The Prospera Valley GranFondo sent hundreds of riders onto the streets of Langley and Abbotsford Sunday morning, for bike rides of up to 160 kilometres.
A gran fondo is a largely non-competitive mass bike ride, and this year’s event is the sixth annual ride starting in Fort Langley.
Some riders were taking part for the first time, and others have been coming for years.
One first timer was Theresa Allen.
“My sister and her husband bought me a bike and said, ‘Guess what you’re doing this year,'” said Allen.
Allen’s sister Vicki Lund and her brother-in-law Alan Lund have done the ride twice before. They’ll be taking part in the 50 km medio fondo and the 100 km presto fondo.
Alan said his strategy is to try not to slow down too much on the hills and not to get caught behind slower riders.
Some of the first-timers are still experienced.
Steve Fecho hasn’t ever done the Valley GranFondo before, but he’s taking on the 160 km route. A self described “MAMIL” or Middle Aged Man In Lycra, Fecho drove down from Squamish and slept in Langley to be ready for the 7 a.m. start of the ride.
He was riding with a number of other members of the group that rides out of Corso Cycles, a shop in Squamish.
“We do big ride events all the time,” Fecho said.
He’s done rides including the Vancouver and Victoria-area gran fondos, and has ridden from San Francisco to L.A.
“Always try it,” he said of taking up riding challenges. “Always just ride your bike.”
The longest route will take riders out into the Sumas Prairie and then north and over Sumas Mountain before they return to Langley.
Riders will return to meals and a beer garden at the Fort Langley National Historic Site.