Tripleshot Cycling organized a 215 km ride of intention, reflection, and learning in commemoration of the first federally recognized Truth and Reconciliation Day. Over 70 riders attended the event.
The group, based out of Victoria, B.C., wanted to show acknowledgement for Indigenous peoples, as well as raise awareness and appreciation for the land they love to ride on. The 215 km distance was chosen with respect towards Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation and the 215 children found buried at the former Kamloops Residential School site. However, alternate distances of 52 km, 74 km, or 89 km were also available. Stops along the route were locations of Indigenous significance with “acknowledgement and respect for the Lekwungen peoples on whose traditional territory we cycle: the Songhees, Esquimalt, W?SÁNE?, T’Souke and Scia’new peoples.” Only fully vaccinated individuals were allowed to participate as a show of respect for their Indigenous hosts.
Participants boasted the “Heart and Hands 215+” orange cycling jersey designed by Carey Newman, an Indigenous artist and Tripleshot Cycling member who, like the rest of Canada, was torn up by the discovery of the children. “Although it took me a few days to process the grief and weight of that moment, something that became very clear was that the graves of these Indigenous children were forcing Canadians to reckon with the humble exceptionalism that has anchored this country’s collective identity for too long,” he says. His design is meant to “represent both heartache and hope, and in further acknowledging the truth of Canada’s foundations, another step along the journey towards reconciliation.”
The proceeds raised from the jersey sales will help support residential school survivor groups across Canada and will be directed based on the province where sales originate.
The group also had the support of the Songhees Wellness Centre Catering for their lunch break, where they shared salmon, sandwich selections, and bannock bites.
Lynn Cole, organizer of Ride2Remember, says she hopes the event will become an annual tradition. In the meantime, Cole relays that board member Rolf Warburton will continue to update and inform cycling routes with culturally significant stops and Indigenous points of interest. She says, “the dream is that Carey Newman’s jersey will be sparking conversations and Reconciliation across Canada by the New Year.”
Haley Grinder, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Columbia Valley Pioneer