The Blizzard Bike Club upheld a long-standing tradition on Tuesday afternoon when seven members met outside of A&W off of the Alaska Highway to take part in the club’s annual New Year’s Day Ride on Jan. 1.
Since 1985 the club has rode (rather casually) on Jan. 1, regardless of temperature or weather conditions, although a few things have changed since the ride began 27 years ago.
“Originally you had to have a tweed coat and one of those English hats and all of that for it,” said Pat Ferris, laughing. “I’ve got pictures of that, but we’re not doing that now, no way.”
Instead the seven bikers were in full thermal cycling gear and toques to hit the slushy roads in the sun and temperatures hovering around zero
“It’s funny,” Ferris said, “When it’s colder that this we actually get more guys out. When it’s -20 we’ll get a dozen riders or more. It’s weird.”
“This is marvelous though,” he added. “Gord [Harris] and I were wondering what we’d get for temperatures.”
While many in Fort St. John were coping with New Year’s hangovers, committed Blizzard members cycled down the streets on Tuesday, unaffected by the changeover to 2013, although speed skater Jay Morrison guiltily admitted he had some M&M chocolates to celebrate.
2013 will mark Blizzard Bike Club’s 31st year in the city. While club’s in Dawson Creek and Grande Prairie have folded, the cycling tradition in the Energetic City stays strong and is still growing.
“We’re always hoping to get the Challenge Cup going again,” Ferris said. “Grande Prairie fizzled out and Dawson Creek fizzled out, but I’m hoping they’ll show some interest to get them going again because that was always a fun series between the three towns.”
As usual, Blizzard members are preparing for a big year of duathlons, triathlons and Ironman competitions in town and across the continent, representing their club and their city in a variety of events.
“We’re generally scattered all over the place,” Ferris said. “We’ve got a few people who will do the Ironman, of course.”
“In Blizzard we do everything. If it’s got a wheel on it of any kind, we don’t care.”
Then there’s the club’s indoor turbo-training, cyclo-cross and mountain biking events as well. It’s not just about your average cycling.
“Lots of people join [Blizzard] just to cross-train,” Gord Harris said.
“And we always get a crowd of newbies to turbo-train in the winter time,” added Ferris. “It’s indoor, you sit in one place and just pedal along with everyone.”
Ferris said he’s looking forward to 2013 for a couple reasons, one being that his broken collarbone has healed and he can compete again; another is that he’s excited for what the members will achieve in and out of town this upcoming year.