Train­ing ground

Nova Sco­tia cy­clist War­ren Spires says tour­ing P.E.I. pre­pared him for Tour de Cuba solo ride in sup­port of CNIB pro­grams

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - COMMUNITY -

Nova Sco­tia cy­clist War­ren Spires says tour­ing P.E.I. pre­pared him for his Tour de Cuba solo ride in sup­port of CNIB pro­grams. Now, he’s hop­ing Is­lan­ders will sup­port his fundrais­ing ef­forts.

A Nova Sco­tia man is on a fundrais­ing bi­cy­cle tour of Cuba, and he’s re­ly­ing on train­ing he re­ceived on Prince Ed­ward Is­land to do it.

War­ren Spires, a res­i­dent of St. Mar­garet’s Bay, N.S., com­pleted a six-day 720 km solo perime­ter ride around Canada’s small­est prov­ince, this past Septem­ber.

“I cy­cled P.E.I. to make sure that my back was fit for Cuba. Six days in a row of 120 km av­er­age rides made for a good test and I had no is­sues,” says Spires, who re­cently re­cov­ered from a her­ni­ated disc in his lower back.

Not only was the ride pain-free, it was up­lift­ing.

“P.E.I. is quite pos­si­bly the most beau­ti­ful and ideal cy­cle tour­ing par­adise in the whole world.

“What a tremen­dous way to spend a week ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the whole is­land. I’ll be do­ing it again, hope­fully next sum­mer and many more times,” says Spires.

His con­fi­dence-build­ing ex­er­cise urged him on to his cur­rent chal­lenge in Cuba where Spires, CNIB’s di­rec­tor of phi­lan­thropy for At­lantic Canada, is cur­rently on a 1,500-plus km solo bi­cy­cle ride to raise funds for CNIB At­lantic. Start­ing in Bara­coa (Cuba’s East­ern tip), it will con­tinue along Cuba’s moun­tain­ous southern coast and then head west­ward to Ha­vana for a to­tal ride of just over 1,500 km. Spires is ex­pected to re­turn home on Jan. 17.

“I’ve trav­elled the world a fair bit but have never been to Cuba. I’ve of­ten thought ... the day that I visit Cuba, I will spend my time with Cubans, as op­posed to fel­low tourists.”

He also plans to sup­port Cubans di­rectly by stay­ing in pri­vate homes, as op­posed to re­sort ho­tels, join­ing them at their din­ner ta­bles each night.

“I will also make my way across their is­land on bi­cy­cle, the way many Cubans trans­port them­selves.”

In an at­tempt to add mean­ing and achieve greater good through his per­sonal tour of Cuba, Spires is try­ing to raise much-needed funds for CNIB’s es­sen­tial vi­sion re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion ser­vices in sup­port of in­di­vid­u­als who are blind or par­tially sighted.

“I turned 50 ear­lier this year and de­cided to cel­e­brate the mile­stone birth­day by set­ting a sporty and cul­tural per­sonal chal­lenge.”

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

War­ren Spires takes a break at the West Point light­house dur­ing his bi­cy­cle tour of Prince Ed­ward Is­land this past Septem­ber. The Nova Sco­tia man is cur­rently on a Tour de Cuba solo ride to raise funds for CNIB pro­grams.

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