BY ROSS HOWEY, For The Independent
It began as a plan to bike across Canada for a charity and ended up raising almost $20,000 for Heartwood Place and affordable housing.
Jordan Schmidt, Kyle Martin and Tyler Cadman rode 6,813 kilometres in 52 days in an attempt to raise awareness and funds for Heartwood Place, an organization whose goal is to provide affordable housing in the Kitchener-Waterloo area.
The three young men set off on their journey from University Stadium in Waterloo on June 17. Over the course of their journey, they averaged about 149 km each day, an impressive figure considering the challenging terrain that Canada has to offer — even on the Trans-Canada Highway.
These facts become even more impressive when one realizes that Jordan, Tyler and Kyle actually had very little cycling experience.
“We are not cyclists in any capacity,” said Tyler.
To welcome these valiant three back from their journey, a barbecue lunch was held at Kyle’s family farm on Saturday, August 25. The event was an opportunity for the trio to reflect on the journey and the unique challenges that riding a bike across Canada can offer.
Throughout the journey they had to deal with 29 separate flat tires, six of which occurred to Kyle in the same day. They had little experience in bike repair and relied on bike shops on their route to keep their bikes in working condition.
“It was more a tour of bike shops across Canada,” joked Tyler.
The bikes were not the only things that were strained during the 52 days on the road. The stress of the situation also put some strain on their friendship. During one particularly rainy and cold day at the side of the Trans-Canada Highway with transport trucks racing past, Tyler described the thoughts running through his mind about Jordan.
“I was thinking, ‘we have 40 days together. I can’t punch him now.’”
These three young men believed in their charity’s cause deeply enough to push through these personal conflicts and physical challenges. Mary Bales, chair of Heartwood Place, explained there are more than 10,000 people on waiting lists for affordable housing in Kitchener-Waterloo, a number they intend to help shrink. Heartwood Place already provides 99 apartments in two buildings in Kitchener, as well as homes for those who would otherwise be unable to afford clean, safe and affordable housing.
The efforts of these three young men have made an incredible impact with their fundraising effort of $1 for every kilometer they rode and the exposure their ride across Canada has given to the issue of affordable housing.
Fundraising is a constant for Heartwood Place if the organization is to continue to serve those in need of affordable housing. An upcoming fundraiser is The Amazing Race for Heartwood Place, which will be held on September 15. Anyone interested in participating in the event is asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also make an online donation to the organization at www.heartwoodplace.ca.