Inclusive team ready to roll

The Kluane-Chilkat International Bike Relay is a Yukon institution, returning each year, maybe a little bigger, or with some new rules about gear to…

The Kluane-Chilkat International Bike Relay is a Yukon institution, returning each year, maybe a little bigger, or with some new rules about gear to consider — but it remains essentially unchanged. The relay is what it is.

This year is an exception.

One team of Yukon athletes, dubbed Ynklude is breaking down a barrier that some might have never considered.

Under the guidance of the Yukon Association for Community Living, a 15-strong contingent of disabled and non-disabled riders will tackle a modified course from Haines Junction to Haines — an experience that will be something brand-new for them and for the Relay.

And with hand-cycles, various trikes and even a modified BMX, they’ll have some of the coolest bikes out there.

Megan Gates, with her 21-speed recumbent three-wheeler, is pretty much guaranteed to have a one-of-a-kind ride for Saturday’s relay.

“I just thought, why not?” said Gates, when asked why she signed up. “I get to meet people and join in with everything else that’s happening.”

And that’s what the whole thing is about, according to the association’s Julie Robinson, who spearheaded the idea alongside team captain and Yukon Association for Community Living president Joanne Stanhope.

Robinson said that people with disabilities are often shut out of mainstream community events, like the Bike Relay, confined to specialized activities which segregate them.

“To be there, to get over the starting gate is, in many ways the biggest hurdle to get over — just being invited to the party is the hardest part,” said Robinson.

“I think it’s wonderful, actually — it’s like we’re all equal and anybody can do it,” said Carrie Rudolph, who plans to use her wheelchair to participate.

The team’s starter, Julien Richard, is no slouch on two wheels.

“He wanted to do the whole race himself — it’s nothing for him to hop on his bike and go to Carmacks,” said Robinson.

Richard will ride as far as he likes, before the team’s modified course will see David Skelton ride leg six into Alaska.

After that, the rest of the team will work together to finish the last 80-kilometres into Haines.

Riders will switch off when they’ve had enough.

“This is a test-run; we want it to be positive for them,” said Robinson. “You know those typical people who do one leg and say ‘never again!’ — we want to minimize that as much as possible. We want to keep the energy up so that next year, people will want to go longer.”

It seems like that won’t be a problem, with more interest in joining the team than Stanhope could accommodate.

In the end, Stanhope, Robinson and the Yukon Association for Community Living hope to make inclusion of disabled people in the bike relay and other community events a regular part of life in the territory.

“I look at it this way, this year it’s a news event — next year it’s not,” said Stanhope. “It’s a new standard that’s set.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

d
Wyatt’s World

Wyatt’s World for March 5, 2021.

City councillor Samson Hartland in Whitehorse on Dec. 3, 2018. Hartland has announced his plans to run for mayor in the Oct. 21 municipal election. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillor sets sights on mayor’s chair

Hartland declares election plans

Premier Sandy Silver speaks to media after delivering the budget in the legislature in Whitehorse on March 4. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Territorial budget predicts deficit of $12.7 million, reduced pandemic spending in 2021-2022

If recovery goes well, the territory could end up with a very small surplus.

Dawson City RCMP are reporting a break and enter on Feb. 25 after two masked men entered a residence, assaulted a man inside with a weapon and departed. (Black Press file)
Two men arrested after Dawson City home invasion

Dawson City RCMP are reporting a break and enter on Feb. 25.… Continue reading

Highways and Public Works Minister Richard Mostyn speaks to reporters at a news conference in Whitehorse on Dec. 21, 2017. New ATIPP laws are coming into effect April 1. (Chris Windeyer/Yukon News file)
New access to information laws will take effect April 1

“Our government remains committed to government openness and accountability.”

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley receives his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from Public Health Nurse Angie Bartelen at the Yukon Convention Centre Clinic in Whitehorse on March 3. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
State of emergency extended for another 90 days

“Now we’re in a situation where we see the finish line.”

The Yukon government says it is working towards finding a solution for Dawson area miners who may be impacted by City of Dawson plans and regulations. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Miner expresses frustration over town plan

Designation of claims changed to future planning

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been postponed indefinitely. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
2022 Arctic Winter Games postponed indefinitely

Wood Buffalo, Alta., Host Society committed to rescheduling at a later date

Crews work to clear the South Klondike Highway after an avalanche earlier this week. (Submitted)
South Klondike Highway remains closed due to avalanches

Yukon Avalanche Association recommending backcountry recreators remain vigilant

RCMP Online Crime Reporting website in Whitehorse on March 5. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Whitehorse RCMP launch online crime reporting

Both a website and Whitehorse RCMP app are now available

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is preparing for a pandemic-era election this October with a number of measures proposed to address COVID-19 restrictions. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City gets set for Oct. 21 municipal election

Elections procedures bylaw comes forward

A rendering of the Normandy Manor seniors housing facility. (Photo courtesy KBC Developments)
Work on seniors housing project moves forward

Funding announced for Normandy Manor

Tom Ullyett, pictured, is the first Yukoner to receive the Louis St-Laurent Award of Excellence from the Canadian Bar Association for his work as a community builder and mentor in the territory. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Tom Ullyett wins lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Bar Association

Ullyett has worked in the Yukon’s justice ecosystem for 36 years as a public sector lawyer and mentor

Most Read