Walter Reich and his road bike, affectionately nicknamed Giant — the manufacturer’s brand — are traversing the country by pedal power, with support from his wife, Regula and their RV motorhome.

Cyclist pedalling from coast to coast raising money for Parkinson’s disease

Walter Reich is cycling across Canada to fundraise, boost awareness for Parkinson’s disease

An Ontario couple are crossing the country with a bicycle and a motorhome, combining a love of travel with raising money and awareness for people living with Parkinson’s disease.

Walter and Regula Reich stopped in Cranbrook on Friday night, after starting their journey on Vancouver Island two weeks ago en route to Newfoundland and Labrador.

Walter, 70, has been pedalling thorough B.C. since April 15, when he dipped his back tire into the Pacific Ocean just outside Tofino and hit the highway with his ‘Giant’ road bike.

“The first day, riding up to Port Alberni was hard,” Walter said.

Battling weather elements and challenging mountain passes, the couple made their way through to Nanaimo, ferried across to Vancouver and headed through the Fraser Valley and into the B.C. interior.

They stopped at the Mount Baker RV park on this past weekend, after Walter rode from Creston to Cranbrook on Friday.

Walter sets out in the mornings on his bicycle, while Regula usually follows behind after giving him some time for a head start.

“That’s the beauty when I come along with the RV. He can change, he can rest and it’s a really good way to travel, for him,” she said.

While the trip is a chance to see the country from a unique perspective with a bicycle and motorhome tandem, it’s also a chance to raise money and awareness for Parkinson’s disease — a cause close to Regula who has relatives living with the condition.

The goal is to raise $50,000 for Parkinson’s Canada.

The Reichs have had frequent stops throughout their journey so far, such as speaking at a Parkinsons wellness centre in New Westminster and meeting with people and supporters in the communities they pass through.

Cyclists are encouraged to join Walter on the road, while the couple also encourages anyone to contact them and share their personal experiences with Parkinson’s disease.

After owning and operating a motel and restaurant business for 25 years, the Reichs sold their business, which has given them the freedom to travel at their own pace. Originally from Switzerland, they both fell in love with cycling as a way to see the countryside, with Walter even joining a club and medalling in the Milan – San Remo cycling race in Italy nearly 30 years ago.

The couple trek through the prairies and duck briefly into the United States before cutting back into southern Ontario on the way to Quebec and the maritime provinces.

They’re hoping to reach the Atlantic Ocean by the end of July.

They can be contacted on social media through their Facebook and Twitter profiles, while anyone wishing to donate to the cause can contribute through a GoFundMe online fundraiser.

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