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Group 'Cycling 4 Water' passes through the Sault on 10,000 km journey (6 photos)

Cyclists slated to leave the Sault today

On July 20, 2021 four men and one support person launched their cycling trek across Canada with a goal of touching three oceans to raise funds for and awareness of Cycling 4 Water (C4W)  which has pledged 65 life-giving wells in Africa in partnership with Global Aid Network (GAiN).

The 2021 team consists of Rob Montgomery, cyclist from Gatineau, QC, and 2014 C4W veteran Timo Itkonen, cyclist from Mission BC, a 2014 C4W veteran, Mike Woodard, cyclist from Abbotsford, BC, a 2014 C4W veteran Gabe McReynolds, newest cycling member from Ottawa, ON,  and Lyndon Dojohn, support person from West Kelowna, BC.

Sea to Sea to Sea is expected to take 65 days and span over 10,000 kilometres before completion.

Although the journey started as planned, the group was unable to reach the Arctic Ocean at Tuktoyaktuk because adjustments to their route were necessary due to strict COVID-19 border closures and construction. 

The ride began at Dawson City on July 26, when the group traversed part of the Dempster Hwy. and continued on to Prince Rupert, BC and the Pacific Ocean.

In terms of logistics, all four men are usually cycling at the same time, coaching each other on, and averaging about 160 km per day. 

On longer trips, when covering 200 km or more, the group will often switch to a leap frog style of cycling, where two cyclists will be on the road and two will be off riding in the support vehicle. In this format, the cyclists switch off in 40 km stretches.

The group is riding for six days of the week, Monday through Saturday, and generally have Sundays for rest days.

On rest days, they share their cause in churches, communities and private homes.

Support member Dojohn has taken on a Water Walk in order to raise funds for one water-well, in addition to driving the RV for the cyclists.

"Many women and children in the developing world will carry water from substandard sources to provide some kind of water for their families.  The distance they have to carry this water is often between 5 and 10 km one way," Dojohn said. "I am doing a water walk most days of the trip where I will walk or hike at least 5 km with a 40 lb vest attached to my body, which is the approximate weight of a five gallon pail of water that most women will carry on their heads or backs."

Dojohn is inviting people across the country to do the walk on the final day of the journey, Sept. 25, in order to gain perspective on what people go through to access water, and to raise funds for a water-well.

Along the route, the group has been accompanied by guest cyclists who have also raised funds and awareness for clean safe water for villages in Africa.

Entering the Algoma District, the group said it is struck by the beauty of each town they travel through.

“We see so much beauty in this area as well as some creative and fun mascots. We were introduced to White River as the home of Winnie the Pooh and the giant goose in Wawa is also fun. It's great to see how communities can rally around certain symbols, especially when times are tough. Each community is doing their best to cope with COVID 19 and we see a resilient spirit in these Northern Ontario communities and in the rest of Canada," explained Dojohn.

On arrival to Wawa, Day 41, the group was right on target for fundraising. They expected to raise enough funds for one well per day in their 65 days.

I met up with the group on Hwy 17 N on their approach to the Sault just below the mile hill yesterday afternoon. Highway conditions were busy, which made stopping and talking more difficult but we managed a brief visit. 

As they approached, two cyclists were on the road while two were in the RV as planned. Upon departure all four rode the remaining 24 km into Sault Ste. Marie. 

They proceeded to a local home over the dinner hour then onto Bethel Bible Chapel who played host to the group overnight.

There have been many hosts at each stop, sometimes providing a spot to park their RV for the night, sometimes with water and power hook up and other times an invitation into their homes, a bed or even a hot meal.

Today, the group will leave for points east of Sault Ste. Marie and the final half of Sea to Sea to Sea where their next stop will be Spanish.

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About the Author: Violet Aubertin

Violet Aubertin is a photograher and writer with an interest in Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma's great outdoors
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