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Coasting on a bike is easy; cancer is not: Richmond Mountie

Cops for Cancer riders motivated by memories of loved ones lost and by those still fighting the disease

‘I’m getting pretty tired and we’ve had some challenges with the weather. But I’m just out riding a bike; it’s not that difficult really when you consider what people with cancer are going through.”

With just 24 hours of the nine-day, 900-kilometre Tour de Coast left to cycle, Quinn Provost offered a spoonful of perspective when asked how his legs were holding up.

Moments earlier, Provost, a constable in Richmond RCMP’s serious crime unit, and his 19 fellow Cops for Cancer riders weaved their way, with the help of police motorcycle outriders, through the chaos of lunchtime traffic for a pit stop at Boston Pizza on No. 3 and Ackroyd roads.

“When you’re facing a tough hill, I just think of (my sister-in-law) and Taylor,” said Provost, who had never ridden a road bike prior to training for the annual cycling expedition, which raises money for cancer research while navigating the Sea to Sky corridor, from the Sunshine Coast to the North Shore and from Maple Ridge to Richmond.

Provost was referring to his sister-in-law, who died of a brain tumour aged 26, and an elementary student called Taylor, who Skyped the Tour de Coast team live from hospital, where she’s being treated for cancer.

“Yesterday, one of the schools beamed a live Skype feed (of Taylor) onto the gymnasium wall…It was very powerful,” added Provost, who, along with the rest of the Cops for Cancer team, had just ridden about 85 kilometres from Ridge Meadows and would have tipped the 100-mark by the end of Wednesday’s Richmond tour.

“If you’re starting to feel it a bit, all you need to think about is that young kid in the hospital, that’s all you need to keep going.”

Provost’s Richmond colleague, Cpl. Dean Etienne, of the bike squad, was also a first-timer on the fundraising tour.

As well as the stories of suffering and bravery he’s heard and witnessed during the trip, Etienne said he’s driven by the memory of his late father, who died of cancer while the officer was working in Richmond during the Olympics.

“Cancer has touched me and my family quite deeply,” said Etienne, an avid cyclist.

“It’s very easy (to keep going); especially when you go to the schools; there’s always someone there that’s been touched by cancer or is dealing with it in their family at that time.”

The team’s various stops in Richmond included sponsors across the city, such as Coast Capital Savings and the Investors Group.

They also stopped by the RCMP’s Richmond detachment to present a special plaque for its participation in this year’s ride.

So far, Etienne has raised more than $7,200 for the Canadian Cancer Society and Provost more than $9,000.

Other B.C. tours took place on Vancouver Island, Northern B.C. and the Fraser Valley.

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