Once-in-a-Lifetime Trip Raises Funds for Tobermory Clinic

Reprinted from the Imperial Oil ‘In Touch’ Newsletter 2007

Tobermory-Fundraiser-Bike-Canada-Adrian-Verwegen-and-Tom-WilliamsonAt the end of June, annuitant Adrian Verwegen and fellow cyclist, Tom Williamson, received heroes welcomes in Tobermory, Ontario, when the two arrived in the region after cycling 4,525 kilometres in 51 days from Victoria,  British Columbia.

The trip was planned as a fundraiser to support the construction of a new Tobermory medical clinic. A website tracked their journey and they received support from people as far away as The Netherlands.

“When we started, we were hoping to raise $5,000 or $6,000,” says Verwergen. To date, they’ve raised $20,000 and expect when all the donations are totalled to raise $25,000.

Verwegen, 58, a shift superintendent with 36 years of service, often cycled to the Sarnia refinery from his Camlachie home. He became a serious rider in the last few years. The two averaged 115 kilometres a day and their longest daytime ride was 204 kilometres, aided by a strong west wind.

The hardest part of the trip, says Verwegen, “wasn’t climbing through the mountains but the persistent winds against us in the prairies.” The trip was unsupported; the pair carried all their gear on their bikes.

They camped in tents most of the time and only stayed in motels during inclement weather or when campgrounds were scarce.

After the celebration in Tobermory, Verwegen cycled another three days home, ending his 5,075 kilometres odyssey on July 2. Thinking back to his cross-Canada adventure, he says: “It was a great trip and at no time did I wish I was somewhere else.”