Friday, August 14, 2009

Blind Guy Biking – A Canadian Progress Club cross-Canada ride

(Adapted from a Canadian Progress Club news release)

A very special event and news conference in support of Special Olympics New Brunswick will take place on Monday, August 17, at noon in Moncton. The Canadian Progress Club (local men’s and women’s chapters) invites the public to join them in welcoming Richard Holloway as he pedals his way into town during the New Brunswick leg of his cross-Canada journey.

Richard, who has only 6% sight and tunnel vision, rides on an recumbent tandem bicycle and is joined by nephew Aaron Matthews acting as his lead and "eyes" for the trip. Richard and Aaron are truly deserving of a warm Moncton welcome.

Meet Richard at Moncton City Hall Plaza and cheer him on as he rides into town from Fredericton to Moncton.

Opportunities to donate to Blind Guy Biking will be available on-site during the welcome ceremony and event. For more information, or to make a pledge through the Canadian Progress Club secure server, visit http://www.blindguybiking.com/. All funds raised in support of this local initiative stay within our community.

Please join us and participating community leaders to commemorate this very special day.

Moncton City Hall Plaza (rain location: City Hall lobby)
655 Main Street
Moncton, NB
Monday, August 17th, 2009
12:00 p.m. (noon)

Richard Holloway, in addition to representatives from the Canadian Progress Club and Special Olympics, will be on hand immediately following the news conference for media inquiries and photo opportunities.

Media contacts:

Gilles Godin
Moncton Men’s Progress Club
gilles.godin@maritimepavers.com
(506) 850-5756

Annie Breau
Moncton Women's Progress Club
alynbreau@gmail.com
(506) 874-0228

More information on Richard:

Although legally blind with about 6% sight, Richard Holloway of Brampton, Ontario, still has a vision. His is to use his disability to help others less fortunate than himself. He has run and finished 17 full marathons including Boston, New York, Hawaii and Dublin. While running, he was known as "Blind Guy Running" and raised more than $250,000 for charity. Now, as "Blind Guy Biking", he is riding a tandem recumbent bicycle from Victoria, BC, to St. Johns, NL, collecting pledges for athletes with disabilities.

Richard’s first and main goal is to raise money to help people with disabilities “reach the podium and earn medals in their sport at regional, provincial and international levels ultimately reaching the Special Olympics.” He will "Pedal for Medals" to help them "go for the gold". His second goal is to support the new blind hockey organization during its infancy, “allowing the blind and visually impaired to play and participate in our national sport”.

The primary sponsor for the ride is the Canadian Progress Club of which Richard is a member and president of his hometown Brampton Chapter. Through their charitable foundation, they have created the structure for collecting donations, issuing tax receipts and administering the funds. The Canadian Progress Club Cross-Canada Ride will raise money from pledges made in support of the Blind Guy Biking. Local Special Olympics groups will benefit directly as the proceeds are intended to help them pay expenses such as swimming pool fees, busses to and from events and equipment purchases.

The ride started in Victoria on June 7 and ends in St. John's on September 1. The route has been organized into six legs of about 1,650 kilometers each including side trips to meet, as Richard says, “as many Special Olympians as I can”. The total distance is 10,000 kilometres. Pledges are being requested in a range from one quarter of a cent to one cent per kilometer or $25 to $100. Tax receipts are available for donations of $25 or more. Pledges may be made online at www.blindguybiking.com and the Canadian Progress website www.progressclub.ca.

Richard, the Blind Guy Biking, will be riding in the rear of a recumbent tandem bicycle built specially for his needs. His lead Rrder is his nephew Aaron Matthews of Wasaga Beach, ON. Anna Holloway, Richard's wife, is ride director and will drive the main support vehicle behind the riders for safety on the road. Additional support will be provided by Don Simmons, documentarian, who will be videotaping the ride, Len Ashby, equipment manager and second rider, and Judy Bachmann, web communications, who will upload video and images to the website during the ride.

This is not Richard's first effort as Blind Guy Biking. Last year he conducted a trial ride of 750 kilometres around Georgian Bay following the Georgian Bay Coastal Route. Together with wife Anna and nephew Aaron, he travelled for eight days from Wasaga Beach through Collingwood, Owen Sound, Tobermory, Manitoulin Island, Sudbury, Parry Sound and Midland back to Wasaga Beach. Special Olympics groups along the way greeted him with handmade signs and heartfelt thanks. The success of the trial ride and the moving response of the Special Olympians inspired Richard to pursue his dream to ride across Canada proving, in his words, "You don't need sight to have a vision".

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