A few months ago, Mayor Christian Provenzano was having a beer at Reggie's Place bar when someone walked up to challenge him.
Fast forward to Wednesday, May 3, and the mayor is wearing a cape and sitting on giant red bike next to bar owner Reggie Daigle whose infamous gold chains dangled out the top of the red spandex jumpsuit he was cajoled into wearing.
How it happened, apparently, is the mayor has been a patron of that watering hole ever since his university days. But in the last couple of years, his heavy workload as mayor has prevented his going out and socializing as much.
However, a few months ago – presumably after work – the mayor stopped in for a beer.
On that occasion, bartender Lorraine Daigle – who is also Reggie’s sister – was putting together a customer and employee team for the bar’s s annual Heart and Stroke 'Big Bike' charity ride.
She was talking about it with a customer who suggested that she try to get the mayor on their team.
“I asked if he’d be interested and he said, 'Oh, I suppose that would be okay' but then he said 'I’ll only take up a challenge if your brother rides as well',” she said.
The mayor and Reggie both ended up riding on the Big Bike with Reggie's Place Tavern's on Thursday.
“Well, I figure if you are riding a bike with a group of people from Reggie’s, Reggie should be one of those people,” said the mayor.
This is the fourth year Reggie’s Tavern has ridden the big bike, but Reggie himself has never before been on it.
The ride took place on Thursday and was a big success.
A 25-person team raised $3178 for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada (HSFC).
The Big Bike is in the Sault from Monday-Friday this week and each day several local businesses are riding in teams of varying numbers to raise money.
HSFC Area Manager Dan Ingram said that they expect all teams in total to raise around $60,000 towards heart disease and stroke research this week.
After the Sault, the bike is off to Blind River, Thessalon, St. Joseph Island, Timmins, Cochrane, Kirkland Lake, and then Hearst before leaving the region.
Heart and Stroke has a total of eight ‘Big Bikes’ that get passed around communities nationally.
Each bike can hold 29 people and a driver, which HSFC supplies, and is a lot easier to push with more people - at least 15 is best said Ingram.
This year’s Big Bike route started at the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre, went down Queen Street to Elgin Street, then along Foster Drive under the Welcome Arch, and finally along Bay Street back to where they started.