Dawn Leja is always game to check out all the sights and sounds the province has to offer from the seat of her bicycle.
For the first time, the Corner Brook native had a chance to check out Port Rexton this past weekend as one of the dozen or so west coast cyclists who participated in the first Gran Fondo in Newfoundland and Labrador — the BonRexton Gran Fondo.
The inaugural BonRexton Gran Fondo offered two non-time distances for riders — a shorter 50-km route from Port Rexton to Catalina and back and a 130-km ride for the more adventurous called the Bonavista Loop.
Leja decided to tackle the Bonavista Loop and really enjoyed seeing a new town that offered what she called a beautiful route to travel on bike.
“It was an opportunity to ride in a different part of the province with a large group of people and it’s really nice to actually get together with other cycling enthusiasts across the province and do a route together,” Leja said Tuesday afternoon. “You definitely get an opportunity to chat with some people and get to know some of them and, basically, share a love of cycling.”
Organizers made people feel welcome, the local community put out the welcome mat and the food and all the different treats at the checkpoints made it a great experience for her.
It wasn’t about racing to the finish line, it was more about touring mode and enjoying everything the area had to offer and it proved to be a time well spent for Leja.
Cycling is a love interest for Leja, who really caught the biking bug four years ago and has been actively hitting the pavement ever since.
She is part of the growing numbers of cycling enthusiasts in this province and that makes her happy. She remembers a time when there was only a core group of people into the sport, but she believes a lot of people are starting to realize how much fun riding can be and are aware of the health benefits that come with the sport.
“It’s just so nice mentally and emotionally to get out and do a ride, especially in a large group of people like that,” she said.
There was no stress or pressure to be anywhere in a hurry. It was all about cyclists doing what they love to do and sharing the experience with others who could relate.
It was just another great day to be on her bike so she’s thankful for being able to join everybody for a fun time with a great change of scenery.