GranFondo Niagara Falls, a 125-kilometre ride through Niagara, took place on Saturday morning with over 1,000 riders participating in the inaugural ride that drew high praise from riders from around the world.
Loosely translated from Italian, granfondo means “big ride” or “great endurance.”‘
There were riders from across North America, and from a far a field as the United Kingdom and Japan.
The ride began and ended at Queen Victoria Park.
GranFondo Niagara Falls event director Dean Hachey said Saturday he had heard nothing but praise and support from participants.
“It has been just tremendous today,” he said. “I have countless happy people here.”
The ride started shortly before 7 a.m. and the route took riders through Niagara Falls, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Pelham, Thorold and then back to Niagara Falls.
There was a dedicated traffic-free lane for the entire course, allowing participants to ride at their own pace.
“The route, especially without any cars, was just spectacular,” Hachey said, adding he’s already looking at bringing the event back to Niagara next year.
Marshall said he’d definitely return if the Niagara Falls hosts an event next year.
“And, I’d bring a lot more people.”
Food and beverage tents were set up at Queen Victoria Park for the cyclists and the general public and there was also a free concert by Juno-award winning artists Jim Cuddy, of Blue Rodeo, and Barney Bentall.
Both musicians are avid cyclists and completed the ride before jumping on stage.
“They’ve been at our other GranFondo events and they were eager to come out and entertain us again,” Hachey said.