P.E.I. will have a new tourist draw this summer when Cycling P.E.I. launches a group ride known as a grand fondo that it hopes will draw at least 300 riders.
During the event's announcement Friday, Mark Carr-Rollitt, GrandFondo P.E.I.'s project manager, said Cycling P.E.I. partnered with a wide range of organizations to make it the best event it can be.
"The thing about this type of event it's not a race," he said.
Gran fondos are non-competitive group bicycle rides along a road course set up so people can take a competitive or relaxed approach, depending on their preferences.
The trend started in Europe and has since spread around the world with several gran fondos taking place in Canada every year, including one in Whistler with about 7,000 riders.
GranFondo P.E.I. will take place Aug. 24-25 with 50 kilometre rides bookending the big 120 kilometre ride and shorter 70 kilometre ride on Aug. 24.
All of them will start and finish at the new convention centre in Charlottetown.
Because of the relaxed nature of the gran fondo, riders will be able to stop and take in any sights along the route.
Carr-Rollitt said they picked August because the weather was good for riding and it was a good time of year from a tourism point of view.
The gran fondo's organizers discussed holding the event in September, but there are a lot of them in Ontario around that time, among other factors they had to consider, he said.
Carr-Rollitt said Cycling P.E.I. came up with the idea, developed a business plan and submitted the necessary applications to government to get funding in place for it.
"All the elements kind of lined up," he said.
P.E.I. has held cycling races before, but Carr-Rollitt said there are more recreational riders than athletes and it's harder to run competitive events.
"It's a whole other level of complexity in terms of organizing it," he said.
Cycling P.E.I. is getting help from all three levels of government with the province and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency each providing $22,500.
The City of Charlottetown is also contributing $15,000 to the event through its special events reserve fund.
Mike Connolly, Cycling P.E.I.'s executive director, said gran fondos are a new concept in Atlantic Canada.
"We're glad that we're the first one out of the gate," he said.