Coun. Kim Maynard meets Michel Garant

Paraplegic athlete bikes through Princeton with his four-legged friend to raise money

Princeton sees its fair share of cyclists pass through, but this man is the first paraplegic athlete on a strong arm bike to cross Canada.

Princeton sees its fair share of cyclists pass through on expeditions across Canada, but Michel Garant is the first paraplegic athlete on a strong arm bike to make the long trip.

Accompanied by his canine friend Mollo, Garant will bike 7,300 kilometres in less than 90 days while raising money for service dogs for handicapped people.

“Mollo doesn’t run all the way because his heart isn’t as good as a human being’s. He only runs when it’s safe, about seven to 10 kilometres a day,” Garant said.

He is raising money for Mira Service Dogs, like his faithful friend Mollo. More than 2,000 trained dogs have been given to people with severe handicaps.

Forty-six of these dogs were given to people outside Quebec and the Maritimes.

Garant was left physically challenged after a snowboarding accident eight years ago. Mollo now stays by his side, helping him pick up paper, coins and clothing.

“He can tell the difference between slippers and running shoes,” Garant said about his companion who has been raised from a puppy to be a service dog. Mollo is now five years old.

Garant is determined to bike the entire way across Canada, visiting 83 cities. His wife and other supporters follow him in a bus.

Princeton is his first stop outside the Lower Mainland on a very long trip across the country.