The sixth Prospera Granfondo Axel Merckx Okanagan is about more than just riding a bike.
It’s described as a “weekend of cycling camaraderie, family activities, Okanagan sunshine and regional delicacies,” by organizers.
“Penticton is a destination, whether having a reason to come and ride the bike, whether you’re a kid or a father or grandfather or whoever, can come with the whole family, can really make it a family weekend,” said founder Axel Merckx.
One thing he is hoping for is dry weather.
“The forecast is not very promising right now. It is the Okanagan and things can change very fast,” he said.
One thing that looks good for PGAMO are the number of cyclists, which will be in the 2,500 range again on July 10.
“We’re pretty happy with that number,” said Merckx, adding that he wouldn’t want to go over 3,000.
This year’s ride will have a couple notable names. Trevor Linden, president of hockey operations for the Vancouver Canucks, is returning with the TNA team. Former Canadian Olympian Silken Laumann is also participating. Merckx said she signed up not long ago, which made him very happy. Merckx hasn’t met the 51-year-old champion rower, who won a bronze for Canada in 1992, as well as bronze in 1984 and silver in 1996.
“It is interesting to kind of hear different stories from different athletes,” he said.
Also riding is Peter Reid, the three-time Ironman world champ and Ironman Canada champ, who has participated before. Members of Merckx’s Axeon Hagens Berman racing team will be out in Greg Daniel, the U.S. Pro Road racing champ, Justin Oein and Logan Owen. Global BC personalities Sophie Lui, Robin Gill and Samantha Falk are riding as well.
The granfondo, velocefondo, mediofondo and cortofondo all start at 7 a.m. Awards will be handed out at 2 p.m. and the finish line closes at 4 p.m.
Merckx said they try and have something for the whole family, even those who may not like cycling. Among the those available for kids is the FitKidz Kids Camp. Located on 199 Ellis St., FitKidz Gymnastics is less than a two-minute walk from the start/finish line, families can drop their kids off and go ride.
Pre-registration is required by calling 778-476-5348 with different fees depending on the number of hours. The family fun zone at Gyro Park is open from 2 to 4 p.m. The weekend events also include the kids Piccolofondo on Saturday, Lululemon’s Wheels and Reels on Friday from 7 to 8 p.m. at Gyro Park, the Granfondo women’s night Friday from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Bench Market and more.