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Not your typical cross-country cyclist

Monday, August 04, 2014   by: Staff


New stops planned for Toronto, Kingston, on 5,000 km unicycle ride for climate action

Joseph Boutilier returns to Canada for home stretch to the Nation’s Capital

On April 5, Joseph Boutilier set out on a cross-country unicycle trip to call for political action on climate change.

Fast forward some 4,000 kms and four months - spanning five provinces and three US states - and Boutilier is preparing for an important milestone.

On Tuesday, August 5, he’ll cross back over the Canadian border at Sault Ste. Marie and prepare for the final 1,000 km to his end destination: Parliament Hill.

Along the way, Boutilier has been raising awareness of climate change and the pressing need for action.

He has met with environmental groups, made presentations to classrooms, and garnered more than 50 news headlines and media interviews in communities across Canada.

“The reception and support has been amazing,” Boutilier says. “Hopefully that same passion for climate action will be reflected in Ottawa when I get there.”

Boutilier arrives on Parliament Hill for the opening of the fall session of the House of Commons at noon on September 15.

He hopes others will join him to show their support for political action and unity to address climate change.

Boutilier will stay in Ottawa until September 21, when he hopes to join dozens of advocates headed to New York, where the UN Climate Summit is expected to draw the largest climate-action demonstration in history.

In his travels so far, Boutilier has stayed in homes, motels, and campgrounds, and tented in a few “random places where nothing was around.”

Challenges on the journey have included steep mountain passes and snowfall in BC, strong headwinds and crosswinds in the prairies, storms and record rainfall in Manitoba, and mud and gravel shoulders on large stretches of the TransCanada and US highways.

His custom-fitted unicycle is on its third tube and its third tire.

Boutilier has endured shin splints, blisters and numerous scrapes and bruises from falls, but says he isn’t phased.

“It’s a small price to pay if I can have a positive impact.”

Despite it all, the unicyclist is ahead of schedule and excited to announce a new route for the remainder of his journey, with stops in Sudbury, Barrie, Toronto, Belleville and Kingston.

Boutilier has been blogging about his journey on his website and tweeting as @josephboutilier.

A Facebook page for the journey has almost 600 followers with more every day.

“Not everyone can take five months out of their life to make a statement, no matter how passionate they are,” Boutilier recognizes, “but I hope people will join me in Ottawa. And now, thanks to the internet, everyone can show their support no matter where they are and help to make climate change a priority issue in the 2015 federal election.”

Photo by Keith Chan of Island Trail Photography via Facebook
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