In celebration of the start of the apple season, the municipality of Franklin will be holding its first Agro Vélo Tour cycling event on Saturday, Sept. 19. The event, which aims to attract families as well as more seasoned cyclists, will showcase some of the area’s exceptional autumn landscapes including bountiful orchards, picturesque hamlets, and spectacular views from the crest of Covey Hill.
Four different routes will be offered, including two shorter options aimed at families or beginner cyclists, at 12 and 23 kilometres, that will be both marked and secure. For those looking for a longer ride, a 47-kilometre and a 75-kilometre route will also be marked.
Cyclists must register online in advance of the event in order to allow organizers to plan for different start times. Due to the pandemic, public health authorities have suggested that groups of no more than 10 cyclists depart at once. As such, start times will be spaced 10 minutes apart to ensure that adequate spacing is maintained between participants once on the open road. All cyclists will leave from Antoine Labelle Park in Saint-Antoine-Abbé and all of the routes will loop back to the starting point.
The day will also feature a number of activities to ensure that those less adept on two wheels are not left out of the fun. A farmers’ market will take place at the park from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. featuring a number of local producers and artisans. Throughout the day, the Recreation Committee will be on site selling grillades, hot dogs, and treats. In the evening, the park will be transformed into a drive-in theatre with a screening of Dora, the Lost City of Gold, in French. The event will be capped with a fireworks display. Public health measures will be in place throughout the site, including hand washing stations and mandatory wearing of masks when indoors or in any situation where social distancing is difficult to maintain.
The municipality’s new mascot will also be unveiled during the day. Franky the Lynx will be on hand to meet with families at the starting line of the family routes. The municipality had been hoping to introduce Franky during St-Jean festivities in June, but delays caused by the pandemic set back the mascot’s debut.
“The municipal council and mayor have been thinking about holding an event during apple season for several years,” says Vanessa Papineau, the recreation coordinator for the municipality of Franklin. “It is more complicated,” she says of organizing an event of this scale during a pandemic, but she says it also felt like this was the opportune year to start.
“It will bring us together,” Papineau says of the event, which aims to attract local participants as well as cyclists from the surrounding region. The organizers have been in contact with the owners of the Station-Vélo store in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, which has connections with a number of cycling clubs that have been waiting for an activity such as this.
More information on the Agro Vélo Tour, as well as the registration page for the event, can be found on the municipality’s website at www.municipalitedefranklin.ca.