The Cycling 4 Water team stopped in Strathmore as part of the Sea 2 Sea 2 Sea 65-day, 10,000-kilometre journey across Canada.
The four cyclists are touring across Canada to raise funds and awareness for the Global Aid Network (GAiN), to provide clean drinking water from water wells in rural African villages.
“GAiN is also a community development program, where they do hygiene training, sanitation training, and basic health training,” said Cyclist, Robert Montgomery.
“They could open a dental clinic or health clinic, and they train a committee which consists of five men and five women from the village who take responsibility for the well in maintaining it,” he said.
Throughout the 65-day journey, the team has hit many milestones, including reaching the Pacific Ocean and crossing Alberta.
“The average age of the cyclists is 65, we’re raising money for 65 wells, it’s over half a million and we’re up to 36 wells either paid for or pledged. We’re more than halfway to our goal and not quite halfway done with the cycling,” Montgomery said.
Adding, “We’re traveling from west to east mostly, going through Rogers Pass, hitting 60 kilometres on the bikes. The same was true in Kicking Horse Pass, it’s thrilling to be able to do that.”
To prepare for the 160 kilometres a day ride, the team was required to complete 3,000 kilometres of cycling before the trip.
“If the cyclists had never cycled before, they needed to do two days, because there’s a mental element. You needed the training base of the 3,000 km to get the muscles and the breathing, and the conditioning, but you need the mental element,” Montgomery said.
“We did a similar ride in 2014, and one of the cyclists did almost no cycling most of his life, he was a mountain climber,” he added. “He did the 3,000 kilometre and the entire ride across the country.”
Throughout the journey, the team has run into many challenges, including health and family issues.
“There haven’t been too many times where all four of us have been cycling together, when we started the first two days all of us were together. It’s a team effort, so if a cyclist has to slow down for whatever reason there are still others who can carry on,” Montgomery said.
Although riding across Canada has been exciting for the team, the highlights from the experience have been raising awareness for the cause.
“We were speaking at a community gathering and a couple who were touched by the cause wrote a cheque enough to cover an entire well and all of the community development,” Montgomery said.
Adding, “The greatest highlights are just people being touched by the cause.”
For more information, visit https://cycling4water.ca/.