For eight hours, Colwood resident Graham Hales was spinning away on a stationary bike, sheltered from the rain under a tent in front of West Shore Parks and Recreation.
For most of that time, he had a rotating roster of friends spinning alongside him, and for the entire time, he was in competition against Raida Bolton in a similar setup in Courtney.
While many people’s legs would start burning just reading about it, Hales was all smiles throughout the day. This donation duel spin-a-thon was for a good cause after all, with all proceeds benefiting Victoria Hospice as part of Hales’ Cycle of Life Tour fundraising efforts with teammates from Breaking Wind.
“It doesn’t even matter who wins to me, because we are raising money for hospice,” said Hales, without missing a pedal stroke. “I’ve been riding for a while, but this is pretty hard because it is physical and mental. I’m thinking of all the people who have passed and been helped by hospice. People who come up and donate, some of them have stories about their loved ones who they have lost.”
Hales himself has a connection with Victoria Hospice as well, which has led him to fundraise through Cycle of Life since 2019. In 2018, he lost a close friend to ALS, and discovered the event while searching for something he could put his energy into.
“I feel like I am doing pretty good, but I need to keep telling myself I need to slow down since I have a pretty fast cadence,” he said three and a half hours into the spin-a-thon. “I’m a bit uncomfortable, but I am not lying in a hospice bed, or holding a loved one’s hand who is. To me this is nothing.”
While it was hard for him to say for sure how much had been raised during the event while on the bike, Hales said hundreds of dollars had been collected after only a few hours, and collectively Breaking Wind has just over $15,000 raised of their $30,000 goal for the tour, scheduled to run July 16-17.
Donations are open online for any of the Breaking Wind team members through cycleoflifetour.ca, with all proceeds going toward different hospice organizations on Vancouver Island, depending on which team donations go to.