and I said sure.”
Corbin was among those who completed the 50-K ride through parts of urban and rural Pictou County.
“It was a great ride,” he said.
Pictou County Cycle, led by its owner Clint Snell, had a huge presence, most of them wearing their newer black and orange tops. Snell changed four tires during the 50-K trip.
Pictou County YMCA CEO Dave MacIntyre saluted the common cause with Heartland of achieving healthier lifestyles and outcomes.
“Our missions are the same,” he said. ”You say a healthier you one kilometre at a time. We say one family at a time.”
New Glasgow Mayor Barrie MacMillan congratulated those who volunteer for and have taken part in the tour each year.
“The public awareness campaign of the Heartland Tour gives our residents an opportunity to learn about lifestyle related cardiac and general health risk factors as well as valuable information on ways to prevent them,” he said.
Besides the bike rides, a group walked on sidewalks along nearby streets in the Albion commercial park.
Heartland tour bikers depart from the Pictou County Wellness Centre. (Goodwin photo)