Lower Wolfville man determined to help adult learners by biking around Nova Scotia’s coast

Published on August 23, 2017

John Smith of Lower Wolfville is cycling around Nova Scotia’s coastline to raise money to establish a bursary in support of Adult Learning Program students furthering their education with the Nova Scotia Community College.


PICTOU, NS - John Smith wants to help adults furthering their education overcome financial hardship by cycling around Nova Scotia’s coastline.


Smith, student services manager at the Kingstec and Annapolis Valley Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) campuses, said he had some time off this summer and decided to do something special and challenging: bike around the province’s coastline.

The Lower Wolfville man said he’s been biking since he was a kid, but got serious about cycling only last year.

“Just at the end of last year my wife bought me a bike. I got into it and got a bit of a bug for it,” Smith said. “I’m learning as I go and got lots of good advice from people. It’s going well.”

He told some friends about his plan and they asked if he was going to be fundraising as part of the trip. This started him thinking about using the adventure to raise funds for a good cause.

Smith started conversations with the NSCC Foundation, which is dedicated to helping students in financial need and improving access to education, and the dean of the NSCC’s School of Access. He learned that there is a need for bursaries for Adult Learning Program (ALP) students.

John Smith of Lower Wolfville is taking The Determination Ride challenge to raise funds for a bursary in support of adult learners.
MWJH Photography

Smith decided to call the initiative “The Determination Ride” and collect donations to establish an annual bursary for ALP students furthering their education with the NSCC. These students often face financial constraints or are challenged juggling family and job responsibilities with their studies.

He has worked with the college for eight years and aid ALP students never fail to inspire him with “the grit and determination that they all show.

“I guess I’m inspired by that type of human response to adversity or challenges,” Smith said.

He also drew inspiration from his mother-in-law, who is now deceased. She was a teacher and Smith said they had many conversations over the years about the importance of the community college system supporting students who faced challenges in high school and returned to further their education as adults.

John Smith of Lower Wolfville says it will take 35 to 40 days to complete The Determination Ride around Nova Scotia’s coastline.
MWJH Photography

Smith started the ride in Wolfville  Aug. 14 and headed east. It’s approximately 3,400 km around Nova Scotia’s coast and he plans to average 80 to 90 km a day. It will take 35 to 40 days to complete the ride. Smith made it to Pictou on Aug. 21.
He has raised about 20 per cent of the $25,000 fundraising goal. If the goal can be reached, it will facilitate the establishment of The Determination Award: a $1,000 annual bursary available to students across the province. The bursary will be awarded to students who have financial needs and who have demonstrated commitment to furthering education.
Smith said he’s thankful for the support he has received from fellow Rotarians. He’s a member of the Mud Creek Rotary Club, which has made a donation and provided Smith with emotional support.
He’s also grateful for the support being demonstrated by members of the public as he continues his trek around the coastline. Their encouragement boosts his spirits.
For more information on the ride or to make an online donation, visit or The Determination Ride Facebook page.