Photos: (Top) Hans and Maureen Eykelenboom – parents of Andrew “Boomer” Eykelenboom. (Bottom 1st) Boomer’s Legacy riders approach Nanaimo during the 10th annual British Columbia ride. (Johns Photography BLBC2017)(Bottom 2nd) Old friends, new friends, camaraderie, fun, food and a sense of achievement are some of the best parts of a Boomer’s Legacy bike ride.
The Boomer’s Legacy British Columbia Bike Ride is back! Bringing with it a whole bunch of exciting twists and turns. This June 8th and 9th, one hundred riders will set out to celebrate the life and legacy of Andrew “Boomer” Eykelenboom who died during his service in Afghanistan.
This year the Friends of Boomer’s Legacy Vancouver Island organising group are bringing things full circle when they once again take a group of registered road cyclists from the Royal Canadian Air Force base at CFB Comox to the Brigadier D.R. Seargent Armoury in Nanaimo and back again.
Or you can choose to join affiliate, Vancouver Island Compassion Dogs Society, in a mountain bike ride from Port Alberni to the Armoury in Nanaimo, then on to Comox! That’s right, VICD (vicompassiondogs.ca) has been doing amazing work pairing veterans with service dogs, and one of their main fundraising activities being a self-supported mountain bike ride. In 2018 they joined the activities at Camp Boomer and this year their affiliation is official. “Although we start out from separate points, we end up together. It’s kind of symbolic and we could not be happier about this opportunity to be a part of something so significant.” says co-founders Barb Ashmead and Mike Annan.
If that’s not enough, news of the planned ride(s) has inspired a group of Royal Canadian Navy members and friends to jump on board and ride from Victoria to meet the rest of the Boomer’s Team in Nanaimo, for a fabulous dinner at the Royal Canadian Legion and overnight accommodation at the armoury and lots celebrating with new and old friends. According to Ride Chair Jim Benninger, “This year we’ve made things more accessible to riders of all levels. With the addition of up to 20 riders from Victoria, we expect our online registration spaces to sell out fast.”
The #BLBC2019 Ride is returning to its roots as a 2-day event, when both mountain bikers and road cyclists end the ride near CFB Comox for a celebratory dinner and commemorative ceremony, followed by an evening of fun, fellowship and fantastic stories of the ups and downs of the 2-day ride, with old and new friends alike.
The organisers are confident that by bringing things back to a format and route we know well, removing the Malahat from the equation, and incorporating new elements and opportunities, that the 2019 Boomer’s Legacy “Boomerang” Bike Ride will set the new standard. “After several adjustments, experiments, and lots of experience gained, we are excited about the inclusive new format and hope that it will become the foundation for many future rides here in BC and elsewhere across Canada,” Maureen Eykelenboom, Boomer’s Mom.
Find out more about the event, and register today, via boomerslegacybc.ca.