Over the course of 10 days, David Cox completed his third cycling trek up and down Vancouver Island — all in the name of Leslie.
Weighed down with four panniers containing a tent, sleeping bag, stove and other items, the 68-year-old Victoria man left his Colwood home June 28 and returned after pedalling a total of 1,100 kilometres.
His solo venture was dubbed the third biannual Van Isle End to End to End Ride for End MS.
“I’m a lonely guy out there,” Cox said recently during a stop in Courtenay.
The purpose of the ride was to raise funds for the MS Society of Canada. Previous rides in 2009 and 2011 each generated about $5,000. His goal this time started at $3,000.
According to the MS Bike website, Cox raised at least $5,000.
He participated July 6 and 7 in the MS Cowichan Grape Escape weekend rides to add another 160 kilometres and then in September will participate in the RBC Gran Fondo Whistler for a final 122 km.
The motivation behind the Van Isle End to End to End Ride for End MS is his wheelchair-bound niece, Leslie, who was diagnosed with MS in her early 30s.
During his treks, Cox has experienced various random acts of kindness, such as the biker he encountered at a rest stop who handed over a $100 bill. Or campground owners who waived the fee for an overnight stay. In Campbell River, Cox cycled with an elderly gent who had read a newspaper article about his cause.
Cox started cycling about 20 years ago in Toronto. The latest ride is his 19th MS bike tour and seventh fundraising tour in B.C., encompassing about 5,500 km. He had a forced year off in 2010 due to a bike fall and fractured shoulder.
Multiple Sclerosis is an unpredictable, still incurable, neurological disease with a disproportionate presence amongst Canadians. It particularly affects women and young people.
To donate, visit msbiketours.ca and enter Cox’s name under Find a cyclist or team.