Firefighters Pedal 435 Kilometres for a Great Cause
This past summer, a group of 26 Ontario firefighters cycled from Toronto to Ottawa to raise funds and awareness for the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation.
Paul Osborne, a volunteer firefighter and CLAC Local 911 president, said he and his fellow firefighter cyclists from Hamilton—Aaron Calder, James MacLeod, and Eric Savard—started training for the 435-kilometre ride in April, pretty much as soon as the snow cleared.
“We just kept building the amount of kilometres we were doing in a stretch. It’s like any training program—just try to increase the amount of riding.”
The full group set out from Toronto on September 6, determined to reach their destination in two days.
Their route took them through the byways and rolling hills of eastern Ontario, away from heavy traffic. They made it as far as Kingston by the end of the first day.
They set out the next morning with almost 200 kilometres—and a lot of hills— ahead of them.
“We had this one hill that everybody was worried about—it was pretty steep,” Paul says. “Once we cleared that, you could see everybody’s mood picked up. And we only had 70 kilometres to go.”
In fact, the riders reached their destination almost an hour ahead of schedule.
“There was a lot of stop-and-go as we waited on our escorts to arrive, but once they did we were able to zoom through on the John A. McDonald Parkway to the fallen firefighters memorial.”
There, the team of riders presented $10,000 to the foundation, a portion of that raised through CLAC’s two firefighting locals.
“Next year we’re going to do the ride from Hamilton to Ottawa, so it will add another 90 kilometres,” Paul says.