It wasn’t until 2009 that Dave Mcintosh, the proprietor of Dave’s Custom Carpentry, which is based in Sarnia, decided that he’d take up cycling.
Then 59, McIntosh got some himself in shape at the local Y, but then headed out on the open road.
Two years later, in 2011, McIntosh conceived of the idea of riding across Canada and doing it to raise money for church planting activities associated with the Evangelical Covenant Church of Canada, the denomination his local church, Lighthouse Community Church (located at the corner of Parker Street and Nelson) in Sarnia.
That journey, which McIntosh is taking on during his summer vacations, has so far taken him across all Canada’s western provinces (where many of the denomination’s churches are located), Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick.
This year McIntosh is taking on Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick, starting this weekend. His wife, Trudy, is escorting him (an additional safety measure) and they are (mostly) sleeping in a camper van, although in the past they’ve been hosted by those attending local churches.
“I’ve been able to help some nine churches get started,” says McIntosh, who has so far raised about $30,000 to help various churches in the Evangelical Covenant Church.
Much of the money has come from individual donations of support throughout the areas he has ridden, as well as his home church here in Sarnia.
There is also a Canada Helps link where anyone interested in supporting the cause can donate. It can be found HERE.
He started this year’s ride on Tuesday (July 9) and rode tip to tip.
Currently (as of 4:30 p.m., the McIntoshes have finished that portion of this year’s trip and are headed to Nova Scotia where he will ride from Amherst to Halifax, then on to Sydney, riding between 120 and 140 kilometres a day.
“The hardest province so far was Ontario where I had to ride 20 days at 140 kilometre3s a day average in order to cross the province,” he said. “Part of it was riding down to my hometown in Sarnia and then on to the Quebec border. It was just the distance that was the challenge and the narrow, hilly road north of Superior that made it so hard.”
McIntosh is thankful for “no really close calls” and some spectacular scenery along the way.
“You get a completely different view of Canada while riding on a bicycle,” he added.
Next year—which will round out his tour of Canada in support of church planting—he takes on the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.