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Bike rally stops at Queen's

By Andrew Carroll, Gazette editor

Queen’s was awash in red fabric, sequins and feathers on Tuesday as the Friends for Life Bike Rally rolled into Kingston for its annual stop on campus.

The annual fundraiser for the Toronto People With AIDS Foundation (PWA) is a six-day ride from Toronto to Montreal and Kingston marks the halfway point.

This is the 16th annual ride and for the majority of that time riders have been stopping at Queen’s. The university, and the Kingston community, has proven to be a welcoming stop.

“Queen’s has always been super-inviting for us ever since I have been riding, which is 10 years now,” says Allan Hooey, co-chair of the ride along with Kevin Wolfley. “Quite frankly the community around Queen’s has embraced us.”

Over the years, Hooey says the staff at Queen’s has been very supportive and the backing is very appreciated by organizers and riders.

“I can see the amount of participation from Queen’s to be honest,” he says. “Being on the steering committee and being co-chair this year I can see months in advance how they start to work with our crew, with PWA, making sure everything is facilitated correctly, having the student volunteers and the staff that come out and actually giving us our keys. It just continually grows and grows and grows.”

The ride had a humble beginning with 23 riders and this year has drawn 187.

Staying in the university’s residences, Queen’s is a bit of an oasis from the road and camping.

“This is a highlight for the riders because it’s the first night they get a bed and a shower, heat and air conditioning and all those good things,” says bike rally assistant Jordie Bacon. “Especially this year due to all the rain we’ve had. This is a good night.”