|WINNIPEG – A swarm of brightly decorated bicycles took to the road, northbound on McPhillips St., on sunny Saturday morning, August 29. About 95 individual cyclists with many more riders from 10 local organizations participated in the Bike-B-Q Funride 2009, organized by Winnipeg City Councillor, Mike Pagtakhan and his executive assistant Noel Lapuz. |
“The Bike-B-Q is a celebration of the bicycle as a method of transportation, as a means to staying healthy and as a form of recreation mixed with a celebration of community and the sharing of a hearty meal,” said Pagtakhan.
Cyclists as young as six years old enjoyed the trek across the North End, which was escorted by members of the Winnipeg Police Service riding in cars, a motorcycle and, of course, several bicycles. Jose Lafiguera of the Pangasinan Group of Manitoba held the distinction of being the most senior of the cyclists at the age 74.
Members of the Association of Ilocano in Manitoba (AIM), Bicol Association of Manitoba, Couples for Christ, Davao Association of Manitoba, Ilocandia Association of Winnipeg (ILAW), Knights of Rizal, Mekeni Club of Winnipeg, North American Basketball Association (NABA), the Pangasinan Group of Manitoba (PGM) and Urban Youth Adventures rode along with other cyclists on a route from the Northgate Shopping Centre on McPhillips Street to Kildonan Park on Main Street.
Once at the park, participants and their supporters enjoyed a Filipino style barbecue and displayed their decorated bicycles before a panel of judges – Alison Pagsuyuin, Linda Eng of Young’s Trading and Emmie Joaquin of the Pilipino Express.
“To make things fun we encouraged participants to utilize their creative talents and to decorate their bikes in one of the seven sacred teachings of the Aboriginals. The Aboriginals have an amazing and beautiful culture that I wanted more of our community to get acquainted with in a cross-cultural manner by decorating their bikes,” explained Councillor Pagtakhan.
The winner of the overall best bike was Gil Gatpayat. He won an iPod Touch for his decorated bike and costume, which were based on the theme of love.
The Winnipeg Pigeon Racing Association also participated in the event. Its members released 100 trained pigeons that would make their way back to their trainer’s William Avenue home.
Several local businesses and individuals sponsored and contributed to the event, including the Vickar Autogroup, Canad Inns, McDonalds Restaurants, Jimel’s Bakery, Councillor Mike O’Shaugnessy, Randy Viray, La Merage Restaurant, Rowena and Jun Oquendo of the PGM with media support from Bike to the Future, Resource Conservation, CKJS Radio 810 AM and the Pilipino Express.
Benita Kliewer and Robert Reimer of Natural Cycle were on hand to provide free mechanical support and repairs, which saved the event for at least two cyclists – Paul Morrow of the Pilipino Express, whose bike suffered double valve failure, and Mario Rosario of AIM, whose rear tire blew out on Leila Avenue at the halfway mark of the journey.
“My expectations were greatly exceeded by the turnout,” Pagtakhan reported. “Seeing a sea of cyclists engulf two lanes northbound on McPhillips was simply awe inspiring! Along the way, motorists would wave and smile and provide a honk or two in support. I received tremendous feedback from many cyclists to do this event again next year. I like the sound of that,” said Pagtakhan.