So, last fall you cycled from Vancouver, Canada to San Francisco, California. What was the motivation behind this tour?
For the trip I was raising money for cancer patients. The whole reason it started was that my girlfriend was diagnosed with breast cancer. We were dealing with this behind the scenes, and I was seeing how hard it was financially to go through. I figured there must be other people going through this same situation, so I figured why not raise money for those people. I know if somebody had come into my life and offered me money to help me out, I would really appreciate it.
Why did you choose the challenge of cycle touring to raise the money?
I was originally going to hitchhike to Los Angeles, California, but figured that was too easy. I wanted something that was more of a challenge, and something that could bring me as close as possible to what cancer patients felt like -just being constantly uncomfortable- from what I’ve learned from my girlfriend. I had never done a cycling trip before, I didn’t cycle, I didn’t even own a bike. I had the idea in August, and had just a month to train and get everything ready for the trip. At the beginning of October I quit my job and started off!
How did it go?
I started off with way too much gear on my bike. It was extremely heavy, and my legs weren’t used to cycling that much. It was an adventure. I think it was 22 days that it took me to get to San Francisco. I was making YouTube videos, posting to Instagram everyday just updating people and documenting the journey to raise awareness for the fundraiser that I was doing. We managed to raise $4000, so $1000 for each cancer patient. The bike trip itself was way harder than I expected it to be. I lost ten pounds in a week and a half just because I wasn’t eating enough. Denis (Nomad Nutrition founder) gave me a bunch of meals- the 100 gram packs and the smaller 50 gram ones as well. I was eating two of those every day and then snacking here and there. I was really grateful for those meals because they have so many calories in them. I also definitely appreciated the simplicity of making the meal, and that it was plant based, because a lot of dehydrated meals don’t have good ingredients in them.
What was the most unexpected part of the bike trip?
Oh...how hard it would be to go to sleep when it’s raining, and to wake up when it’s raining, and to keep biking. You don’t think about it, you think ‘ah, if it rains I’ll just go in my tent’. But it rains while you’re setting up your tent, so your tent gets wet, you get wet, everything gets wet. And you have to pack it up wet the next morning and start biking for another 8 or 9 hours. That was mentally a hard one. Physically it was hard the whole way. There were no easy days on the bike trip.
Did you have a favourite day?
You know in the Hollywood movies when they’re driving the cars through the California hills right by the ocean, and the road is curving following the mountains and the ocean. Three days before we got to San Francisco, the first half of the day was awful because we were biking uphill for 5 or 6 hours straight. Uphill to the point that you’re scared you’re going to fall over because your shoes are clipped in. But the last three hours was all downhill, following the curving road, the sun was setting, shining orange light on the mountain. You’re cruising down hill taking the wind just relaxing. That was my favourite day, definitely. That was better than seeing the San Francisco bridge. The last day was actually kind of sad to be honest, because my legs were used to it by then. I felt like ‘Oh, I can keep going now’.
Overall, did it go how you wanted it to?
The bike trip was exactly what I wanted it to be. I was definitely uncomfortable. It was horrible, there was no day that my legs weren’t cramping from the beginning to the end. It was an amazing adventure though, I met amazing people along the way that have been biking for months and months, living on their bike, and a lot of people doing it for different reasons.
Have you been able to follow up with any of the cancer patients that you donated to?
One of the patients that we met with, we had an incredible experience with. When we met her to give her the money, and she started crying because she was actually out of funds. The week prior was the last week that she had money for. It was amazing to see her reaction and hear her story, and see how it impacted her life. It was great to know that people were helped, and that we made a difference. It was definitely all worth it, because of how it felt on my end, and because I knew there was a need for it.
Anything that you would like to add?
I just want people to know that they can make a difference if they wish to. For this trip, it only took me a month to get everything together. Obviously I had the help of my girlfriend, I couldn’t have done it without her. But you have an idea, you execute it, and you can make a difference in people’s lives. Just start doing something. Even if you create a small impact the first time, it’s better than no impact at all. Then you can go bigger next time, because you know how it works.