FEATURED RIDER: Barry Kwok – Taking up a ‘crazy suggestion’

My first experience as a participant with Bike for Bibles (B4B) was the 2008 ride from Vancouver, BC to Calgary, AB. Bill Absalom, the BC District Director for the Canadian Bible Society (CBS) at the time, approached me after a Sunday morning service at our church where he spoke on behalf of the Bible Society. He gave an overview of B4B and how he got involved at, as he put it, the ‘ripe young age of 60’. He invited me to ride to Calgary with the team that year. In response, I told him I didn’t have a road bike and that I hadn’t been on one in more than 30 years. In all truthfulness, I thought his suggestion was totally crazy. Making a long story short, within a week I had purchased a new road bike and had all of six weeks to train for the nine-day, 1050 km journey! I reasoned with myself that if Bill could start riding at age 60, certainly I should be able to accomplish this as I was ‘so much younger’ than him at only 53.

Now who was crazy?

It is said that ignorance is bliss and that’s what it was for sure. I had a very steep learning curve, not only in understanding how to navigate a bike at speed on the open road but also in balancing training with fueling and recovery.

Relationships and friendships with a common passion for Jesus and cycling

In hindsight, I wasn’t ready when I left for Calgary but by the grace of God I made it, riding every kilometre of the journey. It was tough slugging on most of the days but also totally exhilarating. I can’t say I remember much of the scenery along the way or the locations where we stayed overnight but what stood out are the friendships that were forged during that ride that would stand the test of time even to this day.

This year’s ride through the Rockies will be my 9th B4B ride. I do of course look forward to the challenges ahead when riding but what I look forward to the most is coming together as a family, joined by our love for Jesus as well as our passion for cycling.

Jump in with both feet!

For those who may be new to Bike for Bibles or perhaps may be contemplating joining this year’s ride, I encourage you to jump in with both feet! Make the commitment to yourself and especially to the cause for which we are riding (programs supporting at-risk children exposed to extreme poverty in Peru and victims of human/sex trafficking in Guatemala). Let people know why you are riding. You may be surprised to find out just how many of your family, friends, work associates (people from your network of influence, etc.) will support you if they know you are committed to such an amazing cause. You will be able to reach – and even exceed! – your minimum fundraising goal of $1000 without too much difficulty.

Related Article: 12 Tips To Help You Reach Your Fundraising Goal

For those who don’t ride often, start with shorter rides on flat terrain and gradually work your way up to rides with hills. Before long, you will be riding over 100 kms regularly and feeling good about it. Get to know how your body functions as each person is different. You will need to fuel it and give it hydration before, during and after the ride. Also, find a riding partner to train with. You would be wise to speak with someone who has had experience in endurance sports.

Remember, each training day may be different. You will have great days when you feel as if you could ride non-stop forever but there will be days when nothing seems to go as planned. Just keep on keeping on. You will get there.

Finally, get your bike tuned and in good working order with quality parts that won’t wear out or break when you are in the middle of nowhere during the week-long ride.

About Barry Kwok

Barry teaches skiing full time in Whistler in the winter. He recently completed his 22nd season with Whistler-Blackcomb. He is also a professional photographer specializing in portraiture as well as architectural interiors. During the summer months, Barry works part time at a well-established bike shop in the Vancouver area where he lives. With his technical skills and knowledge of road bikes, Barry is a valuable member of the B4B team when it comes to emergency repairs during the ride.

Just like Betty Adams (who was previously featured in our blog), Barry tries to get in 2000 kms of training before the week-long ride. Since he started riding for B4B, Barry has put in about 30,000 kms on his bike, raising thousands of dollars for various CBS causes.

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