The Truro chapter of Women on Wheels is prepping for its second year of weekly trail rides. Anyone is able to attend the bike rides, which begin at the Cobequid Trail behind Needs on Willow Street. They meet Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. starting at the beginning of May. Submitted photo

TRURO – It’s coming up on the first anniversary for the Women on Wheels (WOW) Truro chapter, and its members are anxious to hit the trails.

Darlene Marshall is one of the founders of the Truro chapter and is filled with a passion to ride.

“I love to cycle, for one thing,” said Marshall, about why she wanted to bring the Bicycle Nova Scotia program to the local area. “But I also saw the need for women to have an evening where they can do a relaxed ride without any pressure to go a certain distance at a certain speed.”

She saw the program, which started in 2015, and contacted Daisy Roberts, at Hub Cycle.

“Daisy comes out on our rides and offers wonderful tips on bike fitting, seat adjustments, and cycling tips. She loves to see women out on bicycles,” said Marshall. “I wanted to have her involved because she has so much information on making sure people enjoy their bikes to the fullest. With the right bike and the right adjustment, it can be great.”
The program originally started with a focus on building bicycle skills of senior women. In 2016, Bicycle Nova Scotia expanded the Women on Wheels program to include all women. The Truro chapter is just one in 10 communities in the province.

Starting at the beginning of May, the Truro WOW group will meet every Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Cobequid Trail behind Needs off Willow Street.

“We have anywhere between 12 and 30 ladies that come out to ride the Cobequid Trail,” said Marshall. “It’s quite a large group.”

She said the rides are usually 90 to 120 minutes in length, but there is no pressure to do any particular distance.

“Most of us do go to the end of the trail out in Old Barns and back, which is a total of 20 kilometres,” she said. “We don’t do any road rides, it’s strictly to the Cobequid Trail.”
The chapter, however, will often have social events, including a ride along the Butter Trail in Tatamagouche. They participated in the Christmas parade for the first time last year, and participated in last autumn’s Ride for Refuge. They already plan on attending this year’s Ride for Refuge, set for Oct. 5.

“The Ride for Refuge is to support and help stop human trafficking,” said Marshall, adding the funds were donated to Trey Nova Scotia, a local organization focusing on the recovery of youth from sexploitation.

The WOW chapter also travelled to Big Tankook Island for a gathering with other WOW groups.

There is no charge for anyone to participate with WOW, however cyclists are encouraged to join Bicycle Nova Scotia. With that organization’s annual fee, cyclists are covered under an insurance policy.

“It covers cyclists riding anywhere in Canada at any time,” Marshall said.

While the group is for women participants, Marshall’s husband, Peter, assists. He meets the group every week with a pump, in case any tires need a little extra air. Marshall will often take her husband’s bicycle with her for others to borrow.

He also surprised them last year with a tail gate party at the end of the Cobequid Trail on one of their rides.

“It’s such a social event that women are showing up about 30 minutes before the ride starts just to chat,” said Marshall. “Women can socialize, relax, get some fresh air, and exercise.”

One member – Lisa Smith – has a Boston bulldog named Donut. He’s the only male currently in the group, riding along the trail rides in a carrier at the front of Smith’s bicycle.

“We really strive to make it a relaxed, enjoyable, fun, and social time.”

Lisa Smith and her Boston bulldog, Donut, are frequent participants in the Women on Wheels group in Truro. Donut rides in a carrier at the front of Smith’s bicycle. Submitted photo

For anyone wishing to join WOW Truro, find them on Facebook, or head to the Cobequid Trail behind Needs for the rides on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. More information can also be found by emailing wow.truro@bicycle.ns.ca.

Anyone interested in creating their own chapter can contact Lynne Pascoe at lpascoe@bicycle.ns.ca.