Two Akkadians from Restigush try to cross Canada

Two young Restigouche cyclists, Nathaniel Borris and Mathieu Fortin, took on an ambitious project on Wednesday, traveling across Canada from coast to coast by bike.

“We will dip the wheels of our bicycles into the Pacific Ocean to mark the beginning of our adventure and do the same in the Atlantic when it is finished. It is a classic.”

With supposed enthusiasm, Nathaniel Boris is about to embark on the adventure of his life. Originally from Val d’Amore, he began crossing the country by bike on Wednesday. To do this, he will be accompanied by his good friend Mathieu Fortin of Saint Quentin. Both are recent graduates from the University of Moncton in social work, and are facing a huge challenge.

Cyclists landed in Vancouver late Tuesday afternoon. In fact from the west of the country they decided to board and take their bike trip to Newfoundland, an estimated 7,500-8,000 kilometres.

“I bike a lot and for a long time. When COVID-19 happened, I wanted to personally challenge myself, which is when I came across sites where people were documenting their journey across Canada. The idea immediately caught my eye,” says Nathaniel.

the plan? The two men aim to travel – as much as possible – between 100 and 150 kilometers per day. Of course, this distance will take into account the elements.

“The wind can certainly slow us down, and we will not unnecessarily endanger our lives if it rains in great quantities. The beauty of this trip is that we are not in a hurry. It is not a race, but an adventure that you embark on above all for fun,” emphasizes Nathaniel .

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At the end of their day, they plan to go camping, sleep in tents, or sit with their acquaintances along the way.

“We are not going to sleep in motels permanently, it would be very expensive. But we are thinking of giving this little luxury once or twice a week, a matter of a good rest, having a place to wash our clothes or simply if the temperature is too bad,” explains Nathaniel.

Matthew, on the other hand, cycled much less than his companion. However, he has participated more actively in the past few months in anticipation of this transit. Although he is less trained, he does not expect any major problems.

“I am healthy, I have always been very energetic and am ready for this challenge,” he testifies, explaining that the stress is not there.

“We both just graduated, we don’t have a job yet and we are in great shape. There has never been a better time to take a trip like this, the timing is perfect and I am really looking forward to it.”

If all goes well, they expect to reach their goal in mid-August.

However, the two friends realize that the adventure they embark on is not without risks. As proof of this, they learned about the incident of cyclist Stephane Boudreaux, which was published earlier this week on our pages. He was making a similar crossing when he was hit by a car on Interstate 17 near North Bay, Ontario.

We’ve read that and yes, it does bring a bit of stress. However, we must not stop there. We’ll do our part and be careful,” raises Nathaniel.

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The army and the mind

Although it was a personal challenge, the two young men nevertheless decided to attach a reason to it.

In addition to their passion for cycling, Nathaniel and Matthew share another common interest: the Canadian Armed Forces. Since 2016, Nathaniel has been an infantry reserve soldier in the Northern Regiment of the 37th Brigade of the Canadian Armed Forces. Mathieu was also a military student for several years.

So they decided to use their adventure to raise money for the mental health cause of Canadian soldiers.

“The mental health of our returning soldiers is an issue very close to our hearts. Unfortunately, we don’t talk about it that much in our community, so we thought it was a good idea to add this more serious aspect to our adventure. We want to help break this stigma,” says Nathaniel.

They set themselves the goal of raising $1,000. The money will be donated to the True Patriot Love Foundation, a charitable organization dedicated to supporting Canadian military personnel in their transition, return from deployment or return to civilian life.

Their campaign is hosted on the Go Fund Me (Veteran Ride Keywords) website.

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