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Local cyclist pedals across Canada

June 25, 2013   ·   0 Comments

By Jeff Doner
On May 11, 23-year-old David Koncan left his home on Nobleton on two wheels to embark on a once-in-a-lifetime trip that not many people have accomplished or even tried – David is cycling across Canada.
He’s not just doing it for fun, but instead he is doing it to help raise awareness and funds for Canadian Food for Children, which is a not-for-profit registered charity that helps feed children in impoverished parts of the world.
“It’s a bit of a bike trip,” he said with a laugh, “but I’ve heard of a lot of people doing it before and I figured, ‘why couldn’t I do it?’ Initially I was planning on doing it as kind of a vacation trip to check out the whole country and learn about myself and then I figured it would get a bit of attention so why not do it as sort of a fundraiser as well.”
Admitting that a roughly 7,200-kilometre bike trip across Canada is not something you can just pick up and do, David said good timing and friends who always talked about doing something similar was what pushed him to take off. With only one year left in his mechanical engineering degree at McMaster, he had a feeling that it was now or never.
“I was like, ‘you know what? This summer I’ve got time to do something like that,’ I didn’t really have too many commitments and I figured it was a now or never kind of thing.
“I realized eventually that I could do this trip, it wasn’t impossible financially, but I know in a year or so I’ll be graduating and then maybe tied down with a career. Time is something people wish they had more of – for a vacation and things like that – I figured I’ve got it now, so I’m going to get out there.”
He also has some past experience cycling long distances, which made him want to push himself even further.
“I’ve done a lot of mountain biking, but about a year ago I bought a road bike,” he said. “I had done a previous trip to Montreal with a friend of mine and that was pretty cool. It was only a five day trek, but it was cool going through all the little towns and meeting people – it was such a rich experience – and I imagined doing that all throughout Canada.”
Since leaving Nobleton, David headed straight east to Newfoundland and then flew west to Vancouver to start the long final leg back to his home.
However, the weather hasn’t been his friend thus far.
“It hasn’t been the greatest,” he said. “It has been raining on me pretty well the whole time. I think I’ve had two dry days of riding so far, but I’ve been meeting up with friends along the way so that has been good.”
The worst part about the cold, wet weather he has faced so far is the fact that, one, he is doing this trip solo; and two, he is camping out at night.
“It’s out there. There has been quite a bit of wildlife, which hasn’t been the greatest at times and a little freaky, but that’s all part of the experience,” he said. “One morning I walked outside and there was a moose standing right outside my tent, which was a bit of a surprise, but it just kind of ran off. Fortunately no bears or anything like that.”
However, he was quick to mention that he’s not always alone on the road.
“At the start of my ride my dad ended up heading out with me. I also randomly meet up with other bikers who are curious what I’m doing,” he explained. “One guy rode up to us and stayed with us for a couple hours. That has been happening a lot. It’s funny, you’ll spend hours with these riders who are complete strangers – it’s really cool.”
But when he is alone, he said it’s not as bad as it would seem.
“I enjoy bike riding and the hours go by. You’re seeing so much stuff and meeting so many people who come up to me and ask, ‘what are you doing?’ and between that and all the sites, it’s encouraging to keep on going and see what is next – what’s today going to be like? It’s a day by day adventure.”
In terms of the money he has raised so far, David said he doesn’t know how much he has raised to date, but was enthusiastic about how things have gone up to this point.
“So far so good,” he said. “The donations coming in so far have been amazing, so I am glad I chose to do it for a charity. That also serves as some motivation to keep going as well.”
He also explained his decision to raise funds for Canadian Food for Children, a charity that he has known about for quite some time.
“I have family and friends who have been involved with the charity before and I met the guy who runs it. He’s still a practicing doctor and it was pretty inspiring, I heard him speak one time when I was pretty young and it stuck with me. This guy has devoted a large part of his life to whether it’s collecting money or clothing or small household items for these third world countries. He has given a lot.”
He also said he respects the way Canadian Food for Children is operated, with nothing going to waste and a crew of volunteers that run the entire operation.
“I haven’t worked there personally, but I know a lot of people who have – it’s just one of those things that I know 100% of things donated to the cause go to the right places,” he said.
For such a worthy cause, David said he thankful for all the support he has received thus far.
“I spent about 10 minutes putting together the link for donations and I’m seeing what the outcome of it is now and it’s pretty sweet how something so small can make a huge impact.”
Hoping to be done by the second week in July, he still has four provinces (including Ontario) to conquer, but the fact that he has never visited Saskatchewan and Manitoba are making the final leg exciting.
In the end, David said the trip has really been a life changing experience and is glad he made the leap.
“I’ve got all my life to work. Even though it’s a bit of a sacrifice and a tough trek, it’s worth it and also going towards a great cause. It’s a win-win situation and I’m definitely more grateful for the little things in life like a warm bed. It definitely puts things into perspective. Something so small that is taken for granted is more important.
“This has been awesome,” he said. “It has been an overall great experience.”
For more information on David’s trip or to donate visit his blog at http://acrosscanadaforkids.wordpress.com/about/

         

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