Quesnel cyclists Rob Gardner and Amarjit Singh “Archie” Sull raised $31,393.58 for the BC Children’s Hospital in July.
The pair, riding under the name “Cycling 530,” started their eight-day, 682-kilometre bike ride from Quesnel to Whistler to Vancouver on June 30, and on July 1, they rolled into 108 Mile Ranch.
Archie, riding ahead of Rob – and also his father Gurnek “Gary” Sull following in a truck donated by Cariboo Ford for the trip – smelt popcorn and fried onions and saw fire trucks at the 108 Mile Heritage Site. They decided to investigate and stumbled upon a Canada Day celebration. They walked around and started talking to people.
Archie’s daughter, Jaden, was treated for epilepsy and seizures at BC Children’s Hospital in the past. He shared his family’s story about their time there and other people shared their own about the Vancouver-based medical facility that specializes in children’s medicine, which has touched the lives of many.
“The next thing you know they had us on stage and cutting a cake,” explains Archie, looking back on the adventure and their stop in the South Cariboo.
“The biggest impact was the people that gave us hugs and saying, ‘Thank you for doing what you’re doing’.
“108 Mile was kind of the turning point for us. [We realized] what we’re doing is worth it.”
(Archie also mentions the generosity of Tanya Lane, manager of Super 8 in 100 Mile House, which donated a room to Cycling 530 en route to BC Children’s Hospital.)
Gary matched the $15,000 or so Rob and Archie raised. Archie said his dad is a “community guy,” and he mentions different local causes he has contributed to in the past.
It seems the generosity gene was passed down to his son.
“You hold on to your values,” Archie acknowledges. “Some of those old values of service and giving back are there, and we hope we can keep passing them on.”
On the road, traffic was a big challenge for the guys at times, especially on Highway 97 in the 100 Mile House area where logging trucks fly by regularly and generate big gusts of wind.
They rode in the rain for a while after Whistler on their final leg of the trip, but for the most part, the weather was good and the traffic was respectful of the cyclists, and the scenery was great, Archie says.
“You don’t realize what British Columbia has to offer until you’re actually on a bike. It’s the best way to travel.”
The ride back north to Quesnel from Vancouver, this time in a truck with his family following the cheque presentation at BC Children’s Hospital on July 7, was a surreal moment for Archie. Retracing their route northward through beautiful B.C. countrysides, climbing the same hills and looking out at the terrain, he felt shivers.
He reflected on what they accomplished and let it sink in.
“The biggest thing is: ‘Wow, did we really do that? Did we really raise this much for the hospital. Wow, we got it done.’”
Smoke from dozens of forest fires choked communities around the province this summer, so there was a period near the end of July when Archie couldn’t ride his bike as he planned.
Hopefully, this isn’t the case next summer, when Cycling 530 plans another fundraising trip to BC Children’s Hospital. More riders are talking about making the journey with Archie and Rob.
“We’re more than excited.”