One dedicated cyclist named Jason Ezeard from Innisfail has committed to cycling for 24 hours to raise funds for Red Deer Regional Health Foundation. 

“A couple weeks back a Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas did something similar over in the UK I think or Wales. I said, you know what, that sounds fun. I’ve always liked to challenge myself and I love biking. So, I thought I would like to do two twelve-hour days just to mimic healthcare workers shifts to see how much money we can raise for health care in Central Alberta,” said Ezeard, Operations Manager at Red Deer Regional Health Foundation. 

Ezeard began his ride on May 5th and will finish May 6th around 6 PM.  With many events cancelling due to gathering restrictions, the Red Deer Regional Health Foundation may not be able to run their regular fundraising event such as Taste of Red Deer which is normally held in July. 

“We’re trying to find other ways to make it up. We have the hospital lottery going right now and they’re actually doing very well but we got to make up for these cancelled events somehow,” said Ezeard. 

Jason is using an indoor trainer for the live stream but says even the indoor trainer comes with challenges of biking outdoors as well. 

“I borrowed a smart trainer from a bike shop called Crank in Airdrie they’ve let me use this trainer so it’s hooked up and when you go up the hills it’s like actually going up a hill, unfortunately. It’s pretty fun,” said Ezeard. 

He has also been using an indoor cycling app called Zwift, which allows users to cycle virtually with others around the world. He has been asking other cyclists to join him on the app to inspire him to keep going. 

“My brother actually hopped on a program called Zwift. You can ride with other people. So, he lives in PEI and he’s hopped on about 20 minutes ago to try to push me along for a couple of kilometres so that helps,” said Ezeard.

Although he likes to cycle he admitted that he prefers to ride outdoors in groups, with gatherings under restrictions right now, he is currently unable to do so. For him, the next best thing was riding for 24 hours, in support of the dedicated medical professionals working extra hours to manage the pandemic. 

“I have quite a few family members that are frontline workers, not in Alberta but in Toronto in other areas. Healthcare has always been important to me. I live in Innisfail so to raise funds for Central Alberta the hospital in important and see how much we can get close to home,” explained Ezeard. 

Ezeard hopes his new fundraising tactic catches on with other people who may also decide to take on the 24-hour challenge. 

The cyclist quickly surpassed his goal of raising $2000 for the Red Deer during his first 12-hour day raising $3995. As his last day of cycling wraps up, he has swiftly doubled his goal still with more riding time to go. 

If you wish to donate to the Red Deer Regional Health Foundation for Jason’s ride, click here.  You can catch the live stream on Red Deer Regional Health Foundation's Facebook page.