September in Toronto is always very unpredictable as far as the weather is considered. The waning days of summer can be very hot and sticky or downright wet and miserably cold. A week before AAWA weekend, the weather was getting to be top of mind as the predictions changed almost every day. Mid-week before AAWA, it was predicted to be warm and sunny, but as we got closer to Friday, rain and scattered showers along with thunder were predicted for Sunday. Even Saturday night the overnight rain was to taper off by 8 am and not return well into the afternoon. When we woke up for Fajr on Sunday morning, it had changed again. Now rain was predicted to start around 10 am and continue on and off throughout the day, but Alhamdulillah, it held off for the most part and was fairly localized for a few minutes around noon. But much more exciting during the post-fajr moments of Sunday was a message from a donor that he would match the days’ donations to AAWA upto $5,000. What a lift that was, and any thoughts of rain quickly dissipated.
We gathered at Al-Hussain Foundation and Wadi-us-Salaam cemetery at 7 am. All the riders promptly set up their bikes and had a little breakfast consisting of coffee, muffins and croissants. We started the proceedings around 7:40 with recitation of the Quran and dua by Br. Sarfraz Juma (a first-year rider).
Br. Hasnain welcomed everyone to the event and went over the history of AAWA, and the previous year’s achievements. Captain Zamin Baqar went over the route details and general instructions. Captain Aarif Suleman then concluded the program with reminders of general road riding safety and etiquette.
Thereafter the ride captains (Ajaz Sadiq 50K, Zamin Baqar 100K) assembled their riders and discussed final route details and ride strategy. Each of the groups subdivided into 2 or 3 speed groups so that fast efficient pace lining could be co-ordinated. The groups one by one quickly departed under grey but stable skies.
The 50K ride route was east and north to a famous cycling stop called Annina’s Bakeshop. From the south this is a formidable route. Albeit with straight roads, it is riddled with rolling hills and some nice climbs –on average every 10km has nearly 100m of elevation. Annina’s Bakeshop has some of the best freshly baked pastries and cookies, not to mention the gourmet coffee variations. Always a handsome reward mid-way through a challenging route.
The 100K group set out northbound towards Lake Simcoe. Rolling through the countryside, the route gently slopes up and then slopes back down as it reaches Lake Road on the south shore of the Lake. Photo opportunities are a must at the water’s edge. Lake Road has some exquisite cottages and waterfront estates for many of Toronto’s rich and famous. A quick 2 km stretch and then down to Black River Coffee shop for re-fuel, washroom break and re-assembly of the two speed groups. Some more photos and videos, and then head back towards Al-Hussain Foundation. Enroute some quick rain showers helped to cool off those heating up by riding at excessive but legal speeds.
All the riders returned safely back to Al-Hussain Foundation and Wadi-us-Salaam Cemetery for some well-deserved Pizza. Everything wrapped up by Dhuhur time.
The AAWA ride in Toronto was a success beyond expectations due to all thanks to Allah SWT. Our goal was to ride and raise funds for a charity that will help many for years to come – having that as the mindset it was another lesson to simply have trust in Allah SWT’s plan in terms of the weather. It was further motivated by the generosity of the donors and all the participants. Alhamdulillah we crossed our target of 25K CAD during the Ride event.
Jaffari Cycling Club congratulates all the participants worldwide on participating, fundraising, riding well, and staying safe. Jaffari Cycling Club would like to thank SJ Cycling and acknowledge Chairman Br. Imran Mamdani for the amazing support, encouragement, event programming, and great feedback. We are proud to be part of the AAWA Sportive initiative and hope to continue for many years to come. And last but not least, Al-Hussain Foundation for allowing us to use the facilities, NASIMCO, WFAID, ComfortAid, AfricaAid, and Bilal Muslim Mission of Kenya for carrying out the work of providing facilities to those areas desperately needing clean potable water.
Source article: https://jaffari.cc/aawa2021/