Cycling grannies deliver the loot to those in need

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  2. If they were so inclined, a group of very active grandmothers in the area could be excused for putting their feet up this week.

    As promised, the Grassroot Grannies of Ottawa recently completed their 260-km bike ride in support of African grandmothers via The Stephen Lewis Foundation, raising $60,000 to help support families who have lost parents to AIDS-related disease. A total of 26 riders local led by co-ordinator Nancy Hough finished the three-day trek on Sept. 8, with stops en route including Almonte, Perth, Merrickville, Riverside Drive and the Bayview Public School.

    Some 70’s pop tunes blaring from two support vehicles helped keep the grannies and “gran-others” going throughout the trek.

    “The ABBA music as well as some tail winds helped us persevere through threatening storm clouds, cool weather and ‘behinds’ made tender due to long hours in the saddle,” said Shirley Mander, the group’s publicist.

    A highlight for the grannies was the rock star treatment they received at Bayview Public, a school they had visited earlier in the year to promote fitness and generosity. The elementary school pupils greeted the riders by the roadside, extending arms to high-five the approaching group.

    The bike tour is one of three annual fundraisers by the Grassroot Grannies, one of 240 elders groups in Canada that have raised roughly $25 million in aid for African grandmothers left raising and educating children orphaned by HIV/AIDS.

    The beat goes on. The Grannies vow to ride again for the cause.

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