Long-time Vernon soccer coach Doug Macdonald only jumped back on a bicycle a couple years ago.
So while the thought of cycling 220 kilometres over two days may seem daunting, Macdonald sees it as a small feat compared to who it will ultimately benefit.
Macdonald is one of 60 cyclists riding for Rwanda in the fourth annual Lake2Lake event this weekend.
The event, put on by Canadian Christian development agency Wellspring Foundation for Education, raises funds to train teachers, build schools and transform education in Rwanda.
“How hard is 220 kilometres to ride when these guys have been enduring their situation for a long, long time?” said Macdonald, who will be riding for the children.
The Vernon cyclist will join the Lake2Lake riders at Dutch’s Campground in Coldstream Saturday at 9 a.m. for the start. They will travel along rural, scenic roads via Armstrong and Salmon Arm to Eagle Bay Camp on the shores of Shuswap Lake.
After an overnight stay at Eagle Bay Camp, riders will begin the return trip to Vernon via Silver Creek and O’Keefe Ranch.
“It’s not a race, it’s a ride,” said Jayson Ursulak, Wellspring communications director.
“We are kind of a niche event in that there’s an overnight component.”
While the scenery, camaraderie and fun of the weekend is a bonus, most riders are touched by the cause.
“We’re doing it for something bigger than who we are,” said Ursulak.
“It’s about kids and changing their lives.”
The event is one that has seen all ages and abilities take part, from an eight-year-old riding tandem with her dad to a 76-year-old and from local doctors to a former bus driver from Cherryville.
“He kind of got hooked on cycling because of this ride,” said Ursulak of the Cherryville resident.
Macdonald is among a number of North Okanagan riders taking part in this year’s event, which has also attracted participants from Whistler, Williams Lake, Penticton, the Lower Mainland and even Arizona.
“We have people from all over,” said Ursulak. “We’ve had people from Ontario, Calgary, Seattle and Oregon.”
While registration is now closed for the event, anyone wanting to support the cause can visit lake2lake.org to donate. There you will find Macdonald’s pledge page or you can call him at 250-545-5350. Pledges will continue to be collected after the ride.