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Pumpkin Cross, a popular annual Halloween-themed cycling race presented by Local Ride Bike Shop, is set to take place at the North Alouette Greenway, home of the Maple Ridge Equi-Sports Centre, on Sunday.

“Our event is a highlight on the province’s cyclo-cross calendar,” said organizer Barry Lyster of Maple Ridge. “Everyone loves it because it’s not just a race, it’s an event with costumes, prizes, a kid’s race, and a great course for the riders and spectators.”

Lyster’s goal for his event is to get as many people out, having fun, and riding their bikes as possible. In order to create Halloween ambience, the route features scary elements, like the Spooky Forest, and Mike’s Coffin. Plus, a very large percentage of the field is expected to dress in costume.

“Our costume contest has really taken off over the years,” said Lyster. “It’s possibly the most competitive part of Pumpkin Cross.”

In keeping with Lyster’s ongoing priority of encouraging more women to become involved in cycling, he is also inviting first-time women racers an entry fee of only $10.

“We want to have the biggest beginner women’s field in the province,” said Lyster. “Cyclo-cross is a great way for novices to get involved in the competitive side of cycling, because the races are just plain fun, the courses are short and require a variety of skills in addition to fitness, and the race times are attainable. It’s not a daunting sport to enter, especially when everyone is riding around in costume.”

With the help of Giant Bicycle Canada, Lyster has recently been able to make the race even more affordable for new racers. Most novice and youth racers do not hold a race license that covers insurance, so they are required to buy a mandatory single-event license for each race on top of the race entry. This insurance fee can be as high as $30, which makes the cost prohibitive for many riders wanting to try racing for the first time.

Giant Bicycle Canada’s financial support has enabled Lyster to offer the single-event licensing fee at a reduced price of $10 for Senior-category and $5 for Youth-category riders.

In the beginner categories, riders may use any type of bicycle they have, such as a mountain bike.

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