Frank Qi, a first-time Ride to Conquer Cancer participant, was "pretty scared" about the prospect of having to raise money.
That's because he still remembers being a kid and having to sell "boxes of almonds" to support various initiatives — he was not much of a salesman.
"I was always the kid that would pretty much buy a box or two and return the rest," Qi said.
On Saturday morning, Qi was one of more than 3,000 cyclists ready to ride in the 15th annual fundraiser for researchers at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.
Together, the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation says they have raised $16.37 million.
It's estimated that two in every five Canadians will receive a cancer diagnosis during the course of their life, and that one in four will die as a result.
The charity ride is widely considered one of the world's top public cycling events. It went virtual in 2020 and 2021 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The mood was cheerful near the starting line at Exhibition Place on Saturday.
"We had some beautiful weather, we've got great people," Qi said, "we're looking forward to it."
"I think you feel the energy, " said Miyo Yamashita, the foundation's president and CEO.
Yamashita said many people are just "so happy to be back in person."
The first of three potential routes covers more than 200 kilometres from Toronto to Niagara Falls over two days.
The second offers some variation with an additional 60 kilometres.
For those whose legs or schedules may be unable to make a two-day commitment, the third option is a one-day ride ending in Hamilton.
Finish-line festivities will begin around 11 a.m. on Sunday, with cyclists expected to arrive between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.