Blair Jones has been riding bikes since he was five years old.
Cycling has always been a huge part of his life, which is why he chose to participate in the Ride to Conquer Cancer this year with his mom.
While others on the journey might be pedalling with their feet, Jones will be using his hand cranks to cycle the 200-kilometre distance from Cloverdale to Hope, B.C. on August 24 and 25.
His passion for cycling is coupled with his desire to raise funds for cancer. Eleven years ago, Jones lost his nana to cancer, and his aunt has survived breast cancer twice. He rides on the Melanoma Warriors team, whose captain is Chris Brochu, who survived stage 4 metastatic melanoma. Brochu is leading the team for a third year in the Ride to Conquer Cancer. In 2016, he was five months into an experimental treatment, and rode the entire route on month eight of treatment.
Originally, Jones was going to volunteer as a technician for the ride. After his mom signed up, he decided he would join her.
“I just started thinking I would like to ride it,” Jones said. “I have not done any sort of long distance rides. So for myself, that was another good reason to get to this ride. It was another new challenge. It’s something new to push myself and extend my riding experiences and what I’ve done with my bikes and where I’ve taken them.”
For training, Jones has been pedalling down Highway 95. He tried to do at least 30 kilometres each time, and plans to ride from Golden to Radium before the big day.
As an athlete in a wheelchair, Jones is always trying new things. He skis in the winter, and does downhill biking on a four-wheel hand cycle in the summer. To get around town, he uses the same bike he has had for 17 years, which has two wheels in the back, one in the front, and hand cranks to pedal with.
He got the bike shortly after his accident. While he was mountain biking with friends and shooting a video, he was on a cat track gap, and went “a little too big,” landing on the ground.
“Without proper gear I probably wouldn’t be here,” he said.
Being in a wheelchair hasn’t stopped Jones from enjoying the extreme lifestyle. Now, he joins thousands of other riders in the Ride to Conquer Cancer.
His goal was set at $2,500, which he surpassed after a dinner and silent auction fundraising event at the Rockwater Grill on Saturday, August 3.
“Thank you to all of the sponsors and the people who donated to me into the silent auction that we had,” he said.
Everyone is invited to continue Jones’ fundraising efforts by visiting his page www.conquercancer.ca/goto/jonzeeride19.