Cyclist crossing Canada while raising funds for cancer research
By Angelica Ingram
August 2, 2018
Luis Nasim has spent more than 60 days peddling on the road and he still has a ways to go.
On May 25, Nasim started a journey across Canada that began in Victoria and, if all goes well, will end in Newfoundland at the end of August.
The 61-year-old retiree from Montreal began the journey with his friend Juan Manuel (Manny) Alonso in support of Cedars Cancer Foundation, a hospital-based charity in Quebec.
On July 20 Nasim rode his bike into Haliburton and spent the night at the Lakeview Motel, where he was given a complimentary room in support of his journey.
The free room is just one example of the generous support he has received since his cycling journey began. Earlier in the day he had stopped for lunch in Carnarvon at The Mill Pond restaurant and when he went to pay for his meal he was pleasantly surprised.
“The waitress told me the owner wanted to cover my meal because he saw my shirt,” said Nasim, who wears a cycling uniform with the name of his fundraiser, 100 Days Across Canada, on it.
The cyclist said many of his expenses have been covered by strangers who want to do their part to help the cause.
“I did not expect that to this extent. People are very generous, it’s very touching.”
The idea for the initiative came more than a year ago from Nasim, who suggested the pair take part in an epic cycling adventure.
“We like biking, we like camping, we like outdoor activities,” he said.
The pair, who have been friends for 20 years, had done a two-week cycling trip in 2016 in Quebec and loved every minute of it.
“It went without a hitch,” he said. “The last night that we were there ... I said Manny, what’s the next thing? I said we have to cross Canada. He said, are you serious? And then he said OK and the planning started almost from that point on.”
Once the pair decided to embark on this journey, and had the blessings of their families, Manny suggested the trip be done in support of a good cause.
At the time his prostate was being monitored for possible cancer signs, so he suggested teaming up with Cedars.
Unfortunately Alonso had to bow out of the journey early due to pre-existing health issues.
“My buddy who came along for 4,000 kilometres with me, I’m hoping that at some point he can rejoin so that he can finish with me,” said Nasim.
To date Nasim and Alonso have raised more than $33,000 of their $50,000 fundraising goal. The pair has a website, Facebook page and blog, where they journal their trip on a daily basis. Pictures and stories are posted from every day the pair are on the road.
“This just took off,” said Nasim. “I retired last year and this became a full-time job for me.”
Prior to starting the journey, Nasim began training, doing 2,000 kilometres of spinning during the winter months.
Since starting the trip, the cyclist typically completes an average of 100 kilometres a day, some days doing as many as 152 kilometres. Prior to arriving in Haliburton he came through Muskoka and was planning on heading from Lakeview Motel to Bancroft.
He said most days have been manageable, as he hits the road early in the morning to avoid the heat and is done by mid-afternoon. Every week or so he takes a day off.
“Weather wise we’ve been very lucky. We’ve had maybe four days of rain,” he said.
Nasim’s hope is to complete the 100 days on Aug. 31 in Newfoundland.
The initiative has gained widespread support, with a major sponsorship from VIA Rail Canada, Trek, FitTime Nutrition and many hotels and restaurants. The journey has been covered by CTV News, Journal de Montreal and other major news outlets.
Nasim is grateful the trip has brought so much attention to prostate cancer, as it is something that affects so many in North America.
“One in seven Canadian men will get prostate cancer,” he said. “What we’re saying is for men to get checked, especially when you’re younger.”
To read more about 100 Days Across Canada, or to donate, visit www.cedars.ca/cedars/en/fundraisers/100_days_across_canada.
To find out more information on Facebook, search 100 Days Across Canada.