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Slow Food Cycle Sunday to charge registration fee

Pemberton's annual gathering of biking food enthusiasts set for Aug. 17

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A $5 registration fee is being introduced for the 10th Slow Food Cycle Sunday in Pemberton to help cover administration costs.

David MacKenzie, Tourism Pemberton's president, said with his organization taking over the event this year, a professional event manager has been hired. Recommendations from the event last year included the creation of safety and traffic management plans.

Last year the event was marred by a tragic traffic accident, which took the life of one person and injured several others — no cyclists were hurt, but it created a community discussion about the safety of those on the road during the event.

One issue being looked at is the congestion created by cyclists at popular stopping points where ice cream and drinks are traditionally sold.

"We'd be looking at putting additional volunteers and flaggers in those areas to keep the cyclists safe," said MacKenzie, adding that the maximum family fee will be $20 to keep the event affordable.

"We just want to be able to better manage those congested areas and keep the flow going as well," MacKenzie added.

He said the traffic management plan would also include flag people at busy intersections along the 50-km ride on Pemberton Meadows Road. The plan is to stop vehicles and remind drivers of what is happening on the road. The event volunteers will also remind cyclists the event is taking place on a provincially recognized road and the rules of the road must be followed.

MacKenzie said event participants would have the option of pre-registering for the event.

"We're really going to be encouraging people to go to our website," said MacKenzie. "You can prepay. We will have a payment scheme set up there."

At this point the registration location on the day of the event hasn't been finalized, but MacKenzie said the first choice is to make the new community barn the central registration place. The old high school is also being looked at as a possibility.

MacKenzie pointed out the date this year is consistent with previous years when the event has taken place on the third Sunday in August.

Anna Helmer and Lisa Richardson launched the event nine years ago, which gives participants a chance to connect with their food and the land. Last year more than 4,000 people jumped on their bikes to ride Pemberton Meadows Road.

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