Justin Blaauwendraat was cycling with a much bigger crowd than usual when he headed out on his bike Wednesday morning.
The Truro-area doctor took part in the Heartland Tour, which encourages people to be active and have fun, for the first time this year.
“It’s great to see such a good crowd,” he said. I didn’t know what to fully expect; I’m impressed with the turnout. This is something I think will keep growing.”
The Heartland Tour, with stops in several Nova Scotia communities, provides the opportunity to take part in rides of three different lengths or a group walk.
Blaauwendraat signed up for the 45K road ride, which was lengthened an extra 6K this year to avoid road work.
“I’ve been getting into cycling more and more,” he said. “I go out on the Cobequid Trail with my two-year-old in a seat on the back. It’s a good way to relieve stress and stay fit.”
Raj Makkar, who helps organize the Truro event, was thrilled to see a large crowd gathered in the park.
“There were 277 pre-registered, which is the most yet, and more registering during the morning,” he said. “There are 48 in the walk this year. We have perfect weather for it too.”
He said all stops have had good turnouts this year.
Several people from the Truro area took part in the tour during its New Glasgow stop on Sunday.
Melissa MacBurnie was joined by her son Noah, 11, and daughter Bella, 9, for the event. It was the first year participating for all three.
“This spring I started working at being more fit and I thought this would be a fun thing to do,” she said. “We bike quite a bit together.”
The sun was out for the ride, but the heat wasn’t extreme, and there were fewer insects around the crowd than usual.
“This is something really positive,” said Blaauwendraat, who recently moved back to Truro. “When I left the area about 10 years ago you would never have seen this here.”