By Catherine Bancroft
Like many great things in life, I came upon cycling by chance. I had heard about the Toronto to Montreal Friends for Life Bike Rally, a fundraiser for the Toronto People with AIDS Foundation. Working in Zimbabwe in 1997, I had become passionate about people living with HIV/AIDS. When I realized I could contribute to the cause in my own city, I signed up. I’ll never forget my first ride—30 km on my old mountain bike—and if I remember correctly it took me four hours.
Although I loved the Friends for Life Bike Rally, after 6 days of riding 100 km per day, I said, “Thank you, and I won’t be doing that again.” But I ended up doing the ride 4 years in a row, and fell in love with cycling in the process.
As I cycled each year from Toronto to Montreal, pedal stroke after pedal stroke, past vista after vista, I watched my thinking and began to have mental breakthroughs. When I came back to Toronto, I noticed that these breakthroughs led to positive changes in my life.
I was hooked.
Two years ago, I started to dream about cycling in different places in the world, and began to picture cycling across Canada. Imagine, I kept thinking, seeing every part of my own country up close from the seat of my bicycle.
I applied to be a national rider on the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride and was one of 50 chosen to cycle from Vancouver to Halifax from September 9th to 23rd 2010—16 days, 180 kms per day. We each need to raise $25,000 to contribute to the overall goal of $3 million.
When I signed up, I was motivated not only to see different parts of Canada, but also to get behind a cause that had the potential to directly affect the lives of children living with cancer and their families. Each rider pays a $4,000 registration fee, which means that 100% of the money raised goes directly towards the cause.
We cycle in teams of about 16 people, which allows me to draft with my team the whole way. Drafting gives me a feeling of synergy that I seek in my daily life. As we ride through the cities along the way, we’ll attend numerous community events, where we’ll hear stories of the many ways the money raised by Sears National Kids Cancer Ride has helped children with cancer and their families.
To bicycle across Canada I needed the best piece of machinery. So I bought an RS Cervelo at Wheels of Bloor in Toronto. I’m eager to take my new bike out on the road this spring, but in the meantime, I’m training on stationary trainers.
My schedule involves getting up at 5:15 a.m. most days to go to spin classes, yoga, or Absolute Endurance, where there are group classes with CompuTrainers so you can see your wattage, kms per hour, and where you are in relation to the rest of the riders up on the screen. I also work with a personal trainer on strength training at Good Life.
As part of my fundraising game plan to raise $30,000, I am setting up Inside Rides in schools where students ride stationary trainers and raise funds through their own personal website. I’m recruiting folks to join a team for a 24-spin event (www.24hourspin.com) on March 6th and 7th at Exhibition Place in Toronto. I’m working with family and friends who are acting as ambassadors to make contacts in their own life, and I’m reaching out to my own contacts within corporations.
If you would like to get involved in the fight against children’s cancer, and want to participate in my fundraising efforts, I welcome all the support I can get!
Please check out my link at:
I can be reached at: