Ontario cyclists raising awareness for Special Olympics
AMHERST - After 1,600 kilometres and more than enough rain and wind, a pair of cyclists refuse to give up on their plan to raise awareness toward the plight of Special Olympics.
Dave Millington and Bruce Fisher arrived in Amherst early Friday on their way to Newfoundland, stopping at the Bridge Workshop to tour the facility and meet with the centre's clients.
"It has been very difficult at times, but we keep plodding on," said the 70-year-old Fisher. "It has been wet and cold and the wind has been in our faces. When we left home on June 24 it was 34 C, but the weather changed when we got into Quebec."
During the seven-day journey through Quebec, the pair were deluged with rain before making the turn at Riveriere-du-Loup and crossing the border into New Brunswick, where the weather finally cleared.
"We got soaked. It did''t matter what rain gear we wore, we got wet," he said. "After Riviere-du-Loup we got the wind at our backs, the weather cleared a bit and we were making about 140 clicks a day."
Millington, 66, admitted his legs are still a little wobbly after 14 days of cycling, but he's enjoying the experience.
"We're having fun and making the most of it," Millington said. "It wasn't much fun when it was pouring rain with a 30-kilometre-an-hour wind coming at you, but the last few days have been wonderful."
Fisher, who works at the food bank near Carnarvon, Ont., started volunteering a year ago with Special Olympics, coaching curling. He noticed the difficulty the organization was having getting participants to events and thought about cycling from his hometown to Newfoundland to bring awareness to Special Olympics as well as to raise a few dollars to support the group's transportation needs.
"Haliburton County, where we live, is a large county and we can't get people to our programs. With the $7,000 we've raised so far we can provide transportation to these people who want to participate in our programs, but just can't," Fisher said.
Fisher said working with Special Olympics is rewarding because participants are in it for fun.
Millington's and Fisher's wives are set to meet them in North Sydney and accompany them on their journey to Newfoundland, which will end at Fisher's brother's place in Botwood. From there, they will drive back to Ontario.