A Kingston couple is crossing the country to raise funds that will provide bicycles to people around the world.
On May 21, Kingstonians Vanessa Bourne and Andrew Duquesnay started their cross-country journey in Victoria, B.C. On Tuesday, just over two months later, they arrived for a stopover in their hometown. The two Queen’s University graduates met and worked together at Fort Henry so it was only fitting that they visited their old haunt while they were in town, stopping off to see the gun ceremony before jumping back on their bikes.
“We have made it all the way here in just two months…so just seeing how far you can really go when you have a bicycle as a tool, how it can change a person’s life,” said Bourne.
Their bike tour is a way for Bourne and Duquesnay to raise funds for World Bicycle Relief, an organization that gives bicycles to healthcare workers, students and farmers in the developing world.
Their goal is to raise enough money to buy one bike for every province they visit. As of Tuesday, they have already raised over $1,400 — enough to buy nine bikes — so the two are well on their way to reaching their 10-bike goal of $1,500.
Duquesnay said the bikes can help their owners in a variety of ways. Some use them to get to school, while others use them for entrepreneurial ventures or healthcare purposes.
“It’s a big steel-frame bike, really rugged,” said Duquesnay. “It can really go a long way.”
According to the World Bicycle Relief website, with one of the organization’s bicycles, a student’s attendance goes up nearly 30 per cent, while community healthcare volunteers make 45 per cent more patient visits, and dairy farmers are able to make 25 per cent more deliveries.
Although the Kingston couple has hit several provinces already, their journey isn’t over. They plan to reach Cape Spear, N.L., the most eastern part of North America, within the next month.
The couple will be accepting donations until they reach the end of the Canadian road.