Orlando Schmidt has been able to combine a dream of cycling across Canada with an effort to fight hunger.
The 56-year-old man and six of his family members left Abbotsford, British Columbia on June 8, following a route that includes a stop in Truro before reaching their destination in Hubbards.
“I was somewhat familiar with the Canadian Foodgrains Bank because my wife and I had volunteered with the Mennonite Central Committee agriculture and education programs,” he said. I thought it was a great organization to partner with. They do wonderful work.”
Orlando’s children Raquel, Jayden, and Nathan and son-in-law Caleb cycled with him until they reached Brandon, Manitoba, with his wife Vivian and daughter-in-law Kaitlyn in the support vehicle. Jayden and Kaitlyn then had to head back to BC for work, while the rest carried on.
“Physically, the Rockies have been the hardest part,” said Orlando. “We’d done some training but there were big mountain climbs. I think it was equally hard in Ontario, around Lake Superior. There was a lot of up and down.
“Emotionally, Ontario was the hardest. There were areas where the highway didn’t have much shoulder and big trucks were going by so fast. Our nerves were rattled a bit sometimes.”
They saw black bears and deer, and one moose, but the only wild creatures they were bothered by were mosquitoes and black flies.
“Meeting people has been awesome,” said Orlando. “Another huge highlight is seeing the diversity of agricultural crops across the country, and the farmsteads.
“Overall, we’ve had amazing weather. There was a bit of a heat wave in Ontario, but most of the weather has been wonderful.”
The family was travelling through New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia this week. They will be stopping in Truro and meeting with Foodgrains Bank supporters on Sunday, Aug. 11 and anyone interested in learning more about the family’s journey or about global hunger is invited to attend drop by 84 Fairview Drive at 6 p.m.
On Monday, they will head to Hubbards, where they will visit a relative and complete their trip by dipping their bikes in the water. They’ve arranged to sell the motor home that’s serving as their support vehicle and will fly back to B.C.
A little more than $30,000 has been raised for the Foodgrains Bank. Anyone interested in donating can do so on the charity’s website at https://foodgrainsbank.ca/cycling/
More on the Schmidt family’s journey can be found on the Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/cyclingcanadatogether/