Bursary Recipient Reports

In Their Own Words

The following are excerpts from letters received from Tour du Canada Bursary recipients. To date the age range of Bursary Recipients has been 17 to 24.

Surprisingly, my favourite part of Tour du Canada wasn’t the biking – but that commitment to pedal for six hours a day for two and a half months was the center of this amazing experience. I got to spend time and make friends with 18 diverse and enthusiastic people. Under pressure we formed close bonds, and are still in contact. Nearly every day I stopped at a museum and learned cool new facts about Canada. Shout out to Motherwell Homestead (Saskatchewan) and the Hector Museum (Nova Scotia) as my favourites. Physically and mentally it was great for my health, and the discipline of making and breaking camp daily gets you up in the morning better than anything else. One day I got a flat tire and the wheel was on so tight I didn’t think I could continue, but in the end I got it off by jumping on my multitool to torque it out. Little things like that, and the crazy achievement of crossing a continent under my own power, make me confident in myself for challenges down the road. The trip is well organized with maps, food, and campsites. (Tour du Canada 2023)

Tour du Canada was an experience that has remarkably changed my idea of what is important in life and how to spend my time. In the past years I have been studying very hard to achieve the best marks and to be able to continue my studies at the best universities. Whilst TdC I had a lot of inspiring conversations with older fellow riders whose common sense was: “Life is short, so take time off to follow your dreams before it is too late.” A couple of riders were 60+ years old but still appeared very young to me. This was for me the most significant difference between TdC riders and “normal”‘ people in the age 60+. I really admire this youth aura (or this “drive”) in riders like Brian, Peter or Christian and it is my objective to stay so fit and active as they are. I further think that the key property to reach this objective is to move a lot. Most riders ran marathons before or did a triathlon or spend generally a lot of time doing sports. These conversations told me to hold a balance of mental and physical challenges throughout my life. I have never been into running, but next year I want to run my first marathon. This is the kind of challenge I think about (TdC 2017).

Now that the Tour du Canada is over and I’ve resettled into life back at home, the effect that this trip has had on me is hard to ignore. At first, it was easy to revel in the sense of accomplishment that comes after completing such a long and physically demanding endeavour. It was nice to be off the bike for some time and contemplate what the future would hold for me. Although I had spent the better part of the year jumping into the deep end of the bike touring world, I wasn’t initially sure how I would continue to be involved in cycling. Certainly I would continue to join in on group rides with my local cycling club. But with time it became evident that this trip has sparked new interests and passions for me and has opened up many opportunities. (TdC 2016).”

It’s difficult to put into words the feelings, emotions, excitement, fear, and pure exhilaration that I experienced this summer. All the challenges were completely worth the pain and exhaustion. The most unexplainable feeling, and my favourite part of the whole trip, was North Mountain on the Cabot Trail. The 4km mountain climb at 13% grade was a challenge calling out my name. I remember being so determined to get to the top without having to walk. It was probably one of the toughest physical strains I had ever endured, but the scenery made it all worth it. The feeling as each one of us rounded the final corner and came to the top of the hill was a proud moment. We cheered so loud for each person in our group, and bike horns and bells sounded loudly. It was a symbol of all we had accomplished across the country and how much we had bonded as a group of riders and friends. The ride down the other side of the mountain was pure exhilaration as we got up to speeds of 75km/hr.” (TdC 2014)”

In conclusion, Tour du Canada was a great opportunity to discover our beautiful country. Every province was special and had something unique and beautiful. It was challenging physically and mentally, and I’m really proud of this achievement. I’m grateful to all other riders who rode and shared the experience with me. It’s a ride I will always remember.(TdC 2014)

I became a member of TDC and asked the opinion of other members on whether or not I should do the tour or cross Canada on my own. Based on my inexperience, the majority who responded to my question recommended I partake in the tour. And thus I made up my mind and signed up for TDC 2013. I bought my first ever road bike, began training, and as the date came closer and closer to the start of the tour, my anxiety began to rise and rise. As mentioned, I had never done anything like this before, I felt incredibly inexperienced. Although I was extremely scared, I had family and friends who supported me whole-heartedly and so I packed my bike and went on the plane to Vancouver, BC. Tour du Canada proved to be one of the most challenging endeavours I have undertaken as it tested me physically, mentally, and emotionally, but I am incredibly grateful I made the decision to cycle the country with TDC. I saw some spectacular and unique treasures throughout the country and I met amazing individuals who became my family.(TdC 2013)

Tour du Canada 2012 – this summer was great. Being on a trip of this scale was great. The people I met and got to know were the best. The summer now that it over seems like wasn’t about the biking at all, but about the people I biked with. Learning how to be with 30 dynamic and interesting people in close quarters for two months was definitely a very nice experience. I made lots of friends. The memories that I have from the trip will be with me forever. This was all possible because of the bursary I received. I would not change one thing in my summer. I had a really fantastic time.

The opportunity to travel across Canada and experience its awe is something practically any Canadian would love to do. Getting this opportunity amid student loans and financial troubles, the bursary was a great help. It made possible the vision I harnessed since I first read in 2010. One important thing that I realized is that cycling Canada across its breadth is a daunting task and even the seasoned cyclist would reconsider. However, when planned properly in small chunks, any task can be accomplished. I am glad that the organizers are as passionate about organizing the trip and I am very happy the affordability of the trip.

Please support the Bursary Fund by making a contribution. All funds donated are passed on directly to the successful applicants. No administration fee is taken and your donations are more than matched by Cycle Canada. Please visit the secure on-line Donation page here: Bursary Donation.

This tour had always been a dream for me, which I prepared for 5 years in my head, physically, and finally on paper. It meant a lot for me and I am very cheerful that you allowed me to live it. Thank you from all my heart.

All this time I had been writing weekly e-mails of my journey to my mother, who would forward them onto family friends and relatives. She told me how much people, particularly my grandparents, loved reading about my adventures each week. She would print my e-mails off the computer for my Grandmother (who has a hard time standing up out of a chair) to read. My Grandmother would just snatch them right out of her hands at the first opportunity. I began to realize that some people were enjoying my journey as much as I was, and maybe some days more. I needed to keep riding so that others at home, like my Grandmother who cannot ride a bike herself, could experience an adventure too.”

At this time when experts are saying that young people are not graduating university with critical thinking skills, and that a university education will not land you a great job these days, I can think of no better way to remind myself I can reach my goals in life than by thinking of my bike ride across Canada. Thank you to all those who made this trip possible for me, from the trip organizer, to the staff, the bursary donors, my fellow riders, my family, my friends and finally all those across Canada who welcomed us into their communities (and while I’m at it I’d also like to thank my bike and my legs). I am so appreciative.

This trip means friends all around the country and the world. This also becomes a benchmark for any physical or other types of challenges I face in day to day life and on the bike. I often find myself comparing every hill to North Mountain, so this is easy! An accomplishment this grand is something we are lucky to have, it will make us tackle our lives in a different way.

Now that the trip is over and that I have been back home in a ‘normal’ life for a month, I can say without a doubt that Tour du Canada 2012 was a trip worth doing. It’s true that the feeling of accomplishment is nice when you reach the end of the road, or when you tell someone that you did 7800 km on your bike during the summer, but it would be completely worthless without all the memories associated with the countless beautiful places that I discovered in Canada and those associated with the wonderful people that made my family for a summer.

Tour du Canada 2011: I biked across Canada with an organization called Tour du Canada. There were 38 riders including myself of all ages and body shapes. Our youngest was a 19 year chap from the UK (who broke his arm in Quebec and still finished the trip in a cast); and our oldest was a 68 year old man from France with a pacemaker.

What the trip meant to me: It was a wonderful way to see the Country. I liked the idea of stop-and-go and seeing Canada in slow-motion. I liked the challenges of biking in all elements and terrain. The trip was a great way to meet a ton of different people from all walks of life. It was especially cool to meet the Australians. I’m very proud to live in Canada and this trip was something I have wanted to do for years. It was a monumental feat and an epic journey. That is what it meant to me.

Participating in Tour du Canada this summer has probably been the greatest adventure of my life so far . . . I had originally planned on attempting to cycle across the country unsupported and alone. Instead, I decided to join Tour du Canada and couldn’t have been happier with this decision. The Tour was well-organized, affordable, and allowed me to get to know thirty-seven amazing individuals. Some of us had very little in common other than a desire to explore Canada by bicycle, but by the end of the Tour, our group felt much like a family. I have become close friends with several riders who I would have never known outside of this experience. . . . Cycling across the country with Tour du Canada was the perfect way to spend my last true summer as a student. . . . Thank you for an incredible adventure!

Tour du Canada 2011 was such an incredible journey for me. It had been a dream of mine to cross the country on a bike for many years, but I never thought I had it in myself to actually pursue this goal. I decided change that when I signed up for the trip about a year ago. I started the trip without knowing what to expect, but rather with a very vague idea of what it might be like. I was excited to see the country, and the idea of crossing this immense land mass on a bike posed to be a challenge of a life time. . . . The trip definitely has re-shaped my perspectives, life goals, and my passion for cycling! It was such an amazing experience and I would do it all over again even if I get bitten by mosquitoes continuously and sometimes have to ride in the rain. I overcame the challenges, my own doubts, and I made it across the country! Memories, lessons, and friends I gained on this journey will stay with me for the rest of my life. I feel privileged to have had this opportunity to see Canada on a bike and to meet the people I did along the way.

If you are a young person (or know of a young person) still at school or recently graduated and wish to participate in Tour du Canada and wish to apply for a Bursary please visit the Application page here: Bursary Application.

What the trip meant to me: Tour du Canada was a surreal experience and an opportunity of a lifetime. . . . My motivation came from specific riders who were in their late sixty`s and early seventy`s. If they could do it, why can`t a young guy like myself. I came to the realization that I could do anything if I put my mind to it. All I needed was a little push.

Gaining this new mentality gave me confidence and a more positive outlook on life. I felt stronger, I lost weight, and I was eating healthy. This trip provided me with an opportunity to create a new beginning. It was an education in healthy living.

Tour du Canada also allowed me time to think about my future and put my life in perspective. I had just completed my bachelor’s degree in university and was not quite ready to jump into a career. I wanted to travel and thought it was important to explore my own country before venturing abroad. I felt I needed a break from the stress and pressure I have become so used to. I learned that I might not have tomorrow; therefore I need to make the best of today.
I would really like to thank the TdC 2011 riders for their generosity and wisdom; it was certainly a pleasure to get to know everyone. Our drivers who went above and beyond their call of duty. I would like to thank my family and friends for their continued support throughout the trip. There is much appreciation for all of the small town communities who were kind enough to provide potluck dinners for a bunch of hungry cyclists. Thank you to the families of riders who provided lunch and treats throughout the whole campaign, it was definitely a wonderful surprise. . . . Finally a special thanks to all those who contributed to the Tour du Canada Bursary; if it wasn`t for your generous donation I may not have been able to have the time of my life. Thank you!

What the Future Holds: I have been invited to speak to grade 1 and 2 students at a local elementary school about perseverance. I believe it is important to educate the youth about staying active and working hard to achieve your goals and I have the opportunity to do just that.

I never knew I would be able to inspire so many individuals. Friends and family have taken up running and ran a 10km and even a half marathon. People see that me, such an ordinary kid with no super powers (some still question it though) was able to cycle across the country with pure determination and hard work. I have made people stop and reflect to question what they are capable of doing.

I will definitely continue to train, the most frequent question I get asked after I tell people about my trip is So what’s your next goal? and to answer that I tell them I would like to participate in a triathlon but first need to learn how to swim. Any goal seems small after what I did this summer; to think I didn’t even know what clip on pedals were just a year before cycling across the country still blows my mind.

Donate to the Bursary Fund

If you wish to make a donation to the Bursary Fund, please visit the secure on-line Donation page here: Bursary Donation.

Apply for a Bursary

If you are a young person still at school or recently graduated and wish to participate in Tour du Canada and wish to apply for a Bursary please visit the Application page here: Bursary Application.