The Rotary Ride for Rescue is a fundraising road and mountain bike race up West Vancouver’s Cypress Mountain in aid of North Shore Search and Rescue.
Also known by some as the Cypress Mountain Hill Climb, the event takes place in June each year. In 2023 it was on Saturday, June 10th.
Participants in the ride are encouraged to raise a minimum of $100 each (but hopefully more). Funds raised benefit North Shore Rescue as well as humanitarian projects of the Rotary Club of West Vancouver Sunrise.
This past year’s fundraising goal was $100,000 and over $130,000 was raised. That’s more than ever before!
This article contains the following information about the race:
West Vancouver’s 12th Annual Rotary Ride for Rescue in 2023
The Rotary Ride for Rescue is an annual bicycle and mountain bike race up Cypress Mountain.
In 2023 the event took place on Saturday, June 10th, from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm. The event was cancelled a couple of years ago because of the coronavirus pandemic. In 2021 it happened, but as a virtual event. In 2022 it was back again as a fun, live, one-day, in-person event. It returned again in 2023.
At the event, participants can choose between two different courses. There is a 14-kilometre road race and an 11-kilometre mountain bike race. Both are grueling uphill treks for experienced (and very fit) cyclists. In recent years as many as 200 or so participants join the road race and another 20 to 30 do the mountain bike route.
Everyone departs at the same time, but the majority of participants cycle the whole way up the road. The mountain bikers, meanwhile, very quickly head off on the backcountry trails.
To participate in the race cyclists need to sign up, pay a fee of $50 and then try to raise at least $100.
Some people sign up to ride on their own, many go with a friend or two, and others attend with a pack of fellow bike-loving friends. In some cases companies send an entire team all decked out in fancy gear with their corporate logos.
Prizes are for the fastest cyclist and cycling teams, but also for the top fundraisers. Prizes in past years have included helicopter rides, hotel stays, and restaurant gift certificates.
To register, donate and for the event’s official website, visit rotaryrideforrescue.org.
Where and When
The Rotary Ride for Rescue takes place on the roads and trails leading up to Cypress Mountain. The run begins at Mulgrave School which is located at 2330 Cypress Bowl Lane in West Vancouver. From there the cyclists and mountain bikers ride up to the base of the ski hill.
In previous years the finish line has been in the main parking lot at the base of the ski resort (not far from the ski lodge). New for 2022, the finish line was in the parking lot in the Nordic ski area last year. This was the same in 2023.
The After-Party for the event takes place at the Cypress Pop-Up Village. The venue is part way up the hill at 3757 Cypress Bowl Road. This is a new location. In past years the post-race celebrations happened in the parking lot up at Cypress Mountain. The new venue in 2022 was awesome. It was the same venue for 2023’s celebratory after-party. The Cypress Pop-Up Village is a cool little area with amazing views.
Check-in and last-minute registrations for the event begin at 7:45 am on the day of the event (i.e. on Saturday, June 10th in 2023). The post-race celebrations finish at around noon.
The Rotary Ride for Rescue has two routes. One is for road cyclists and the other is for mountain bikers. The majority of participants ride up the main paved road. A smaller group go up via the back trails.
Road Cyclists Route Details
Everyone starts at the junction of Cypress Lane and Cypress Bowl Road near Mulgrave School. The ride up along the road is 14 kilometres in distance and has a gain of 900 metres in elevation. The finish line is at the Nordic Area at the Cypress Mountain ski resort.
Mountain Bike Route Details
Mountain bikers start at the same location as the road cyclists, but they go up the hill via dirt trails in the backcountry. The route is 11 kilometres long via the BLT Mountain Bike Trail which is a medium-grade logging road with some steep sections.
2023 Schedule of Events
Below was the schedule of events for 2023’s ride. 2024’s schedule is likely be similar.
- 7:45 am to 8:45 am – Check-in and Late Registration (at Mulgrave School)
- 9:00 am – Ride Start (from Cypress Road at Mulgrave School)
- 10:00 am to 12:00 pm – Post-Race Celebrations (at the Cypress Pop-Up Village)
After the Race
In past years, the post-race event happened up at the Cypress Mountain ski resort. A pancake breakfast was served there from around 9:30 am until 11:30 am. In 2022, instead of happening up at the mountain, the after-party took place at the Cypress Pop-Up Village closer the bottom of the hill at 3757 Cypress Bowl Road. The after-party in 2023 took place at this same venue.
At the post-race event there is a small expo event where both cyclists and spectators can speak with search and rescue personnel and learn about North Shore Rescue and what it does. The Rotary Club also hosts a pancake breakfast.
At the event expo there are sometimes massage therapists on-site to help ease weary cyclists’ sore muscles. There are also usually bike shop professionals offering minor tune-ups.
The Fundraising Beneficiaries
The goal of the Rotary Ride for Rescue is usually to raise $100,000 or more through pledges, donations and sponsorships. Proceeds from the event benefit both Rotary humanitarian projects and North Shore Search & Rescue.
The Rotary Ride for Rescue is a fundraising event put on by the Rotary Club of West Vancouver Sunrise. The service club meets weekly on Thursday mornings at the Parc Education Centre at 2225 Marine Drive in West Vancouver. Rotary humanitarian projects include initiatives to eradicate polio, provide clean drinking water to developing communities and empower youth both locally and throughout the world.
North Shore Search & Rescue is a not-for-profit group of volunteers who rescue people when they get lost or injured while hiking in the North Shore Mountains. Funds raised at the bike race help the group maintain its search and rescue equipment and educate the community about safety measures and what to do in an emergency.
To register, donate and for more information, see the official Rotary Ride for Rescue website.
How to Fundraise and Donate
After signing up to ride and registering for the event, participants get access to their own personal fundraising portals. Friends, family and work colleagues can then make pledges and donate directly into the accounts. It’s so easy!
The cost to register for the event is $50 per rider. The hope is that participants will then raise at least an additional $100 through pledges from their friends, but most generate far more. Donations of $30 or greater receive a tax receipt.
Rotary Ride for Rescue Video
To get a good idea of what to expect at the event, check out the following videos. The first one is of the race in 2019. The second one is of the race in 2022.
The Rotary Ride for Rescue begins at Mulgrave School. That’s where the cyclists check in and get their bikes tuned up if they want.
2019 Rotary Ride for Rescue Video
This first video starts outside Mulgrave School where you’ll see people gathering, stations for checking in, places to pick up last-minute supplies, and cyclists preparing for the race.
After checking in, participants then make their way down to the start at the road just below the school. That’s where the starting line is. As you’ll see in the video, a lot of cyclists participate in the event.
At the end of the race there is a party to celebrate. The after-party includes a pancake breakfast, awards ceremony and music. In 2023 the after-party was in the parking lot at the top of Cypress Mountain.
2022 Rotary Ride for Rescue Video
This second video shows what the Ride for Rescue looked like in 2022. The video begins with a scene of the cyclists near the starting line at the beginning of their ride. Next you’ll see a few of the riders about halfway up the hill. In that scene you’ll also see an emergency vehicle from North Shore Rescue (which is one of the charitable beneficiaries of the events).
The next scene of the cyclists is at the top of Cypress Mountain at the finish line. After that, the rest of the video shows what the after-party looked like at the Cypress Village Pop-Up Village.
(The music in this second video is courtesy of Fresco Music.)
For more information about the race, check out the Rotary Ride for Rescue website.
Rotary is an international network of business people and professionals who volunteer in their communities and support global initiatives. There are numerous Rotary Clubs in the Vancouver region and many of them raise funds by organizing events.
Other events hosted by Lower Mainland Rotary Clubs include the following:
- White Rock Polar Bear Swim – an icy swim in the ocean on New Year’s Day that’s hosted by the Peace Arch, Peninsula, Semihamoo, South Surrey and White Rock Rotary Clubs.
- Search for the Perfect Pint – a fundraiser organized by the Port Moody Rotary Club. The event involves food and lots of craft beers in Port Moody.
- Rotary Ride for Rescue – the bike race up Cypress Mountain in June that’s hosted by the Rotary Club of West Vancouver Sunrise. (This is the same event described in this article.)
- North Vancouver Canada Day Celebrations – a family-friendly community event that’s hosted by Lions Gate Rotary in North Vancouver’s Shipyards District on July 1st each year.
- Port Moody Ribfest – a barbecue-themed community event hosted by the Rotary Club of Port Moody at Rocky Point Park in the summer.
- Langley Ribfest – a barbecue-themed community event hosted by four different Langley Rotary clubs in the summer.
- Rotary Ride for Hearing – a cycling ride hosted by the Rotary Club of Vancouver and benefiting organizations that help people who are deaf and hard of hearing in British Columbia.
All of the above events are exceptional, and proceeds raised from them benefit charitable initiatives both locally and abroad.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Vancouver Cycling Races
- Outdoor Recreation in the Lower Mainland
- Places to Walk, Jog and Cycle
- Lower Mainland Ski Hills
- Vancouver Parks and Nature