By tomorrow, they’ll be in Austin, Texas.
On October 14, the day after Thanksgiving, 52 cyclists coasted down Citadel Hill and embarked on a 4,300 kilometre journey to Austin, Texas. They’re part of Cycle for Life, Celebrate Life, raising awareness and money for cancer research.
Organized in teams of six, the cyclists are cycling relay style, covering about 125 kilometres a day. On the first day, they made it to Greenwood in the Annapolis Valley, then took the Digby ferry to New Brunswick and spent the night in Calais, Maine.
Since then, they’ve been travelling south-west— passing through Boston, Buffalo, Columbus, Nashville, Memphis, and Dallas—and are scheduled to hook up with Lance Armstrong and his LiveStrong Challenge on Friday, Oct. 24.
The LiveStrong Challenge consists of rides lasting 16, 72, 104 or 144 kilometres—at any length, a piece of cake after 4,300 kilometres!
The idea to bike from Halifax to Austin came about last year when Todd McDonald and three buddies met a group from Calgary in a bar during last year’s LiveStrong Challenge. A group from Calgary does a similar bike ride from Calgary to Austin, which inspired Mr. McDonald to plan a trip from Halifax.
Also among the bikers is Dalhousie graduate Tony Griffin, whose foundation spearheaded the Cycle for Life, Celebrate Life initiative. He’s a well known athlete in his native Ireland for hurling, a Gaelic sport with a huge fan base.
Last year, Mr. Griffin biked 7,000 kilometres from Vancouver to Halifax and then across Ireland. He raised more than $600,000 for cancer research and started The Tony Griffin Foundation in memory of his father who passed away from cancer.
This trip is a little bit different than his last cross-country venture: for one thing, he’ll have a lot more company. “I’m looking forward to learning more about the other people,” he says.
During the send off ceremony at Citadel Hill, riders wore personalized red jerseys with sponsors on the front and the words “For Whom I Ride” on the back. Listed under those words were names of individuals the rider knew personally who have either survived cancer or passed away from cancer.
Aside from raising money to benefit cancer research, Mr. Griffin hopes he can inspire people to push themselves and go beyond their limits.
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