As the New Year approaches (yup, five more days) a bunch of us are considering our New Year's Resolutions. One of the top ten most popular Resolutions seems to be in the area of helping others, and doing "good." Another more obvious top ten is to lose weight and improve your fitness. Today's interview features the information about an upcoming event that will help you with all of those resolutions!

BlogTO spoke with Ira Kargel of the Gears Bike Shop to find out about their upcoming GEARS 24HR Spin. The event takes place February 17th and 18th - which gives you just about eight weeks to prepare!

1. In your words, what is the GEARS 24hr spin? Can you describe the experience? Can anyone do it?

Wow! The GEARS 24 Hour Spin is a fitness fundraising event that anyone can get involved with. Sometimes the idea of SPINNING intimidates people, but that's silly because on a SPINNING bike, you are in total control. Unlike even riding outside, you are on a firm stationary platform, so you can't
fall off. Like any aerobic exercise the concept of Spinning is to increase your heart rate to improve your heart function and circulation, and improve your aerobic capacity while burning fat. This occurs two ways, more tension or faster legs, if you get on a Spin bike and pedal slowly with no tension,
you are doing almost nothing.

To prove that Spinning is open to all and that it is one of the most forgiving sports out there we have incorporated a SENIOR'S HOUR, one which will be led by (Mississauga) MAYOR HAZEL MCCALLION and HAROLD SHIPP with the band of the hour being THE TORONTO ALLSTAR BIG BAND.

2. Who participates in the 24hr spin?

Participants are fitness club members, fitness enthusiasts, supporters of the hospital and the cause, corporations (the team building aspect of this 24 hour event is exceptional), people looking for something fun to do on a winter weekend, both men and women.

3. Why should everyone try the GEARS 24hr spin?

This is a one-of-a-kind event, a unique experience that can't be found anywhere else. Pulsating positive energy, sound, lights, entertainment, fitness, community, camaraderie, WOW!!

4. What makes the 24hr Spin different from other charity fundraising events?

There are a few things that make us unique. The first is that unlike hospital driven charities, Gears Bike Shop takes on all the responsibility and the risk, and every single cent donated to the hospital is expense free. So when we say we've raised $2million so far, that is expense free. Also, there is no event that we are aware of that has 24 hours of non-stop invigorating live entertainment, anywhere.

5. What's the best thing about the GEARS 24HR SPIN?

Bringing together 3000 like-minded amazing people under one roof. Pooling our energy and concern for a healthier future in a way that has a definite positive result, The Betty Wallace Women's Health Centre was born from our efforts.

6. What is this year's lineup of entertainment?

Highlights are Honeymoon Suite, April Wine, Dr. Draw, The Toronto AllStar Big Band, The White, and many more. The lineup is available to be seen at our website

7. Tell me a bit about the silent auction happening at the 2006 event!

Each year we hold a silent auction to supplement the fundraising at the event. It opens on the Saturday morning for most of the day and has items that are donated by businesses and people that believe in what we're doing. The items are those that would be of interest to most people, gift
certificates for restaurants etc, as well as a certain cycling flavour. Each year we have bikes donated by Specialized, Giant and Kona Bicycles.

8. Are there other things happening at the event that you can tell me about?

When a team registers, they have access to 24 hours of food and drink that is supplied, as well as the services of massage and chiropractic. We have lots of volunteers that ensure the comfort of our Spinners by bringing around towels and refreshments such as fruit and cheese and water and E

9. What's involved? What is the deadline for registration? What are the options for participation?

You can be a solo rider for 24 hours, or you can enter a team with up to 24 participants that switch every hour. How a team splits up the time is totally up to them. If you don't have a team, but support the cause and want to Spin then you can email me, IVK {at} DIRECT.CA, and I will hook you up
with a team looking for riders...

The deadline for registration is when the bikes are full, I suspect this will be near the end of January, we are more than 1/2 full now. To register, simply email me or call me at Gears Bike Shop (905) 271-2400. Donations can be collected on-line at Gears24HourSpin.com

10. Can you tell me a bit about the success of previous years' events, when you started this and your future goals for the event?

The concept started in our own studio at Gears Bike Shop in Mississauga. We held a 12-hour Spin that raised $25 000. The following year we held the first 24 Hour Spin at the Cawthra Community Centre. From there we went to The Hershey Centre and have not looked back.

This will be the 7th Gears 24 Hour Spin. We have raised well over $2 million dollars. We have built The Betty Wallace Women's Health Centre at Trillium Health Centre's Etobicoke Site (right by Sherway Gardens). We have promised the hospital another $1 million. We have met so many amazing people, and continue to look forward to all the possibilities that getting involved in your community bring!!!

photo credit: Gears 24 HR SPIN. Left to right: Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion, Harold Shipp, and one of the Gears 24HR Spin founders, Kevin Wallace.

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