Cyclist headed to Winnipeg and back for charity

Jason Kerr
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Salvation Army member Claude Pelletier started biking for the health benefits.  Now, four years later, he’s biking for something bigger.

Salvation Army member Claude Pelletier plans to bike from Prince Albert to Winnipeg and back to raise money for the Partners in Mission campaign.  Funds will go to help fund schools, clinics and clean water in Liberia and Sierra Leone. 

Pelletier is raising money and awareness for the Salvation Army’s Partners in Mission campaign by biking to Winnipeg and back.  The trip is expected to take one week each way.

“When you bike, you bike for yourself, but when you’re doing it for someone, it’s more encouraging,” the longtime Corrections worker says.  “It will help somebody else, and somebody that I probably will never meet, not in this world anyway.”

Pelletier has been doing trips like this for three years.  Last year he raised funds by biking to Nipawin and back.  The year before he attempted a round trip from Prince Albert, to North Battleford, to Saskatoon and back to P.A., but multiple flat tires derailed the tour.

He says he’d be doing it anyway, so why not do it for a worthy cause.  He’s due to retire next year and he want to bike from Prince Albert to Newfoundland.

He says this is a test run to see if it’s something he could realistically attempt, and if he can help a charity out along the way, even better.

“This has really worked well.  I would probably bike anyway, but it’s a little more challenging when you’re doing it for a cause.”

Pelletier’s trip is entirely dependent upon the weather.  He says he’d like to start on the May long weekend, but that date can be pushed forward or back depending on the temperature.  Ideally he’ll be biking 10 hours a day, but nothing is written in stone.

“As much as I say I’ll only bike 10 hours a day, if I get a good tail wind I’ll push for 15, because maybe tomorrow I’ll fight the wind.  It’s kind of hard to tie it down, because you bike with the weather.”

Pelletier’s doesn’t have a personal fundraising goal, although the Salvation Army chapter he’s a part of is hoping to raise $10,000 for the cause. 

“It’s not just building the houses, it’s in the Christian context,” he says.  “They’ll be able to become more self-sufficient.”

Self-sufficiency is something Pelletier will have to rely on as he makes his trip.  For most of the journey he’ll sleep in a tent with some aid from the Salvation Army group he meets along the way, and the occasional stay in a hotel.

It’s all a part of making the trip alone, and if he does stay in a hotel, he pays for it.

“I don’t get any money from this.  Everything that I make goes into (the fund).  If I have to stay in a hotel room, I pay for it.”

Pelletier already has everything he needs for his trip, although he could use a few more donations.  He traded in his old bike for a new one to help him make the trip, and he’ll be doing some more canvassing to raise as much money as possible.

He says he’s happy for the support he’s received and happy to get on the road.

“So far it’s been very good and people have been great.”

Organizations: Salvation Army, Prince Albert

Geographic location: Winnipeg, Nipawin, North Battleford Saskatoon Newfoundland

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