Harry Bishop is not letting anything so simple as his 80 years of age or a torn retina stop him.
He’ll be biking in this year’s Ride to Conquer Cancer from Vancouver to Seattle this Aug. 26 and 27.
Bishop says he rides because he’s lost many people to cancer, most recently a cousin and a brother in law. He’s also lost his mother and brother to cancer.
“It’s the least I can do to raise money,” he says.
Last year, Bishop rode 87.5 km of the 200 km route on a 12-speed Raleigh touring bike, without much practice.
“The only thing that bothered me last year was my butt,” he says with a laugh, adding that a product known as “butt butter” helped ease the pain.
This year he hopes to ride farther, on a 250 km cycle along the coast, this time on a more comfortable 24-speed composite bike the owner of the Cyclepath store in Kelowna is providing him.
“This year, the hills are history,” he says. When he needs a pitstop, Bishop can hop in one of the busses along the route to bring him to the next pitstop so he can continue the ride.
Joining the Cyclepath Cyclotron team, the closest team to him, Bishop has pledged to fundraise $2,500 before the event.
He’s almost there, having raised $1,850 so far, with an expected $300 to come, despite not being able to fundraise because of his evacuation. Instead, he volunteered at the Emergency Social Services centre in Kelowna.
Still, he’s hoping to hit his goal before he takes off on Saturday morning at 8 a.m. sharp.
“I’ve got a better bike and I’ll go farther and I had no idea people were donating while I was away. It’s just good. I’ll make my goal before I go down Saturday I’m sure.”
While the octogenarian has hit a bit of a road bump – he’s recently had surgery on a detached retina in his eye – he hopes the doctor will give him the go ahead to ride this week.
If not, he plans on helping at all the pit stops along the way.
“If I can’t ride then I will be a support worker,” he says. Regular pit stops are found along the route ever 25-30 km, to help riders out. At the end of day one a camp is set up for riders to get a good night’s sleep before plowing on the next day.
“My team last year raised $64,000 dollars and this year we’ve got more riders in our team. The total rides last year was 1,687 riders and they raised $7.1 million,” he says. “Why wouldn’t I do it? I can do it,” he says.
The money donated goes towards the BC Cancer Foundation. To donate, visit www.conquercancer.ca, chose the Vancouver ride and search for Bishop’s name under his donate, or call 1-888-771-BIKE (2453). All donations over $5 come with a tax receipt.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” says Bishop.