A cycling road trip is a freeing experience. It can be exhilarating to travel long distances powered only by the strength of your legs and the size of your determination. This summer, three young men from Elmira are cycling across Canada as they prove to themselves that they have what it takes while they raise awareness about affordable housing in communities across the country.
Tyler Cadman, Kyle Martin and Jordan Schmidt, all friends and former EDSS students, are spending the next seven weeks traversing the country on their bikes while they raise money for the Heartwood Place Charity that builds affordable housing for people in the region.
Schmidt and his family have volunteered numerous times with the Heartwood Place and it seemed like a no brainer for the three friends to raise funds for the housing projects.
The guys have named their trip the “Bikes for Bricks,” which is a play on Heartwood Place’s current program of “Buy some Bricks.”
“The affordable housing issue gets a lot less attention than finite disasters and this is just something I feel strongly about having seen it firsthand,” said Martin, who travelled to Cross Lake, Manitoba through his church where he witnessed the poor quality of housing in that region. That trip and a few visits to St. James Town in Toronto made him want to help those in need of affordable housing.
“The concept of affordable housing is that it is safe, affordable and everyone should have a place to live and we are helping with this idea by doing this ride,” said Martin.
The riders leave Sunday from University Stadium, heading east to St. John’s, which should take three weeks as they hope to arrive on July 5. After reaching Newfoundland, they board a plane and fly to Vancouver, where they will once again hit the road, travelling through the Rocky Mountains and the prairies until they get home in August.
“It is a unique trip format, most people travel from west to east to travel with the trade winds. Basically, we are still going from west to east, we just happen to be starting in the middle,” Cadman said.
“It is not going to be an easy trip and we have been told we are crazy for trying to attempt it. It is a very ambitious trip because of the timeframe we have placed on ourselves.”
For Cadman the trip is a redemption of sorts. Last fall, while cycling to work, he was involved in an accident where he went headfirst over his handlebars, causing him to shatter his collarbone. Recovery took months, as he had a metal plate and screws placed along the bone to keep it together. The accident did not deter him from the trip and in many ways motivated him to get back on his bike.
“I am getting back in the saddle and I am ready for anything,” said Cadman.
The cyclists will be trying to average 150 kilometres a day on the trip. Training since December, they said they are more than capable of covering that kind of distance.
The guys who are active and fit regularly workout at a gym but for preparation for the trip switched their focus from weight training to sitting on stationary bikes for two hours a day several days a week. Once the warmer weather came to the region the guys have been out on the streets on their bikes.
“It is not hard to travel (150 km) in a day, it is just doing it for 50 days in a row, that will be the difficult part,” said Cadman. “We have done some pretty big day trips to train for this trip but we have not done any overnighters, which will be new for us.”
Cadman works as a lifeguard at the WMC pool and swims on a regular basis, while Martin and Schmidt are avid runners, with Schmidt taking to marathon running last year.
“We are in great shape for the trip it is just being mentally prepared that is what we have to focus on right now,” said Cadman. “We had been discussing it for a few years always toying with it in the back of our minds and then this summer the stars aligned and we could all get time off work, we were all motivated and the timeframe just worked out well.”
The guys have been sponsored by Guelph’s Royal Distributing, which has teamed up with Marin Cycling in providing the guys with new road bikes, helmets and other gear they will need for their trip.
So far the trio has managed to raise just under $10,000 from family, friends and the community. The initial goal was to raise $10 for every kilometre travelled, putting their final total near $69,000.
The guys are accepting donations through their blog at https://bikeforbricks.blogspot.ca. Anyone interested in following the trip can read about their adventures on the road as they will be updating the blog regularly over the next seven weeks.
For more information about affordable housing visit www.heartwoodplace.ca.