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Cycling for Solutions returns for fourth year in support of citizen science

Update: Congratulations to the Cycling for Solutions 2018 riders for completing their journey - and a heartfelt thank you to the many supporters who donated to support citizen science! So far, the cyclists have raised over $13,600! If you'd like to add your support, the donation link will remain live until Monday, Sept. 17, 2018.

A group of amateur cyclists is once again attempting an ambitious, three-day, 500 km self-supported road trip from Winnipeg, Man. to IISD Experimental Lakes Area (IISD-ELA) research facility in northwest Ontario.

Dubbed Cycling for Solutions, the ride began in 2014 and has since become an annual event – part personal challenge among friends, part fundraiser for an innovative water-monitoring initiative co-ordinated by the Lake Winnipeg Foundation.

Donate Now Through CanadaHelps.org!

The Lake Winnipeg Community-Based Monitoring Network (LWCBMN) mobilizes citizens, scientists and conservation professionals to take action for healthy water by collecting water samples across Manitoba. Samples are then analyzed in a lab to measure phosphorus concentration and calculate the amount of phosphorus being exported off local landscapes. This data used to identify phosphorus hotspots across the watershed, phosphorus being the driver of algae blooms.

Cycling for Solutions has been instrumental in promoting citizen science and raising funds to support network activities – and the hard work is paying off. In just three years LWCBMN has experienced tremendous growth: expanding from 12 sampling sites to over 100 and from 200 water samples to a projected 1,500. Most recently, LWCBMN received a vote of confidence from the federal government when it received multi-year investment as part of the Lake Winnipeg Basin Program.

“Citizens can – and are – making a meaningful difference for the health of our shared waters,” says Alexis Kanu, LWF’s executive director. “The dedicated riders involved with Cycling for Solutions have channelled their personal passions and engaged their local communities in support of clean lakes – and their efforts are creating a lasting impact.”

With momentum for citizen science initiatives continuing to build, Cycling for Solutions will once again use “pedal power” to support LWCBMN and its vital water-monitoring activities.

Like the initiative it supports, the ride continues to grow in numbers. Ten cyclists will take part in Cycling for Solutions 2018, eight of whom will attempt the entire 500 km journey. Riders will depart on Aug. 31 with a route plan as follows:

  • Day 1: Winnipeg to Warroad, Minn.
  • Day 2: Warroad to Nestor Falls, Ont.
  • Day 3: Nestor Falls to IISD-ELA

At all times, cyclists will remain within Lake Winnipeg’s watershed. The challenge of the ride intentionally mirrors the challenge of finding solutions to the ecological problems facing this great lake.

Founded in 2005 by concerned citizens, LWF is uniquely positioned to link science with action. Our flagship initiative, the Lake Winnipeg Health Plan, aims to reduce phosphorus loading through the implementation of eight actions; the work of LWCBMN falls under Action 4, Monitoring our Waterways.

The cyclists' final destination, IISD-ELA, is one of Canada’s primary sources of lake science. Whole-ecosystem research conducted in the 58 small lakes and watersheds that make up this facility informs evidence-based solutions to the complex environmental challenges facing freshwater lakes including Lake Winnipeg. Created in 1968, IISD-ELA is celebrating its 50th birthday this year.

Once again, Cycling for Solutions participants are paying their own expenses while accepting financial pledges for their efforts.

The 2017 ride was a resounding success that raised over $12,000 for LWCBMN. Support citizen science by donating to Cycling for Solutions 2018 at the link below:

Donate Now Through CanadaHelps.org!

While you’re there, please consider leaving words of encouragement for the cyclists in the “Message for Lake Winnipeg Foundation” comment field; all messages will be shared with the riders. Pledges can also be made by calling LWF’s office, 204-956-0436.

Riders are aiming to provide updates from the road on the Cycling for Solutions 2018 Facebook event page.

Good luck to Roger, Pete, Bruce, Neil, Stephen, Michael, Paul, Justin, Shane and Sylvain on their journey!

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