Oakville, Ontario’s Chris Greig feels there aren’t enough good news stories in the media, so he’s doing something about it – a little more than starting a blog.
The 25-year-old is attempting to cycle unsupported from Fairbanks, Alaska, to Miami, Florida, a roughly 8,000-kilometre journey, in about 30 days.
His trip is part of Campaign for Good News, an initiative Greig created to help raise awareness of uplifting stories. “We prefer good news!” is his slogan.
After each day of cycling, once he reached that day’s destination, Greig will speak with members of each community about uplifting stories. He will post videos of each conversation on his website.
“I started biking three years ago and I went across Canada raising money for cancer (research),” said Greig. “So I did a similar thing; I went alone, had a website.
“When I was going through these towns … everyone was very friendly and nice and it was just a really great time.
“The other part had to do with the news being so nasty so much of the time. I understand they have to report on these things … But it occurred to me: ‘Why don’t I bike some crazy distance, arrive in small towns and make some sort of story about each place?’”
To stay on schedule, Greig plans to cycle more than 260 kilometres each day, with no days off. That’s about 20 kilometres longer than the annual Kluane Chilkat International Bike Relay.
“It is going to be tough,” admits Greig. “I can bike for a long period of time. I’ve done 350-kilometre days. I’m hoping I’ll find motivation from the fact that I have to get to my destination each night because people are kind of waiting for me.
“I did 175 kilometres a day three years ago with no cycling experience and now, I’d like to think, I’m a little bit better.”
Though tight-lipped about his other stops, Greig says he will be doing a web story on the No Fixed Address Outreach Van while in Whitehorse. He learned about the outreach van while listening to a Whitehorse radio station online.
The No Fixed Address Outreach Van program is co-ordinated by Many Rivers Counselling and Support Services and has been helping marginalized individuals six nights a week since 2002.
“The NFA Outreach Van has provided food, clothing, nursing, harm reduction material and counselling to street-involved people who are at risk,” describes the Many Rivers website.
“All the stories are planned,” said Greig. “I’m kind of keeping all the stories secret; I’m not saying anything. People will just have to watch every night.
“If all goes according to plan, I should bike to each place and at night and do a little story with people who are waiting for me.”
Greig left Fairbanks on Thursday and plans to reach Whitehorse on Monday. Provided he stays on schedule, Greig will reach Teslin on Tuesday and Watson Lake on Wednesday of next week.
He believes the 30-day cycling trip will be a record, which seems like a reasonable guess, but there’s no way to know for sure.
“I tried to contact Guinness (World Records) but they don’t do records such as this, where you pick two arbitrary points,” said Greig. “I don’t think anyone has gone from Alaska to Florida this fast – especially unsupported. I’m carrying all my stuff. It would be a lot different if I had my dad following in a car the whole way.”
Learn about, and follow his trip, at www.campaignforgoodnews.org.
“Other people have done this ride before – Alaska to Florida – but I just kind of picked it,” said Greig.
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