Navy Bike Ride at sea

Photo by A/SLt Robyn Hawco, HMCS Ottawa

Photo by A/SLt Robyn Hawco, HMCS Ottawa

A/SLt Robyn Hawco, HMCS Ottawa ~

The officers and crew onboard HMCS Ottawa kept the stationary bike wheels spinning for a full 12 hours May 20 during their shadow Navy Bike Ride.

This is the inaugural year for the Navy Bike Ride and the officers and crew didn’t want to miss out, even though the ship is currently deployed on Poseidon Cutlass 17.

With a total of 90 participants, Ottawa kept going all day, despite the heat and the humidity. From 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. riders cycled on stationary bikes in the flight hangar for 30 minute blocks at a time – with up to four riders participating at a time.

Some riders chose to do multiple blocks throughout the day, scheduling their rides around watch times and operational requirements. Participants were encouraged by shipmates and there was a steady stream of spectators throughout the day.

Chief Petty Officer Second Class Kevin Jones, Logistics Chief, spent time on and off the bike – encouraging riders and keeping spirits high. Chief Jones believes that engaging and participating in ship-wide activities at sea is a driving force for a ship’s morale.

“The Navy Bike Ride was a great way to promote fitness, raise funds for those who are less fortunate and to get that valuable face time with as many other sailors as possible. Fun activities and events at sea bring a ship’s company together and ensures that morale can thrive,” he says.

The Navy Bike Ride was an opportunity to raise funds for the ship’s official charity, the Perley Rideau Veterans Health Centre located in Ottawa’s namesake city. Money was raised by assigning drills, either sprints or hill climbs, to the Command Team, Heads of Department and Chief Heads of Department. Drills could be assigned for a fee that was then donated to the charity. In total, over $800 was raised by participants in 12 hours.

Poseidon Cutlass 17 has been a busy deployment but the crew still makes time for physical fitness with the help of the Personal Support Programs’ Fitness, Sports and Recreation Coordinator, Alyssa Jesson. Jesson organized Ottawa’s shadow Navy Bike Ride and she’s busy organizing a shadow Navy 10 kilometre Run for June.

“Running events to shadow those back home gives the crew something different to integrate into their regular at-sea fitness regime, and can also provide opportunity for a new experience,” she says.

While at sea, Jesson keeps the crew physically active with three fitness classes per day. She’s also responsible for running Force Testing for the ship while deployed. Physical fitness is important for the crew, not only for their physical and mental health, but also because they are often required to do physically demanding tasks on ship, she says.

“I love that I am able to be here with them during this deployment, and that I get to play an active role in each of their fitness and wellness journeys. I am getting lots of people out at my classes pushing themselves to be better, but I am also witnessing a lot of other crew members committing to their own training.”  

Ottawa has been deployed with Poseidon Cutlass 17 since March, supporting the maintenance of regional peace and security in the region while bolstering Canadian diplomatic engagement and defence relations.

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