SENIORS WEEK: Retirement doesn’t slow down Alberni cyclists

If you think cyclists slow down once they hit retirement, you can think again.

Rob Watson

Rob Watson

If you think cyclists slow down once they hit retirement, you can think again.

Bob Hunter, who heads up the weekly Sunshine Club Easy Riders cycling group, takes his riders anywhere from McLean Mill to down-Island and beyond.

“Our rides are generally two hours long, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., but we do go out of town and the out of town rides are longer,” said Hunter.

“We usually ride from the bottom of Johnston to the Orange Bridge by way of Hector Road.

The cyclists have been all around Vancouver Island, both in and out of the Alberni Valley.

“We’ve been to McLean’s Mill and we’ve also been to the end of Beaver Creek,” Hunter said.

“We’ve done the Kinsol Trestle. I’ve been in twice: I’ve gone in from Shawnigan Lake which is a short ride of about a mile and the other road we went in from behind Duncan and it’s part of the TransCanada Trail.”

Hunter, who’s been cycling for close to 70 years with only a short break to get his knees replaced, has taken his group of six riders as far afield as the Okanagan.

“Kettle Valley was a very interesting trail. You can make a camping trip out of it with covering so much a day,” he said.

The Easy Riders flew to Penticton and took a shuttle bus to the start of the trail.

“We were on the bikes for nine hours back to Penticton from the top at Myra Canyon.”

While in the Alberni Valley, the group tried to stay off the roads, Hunter said.

Instead, they look for trails to get to places like the city’s water reservoir of Bainbridge Lake.

“We went to Bainbridge Lake through the back way and came in from Maquinna School.”

The Sunshine Club Easy Riders group, which runs out of Echo Centre, is always looking for more members. The only requirement is that member be 55+ and willing to ride.

“We’re always looking for more riders.”