Bit of a surprise to read this morning that the St. Mary's Hospital Foundation is dropping the cycling portion of its spring fundraiser for the regional cardiac care centre.
Once known as the Manulife Bike for Heart, then the Manulife Bike and Hike for Heart, the event lost Manulife last year when the insurance company decided to focus on the June LPGA event as a fundraiser (which last year still benefited St. Mary's Hospital).
This year, the organizers have dropped the cycling portion and renamed the event, Hike for Heart (2013). It has shifted from early in June to Sunday, June 23, and will be held again at Waterloo Park.
I wondered whither this event after Manulife withdrew its major sponsorship. Manulife volunteers had staffed the tents and lined the routes, and Manulife teams had predominated among the corporate challenge teams. Their diminished profile was evident last year.
I can see how a walking event would be easier to handle: shorter routes, fewer police requirements, likely on sidewalks and walking trails rather than roads, etc.
But I'm really disappointed to see this event -- that used to be the first big cycling fundraiser of the season in Waterloo Region -- disappear from the calendar. Those people who want to cycle will likely switch their loyalties to the Cambridge Tour de Grand, although the charitable fundraising aspect is basically lost.
If you have been putting pressure on your co-workers or bosses to sponsor you for a ride in the Bike and Hike for Heart (because they put the touch on you for some other charity fundraiser), you'll have to find another venue.
Or you could leave the bike at home and join the St. Mary's walking event. Nothing wrong with walking.
St. Mary's promises that there will be a cycling event in 2014, in February. Frankly, if it's a spinning event, I can't see it being a big draw. Look up "boring" in the dictionary and I'm pretty sure "bicycling inside" is on the list of definitions. If it's an outside icicle bicycle event, that would be another story...