Anyone looking for 100 Mile House RCMP Staff Sgt. Svend Nielsen this week may have a hard time as he is driving around northern B.C. at an average of about 23 km/h.
He is leading and providing support for the 2019 Cops for Cancer – Tour De North tour.
The ride aims to raise funds for the Canadian Cancer Society. Since 1997, Cops for Cancer has raised over $42 million to fund pediatric cancer research and support programs. The Tour De North officially runs from Sept. 17 to 23 but Nielsen says they started gathering on Sept. 16 in Prince George.
“I’m part of the support team, so I’m not a rider,” says Nielsen. “I’m like the member travelling along with the team, leading the front of the team, like the peloton as I like to call it, and I’m just ensuring their safety and the traffic control around those issues.”
Nielsen did the ride himself a couple of years ago when he was working in Vanderhoof, though he had to stop early but he says he wanted to continue to be a part of it.
“It’s for the kids right so it’s obviously a very worthwhile cause to be involved in. I very much enjoy working with the team and the rest of the support crew on the ride. It’s generally a pretty good week.”
The participants will ride about seven to 12 hours a day, according to Nielsen, including some stops along the way.
This year the ride starts in Dawson Creek, goes up to Fort St. John, down to Hudson Hope and eventually finishes in Williams Lake.
While the tour is organized by the Canadian Cancer Society, of which 100 Mile isn’t a part, the local RCMP detachment is part of the north on the RCMP side of things.
“It’s an intense experience doing even the support stuff because there’s lots to do every day. It’s a fun trip because you get to meet families and children that had cancer and you get to hear their stories and you get to hear the success stories as well.”
There are also good opportunities to build relationships with the communities along the ride with the communities putting on good events, he says.
“I just really enjoy donating that portion of my year helping them raise funds for the kids. It can’t be enough of a good thing.”
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story erroneously stated that the tour was organized by Northern Health. We apologize for the error.