The Southwest Booster
Cycling 4 Water team making quick work of Canada’s roadways
A quartet of cyclists making a cross Canada fundraising journey to build 65 wells in Africa are making quick work of the kilometres on their route from Dawson Creek, B.C. to Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Cyclists Rob Montgomery, 67, Timo Itkonen, 70, Mike Woodard, 67, and Gabe Mcreynolds 56, made a media stop in Swift Current on August 21 during their gruelling 65 day endeavour. They have already ridden over 200 kilometres in a single day 11 times, and as of Monday they have 17 more riding days before reaching Halifax on September 25.
The riders began their journey by covering 534 kilometres in the Yukon starting at Dawson City and cycling through the BC interior before linking up with the Transcanada Highway in Kamloops before turning their attention to the eastward portion of the trip. They had originally wanted to start in Tuktoyaktuk on the Arctic Ocean to make it a coast to coast to coast trip, but COVID travel restrictions prevented them from beginning there. Instead, they started in Dawson City, B.C. by dipping their tires into the Yukon River, then dipping they tires into the Pacific Ocean at Prince Rupert before taking aim at the Atlantic Ocean.
“It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. The north section in the Yukon was far more difficult than we though just because I think we’re motivated by interactions with people and there’s not a lot of people there. Plus the terrain was difficult. The road surfaces were difficult,” group spokesman Woodard said.
The quartet are aiming to raise enough funds to fund the drilling of 65 wells in Africa working with their partner Global Aid Network. After the first 41 days they had raised enough for 41 wells, putting them the majority of the way towards their 65 well goal.
And it is this goal of making a difference for communities in Africa that is fuelling their journey.
“A well transforms a village. It changes their health. It gives them more time to invest in other productive activities because the average distance a women has to go is five kilometres to find water. And the tragic thing is that the water they’re carrying actually brings back, in many times, death,” Woodard said.
“One early morning I was cycling, 6:30 in the morning and going uphill, the wind is against me, and it starts to rain, and I think ‘oh my goodness this is going to be hard’. But it would be a lot harder to watch your kids die if they didn’t have clean water. And that’s kind of something we repeat to ourselves in those moments.”
He noted that with 785 million people around the world not having access to clean water, that statistic can be improved through fundraising in support of causes like this. If they were able to drill 2,500 wells, that would provide 2.5 million people access to clean water. And with each well servicing about 1,000 people, and the cost of each well is $8,500, so simply by many people making an $8.50 donation it will make a difference.
“The gripping element
of Swift Current, a boy, September 3.
MILLER/PESKLEWAY - born to Danae Miller and Clayton Peskleway of Shaunavon, a girl, August 31.
RUDY - born to Denae and Braden Rudy of Swift Current, a boy, August 30.
FOX - born to Desirae and Daniel Fox of Vanguard, a girl, August 27. of that is that every 90 seconds a child dies because of a water related disease that’s preventable.”
For additional information about their trip and to make a donation visit https://cycling4water.ca/.
HOWELL/ZANGWIO - born to Alanna Howell and Jamil Zangwio of Swift Current, a boy, August 27.
PETERS - born to Greta and Jake Peters of Glenbain, a girl, August 26.
CAREFOOT - born to Katie and Scott Carefoot of Swift Current, a boy, August 23.