Principal of Cedar Elementary Melinda Gaberel shows off her school’s bike for the 2015 Tour de Rock bike raffle. Donated by Rivercity Therapeutic Centre – who also bought a ticket for the raffle for every student at Cedar – the bike is one of 14 being raffled off through local schools in support of the local rider Const. John Belanger

Schools and local businesses come together for annual Tour de Rock

Bike raffle to be held by each elementary school in the district

Local businesses have been buying up bikes from Canadian Tire like they’re going out of style.

Why wouldn’t they? They’re being given a deal on a kid’s bike and helmet combination for half-price so they can donate the package to local schools for a raffle in support of the 2015 Tour de Rock.

This year’s local Tour de Rock rider, Const. John Belanger, says it’s just another example of the community coming together to support the cause.

“There’s a bike in every elementary school and in the two middle schools,” says Belanger, making 14 in total, purchased and donated by 11 local businesses.

“For me it’s just about being included in it,” says Melinda Gaberel, principal of Cedar Elementary. She says the tour stopped at her school every year when she was in Port Hardy, and it was always a wonderful opportunity to show the kids what it means to give back.

“The excitement and the sense of pride and energy that is brought into a building when the riders ride in and the kids are all cheering – it’s amazing.”

Last year, the school strike/lockout situation caused additional stress during school opening around the time the tour was happening, so they missed out on the opportunity to engage with it, Belanger says.

“So it was kind of one of my goals when I became the rider this year – to get some bikes into the schools so that they all know about it.”

He also says that his plan is to encourage a yearly rotation between elementary schools to make sure they all get to see and experience the tour when it comes through town.

“Schools that don’t get a visit from the Tour de Rock this year will be on the list for next year. We’ve done that typically with the middle schools, but we haven’t with the elementary schools,” he says, adding he feels it’s important for all the kids in the district to see the Tour de Rock first hand, know what it stands for and to learn about social responsibility and the value of giving.

The bikes are being raffled off at only $2 per ticket, and sales will be cut off at noon on Sept. 22, at which point Belanger and his team will be going around to the various schools to draw for the bikes.

Every child at Cedar Elementary already has a ticket for theirs, thanks to Rivercity Therapeutic Centre, who not only bought the bike and helmet for Cedar’s raffle, but has also purchased a ticket for every child at the school.

There is also another ongoing raffle happening throughout the month – and until the tour finishes in Victoria – for two tickets anywhere WestJet flies. Tickets for that raffle can be purchased at the Campbell River RCMP detachment or at Tyee Chevrolet Buick GMC for $5 each or three for $10.

Another upcoming fundraiser for the tour include a bike rodeo planned for the afternoon of Sunday, Sept. 20, at the Campbell River Christian School parking lot.

“There’s going to be lots of fun things happening at that,” Belanger says. “There’s going to be face painting, a Bounce-A-Rama, all kinds of entertainment and fun.”

Belanger says he’s currently sitting “right around the $40,000 mark,” in terms of fundraising, but he’s only raised about $3,000 specifically for his moustache.

Yes. His iconic handlebar moustache has its own fund. Belanger has committed to shaving his face completely – and saying goodbye to his long-time friend – if $5,000 is raised specifically for him to do so.

If you want to donate specifically towards the removal of Belanger’s iconic facial hair, you need to donate through his fundraising website (which we will link to on this story at campbellrivermirror.com) and leave a note specifying it’s for “Dash the Stache.”

For tickets for the school bike raffle, contact the office of elementary or middle school of your choice.