Tour de BeaverTails brings visitors to the Valley this summer

A brand new bike rally will bring as many as two hundred riders and hikers to the historic village of Killaloe, about two hours west of Ottawa, for a fund-raising rally with a sweet twist on July 28 in support of vision care in the Ottawa Valley. Above: Jeremy Steenberg, Rachelle Clayton of the Killaloe and Area Lions Club and Ish Theilheimer of OVCATA make plans for the first-ever Tour de BeaverTails in Killaloe, Ontario. Photo submitted.

The first-ever Tour de BeaverTails offers routes for riders of all abilities plus a heritage walk through the friendly little town. Everyone who registers gets to celebrate, at the end, with a sweet treat. BeaverTails, which has become an international franchise corporation, was invented in Killaloe in the late 1970s.

“We thought combining a treat with healthy exercise would be a great way to encourage participation,” says organizer Ish Theilheimer, a director of Ottawa Valley Cycling and Active Transportation Alliance (OVCATA). “We found willing partners in the Killaloe and Area Lions Club and, of course, the BeaverTails folks.” Theilheimer has been friends with BeaverTails founders Grant and Pam Hooker since the 1970s, when they started their food business at the Killaloe Craft and Community Fair.

The Lions Club was eager to partner with OVCATA on this, as they have a new project they are raising money for. “Our Ottawa Valley Vision project will help identify people, especially school kids and seniors, with early detection of sight problems,” according to Lions’ Vice President Rachelle Clayton. “There are a lot of Ottawa Valley residents, especially school kids, who struggle with sight problems and don’t realize it. Early detection in school age children can alleviate all sorts of learning problems.  Killaloe Lions are raising money to purchase an eye refractor machine and train community volunteers to go into area schools, senior centres and other identified groups to conduct vision screening.”

One of the most enthusiastic riders in the event will be Jeremy Steenberg, a blind athlete from BC who grew up in Killaloe. He works with the blind community to encourage participation in sports. “I try to encourage visually-impaired people to get active.  Forty percent of blind people don’t go out at all,” he says.

Steenberg, who lost more than 95 percent of his vision in 2017 after a bike collision with a vehicle, enjoys competitive cross-country skiing as well as cycling, which he does on a tandem bike with a guide. Killaloe Lions have invited Steenberg to be their spokesperson for the Ottawa Valley Vision Project. 

Everyone registering gets lunch and a BeaverTail after the ride, and riders get a commemorative T-shirt. The cost of registration is $75 for adults and $35 for youth (13-18) and walkers. To get a T-shirt, riders must register a month in advance.

A crew of volunteers from OVCATA will lay out the rides and supervise them, with water stations along the way. The rides are:

  • Around the Town Classic – a 5-km heritage walk or 11-km family ride
  • Beaver Tails Beauty – a 63-km road ride through beautiful rolling terrain
  • Railroad Gravel-A-Rama, a 50-km. ride for gravel riders out the railway and then into the hills
  • Killaloe Sunrise Spectacular, a hilly, 97-km ride through Rockingham, Combermere, Foymount and Cormac.

All rides start and end in Station Park in downtown Killaloe.

“This is some of the best riding anywhere, and we’re proud to share it with visitors,” says Theilheimer. “And the partnership with BeaverTails and the Killaloe and Area Lions means that the proceeds go to an extremely worthy cause.”

The website describing the event is here

The link for registration is here

Theilheimer,I.,OVCATA(2024,May13) Tour de BeaverTails brings riders – and walkers – to Killaloe, July 28 [media release]

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