Views of Lower Arrow Lake as seen from the Columbia and Western Railway trail between Castlegar and Paulson. You can ride on the trail on Aug. 15 as part of a fundraiser for Our Daily Bread.

Tenth annual Pedal Along a Rail Trail coming

It's not to late to register for the mountain bike ride that travels on the Columbia and Western Railway trail from Paulson to Castlegar.

If you love the outdoors, cycling, and would like to help those in need, it’s time to register for the 10th annual Pedal Along a Rail Trail (P.A.R.T 10) which travels on the Columbia and Western Railway on Saturday, Aug. 15.

The 64 km route takes mountain bikers along the old Canadian Pacific rail line from the Paulson Detour Road to the Celgar mill parking lot near Castlegar. It is an incredibly scenic four-to-five hour ride with trestles, tunnels, and spectacular views from high above Arrow Lake.

The McCormick Creek trestle. Greg Nesteroff photo

Pastor Jim Reimer, of Kootenay Christian Fellowship said ride is “absolutely phenomenal,” praising the scenery, as well as the historical memorial to Doukhobor leader Peter (Lordly) Verigin who was among nine people killed when the train he was riding mysteriously blew up in 1924.

There are four tunnels — the largest of which is curved and at nearly one kilometre long leaves people in complete darkness.

“It’s worth it just for that,” said Reimer. “Just to see the engineering. They started digging the tunnel on either side and managed to meet in the middle.”

Reimer has participated in the ride several times and emphasizes that it’s a ride, not a race.

“We want to people to enjoy the ride,” he said.

The first seven kilometres is a gentle uphill with a friendly 2.5 per cent grade and after that, it’s all downhill. Riders are treated to a healthy meal at the end.

Reimer said it’s a great cause as well as the annual fundraiser averages $10,000 each year. The entry fee covers the shuttle costs but he hopes folks are inspired to find sponsors as a fundraiser to support Our Daily Bread,  Nelson’s only hot lunch program, which operates five days a week from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and serves more than 90 people.

“Many of our guests are homeless, at risk of homelessness, seniors, mentally ill or are among the working poor,” said Reimer. “The meal we provide is often the only meal they will eat for the day.”

Transportation is provided,with a bike shuttle pick up at one of two locations:

•    Kootenay Christian Fellowship parking lot, 520 Falls St. in Nelson at 7 a.m.

•    1801 Connors Road (Castlegar Christian Fellowship) in Castlegar at 8:15 a.m.

A support vehicle will travel with the group in the event anyone needs help but riders should bring water, snacks, a lunch, and a light for the tunnel. Helmets are mandatory. At the end of the ride, a hot meal will be provided as part of the $70 registration fee.

If you prefer, you can raise pledges for Our Daily Bread. If you raise $125 or more, your registration fee will be waived.

For more information about the ride or to register, contact 1-888-761-3301 or office@kcfoffice.com. Registrations can also be found online at kootenaychristianfellowship.com. Space is limited and the registration deadline is Aug. 10.

For more information on Our Daily Bread, go to kootenaychristianfellowship.com/odb.html, or stop in for lunch and see Our Daily Bread’s success.

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