Four Comox Valley brothers honouring grandfather’s memory with epic cycling trek

With four bikes, camping equipment, and an entire country to cross, four Comox Valley brothers are determined to complete the challenge.

THE MACKINNON BROTHERS plan to cycle across Canada in memory of their grandfather

THE MACKINNON BROTHERS plan to cycle across Canada in memory of their grandfather

With four bikes, camping equipment, and an entire country to cross, four Comox Valley brothers are determined to complete the challenge in the name of Baha.Scott, Sean, Ross and Ryan MacKinnon are leaving from Vancouver this weekend for two months, determined to bike across Canada to raise awareness and funds for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.The disease took the life of their Baha — grandfather — Olympian, lawyer, UBC Athletics Hall of Fame member and author Neville Munro.”Ryan and Scotty thought about it last initially last summer,” explained Ross. “Things didn’t quite work out but this December we talked it about it some more, and with the timing, it worked out really well.”He said planning for the trip proved to be more challenging than usual, given as the all four brothers were in different parts of the world. “We probably exchanged about 800 e-mails between all of us. Scott was in The Philippines, Ryan was in Victoria, Sean was in Vancouver and I was in Comox. There were many Skype dates,” he added.In 1992, Ryan noted their uncle Dave (Baha’s eldest son) biked across Canada, and manufactured a bicycle for Baha to ride with him. Because of his deteriorating body and health, he was unable to complete the ride.Ryan added despite logistical challenge, the goal is simple.”We watched our Baha struggle through Parkinson’s growing up,” he said. “(Baha) was in a wheelchair for the last five or six years of his life,” added Ross. “We were so young when he passed, we didn’t fully realize the effects of Parkinson’s. We would all play basketball together as a family and he would sit on the sidelines watching and I knew how badly he wanted to join us. It’s so sad to see the body shut down.”Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disorder that affects motor skills, speech and movement. Ryan said the brothers’ fundraising goal is simple: to raise one dollar for every kilometre the brothers ride as well as one dollar for every kilometre Baha would have ridden, for a total of $40,075. He noted funds raised will be doubled through the Michael J. Fox Foundation.”We know it will be physically hard as well as mentally hard. We’re going to camp the whole way because it will make for better stories,” explained Ross, who added the brothers will maintain a blog from the road and will update it with stories, photos and videos. Despite the challenge, Ryan said support from one another will help with challenging rides or long days on the road.”We’re all brothers who are naturally competitive but supportive. We’re a team and a family. It’s all for Baha because he was so inspirational and we all looked up to him so much.”To donate to Biking for Baha, or for more information or updates from the road, visit the brothers’ blog at bikingforbaha.weebly.com. photos@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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