A cross-Canada cyclist who had her bike stolen in Winnipeg over the weekend says the theft might have been a blessing in disguise after being overwhelmed by support in the city.
Bobby Aucoin says she feared her cross-Canada trek to promote environmental issues was over when her she awoke to find her $3,500 Cervelo P3 triathlon bike had vanished from the third-storey balcony of the Winnipeg apartment she was staying at Saturday morning.
But after receiving a nearly identical replacement bike from the CEO of Ceridian payroll company, the Torontonian is ready to hit the road with a whole lot of good feelings about her time in Winnipeg.
"I've made a lot of connections with a lot of people because of this unexpected little break and unexpected incident," she said while picking up her new bike Wednesday.
"I feel like there's a lot more people behind me and my ride is a lot more about community and a lot less about me on a mission. I think that's going to carry me all the way to Vancouver."
Although the unexpected stay in the city means she's going to have to pedal that much harder to get to the coast to meet her deadline — she's been in the city for six days instead of the one she'd planned for — Aucoin says she's had a great time in Winnipeg.
"It's going to be a lot of kilometres on the bike — it's going to be some tough moments — but I'm definitely going to be thinking about everybody that's helped me along the way," she said.
"I hope people continue to follow and be a part of the conversation, because that's what this is all about."
'A conversation with Canadians'
Aucoin started her trip on June 25 in Ottawa and previously told CBC News she embarked on the journey to "have a conversation with Canadians" about our dependence on fossil fuels.
After losing her bike, Aucoin filed a police report and started posting about the incident on social media and her website.
That's when she says she was overwhelmed with messages of support and offers from people who told her they would lend her a bike to finish her trek.
One of the people who contacted Aucoin was Ceridian CEO David Ossip, who told he wanted to donate the bike because he's also an avid cyclist and he could appreciate just how tough the trip must be.
"He immediately wanted to help out," said Christine Walker, who represents Ceridian and was on hand when Aucoin sat on her new ride for the first time.
Aucoin, who plans on heading out on the next leg of her trip to Dauphin, Man. early Thursday, says she'll never forget the friends and connections she's made in Winnipeg.
"I hope that we can continue to talk about what it means as Canadians to be dependent on oil and I definitely believe that relying on each other and forming community and connections … is what's going to help us find solutions for a future on this planet," she said.
"That really came true with this incident — I wouldn't be here it weren't for the help of people and community."
Aucoin plans to head north toward Saskatoon and follow the path of the Trans Mountain pipeline.