Sam Church – CWC

Posted

Kook on a Bicycle: Canada to Mexico Waves For Water Fundraiser!

Trip Summary…

Wellll I’m not too sure what to say other than it was fully wild. Camping, riding over crazy terrain and through some hectic weather. The scenery was out of this world, I saw a lot of wildlife, I met some awesome people and I ate more food than I ever have in my whole life. I have done my share of travel and this was definitely a new way to travel for me and possibly the best way to explore an incredible coastline.

I was not into cycling at all before this ride and a trip like this had never really crossed my mind until I met another Australian dude living in Canada who goes by the name Sausagerowlz. I lived in Fernie, BC with him and learned how he had arrived in Fernie by bicycle from Miami. He rode with no underpants and his stories are classic. He said he would give me the bike and all the gear for next to nothing if I’d take it on a big ride and I was down. The bike is an old giant mountain bike hybrid. It was not pretty and the suspension did not lock out. But it was comfy and it was perfect for me since a proper touring bike set up means you are not as upright and my only real concern for the trip was my neck that I hurt snowboarding in Fernie. Also, It was the last bike anyone would want to steal. Perfect.

I got the idea for the fundraiser after watching WSL events and seeing W4W advertisements. I have surfed all over Central America and I am planning to drive down there in my Van in the next few months. I was considering being a Clean Water Courier originally then the bike ride idea came up and it was a good opportunity to raise some coin for the Nicaragua Project.

All of my mates in Fernie and mates back in Aus backed the idea and have been generous with donations. The crew at The Pub in Fernie organized a fundraiser night without me knowing until it was already planned and the whole town got behind it.

Then I got a message from someone (legend) who wishes to remain anonymous who said they would donate $1 for every km peddled, but only if I made it the whole way. So I planned to take just about every scenic route and detour I could find, and I did!

After all of that build up and support for the fundraiser I was so psyched for the ride. I didn’t really train other than getting my neck feeling strong as my mate had said “if you look at it on the map, it’s all down hill” so I figured it would be easy! Haha I had a few days of strong headwinds that were draining and I hurt my Achilles and knee early on in the ride mainly from not knowing how to set up my bike properly and use the gears efficiently. I sorted out my bike set up so my legs would last and other than those set backs it was smooth sailing. I didn’t even get a flat tire.

I struggled through the cold of Washington looping around Olympic National Park and then basically stuck to the coast all the way south. I planned on stealth camping a bit but that was a fail. On my first attempt I got a friendly warning shot from someone. I later found out I was probably trying to pitch my tent near their weed plantation. My other failed attempt was under a bridge but I was soon evicted by the bridges more permanent residents. After that I settled for State Parks which are epic in Washington and Oregon. $5 for a site, hot shower and bench if you are a hiker/biker. I was usually the only one there, particularly up north, which was rad.

The Oregon coast was mind blowing. If I had stopped to take pictures every time I wanted to I would still be in Oregon. Northern California was equally picturesque. I got to camp in the redwoods, ride through Big Sur, ride through some iconic surf towns and ride along the coast on some crazy roads that I would definitely have missed if I were to drive the coast. Getting through LA was chaos but not as bad as I had anticipated. The ride ended with two days of insane rain and even some flash flood warnings in Southern California. I was soo psyched to hit the Mexican border and do what I had set out to do that it didn’t phase me at all. I was smiling like a full on mad man in the rain on the final leg of the ride.

In the end I rode 2,880km in 28 days from Vancouver to the Mexican Border. I can’t really express how awesome the whole experience has been. I got to have an epic adventure while raising money for a charity that is doing great things. Once my anonymous sponsor pays per km the fundraiser will have made close to $6000US. Stoked!!!

Attached are some of my favourite pics I took on the ride. Cheers!!!

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