Snowshoes

Blueberries and snowshoes: bikers gain momentum despite challenges from COVID-19

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As everyone in sports during the global COVID-19 pandemic knows, everyone has been forced to adapt to maintain their favorite activity.

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But, as COVID-19 knows, the sports world is finding a way, from the Olympics to the local level.

In the backcountry of the Greater Sudbury region, members of STARA, the Sudbury Trail and Adventure Riders Association, always put on their helmets and set off to enjoy the local trails.

One of the initiatives related to COVID-19 was a “Moto Photo Adventure Challenge” club, says Vanessa Cartwright, social media manager and STARA board member.

“We came up with (this) when the restrictions were tight and the members still had something to do.”

STARA cyclists have traveled through the region, finding sites like the Big Nickel, the north shore of Lake Wahnipitae, and the Railway Heritage Museum in Capreol.  Provided
STARA cyclists have traveled through the region, finding sites like the Big Nickel, the north shore of Lake Wahnipitae, and the Railway Heritage Museum in Capreol. Provided

Club members were given GPS coordinates and then had to individually ride their motorcycles to the coordinates.

“The member who found the most contact details with photo proof won a free membership for next year,” says Cartwright.

The riders’ journeys took them through the region, finding sites like the Big Nickel, the north shore of Lake Wahnipitae, and the Railway Heritage Museum in Capreol.

“All different places for our members to discover. Some were more difficult than others of course!

STARA was launched in 2019. In 2020, the global pandemic took over; however, STARA still had 100 members.

“Last summer (the restrictions) were lifted at one point, so we were able to put things in place.”

This year they have 175 members. They do not all appear at the same time; they’re not all local either, says Cartwright.

“You can choose to support other clubs. Some of these (members) are people from Toronto who have chosen to support our club because we are new. They want to come and explore the beautiful North.

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STARA has faced some challenges, but they “definitely follow all COVID guidelines,” she says.

Looking for something to do

With COVID-19 limiting travel, people are staying at home. As a result, the motorsport industry has “gone mad,” she recalls.

“You can’t buy and you can’t find motorcycles. All used motorcycles go for COVID prices, well above. “

It is also difficult to find the equipment and clothing, she adds.

Yet it was doable. In fact, now in his third season of driving, Cartwright has decided to hit the racing circuit this summer.

“I didn’t think I was good enough to start running yet,” she says. “It’s pretty intimidating to try something new and take a chance.”

Still, she and her daughter, Everly, 6, raced with another family from Sudbury, Cloyne, Ont., In early August as part of Off-Road Ontario Cross Country & Enduro Motorcycle Racing. Cartwright has been on the podium twice. The father of the other family also well placed, she adds.

Next up is the two-day, six-hour-a-day race at the 2021 Corduroy Enduro, this September in Gooderham, Ont.

Drive locally

In the meantime, STARA is not a racing organization.

It’s a family sport for riders of all skill levels, she says. STARA is owned by the Ontario Federation of Trail Riders. This allows STARA club members to ride on trails elsewhere in the province.

STARA has four properties that its riders can use. Three are on the private property of club members. Then there is the partnership with the Capreol Ski Club.

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“Which is good because the trails we have built in winter will become snowshoe trails. We maintain the trails and they can use it in the winter. It’s a win-win for both clubs.

The next stop for the club is their Blueberry Hustle, a ride from Chelmsford to Capreol. The Capreol Ski Club will organize a barbecue for runners.

In September there is a club fundraiser known as the Fall Funduro with games, slow runs – “all kinds of activities for the kids.” You must be a member to participate. “

To find out more: bit.ly/3sb2pdQ, or find the club on Facebook and Instagram.

[email protected]

Twitter: @SudburyStar

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