‘Big Bike’ pedals past expectations

More than $11,000 was raised during the 1998 Big Bike for Stroke fundraiser here Monday, surpassing the expectations of organizers by several thousand dollars.
Ride co-ordinator Faye Flatt said she and organizer Ann-Elizabeth Johnson were hoping to raise $5,000-$6,000 for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario.
But after the bicycle made for 30 made six trips over a five-km route around Fort Frances, the pledges totalled up to more than double their original goal.
“We had $10,767 and some odd change in pledges alone,” Flatt said, adding an additional corporate donation from Abitibi-Consolidated put them over the $11,000 mark.
“I couldn’t believe it,” she added, noting the pledges from the first two teams to ride the bike–the “Local Yokals” (the municipal team) and “Code Blue” (the first response team)–totalled nearly $6,100.
“We put ourselves on the map,” Flatt enthused.
Other teams that hit the road Monday included “Riverside’s Choice” and the “Health Angels,” the first representing hospital workers and the second from the local Northwestern Health Unit.
“Media Frenzy,” comprised of staff from the Fort Frances Times and CFOB, also fielded a crew along with “Team Canadian Tire.”
The teams, which ranged in size from 15-30, started from the corner of Armit Avenue and Scott Street, then went down to Central Avenue, up to Second Street East, made a right turn at Memorial Arena, and then back on Scott Street to Safeway.
“It was most enjoyable, pretty cool,” said Dave Mar of Team Canadian Tire. “It was a lot harder than I thought, holy man! Half the people were pedalling and half were riding.”
“It was more difficult than I expected,” echoed Theresa Addison, who rode with Riverside’s Choice. “My legs were too short. I got off walking like I just got off a horse.”
“If you were short, you were pushing with the tip of your toes,” agreed Lori Daw of Code Blue.
“And that’s hard to do with steel toes because you can’t feel [the pedals],” added teammate Sandra Gosselin.
Code Blue managed topped the field in fundraising with $3,203.90, winning a pizza party compliments of Pizza Hut. The Local Yokals took second place with $2,892 raised.
Mary Sutton was the highest pledge earner, raising more than $830 in pledges, while Dale Gustafson was next with more than $500.
Flatt said a lot of thanks is owed to Abitibi-Consolidated, La Place Rendez-Vous, Mar-te Sports, Pizza Hut, Sight and Sound, and Skates and Blades which sponsored the event.