Avid cyclists and mountain bike riders will ride the length of the island from Dockyard to Ferry Reach to raise funds to help the Bermuda Paralympic Association send para-athletes to compete abroad at the World Championships, Parapan Am Games and the Paralympics.
Paralympian Jessica Lewis and new coach Curtis Thom will be near the finish line on Kindley Field Road to ride a short distance with the cyclists towards the finish line. Thom is the son of Ken Thom, who was Lewis’s coach before he died in a scuba diving accident in South Africa last September.
“There is a long-distance mountain bike ride that takes place annually and this year Chris Roque is the main organiser and we rebranded it Pedal for Paralymics,” explained Ann Lindroth, president of the Bermuda Paralympic Association. “It will be mountain bikes as well as road bikes on different courses, starting in Dockyard and taking between two and four hours to complete.”
The Bermuda Paralympic Association is aiming to raise funds to send teams abroad, including a three-member boccia team of Yushae DeSilva-Andrade, Steve Wilson and Omar Hayward to the World Championships in Liverpool, England in August.
“Any funds that we get from the entry fees and donation pledges will go to the Bermuda Paralympic Association and this year we have three boccia players who have qualified for the Worlds in Liverpool,” Lindroth added.
“That’s really exciting because the US didn’t qualify anybody and Bermuda got three spots.
“We need to raise $25,000 for the next payment for the entry fee on April 5 and that’s what the big push is about. This year is a big year for bocci, next year is a big year for Jessica with the World Championships and the Parapan Am Games in Lima, Peru in 2019.”
Lindroth added: “Jessica and her new coach Curtis Thom flew in today and are going to do a two-hour meet and greet at Washington Mall (today, 11-1pm) and then Jessica and Curtis will be in their racing chairs and when the different packs of bikes come down Kindley Field Road they are going to wheel along with them.
“They’ll probably push for a certain distance and then let the bikes go and go back and when another pack comes they’ll do it again.
“His dad coached a club and Curtis has been thrust into his dad’s footsteps. He’s a wheelchair user himself full-time.”
Lindroth stressed that it is not a race, but a casual ride that will take the mountain bike riders along the railway trails and through parks at Scaur Hill and Shelly Bay. The ride will begin at 9.45am, with both scheduled to arrive around the same time at Ferry Reach Park.
“We haven’t changed the speed limits or closed any roads,” Lindroth stressed. “The weather reports are good so we’re excited about it.”
All participants raising $100 in pledges will be entered into a draw for prizes. Registration for participants is $25 for participants in advance or $30 on the day.