Sold out event draws 220 riders for Manitoulin Passage Ride 2016
By Alicia McCutcheon - Jun 8, 2016 The family that Passage Rides together... Passage Ride 2016 was a great family event. MANITOULIN—The annual Manitoulin Passage Ride has once again been hailed as a major success for the Manitoulin Island Cycling Advocates (MICA), who host the event, and for the economy of Manitoulin as a whole. It was a sold out ride of 220 registered riders, 140 of whom sailed to Manitoulin via the Chi-Cheemaun ferry. MICA President Maja Mielonen noted that of the cyclists who did not sail to the Island, most came from across Northern Ontario, including Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie and North Bay.Manitoulin roads are a popular cycling destination, especially along the paved shoulders of Highway 6.
The Central Manitoulin Lions Club hosted a dinner and dance for the cycling guests on Saturday night with 240 people in attendance for the meal (with food by Garden’s Gate and the Burt Farm) with entertainment by Amanda Davids and the FunkRiders. Farquhar’s chocolate milk for the weekend was also provided by the Manitoulin West Sudbury Dairy Producers. This year, there were three support stations located at Kenjgewin Teg in M’Chigeeng, LocoBeanz in Manitowaning and Northwind Adventures in Kagawong. On Saturday, sponsored by Kenj and 4elements, presentations by Justin Tilson on sustainable transportation and Pat McGibbon on fixing bike tires added to the scenic rides around Manitoulin. Ms. McGibbon also doubled as this year’s bike medic. Many of the cyclists also toured the newly opened Muchmor Gallery in Providence Bay “and were just floored by how beautiful it was,” Ms. Mielonen said. On Day 2 in Tehkummah, the Triangle Club put on a spread for the Passage Ride lunch complete with music by The Islanders. Ms. Mielonen said the cyclists were blown away by the “authenticity” of the Tehkummah event. She also gave a nod to Ontario Provincial Police Community Services Office Steve Hart for his help with ensuring a safe ride for everyone and helping when necessary. “There are more and more big groups that are coming,” the MICA president said, noting that about 50 riders came a day earlier and others didn’t depart until Monday, thanks to a partnership with the Chi-Cheemaun that gives cyclists free passage from the Friday to Monday. The Passage Ride expressed its gratitude to the Chi-Cheemaun by making the new Chi-Cheemaun brand feather wake logo the front of the 2016 jersey. Ms. Mielonen also took the opportunity on Saturday night to announce the launch of the Alvar Treasure Rides all-inclusive cycling package coming this September. The package includes five days of cycling and four nights including ferry passage, four breakfasts, five lunches and four suppers, luggage shuttle, a cycling route map and museum fees for $980/person plus tax for double occupancy or $1,200/person plus tax for single occupancy. Algoma-Manitoulin MP Michael Mantha was also on hand for the Saturday evening dinner and spoke to the cyclists on MICA’s good works with getting Island shoulders paved and its current battle to see Highway 540 among them. (Everyone signed MICA’s current petition to the Ontario government.) Mr. Mantha is the co-chair of the All-Stripe Cycling Caucus in the Ontario legislature and has worked with Ms. Mielonen and the rest of MICA on all of her lobbying efforts.Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Mike Mantha joins Maja Meilonen and Guy Nielon in celebrating the success of this year’s passage ride. “We’re fighting like heck for Highway 540,” she said. “Since (the paving of the shoulders) of Highway 6, a lot has happened. Everyone wants in on the paved shoulders and there’s more government focus.” Ms. Mielonen hinted that there could be more lobbying in MICA’s future too, this time to lobby municipalities to pave their shoulders. Ms. Mielonen praised the numerous businesses that helped make the Passage Ride a success. “It’s all coming together.”