TRURO, N.S. – It’s been three years since Gordon Paterson said goodbye to his mother Ann after she suffered a stroke.
The following year, his father James in Kelowna survived one. He slowly re-learned how to walk and speak – and Paterson realized he owed a huge debt to the Heart and Stroke Foundation after all they did to help his father’s recovery.
That is why he is cycling across Canada from Halifax to Vancouver, including an overnight stop in Truro on Wednesday.
“I feel fulfilled. I feel dedicated to helping them because the services that they provide is all based on them receiving charitable funds and that is why I’m doing this,” said Paterson, who is from B.C. but now lives in Scotland with his family.
Two years before losing his mother, Paterson lost his aunt Helen to heart and stroke complications.
Today, his bike is inscribed with the names of his mother, aunt, father and close friend Mike Milaney.
“It’s personal. Heart disease and stroke has affected my family,” said Paterson.
However, Halifax was not the start of his epic journey. It actually began at Land’s End in Cornwall, England on May 30.
Thirteen days and more than 1,500 km later, Paterson arrived at John O’Groats on the northern tip of Scotland. Money raised from his United Kingdom ride is going towards Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland.
On June 18, Paterson flew to Halifax and departed for Vancouver two days later, cycling up Hwy 2 to Truro on the first leg of his journey.
It was a hot day and he constantly had to refill his water bottles at service stations to keep dehydration at bay, but he still enjoyed riding through the gently rolling fields and forests of Nova Scotia.
“The scenery’s incredible actually,” said Paterson. “Long may it last – I’ve got a long way to go.”
However, he always keeps his family in Scotland close. They include his wife, Julie-Clare, a neo-natal specialist, his son Cory studying computer science at Glasgow University and daughter Anna, who is going to study nursing in Edinburgh this September.
Paterson also had a message of support for his father more than 2,000 miles away in Kelowna.
“I’d say to him keep well, keep active and I’ll see you when I get to the other side.”
As a long-distance adventure cyclist, Paterson packs lightweight gear including a tent and sleeping bag as well as an air mattress and fold-out chair, among other items. Trip supplies are packed in a trailer behind the main bike.
To follow Paterson’s biking adventure across Canada, please visit his website at https://www.theroadipedal.com.