It’s amazing the lengths some people will cycle to support a cause close to their heart.
For Graham Hales, that length works out to 200 kilometres in the saddle to raise money and awareness for the Victoria Hospice Society.
The Colwood resident and his Breaking Wind teammates are set to cycle varying lengths virtually July 24 for the 2021 Cycle of Life Tour. About 125 riders in different locations on Vancouver Island are taking part, with proceeds supporting eight Island hospices.
When COVID-19 put the brakes on the annual event last year, Hales and a handful of like-minded riders decided to individually cycle 100 kilometres through the Capital Region to keep the cause alive, raising more than $10,000 along the way for the local society. For more information on Victoria Hospice, visit http://vh.convio.net/.
“We were hoping for a group ride, but that’s not possible because of COVID so we came up with this,” Hales said. “Although hospices receive funding from the government, the money raised through initiatives like this makes a huge difference in the care they can provide.”
A riding class coach at West Shore Recreation for the past 10 years, Hales got involved with the Cycle of Life in 2019. Friend and Breaking Wind teammate Ted Pennell suggested it would be a good idea, considering what Hales was dealing with at the time.
“I had a friend who passed away from ALS, what most people call Lou Gehrig’s Disease, in the fall of 2018,” said Hales, a BC Transit driver for over 15 years.
“I was pretty devastated after losing her, and still get choked up three years after. She was only 46 with two teenaged kids. I think a lot about how hard this is for her family. If I can help others by supporting hospices, it’s a great way to give back and honour her memory.”
He and his teammates have organized a bottle drive for this Saturday, May 29 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Park and Ride at the corner of Old Island Highway and Ocean Boulevard. It’s another way to help hospices during the challenging times created by the pandemic, Hales said.
“We have COVID safety plans in place and there’s plenty of parking, and we’re asking people to come by and drop off their bottles or make a donation.”
The riders have also planned a silent auction, set to run online from June 1 to 15. “We have some great items donated so far,” Hales added.
To pledge a donation online for the Breaking Wind team for this year’s event, visit bit.ly/3wIRg5l. Find the silent auction online at 32auctions.com/cycleoflifetour.