A group of friends is cycling across Canada to promote a sense of community in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Having launched their 8,000-kilometre “Connectour” from Kelowna on May 28, The Gazette caught up with the riders during a pit stop in Grand Forks Friday, June 4.
“People are feeling disconnected right now,” spokesperson Doug Firby explained.
“So, we thought, ‘let’s find people on the road and see if we can’t rekindle some community.’”
The group hopes to reach St. John’s, N.L. by October, but Firby granted that the tour might have to clear some logistical hurdles along the way.
“The big wildcard for us is what’s happening with inter-provincial COVID-restrictions,” he said.
“We’re confident that as we roll east, people will have had their vaccinations and provincial borders will open before us — kind of like waves on the ocean.”
Firby said the group maintains strict COVID-19 safety protocols, starting with daily self-checks for viral symptoms. All participants have to show a negative COVID-19 test result dated within 72 hours of joining the ride.
The riders have designated grocery shoppers to minimize contact with people outside the team, he continued.
Firby and his wife Lisa Monforton added that they also hope to spread awareness of the need for organ donors. Their 42-year-old son-in-law, recently diagnosed with liver disease, needs a transplant, they said.
The riders said they hoped people would track their progress through their website at connectour.ca.
For information about how to become an organ donor, contact BC Transplant’s website at transplant.bc.ca.