A bike ride can be short or long, but a ride across Canada is ominous to most. For long time friends and fellow athletes Dennis Choi and Sean House, their bike ride was not just an adventure trip, but rather a combination of honour, adventure and fundraising. Choi left his home in Jarvis, Ontario on June 15. House met Choi in Montreal, Quebec on June 20.
These two young men have more in common than a love of sports. They lived in communities just a few minutes apart and met time and again through their activities in the hockey arena at age six/seven and on fields playing soccer and football. “We got real close in high school,” House stated. The friends went off to university and just as they and their friends were looking forward to the next chapter in their lives starting careers, tragedy struck. Their close friend Blane Morden was hit by an SUV while cycling and did not survive the impact. His death shook their world.
“I want to raise awareness of bike safety for cyclists, motorists and pedestrians,” said Choi. “Blane and I had talked about doing a bike trip across Canada after we graduated, so I thought this would be a good way to honour him. Most of my friendships have been built through sports,” continued Choi. “Sean and I met through sports, so for me to coordinate this ride with Right to Play seemed appropriate.”
Right to Play is an organization whose mission is “to improve the lives of children in some of the most disadvantaged areas of the world by using the power of sport and play for development, health and peace.”
“Right to Play has been just great, since we connected and so far this has been a really neat experience. I like being a part of their team.”
“Dennis was the mastermind behind this campaign,” stated House. “I wanted to support him. It is for a good cause.”
The bike ride started on the east side of Canada first, spreading the word through New Brunswick, PEI and Nova Scotia. The duo then flew west to Victoria where they now plan on heading east to home. They had their bikes tuned up in Vancouver and made it to Princeton in two days. At the halfway point, they stayed at Skaggit. In Princeton they stayed the night at the Cedars Motel at a reduced rate thanks to owner, Tina Jones and then left towards their next destinations, Kelowna, Revelstoke, Lake Louse, Banff and Calgary.
Choi and House hope to raise $25,000 by the trip’s end, but from Calgary on Choi will be solo. “My brother is getting married in Canmore,” said House, “so that is the end of the line for me.”
Right now Choi and House have raised $10,000. The journey will be close to 7500 kilometers by the finish. Life Springs Health Clinic – Toronto, Ontario, Bachmann Personal Injury Law – Simcoe, Ontario, Bowen Construction – Jarvis, Ontario, Doughty & Williamson – Jarvis, Ontario, Jarvis Lions Club – Jarvis, Ontario, Devine’s Restaurant – Jarvis, Ontario, Maya Cycle – Toronto, Ontario, University of Western Ontario Kinesiology Students Council, UWO Kin Games team, and friends – London, Ontario, Paul and Karen Lea Co. – Hagersville, Ontario, Code 4 Fire & Rescue – Hagersville, Ontario, Mountain Equipment Co op – Burlington, Ontario and Unico Pasta – Toronto, Ontario are all sponsors of the trip. Choi and House encourage supporters to visit their website wearemadetogive.wordpress.com to donate, give words of encouragement, follow their trip, offer a place to stay or perhaps a free meal or two along the way.
Choi and House are in Alberta now. House has completed his portion of the trip and Choi is now on his own and still blogging his way across Canada. Happy wedding Sean and good luck Dennis… have a safe trip home.