On a bike, riding for fish

  • Sep. 5, 2003 6:00 p.m.

What would you travel 10,000 km on a bicycle for?
Islander David Loewen cares enough about salmon to begin a bike odyssey from Inuvik to Victoria, Heidi Bevington writes. Along the way he’s had a chance to speak to people of all persuasions about the issue of salmon habitat conservation, and he’s inspired people to think about how their actions can make a difference.
When he began the epic tour, Mr. Loewen wasn’t sure what would happen, he just knew he wanted to find a new way to communicate with people about the conservation issues he cares about so passionately.
“When I started this trip I was depressed and frustrated and looking for a different way to get the message out about environmental issues, and I’ve found it,” says Mr. Loewen.
Mr. Loewen has discovered for himself the power of story telling and conversation to get people’s attention. Around picnic tables, in pubs and in people’s kitchens he’s had a chance to meet with a full spectrum of people.
“They have a feeling that something is amiss. They’re becoming aware and it’s a common link for starting a conversation,” says Mr. Loewen. “I’m on a bike, riding for fish,” he says, “It’s always a conversation starter.”
He finds that in talking with him, people start to reflect on what matters to them. People become overwhelmed by the big picture, he says, but they start to think about the way that little changes can have a huge impact.
Talking to people has been worthwhile, but the trip itself has been grueling. Mr. Loewen is completing the third leg of the journey this summer. This year he’s traveled from Dawson City, through Whitehorse to Watson Lake and down the Stewart/Cassiar Highway. Bad weather made the ride a long one, but in Iskut his sister Sarah and niece Michaela joined him and helped by carrying gear and hot chocolate.
At Meziadan Junction, Mr. Loewen’s brakes broke irreparably. His sister helped him to Terrace where his bike could be fixed, and then they broke the journey to come to the islands to deliver two slide shows. This week he will resume his trek.
From Prince Rupert he will ride to Prince George and then head south to Vancouver. He’ll cross to Nanaimo where his brother lives, and get a ride to Port Hardy. From Port Hardy, he’ll ride his bicycle to Victoria and then return to the islands where he will cycle his last couple of kilometers up to Tlell. He aims to be finished in October.
Cycle can check Mr. Loewen’s web site at www.wildsalmoncycle.ca.