Recently, two Nova Scotia cyclists completed a two-week winter cycling haul around Lake Ontario, with a goal in mind of more than just the challenge of the ride itself. For Jan La Pierre and Chris Surette, the 850-kilometre ride, under the name “A for Adventure,” had the aim of raising funds for the Amici Camping Charity, enabling kids to go to camp.
The trip wrapped up on Feb. 12, and La Pierre and Surette — along with two other riders, Brent and Mark Hubner — raised approximately $27,000 for the charity.
Then, three days later on Thursday, Feb. 15, the two cyclists woke up in their Kingston, Ont. hotel to find their bikes gone.
“For us, these were more than just bikes,” Surette told the Kingston Whig-Standard, after the two bikes were stolen from the back of their parked car on Princess Street in Kingston, Ont. “Just to be on them for this big journey and be feeling really good about everything we had accomplished, and then to see that someone had stolen them.”
“It was disheartening,” Surette said.
The fundraising ride, starting in Hamilton and routing through Niagara, New York, Kingston, and other cities on both sides of the border, was in support of Amici Camping Charity, which partners with organizations that help disadvantaged, at-risk or low-income youth attend camp for free. In the theft’s aftermath, La Pierre and Surette are working with the Kingston Police and the hotel they were staying at to try to locate their bikes. Though the loss of their rides was a blow, the two cyclists remain optimistic.
“Ultimately this is not ideal,” La Pierre told the Whig-Standard, “but it really reinforces why we wanted to do this trip in the first place. We really believe that by helping connect more kids to adventure and nature…hopefully we will see less of this happen in the future.”
Surette, meanwhile, said they still love the city, and won’t let the theft change that — especially not when it comes to holding grudges against anyone.
“We know there’s a lot of good people that in live in Kingston and they were tremendously supportive of us throughout this journey,” Surette said, “so we are disheartened for sure and a little bit sad that [the bicycles] are missing, but we are still really happy and proud of what we have done.”
The stolen bikes, two Trek 920s, are described as “camo green,” fitted with racks, and are missing their front tires. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Kingston Police. Further information is available on the group’s Facebook page.