Being safe on the road is of utmost importance. Enormous effort is made by the Bike Rally leadership to plan for a safe experience for all riders and crew, however an event of this magnitude requires that everyone involved takes personal responsibility for their own behaviour and plays a role in ensuring the safety of others.

A comprehensive Preparedness Plan is in place. The Plan is a document that outlines policies and procedures to address anticipated and unforeseen incidents that have the potential to negatively impact the Bike Rally, such as extreme weather. The Plan includes a comprehensive list of emergency contacts that is reviewed and updated annually.

Step 1 & 2

Check with your physician

Check with your physician before beginning this, or any other, exercise program. Address any medical concerns you may have well before the ride. You will be asked to submit your medical information upon registration. You can also download the form on the Docs & FAQs page. Make sure you have completed the medical form well in advance of Packing Day.

Waiver and Agreement

Each Participant is required to accept the Rider/Crew Agreement and Waiver upon registration. Please read it carefully. Once you have checked the ‘Agreement’ box, you have indicated you have accepted all the terms of involvement in the Bike Rally. Copies of the Rider and Crew Waiver Packages can also be accessed from the Docs & FAQs page.

How To Qualify
  1. All riders must finish the following qualifying rides to ensure that they progress their training appropriately, and to identify and work with riders in need of support.
    • 50km training ride by mid-May;
    • 90km training ride by early June; and
    • 2 back-to-back 90km rides (i.e., on 2 consecutive days) by early July.

    Consult the Bike Rally calendar for this year’s specific deadlines.

  1. All First Year riders are required to attend:
    • First Year Orientation seminar;
    • Flat Fix and Bike Maintenance clinic; and
    • a Ride Safe Clinic, which introduces you to road etiquette and road safety.

    Please see the Calendar for the seminar schedule. New seminars and clinics will be added on an ongoing basis until our date of departure, so please be sure you are checking back regularly for updates.

  1. All Riders and Crew must attend The Big Meeting.
  2. All Riders must have reached their $2,500 (Montréal Riders) or $650 (Port Hope Riders) fundraising minimum by June 30.
The Rules

Rules of the Road

By law, bikes are classified as vehicles and as such are subject to the same laws. Careless cycling not only creates a bad impression of cyclists in general, it leaves the public with a negative impression of the Bike Rally.

As we have to get up to 300 cyclists of varying degrees of experience to Port Hope and Montréal without injury, we have to take a no-tolerance approach to enforcing these rules. The Bike Rally Co-Chairs and the Road Support Crew have the authority to remove Riders who are endangering themselves and others through careless cycling.

  1. Helmets are mandatory on the Bike Rally.
  2. Shoulder check and signal before steering or braking. Use both hand signals and verbal signals to make other Riders (and motorists) aware of your intentions and obstacles that are in your path.
  3. Don’t ride in the middle of the road. Stay near the curb – if there are parked cars, ride just far out enough to avoid getting hit by opening doors. If there are a series of sewer grates or parked cars, don’t weave in between them – drivers may not be ready for your sudden re-emergence into their lane. Instead, ride in a straight predictable line only as far out as necessary to avoid such obstructions.
  4. Ride in an orderly single line.
  5. Respect the rules of the road, in particular statutory requirements under the Highway Traffic Act. All bikes must have bells on them – this is mandatory for the Bike Rally and is also the law!
  6. Don’t coast past stop signs. A full stop with a foot on the road is mandatory! Most accidents happen at intersections – never assume that the way is clear or that cars will see you.
  7. When stopped at an intersection, don’t block traffic by bunching up in the right lane – line up single file to allow cars to get around you. If you are going straight through an intersection and there is a right turn lane (or off/on ramp), shoulder check, signal your intentions, and steer steadily into the through lane. Once in the lane, stay close to the lane markings on your right.
  8. Don’t wear headphones, talk on the phone, send messages or take photos while riding.

We won’t take any chances when it comes to your safety, so please help us by observing the above rules and cycling safely.

Code of Conduct

The Bike Rally is working hard to meet our goals of: raising funds, raising awareness, and creating an accepting, supportive community for participants where one can recharge and nourish the soul and focus on the challenges offered by the event. In order to do this, we all have a role to play.

As Crew, Riders, Steering Committee members, Co-Chairs and PWA staff, we understand and commit to the following:

Click here to learn more

1. Riding and Driving:
  • Participants must obey all traffic laws, traffic signals and signs. Bicycles are vehicles under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act, and as such, are subject to the same laws. Please note that laws in Quebec are different – for example, no right hand turns on red lights.
  • Riders must wear helmets at all times during the Bike Rally event and training rides. Any helmet worn by a rider must adhere to Canadian safety standards (i.e. CSA, SNELL or ANSI approved).
  • Riders must NOT use radios, iPods or other electronic devices that utilize ear-phones or pieces while riding. The manipulation or adjustment of electronic devices while riding (i.e., cellphones, Pods, radios, walkie talkies, etc) is strictly prohibited. Should a rider need to access any of said devices, he/she should safely pull over to the side of the road leaving enough space for other riders and vehicles to pass. The use of radios, iPods and electronic devices using bike mounted speakers may be used provided riders do not manipulate said devices while riding. Further, the speaker volume must be set to an appropriate level that is not distracting to the rider or fellow participants.
  • The Crew driver must NOT use cell phones, radios, iPods or other electronic devices while operating a vehicle. The use of ear phones, Bluetooth, headsets, or other assisted device that do not distract from the operation of the vehicle is permitted. The crew passenger in the vehicle is expected to answer any incoming and place any outgoing calls while the vehicle is in operation.
  • Participants must NOT be under the influence of illegal drugs, alcohol or cannabis while riding or driving.
  • Riders must consult the “2019 Friends For Life Bike Rally Rider Agreement and Waiver and Release of Liability”, accepted during registration, to become familiar with all riding regulations (Appendix 1).
  • Participants must be courteous and respectful to others; remember, not everyone has the same skills or comfort level when it comes to riding a bike.
  • In the event of an outside altercation (i.e. with a pedestrian, driver or vehicle), it is the participant’s responsibility to avoid any form of conflict or engagement (physical or verbal). Any such incident should be reported to Bike Rally leadership (Team Leads, Steering Committee, Co-Chairs or PWA staff) immediately.

*** Please refer to the Bike Rally Event Handbook for complete guidelines on “cycling safety” and “Inclement Weather”.

2. Fundraising
  • When conducting third-party fundraising initiatives involving prizes or draws, a participant (Rider or Crew) must first consult with the Toronto People With AIDS Foundation to ensure that all initiatives adhere to municipal, provincial and federal laws and requirements. For example, it is illegal for PWA to provide charitable receipts when a donor receives a benefit such as a raffle ticket, and all raffles must be licensed through Alcohol & Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) and the City of Toronto.
3. General
  • The Toronto People With AIDS Foundation will not tolerate any form of harassment (physical, sexual or verbal) or discrimination during the Friends For Life Bike Rally event, at any training rides or events. Any form of harassment or discrimination should be reported immediately to Bike Rally leadership (Team Leads, Steering Committee, Co-Chairs or PWA staff).
  • Participants of the Bike Rally must adhere to the rules, instructions and regulations set forth by PWA staff and the volunteer management of the event (i.e. riding regulations or crew duties).
  • Participants of the Bike Rally act as representatives of the Toronto People With AIDS Foundation, and as such, must act in a manner that is appropriate for said role.
  • Participants of the Bike Rally must NOT engage in disruptive behaviour at any time, in particular at campgrounds and other overnight accommodation locations. This includes verbal or physical disruptions, fighting or harassment.
  • Participants of the Bike Rally must adhere to the medical advice and instructions provided by the Wellness Crew during the ride.
  • Participants must NOT be under the influence of illegal drugs, alcohol or cannabis while riding, driving or performing Crew duties.
  • Toronto People With AIDS Foundation and Bike Rally staff, Crew Members, Steering Committee, Team Leaders and Co-chairs are restricted from facilitating/coordinating the direct supply, sale or distribution of alcoholic beverages to any person during the Bike Rally event or training rides.
4. A Green Community
  • The Bike Rally strives to be a green community, and as such, every effort must be made to ensure that campgrounds, parks and private properties are left the same way they were found. Participants must do their best to dispose of their waste in the most appropriate manner, whether through recycling, food composting or regular garbage disposal. Please do not litter at any point during training rides or the Bike Rally event itself. Please adhere to the Bike Rally Rider Guide guidelines on using public swimming spaces for bathing.
5. Accountability & Enforcement

Failure to adhere to any of the policies listed in this Code of Conduct, the Bike Rally Rider/Crew Guides, Event Handbook or the Rider/Crew Agreement and Waiver and Release of Liability will result in a formal response process up to and including possible expulsion from the event.

All participants are invited to identify issues related to inappropriate conduct and are welcome to communicate any concerns to Bike Rally leadership (Team Leads, Steering Committee, Co-Chairs or PWA staff).

Any member of the Bike Rally leadership can address an issue directly with a participant and communicate it to the Co-Chairs and PWA staff. A Bike Rally leadership member may not be aware of previous issues when addressing a concern in the moment but this will be identified and followed up by PWA staff and Co-Chairs if required.

PWA staff will document all incidents and warnings and follow up with participants, outlining:

  • details of the issue;
  • the level within the Response Process that this issue places them;
  • expected changes or behaviour;
  • any resulting decisions/actions;
  • the overall Response Process, highlighting next steps should another issue arise.

Depending on severity of the issue, the Response Process includes:

  • First offence: a verbal warning from a Bike Rally Leadership team member with a follow-up confirmation from PWA of recording of the issue;
  • Second offence: a written warning from Bike Rally Co-Chairs and PWA staff; and
  • Third offence: review by event Executive Committee (Bike Rally Co-Chairs, Past Co-Chair, PWA Special Events Coordinator, PWA Director, Philanthropy & Communications and the PWA Executive Director) with possible expulsion from the event.
6. Bike Rally Leadership

Bike Rally Leadership will have access to information considered confidential and proprietary such as financial data, participant information, Agency practices, and other information that non-leadership participants would not have access to. Participants involved in Bike Rally leadership roles (Steering Committee, Team Lead) recognize that they are held to a higher standard of confidentiality and accountability.

Appendix 1: PWA’s Friends For Life Bike Rally Rider Agreement and Waiver and Release of Liability

Please note this agreement is reviewed and updated annually. Please read carefully.

As a participant in the PWA’s Friends For Life Bike Rally, I, the undersigned, agree to:

  1. In consideration of receiving Toronto People With AIDS Foundation’s (the “Agency”) permission to be a participant or volunteer in the Friends For Life Bike Rally (the “Event”) and in exchange for the food and accommodation supplied by the Agency during my participation in the Event, I for myself, my heirs, executors, administrators, successors and assigns hereby release, waive and forever discharge the Agency, together with its directors, officers, volunteers, employees, contractors representatives, and their respective successors and assigns of and from all claims, demands, damages, costs, expenses, actions, whether in law or equity arising in any manner from my participation in the Event and notwithstanding that same may have been contributed to or caused by the negligence of any of the aforesaid. I further undertake to hold and save harmless and agree to indemnify all of the aforesaid from and against any and all liability incurred by any or all of them arising as a result of or in any way connected to my participation in the said Event.
  2. I warrant and represent that I am physically fit and able to participate in the Event without risk to my health, and that all my equipment is mechanically fit and suitable for its intended use in the Event.
  3. I agree and certify that I shall obey all traffic laws and wear a CSA, SNELL or ANSI approved helmet while riding as a participant in the Event and training rides.
  4. I understand that there are inherent risks involved in the participation in the Event, including the potential for serious injury, paralysis or death and I voluntarily take such risks upon myself.
  5. I, the undersigned, do hereby grant to the Agency the irrevocable right and license to use any video footage and/or photographic images made of my likeness, acts and appearance, and the sound recordings made of my voice, throughout the course of my involvement with the Event for use in such Event or Agency material such as advertising, promotion material, websites and for reporting of the Event.
  6. I acknowledge having read this waiver and release, fully understand its terms and effect, and that I have agreed to it freely, voluntarily and without any inducement or coercion.
PWA’s Friends For Life Bike Rally Rider Agreement

As a rider participant in the PWA’s Friends For Life Bike Rally, I, the undersigned, agree to:

  1. Personally raise the required minimum NO LATER THAN June 30th. All funds must be received by PWA by this date, including matching cheques from employers. The required minimum for the ride (Toronto to Montreal) is $2,500.00 (CAN). Riders who do not achieve the minimum must guarantee the balance NO LATER THAN June 30th to be eligible to ride.
  2. After June 30th, if my minimum has not been met, I will sign and submit a Commitment to Participate and Credit Card Guarantee form to secure my spot to ride in the Event.
  3. Continue fundraising efforts after the required minimum has been met to maximize potential support.
  4. Prepare for the Event by doing appropriate training. Appropriate training includes regularly attending the scheduled training rides or completing equivalent distances. Where scheduling or location prevents me from attending any scheduled training rides, I agree to engage in equivalent training on my own and to communicate my progress to my Team Leader on a monthly basis.
  5. Complete the mandatory qualifying training rides by the indicated deadlines. If I am training on my own, to advise my Team Leader upon completion of this requirement.
  6. Be capable of maintaining a cycling speed sufficient to arrive at camp at 5:00 pm or the relevant time required for the day. I understand that the seminars, training rides, Team Leaders and Rider Development Committee are in place to help me meet this goal and are available for my use and that it is my responsibility to take advantage of the resources that I need to meet this minimum requirement.
  7. Ride a bicycle, that is, a non-motorized vehicle with two wheels.
  8. Attach only the provided official Event License Plate to my bicycle for all training rides and the Event. No custom or altered plates are permitted.
  9. Ensure that any adornments on my bicycle do not extend beyond the rear wheel of the bicycle, nor are they wider than shoulder width, so as not to disrupt other riders. At all times, adornments must not obstruct ANY rider’s view.
  10. Wear a CPSC, ANSI, Snell or ATSM approved helmet at all times while riding.
  11. NOT to use earphones, radios with earplugs or electronic devices while riding. The use of electronic devices utilizing hands-free speakers is permitted while riding. Electronic devices include, but are not limited to:
    • Cell phones
    • Blackberry, iPhone or any other Personal Digital Assistance (PDA)
    • MP3 or iPod
  1. Obey all traffic laws and rules of the road, which include, but are not limited to:
    • By law, bicycles are classified as vehicles under the Highway Traffic Act, and, as such, are subject to the same laws. For example, it is prohibited to run red lights, coast through stop signs or block turn lanes.
    • Always shoulder check and signal before steering and braking. Use hand signals and verbal signals to make other riders aware of your movements and obstacles in your path.
    • Ride near the curb and do not ride in the middle of the road. Ride in a straight predictable line only as far out as you need to avoid obstructions such as parked cars or sewer grates.
    • Ride in an orderly single line, particularly on streets with vehicle traffic or limited/no shoulder.
  1. NOT to be under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol while riding.
  2. Agency and Event staff, crew members, Steering Committee, Team Leaders and Co-chairs are restricted from facilitating/coordinating the direct supply, sale or distribution of alcoholic beverages to any person during the Event or training rides.
  3. Adhere to all morning departure rules during the week of the Event. These rules are set out in the Event Handbook.
  4. Attend a Bike Repair & Maintenance clinic (required for first year riders only).
  5. Attend all information sessions to be scheduled by June, 2017.
  6. Adhere to the rules, instructions and regulations set forth by Agency staff and the volunteer management of the Event (i.e. riding regulations, planning processes or crew duties) and local and provincial law enforcement.
  7. NOT engage in disruptive behavior at any time, in particular at campgrounds and other overnight accommodation locations. This includes verbal or physical disruptions, fighting or harassment.
  8. Abide by the rules and requirements set forth in the 2016 Participant Code of Conduct
In addition, I acknowledge that:
  1. The registration fee is non-refundable and non-transferable.
  2. I am currently 18 years of age or older or have been pre-approved by PWA staff and attending with a guardian.
  3. Should I suffer injury or illness during the Event, I will be examined by a volunteer nurse and transported to the nearest hospital for treatment, if necessary. If the head of the Wellness Crew deems me to be unable to ride for that day, my bicycle and I will be transported to the next campsite.
  4. Should injury or illness result in me not being able to complete the Event of my own volition, I may be sent home at the expense of the Agency. Any decision in this regard will be made through consultation between me, the Co-Chairs of the Steering Committee, Agency Director in charge and the head of the Wellness Crew.
  5. Complementary therapies are a privilege and I am not entitled to a set number of treatments during the Event. Rather, this privilege will be granted to me at the discretion of the head of the Complimentary Therapies Team or his or her delegate. At all times, medical reasons will take priority.
  6. Access to my medication being held by members of the Wellness Crew is restricted to set hours and medication will be unavailable outside of those hours.
  7. Animals are not permitted at training rides, Packing Day, Departure Day or Arrival Day in Montreal.
  8. Accompanying family members, who are not participating in the Event as a rider or crew member, are not the responsibility of the Agency. The Agency will not coordinate accommodations or meals for an accompanying family member.

Non-compliance with any of the rules stated above during the week of the Event or at any Friends For Life Bike Rally events (e.g. training rides, seminars, socials, Packing Day) will be reviewed by the Co-Chairs of the Steering Committee and Agency Staff and, depending on severity, may result in one or all of the following disciplinary actions:

  • Verbal Warning
  • Written Warning

Expulsion from the Event

Campground Rules

We are staying in public campgrounds so please observe the posted rules pertaining to each campground. All campgrounds must be left the way we found them.

Recycling: Use the designated receptacles for recycling.

Litter: All garbage must be placed in the appropriate receptacles. Do not litter under any circumstances!

Showers: All of the campsites along the route have shower facilities, however these are limited. Aside from the long wait for a shower, excessive use from 300+ Riders and Crew showering has a negative impact on our environment. We ask that if you do use one of the shower facilities, please keep your shower under five minutes. Please use bio-degradable soap and shampoo.

Inclement Weather

While the ride has historically enjoyed pretty incredible weather both during training season and the week of the ride itself, severe weather sometimes happens. Here are a few tips on what to do and what you need to know when and if the skies darken.

Inclement and Severe Weather

Thunderstorms are a normal part of life in Ontario and Quebec in the summer, but the severe thunderstorms that cause damage are relatively rare.

In the event of inclement weather while you are riding or you feel unsafe, you should take independent steps to stay safe.

One well-known guideline is the “30-30” rule: Take appropriate shelter when you can count 30 seconds or less between lightning and thunder, and remain sheltered for 30 minutes after the last thunder clap.

About Lightning

  • Lighting doesn’t just happen in or during heavy rain. It also remains a danger when storms are dissipating or have passed by. Lightning can also occur as far away as 15km or more from any rainfall.
  • As cyclists, we are at most risk when we are under or near tall trees, on or near hilltops or happen to be the highest point on flat land, such as when riding through fields and farmland.
  • When the skies darken, look AND listen for increased wind, flashes of lighting or thunder. If you hear thunder, you are close enough to be at risk of being struck by lightning. Take safe shelter immediately!
  • Contrary to popular belief, rubber-soled shoes and rubber tires DO NOT protect you from lighting.

What Kind of Shelter is Safe?

  • A sturdy building, an underpass, large barn, store, porch or railroad station are good places to seek shelter, if there are any around.
  • If you are on a hill with exposure to the sky, try to head downhill. Seek out an overhanging bluff, valley or ravine where you can lower your exposure. Creek beds are generally not safe places, as they can be at risk of flash flooding during heavy rainfall.
  • DO NOT take shelter in small sheds or under tall or isolated trees.
  • If you are caught outdoors with no obvious shelter close-by:
  • find a low spot away from trees, fences and poles;
  • make sure that the place you pick is not subject to flash flooding; or,
  • if you are in a wooded area, take shelter under shorter trees as lightning is more likely to strike the tallest trees.
  • If you feel your skin tingle or your hair stand on end:
  • dismount IMMEDIATELY and get away from your bike;
  • squat low to the ground on the balls of your feet to minimize your contact with the ground; and,
  • place your hands on your knees, and your head between your knees and make yourself as small as possible.
Training Ride Cancellation Policy

The safety of our participants will always be our first priority and there may be times when a training ride will have to be cancelled. This will be at the discretion of the Team Leaders leading that day’s ride. If a training ride is cancelled it will be posted to the Bike Rally Facebook page and Twitter. The Team Leaders will also go to the starting point to ensure that all riders are aware that the ride is cancelled. Rides can be cancelled based on the following criteria:

  • lightning;
  • heavy downpours that last more than 10 minutes; and/or
  • hail.
The Week of the Ride

During the week of the ride itself, Bike Rally leadership closely monitors weather and will advise riders and crew of weather forecasts during the morning announcements. In the event of unexpected inclement weather while you are riding, you should take independent steps to stay safe. If Bike Rally leadership instructs you to dismount or find shelter, please do so for both your safety and for those on the road with you.