Larry Osachoff discovered cycling after surviving some serious cardiac issues in the late 1990s. He fell in love with long distance riding and has since covered more than 20,000 kilometres from White Rock to Beijing.
“Sometimes you’re on a lonely road and you’re all by yourself…down through Mongolia and into Tiananmen Square and when I looked up there was a full moon and I said, ‘now I get it, that’s the reason I did all this’,” said Osachoff as he described his mostly solo cycling trips.
But the Surrey adventure cyclist’s latest journey will not be motivated by scenic beauty. Instead, Osachoff’s son Steve will join him for a ride back in time.
The father and son team left Vancouver Sunday for an overseas road trip that will see them go the distance to honour the sacrifices made by Canadians who served in the First World War. The Osachoffs are two of 150 Canadians pedaling from London to Vimy Ridge in the 2017 Battlefield Bike Ride. Over eight days and more than 600 kilometres, they’ll honour the fallen and pay respects to the veterans in their own family. During the ride, the Osachoffs will be thinking about their great grandfather who lost a leg in the First World War, a great uncle who served in Egypt during the Second World War, their grandfather who fought in the battle of Dieppe, and grandmother who worked in an airplane factory.
“I’m just looking forward to touching base with my roots and this is just a great opportunity to take part in a passion of his,” said Steve Osachoff, referring to his father’s love of riding.
Wounded Warriors Canada has already surpassed its $600,000 fundraising goal for this year’s Battlefield Bike Ride, which is set to get underway two months after Canadians marked the 100th anniversary of their victory in the battle of Vimy Ridge.
“Part of the ride is to not just raise money but to highlight the horror of war and I think just from the many lives that we’ve touched on this project that that’s happening,” said Larry Osachoff.
Wounded Warriors Canada is an independent veteran’s charity focusing on mental health and the Osachoffs hope their spirit will inspire others to ride for the cause.