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A cross-Canada cycling journey to promote accessibility

Kevin Mills and Nikki Davenport of Pedaling Possibilities brings their journey to Regina in support of an accessible bike route.

REGINA - A journey across Canada to promote accessibility and activity-based therapy made its way to Regina on Monday. 

The journey is being spearheaded by the non-profit Pedaling Possibilities and involves Kevin Mills and his osteopath and neuro-recovery trainer Nikki Davenport, from Newmarket, Ontario.

Both are taking part in cycling across Canada for accessibility awareness. While in Regina, they stopped in at First Steps Wellness Centre, which specializes in rehabilitating people with spinal cord injuries with an emphasis on activity-based therapy.

Mills suffered an injury while swimming in 2009 that left him a quadriplegic. He has been able to regain some functions through taking part in activity-based therapy. That is something he has been spreading the word about during this trip, as he is now able to participate in half-marathons and biking activities.

“For me after my injury, getting as active as possible, and for me getting outside, is so important,” said Mills in speaking to reporters Monday. “It doesn’t matter what type of activity you do but if you want to get outside and active or get inside and active whatever you’re doing, it’s life-changing - it helps your body function. It helps your health — mental, physical — and I would say after injury it’s probably one of the most important things you could do.”

With this cross-Canada effort, there is a larger goal: to try and find a route across Canada that can be accessible for anyone of any ability level to use.

Mills said their main goal was to “establish and share an accessible bike route, just so people can look at part of the route or all the route and see how it would be for them. But the main thing is to get out there and use this trip as a platform to start a discussion and get people active and out and especially people with disabilities … along with promoting accessibility. So everywhere we go with campgrounds and everything, we want to make awareness of how important accessibility is, and what changes need to be made.”

To begin their journey, Mills and Davenport started in Cape Spear in Newfoundland in May and encountered “hurricane winds” of over 125 km an hour while riding in that province. The journey has since taken them through the Maritimes and into Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba, and they are now more than halfway finished.

For the journey into Saskatchewan, the two chose Highway 48 which took them through communities such as Montmartre.

“We feel safer on the less busy highways, so (Highway) 48 has been a blessing for us,” said Davenport.

“We’re picking the quieter roads just for me when there’s rumble strips, sometimes the shoulder isn’t big enough for me in my wheelchair, so I have to actually be in the lane. So that’s kind of nerve wracking,” said Mills. 

That’s another of the things they want to raise awareness of: that those building a highway should make sure that the pavement to the right of the rumble strips is big enough for a wheelchair to ride across.

So far, the Saskatchewan trip has gone smoothly. They say the smoky conditions seen in Saskatchewan Monday have not been a huge obstacle in their ride yet, though they anticipate it could be an issue as they go on.

As for how far they are able to travel daily, Davenport said “we’re killing it — we’re doing about 100 to 120 km a day… We started off not doing that much but as we’ve got stronger, we want to really make a push to the end. We do have a date we want to be done by and so we’re keeping that in the back of my mind.”

The end goal is to get to Victoria B.C. by the end of September or first week of October.

“It’s been amazing,” said Mills. “The response to the trip has been incredible. People are so excited and enthusiastic about it. Everyone that we’ve talked has been so nice and wants to be involved. For me it’s been an amazing experience.”

"It's mental challenges, it's physical challenges, it's emotional challenges," said Davenport. "It's been a life changing experience for us."

Their website is at and you can provide financial support for the trip by clicking a button located on the website. The goal is to cover the $80,000 budget for the trip. Any money they raise behind that will go to help fund activity-based therapy centres or towards accessible equipment.

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