Senior cyclists tour High Prairie region

A group of cyclists from north and central Alberta prepare to trek to Slave Lake and the High Prairie region. Left-right, are Susanne and Johann von Rennenkampff, Walter and Marj Preugschas and Erich Clausen.

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Several avid cyclists in their golden years are on tour in the High Prairie region.

Calling their group Cycleforward, the cyclists were on trek from Slave Lake to the High Prairie region July 4-10, says Walter Preugschas, of Barrhead, one of nine cyclists.

“The cyclists range from ages 63-74,” says Preugschas, a councillor for the County of Barrhead.

“We like to bike about 60 to 80 kms per day.”

The group departed Northshore Homestead north of Slave Lake on July 4 to Atikameg and were scheduled to reach Grouard late afternoon on July 8.

From there, the group cycled to Driftpile Cree Nation and returned Northshore Homestead on July 10.

“We really look forward to the cultural and historic connection with the people of the region that we will be getting during our trip,” Preugschas says.

Cyclists are mostly from the Barrhead and Westlock areas and some from Hinton and Vernon, B.C.

“We are an informal group that began annual cycling trips nine years ago,” Preugschas says.

“Over the years, we’ve had as many as 50 people travel with us.”

However, the group has kept those numbers down to a minimal during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020-21.

The group has taken trips on Vancouver Island, to south, central and northern Alberta and even a trip to Utah. Preugschas says.

“In all cases, we take our tents and camping gear with us and try to find ways to interact with local people along the way,” Preugschas says.

Last year, the group toured from Slave Lake to Wabasca, Calling Lake and Athabasca.

He credits his daughter Trina Preugschas for launching the group.

“She started Cycle- forward and the biking initiative because of her need and desire to get out and be active and to get to know different parts of our country,” Walter Preugschas says.

“In 1997, at the age of 16, she suffered a spinal cord injury in her neck and has been working hard all these years to recover from that injury.”

The group thanks individuals at Whitefish Lake First Nations, Driftpile First Nation and Big Lakes County Councillor Fern Welch for helping make arrangements for the trip.

Cycleforward has a Facebook presence.

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