I walked into the Communitech lobby yesterday, and through a puddle of sweat.
It wasn’t from the heat of the building, but rather from two young men — colleagues of mine.
At 8:30 in the morning, they had set up stationary bikes and were furiously pedalling. Dressed in bike jerseys, with a bike helmet in front serving as a busker’s hat, Kurt Schwarz and Dylan Ng were pedalling for money and awareness.
Ng,a web coordinator, and Schwarz, a full stack web developer, are participating this Sunday, June 5 in the Becel Heart & Stroke Ride for Heart. In its 29th year, Ride for Heart raises money for — and awareness about — heart disease and stroke. More than 66,000 Canadians die each year from these illnesses. That’s one person every seven minutes.
Ng and Schwarz are riding the 75-kilometre challenge along the Gardiner Exressway and the Don Valley Parkway with a team of fellow cyclists from Waterloo Region.
(Side note: the Communitech team did sponsor a corporate team for the event. We are so proud to support our cyclists.)
Ng and Schwarz have put together a corporate team that includes riders from Bridgit and Thalmic Labs. (If you’re feeling in your prime for a ride, you are welcome to join them. Email Ng.) Their fundraising goal is $5,000.00, and the team is half way there.
Ng and Schwarz are participating because they are passionate about riding and living a healthy lifestyle.
Ng sees cycling as a natural fit for the average tech worker.
“At the core, it is highly physical, but also requires a great deal of mental fortitude,” he said. “Further, cycling can be quantified quite easily, which allows for measurable results.”
“Cycling is one of the best cardio-vascular exercises you can do,” Schwarz said. “We like healthy hearts. It makes healthy employees.”
The weekend race is an unofficial launch for Ng and Schwarz’s community-based cycling campaign, #WorkBikeBalance.
The campaign is an initiative to help promote a healthy lifestyle, especially in the all-too-often-sedentary tech community.
“Given that we have such great cycling country on the outskirts of town, as well as the Hydrocut, it makes sense,” Schwarz said. “Getting people out on bikes helps decrease stress, helps build a community and provides an overall healthier lifestyle.”
Schwarz and Ng want to see more people commuting and enjoy adventures on bikes. Feel free to hashtag your rides with the #WorkBikeBalance.
To expand on their campaign, Ng and Schwarz have helped create a Communitech sponsorship for the Hydrocut, Ontario’s top single-track trail, which is open and free to all riders.
It also happens to be in our backyard. The 25 kilometres of trail starts in a parking lot on Glasgow Street behind the Walmart in The Boardwalk.
If you want to see Ng and Schwarz in action, they’ll be cycling in the Tannery Lobby, noon-2 p.m. today, Wednesday, June 1.
It’s a beautiful week to be out on a bike, or for a run. There’s also a lot going on for those who aren’t inclined to get sweaty. I see and hear that . . . The University of Waterloo’s English department (of which I’m a proud grad) hosts the first English + Innovation celebration, Thursday, June 2 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at the Tannery Event Centre (151 Charles St. W., Kitchener). The night will feature current student projects, and speakers and panelists discussing the role of the English graduate in the tech sector. Tickets are $20 each, or $160 for a table of eight . . . Up the road, our friends at The Stratford Economic Enterprise Development Corp. are hosting a special AGM event featuring Real “Ray” Tanguay, the Automotive Advisor to the Government of Canada. The free event runs from 5-7 p.m. June 7 at the Stratford Country Club (53 Romeo St. N., Stratford.) Registration is required.
Photo: Ng (left) and Schwarz are geared up for their ride this Sunday in Toronto.