Riding to battle childhood cancer

It’s a cause near and dear to his heart and that’s why Neil Babbage doesn’t mind a little pain and suffering while out riding his bike and raising money to help fight childhood cancer.

He rides 400 to 600 kilometers a week and is currently training for the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride which is one of the biggest and most ambitious charity cycling events on behalf of childhood cancer in the world.

Now in it’s 9th year, this year’s event begins in Vancouver on Sept. 7, and ends in Halifax on Sept. 24.

This will be the third time that Babbage, 51, has taken on the challenge to ride coast-to-coast with a group of other caring cyclists who have put their life on hold for 18 days so that they can participate.

“This is going to be the hardest ride that I have ever done in my life because I’m not getting any younger,” said Babbage, who once weighed 350 pounds before deciding to change his lifestyle.

“Instead of riding the 160 kilometers a day, I have actually signed up with the bigger group where we will be riding on average 225 kilometers a day,” he said. “There will be a lot more hills, which is not what I’m good at, but it has to be done.”

The event is conducted by the Coast to Coast Against Cancer Foundation comprised of mainly volunteers in partnership with title sponsor Sears Canada and other sponsors. They work to keep administration and promotion expenses to a minimum so that all of the money raised goes to fund research and support programs for kids cancer across Canada.

Babbage said it’s important for people to get out of their comfort zone at times because it pushes them to try a bit harder as they take on a new challenge. He doesn’t like public speaking, for example, but he attended last week’s city council meeting and spoke about his upcoming ride.

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