Pair ride across Canada for children

NANAIMO – Realtor and retired banker ride across Canada to raise cash for B.C. Children's Hospital.

Brian Godfrey

Brian Godfrey

Saddle sores could become a problem for Nanaimo realtor Brian Godfrey and Bob Wilson, a retired bank manager, over the next few months.

The men are preparing for next month’s Coast to Coast for the Kids, a cycling tour across Canada to raise money for B.C. Children’s Hospital Foundation.

“The Children’s Miracle Network is a charity Re/Max supports internationally,” Godfrey said. “At Re/Max in Nanaimo every realtor supports it, so when I said I’m  going to ride across Canada as a fundraiser for Children’s Miracle Network, the office jumped on board.”

The company is already planning burger and beer nights, can and bottle drives and other fundraising events to support the ride.

The men have set a goal to raise $50,000 by the time they reach Newfoundland.

Godfrey and his wife, Shirley, were fortunate their children never needed the B.C. Children’s Hospital services, though some motivation for the ride comes through friends whose children have needed treatment there.

But Godfrey and Wilson are also avid long distance cyclists and much of the motivation for the tour comes from a strong long-time desire to experience riding across Canada.

“I’ve always wanted to cycle across Canada – at least certainly in the last 20 years it’s been on my bucket list,” said Godfrey. “I thought if anybody is going to retire at 55 it’s going to be me.”

While retirement is not in the cards for Godfrey – whose odometer clicks to double fives in April – he has accrued enough “Freedom 55” to take three months off for the tour.

“When I mentioned it to Bob Wilson – he’s 65 and retired – he was gung-ho when he heard about it and was in,” Godfrey said.

The men leave Nanaimo April, 30, for Victoria to dip their front tires in the Pacific Ocean before heading out on their 7,300 kilometre cross-Canada tour, which Godfrey estimates – covering an average of 100 km per day – will take 73 days or about July 22 to reach St. John’s, Nfld.

Shirley will drive a support vehicle carrying gear and supplies as far as, Lethbridge Alta., to help get the men through the B.C. mountains. From there on it will be an unassisted tour, meaning their bikes will be loaded and weigh in with gear at about 39 kilograms each. They’ll camp most nights, alternating with stays at hotels when necessary.

There’s no guarantee it will be an easy cruise through the prairies. Wind and weather are unpredictable and could play havoc with the ride, something Godfrey and Wilson are no strangers to and were reminded of on a test ride last year when they bucked headwinds over a 100-km section of the Olympic Peninsula.

On one section of a tour from Austria to Germany several years earlier, the men battled heavy rain for three days straight.

“We know how miserable it can be,” Godfrey said.

Their route will duck down into the U.S. through Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan before popping back up in to Canada at Sarnia, Ont.

Along the way Godfrey will file progress reports which will be posted online at the News Bulletin’s web and social media sites.

From now until the end of the ride, Godfrey is looking for support via donations to B.C. Children’s Hospital.

To make a donation or to check on the tour’s fundraising progress, please go to the B.C. Children’s Hospital Foundation website at www.bcchf.ca. Once in the site, click on “events”, click on “community events” and then click on “Coast to Coast for the Kids.”

“There are a lot of worthy charities, but this is certainly one where you’re doing it for the right reasons,” said Godfrey.