The Road Ahead: It’s for the kids

Trent Ernst, Editor


In the past 12 months, somewhere between 800 and 900 kids under the age of 14 have been diagnosed with cancer.

After injuries, childhood cancer is the leading cause of death in children, with about 135 deaths happening each year.

While there are childhood diseases that are more prevalent, there are few that are as devastating. I know, because I’ve lived it.

When she was six years old, my eldest daughter was diagnosed with cancer. While she is fine now, living through that was one of the most difficult and trying times in my life.

This year, in honour of my daughter, I will be joining a group of riders, mostly RCMP, for the annual Cops for Cancer Tour de North, riding from Dawson Creek to William’s Lake by way of Fort St. John, Hudson’s Hope, Chetwynd, Mackenzie, Prince George and Quesnel.

The purpose of the ride is to raise awareness of childhood cancer, as well as to raise money for Cancer Research and Camp Goodtimes.

Camp Goodtimes is a summer camp located in Maple Ridge that is run by the Canadian Cancer Society. The camp started in 1985, and had 25 kids in that first year. These days, nearly 600 children attend camp every year.

The camp has 24 hour on-site medical supervision and the health and safety of the campers is top priority. Children ages seven to 15 that have been diagnosed with cancer or have a sibling that has cancer can attend the kid’s camps, while teens from 15 to 18 with cancer can attend the teen program. There are also family camps that can be attended by the whole family.

The camp is free to attend for qualifying kids. The reason it is free is because of events like the Tour de North, as well as sponsors who donate directly to the camp.

The Tour de North happens September 15-21 of this year, and will see the team, including yours truly, cycling 850 km in seven days.

A couple weekends ago, I drove to Prince George to pick up a fancy carbon fibre road bike, covering nearly half the route of the Tour de North in three hours. Come September, it will take three days to cover that same distance, from Chetwynd to Prince George.

It took about two hours to get the bike ready and to pick out all the accessories that I need: a new pair of cycling shorts with gel padding in the crotch, a tiny bike pump for if/when I get a flat on the road, spare tires, and, most concernedly, a set of clip-in pedals and shoes.

Once they had the bike configured (better wheels, a new chain and some other changes), it was time for a bike fitting.

With my mountain bike, getting it properly fitted means raising the seat post, as it has invariably slid down a few cm during the last time I rode. But fitting a road bike involves angles and lasers. Yes, lasers.

The bike is placed on a special stand that allows a person to pedal, but the bike is locked into place. Then, the rider (me) climbs up into the saddle, and the proper seat height is determined by making sure your knees are at a 30 degree angle when fully extended. Then, a pair of laser levels are pointed at the legs, and the rider’s pedal stroke is measured, to make sure there are no adjustments needed. A third laser level is pointed from the side, again, to determine if the rider has a good power stroke.

After about ten minutes of adjusting the seat up and down, Dave, the owner of Cycle Logic in Prince George pronounces me properly fitted and sends me on my way.

This is the start of my journey. Over the next few months I will be documenting my experiences here. For more information on the Tour de North, visit, or search for Tour de North on Facebook.