Cyclists from the Saskatchewan Cyclist Association stopped in Preeceville for an overnight stay on July 23 through the Great Annual Saskatchewan Pedal (GASP) tour. The riders set up camp at both the Preeceville Arena and campgrounds with 39 riders on the first day and 42 the following day.
"The tour provided an introduction to cycle touring in a supportive manner," said Don Cook, coordinator. “The 700 km tour had our seasoned and new riders explore the beauty of our province in the annual ride. Some of the riders have been to some of the locations of the tour and many enjoyed going back to places that they have not been to in years. The ride does have its challenges from traffic, weather and wildlife but overall we all had a great time. We spent nights in Melfort, Arborfield, Hudson Bay, Preeceville, Kelvington, Greenwater and back to Watson for a total of 700 km," he reported.
“In order to prepare for such a tour, cyclists are encouraged to spend a lot of time riding through the season in order to be conditioned for a long tour. The more you ride the more conditioned you get," stated Cook.
Most of the riders reside in Saskatchewan but there are also some from Alberta, Manitoba and British Columbia. The riders have the opportunity to eat meals in the local establishments that they overnight in or cook their own prepared food.
Luggage was transported for cyclists in vans with trailers that make periodic stops and provide refreshments including juice, water, fruit and light snacks.
The objective of GASP is to provide a cycle touring experience that will foster cycle touring in the province and the development of tours by other cycling bodies and clubs in Saskatchewan, stated the website.
Cyclists explored some of the parkland area of eastern Saskatchewan. Along the way there are opportunities to explore the great communities and parks. The tour began in Watson and saw cyclists pedalling 87 km to Melfort for the first stop. The second day had cyclists pedaling 88 km to Arborfield, day three had cyclist traveling to Hudson Bay for the longest stretch of a total of 121 km for the day. Day four saw them leave Hudson Bay and pedal to Preeceville for a total of 113 km for the day. Day five had cyclists traveling 68 km to Kelvington; day six had cyclists pedaling from Kelvington to Green Water and back to Kelvington for a total of 88 km. The last stretch of the tour saw everyone returning to Watson on a 99 km trip.
The tour provides two departure dates for participants and two styles of support. The two departure opportunities saw the first tour group departing on July 20 and the second tour group departing on July 21.