Biking from Prince George to Prince Rupert may seem like either a great test of will or a horrible idea, depending on who you are, but it’s much easier to commit to when it’s for a good cause that’s affected so many. The Tour de North, as part of Cops for Cancer, will begin on Sept. 14 and arrive in Prince Rupert Sept. 21.
Three riders from Fort St. John — police officers Spencer Owen and Rebecca Bojczuk, and sherriff Joelle Jensen — will take part. Bojczuk was on the tour last year, while Owen and Jensen are first-year participants.
The tour raises money for the Canadian Cancer Society to fund research and provide information and resources to Canadians impacted by cancer.
The Fort St. John trio held the annual jail and bail fundraiser on Wednesday, Sept. 5. Residents can nominate community members to be arrested at work and thrown in jail — the jail bird then has to petition friends and family for donations to make their bail and secure their release.
This years event raised $21, 813, despite a slow start, just short of the $22,000 raised in 2017.
“We were really happy with how it went. We had some great donations, the community pulled together, and I’m grateful for everyone who was super co-operative and took the time out of their busy days to participate in a cause that’s really close to me,” said Bojczuk.
Bojczuk had a good time last year, and enjoyed riding for a good cause, so had already planned on doing the tour again this year when she lost a good friend this summer to cancer.
“I’ll be riding in memory of her. She’s on my mind and it’s very important,” Bojczuk said.
Owen always wanted to take part in the Tour de Rock when he was posted in Campbell River, but had a young family and was unable to. Now, everyone’s older and he was able to take the time to do it. His brother fought and survived cancer when they were growing up.
Jensen has enjoyed cycling all her life, and jumped at the opportunity.
“To do something I love and for a good cause was a no brainer,” she said.
The tour won’t go through Fort St. John this year, as it alternates each year, going east to west this year instead of south to north. There are smaller communities compared to 2017, so the riders will be spending a lot of nights on gym floors instead of hotel rooms. The biggest challenge is the second day of the ride, when the riders will bike 185km.
“I have a feeling that day will be the greatest challenge, and the day after going another 100km on exhausted legs. It will be a gorgeous ride, and I’ve never been on that section of the highway or to Prince Rupert,” Jensen said.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the different communities and speaking along the way, but nervous at the same time. The whole thing’s got me jazzed up,” Owen said.
Email sports reporter Dillon Giancola at firstname.lastname@example.org.