Brantford’s Roger and Lynn Craig (centre) are flanked by Lynn’s brother, Ritchie Hughes, and his wife, Caroline, at a stop in Saskatchewan as they make their way across the country to arrive in Ottawa in time for the July 1 festivities. The Craigs are the support team for their fundraising family members on the trip. (Submitted Photo)
- There were plenty of great reasons for ROGER and LYNN HUGHES CRAIG to pick up and leave their Brantford home for nine weeks.They are the support team for Lynn’s brother, RITCHIE HUGHES, who, with his wife, CAROLINE, is cycling to Ottawa from their home in Victoria, B.C., to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, raise funds for a great cause and embrace the beauty and fascinating people of this land.”Lynn and I are both retired now,” says Roger. “She worked at the local Royal banks and then at the Stedman Community Hospice for 10 years and I retired from Dofasco. This has been the trip of a lifetime for us.”The pair picked up an RV in Hamilton on May 5 and drove it to Victoria for the starting point of the Celebrate Canada 150 Bike Ride. Along the way they enjoyed stops at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming and the Badlands and Mount Rushmore in South Dakota.In Victoria, Lynn’s brother and his wife got a great sendoff by police, firefighters, paramedics, fellow cyclists and co-workers as they started a 5,000-kilometre journey to support those who deal with post-traumatic stress disorder.Richie, a veteran, rides all the kilometres, facing headwinds, fog, hills, cold and the occasional bear.
Caroline, who has only been riding for a few years, has completed about half of the kilometres, getting stronger each day.
Meanwhile, the Craigs handle the RV, dishes, shopping, gas runs and keeping a daily blog of the quartet’s adventures. You can follow along at https://celebratecanada150bikeride.blogspot.ca/?m=1.
The closest the ride will come to Brantford is when the group passes through North Bay, but that doesn’t mean Brantford isn’t near to their hearts.
The Craigs’ Brantford neighbours, RICK and NANCY BENNETT, sent a timely present to the travellers.
“We were in Winnipeg and a woman pulled up beside the RV and said, ‘Here’s my car,'” says Rogers. “It was awesome!”
It turned out the Bennetts, who used to live in the ‘Peg, had contacted their friend, Lynda McKerchar, to let her know that the quartet was passing nearby. The group had been trying unsuccessfully to rent a car to use on their rest day and were delighted to have such a perfectly timed gesture from home.
“Meeting the people on this trip has been one of the most awesome parts,” says Roger. “Even if someone doesn’t donate to the cause, they give us free ice cream, coffee or discounts at the campgrounds.”
Roger says they’ve also been either running with or passing by others who are walking or cycling across the country and have been inspired by their stories.
So far, they’ve raised $5,000 for their cause – money that goes to Honour House in B.C. or the Soldier On program.
Roger says the team has had moving moments, such as when they reached the Terry Fox monument in Thunder Bay, and amazing opportunities, like when a chance encounter with a Cree waitress led to an invitation to the Batchewana First Nations Rankin Reserve, near Sault Ste. Marie, for a powwow and a native smudging ceremony.
“We’re raising money and awareness of PTSD but this trip is also about celebrating the beauty of Canada and its amazing people,” says Roger.
The team is on track to land in Ottawa on July 1 for the country’s biggest celebration of the 150th birthday and then it will be back to work for the Hughes and back to Brantford for the Craigs.
By then, they hope to have raised another $5,000. You can help the cause through donations at honourhouse.ca/canada150bikeride
Brantford Expositor 2017 ©