A team of cyclists travelling across Canada raising money to build wells for those who do not have easy access to clean water passed through Strathmore on Aug 19.
Mike Woodard, team leader and one of the cyclists, said bring fathers and grandfathers themselves, the group was inspired to ride for a cause, wanting to create a positive impact through their ride.
“We are four grandfathers, average age 65, and we were inspired with the idea that we could do something about the water crisis that exists in the world.”
“Cycling for Water was born out of two things: just the desire to cycle across the country, and secondly to raise funds and awareness about the need for clean water.”
The oldest rider in on the team turned 72 years of age just before the start of the ride.
He added roughly 785 million people across the planet do not have access to clean water, and approximately every 90 seconds, a child dies as a result of a water related disease.
The goal of the ride is to raise enough money to construct 65 water wells through Cycling 4 Water’s partner organization, Global Aid Network.
“The cost of one well is $8,500 and it services 1,000 people. For $8.50 you can provide access to clean water for a person for potentially a lifetime,” said Woodard.
As of their pass through Strathmore, the team had raised enough to cover the construction of 36 wells.
“People have walked up to us and just handed us money and said ‘hey, we want to do something about this.’ It’s a very cool way to get the word out,” he said.
Woodard added this is actually the second time he has ridden across Canada raising money.
“We actually did a ride in 2014 and we went from Victoria, B.C to St. John’s, Newfoundland, and that time we raised enough for 33 wells. We’re ahead of the game and feeling pretty good about it,” he explained.
“It came back down to a conversation. One of our cyclists, Rob Montgomery, he’s a lifetime cyclist and has been a friend of mine for years. Back in 2013 he approached me and said ‘hey I’ve always wanted to cycle across Canada… would you do it with me?’”
Shocked, Woodard agreed on the condition of doing the ride with the specific goal in mind.
For this run, the team began their journey leaving Dawson City on July 25 and aim to be in Halifax near the end of Sept.
“I thought, this was going to be hard, and [then I] thought it’d be a lot harder to watch your children die because they didn’t have clean water,” said Woodard.
Donations can go through cycling4water.ca or if people see the team on the road, honk, cheer or wave the team to keep going.
John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times