Campus Life  

OC Alumnus cycles for charity in solo ride across Mexico

Nick Pelletier

Nick Pelletier didn’t spend his recent trip to Mexico relaxing on the beach.

The Okanagan College Business Alumnus pedaled solo across Mexico in a 51-day trek, stopping at points with the highest and lowest elevation in the country, while raising awareness and funds for charity.

The journey, which began in February, benefited charity: water, an organization that provides clean and safe drinking water to those without access.

Pelletier, an ultra-endurance athlete and extreme adventurer, is no stranger to epic endeavors and likes to combine his efforts with a cause he cares about.

In 2019, Pelletier cycled across the continental United States raising funds for Pencils of Promise, an organization committed to building schools and providing education opportunities to children. Along with a multitude of other athletic endeavours, he has also attempted to swim the length of Okanagan Lake on two occasions.

“I always like to tie in a social venture, in this case charity: water,” says Pelletier. “While at OC, I took Kyleen Myrah’s social entrepreneurship business class. She showed us the social side of not-for-profit businesses and how they function. In many cases, it is the people who make it happen – donors and volunteers who contribute in various ways.

“Charity: water was part of a project we did in class, so I knew about the program and had read a book about the organization. I admired the goals of this charity and thought that fundraising for it was a good way to achieve a goal of mine and help others.”

Financial support has poured in from the local community, as well as Pelletier’s hometown of Calgary, AB.

“It’s crazy to see that my decision to do this trip has led to so many donations that will help people in need,” says Pelletier.

Planned with COVID-19 regulations and testing in mind, Pelletier chose Mexico for his cycling trek to help keep logistics to a minimum. Mexico is a big enough country to complete this kind of trek without having to cross multiple borders and deal with COVID testing while on the bike.

From there, route planning took shape as Pelletier looked for the furthest points within the country and stops of interest along the way. Starting in Cabo San Lucas, winding down to the lowest elevation, Laguna Salada, up to the highest point, Pico de Orizaba, then continuing to Cancún in the south of the country.

All told, the journey covered 5,879 km, which Pelletier completed in 317 hours of active riding time, spanning 51 days. What he didn’t count on was the time he would spend fixing his bike.

“The varied road surfaces of Mexico threw me some surprises,” says Pelletier. “During my ride across America in 2019, I had one flat tire. But on this trip, I had over 70 flats.”

Despite the challenges of keeping his bike in working order, Pelletier was able to keep himself motivated.

“When I undertake a challenge like this, I try to stay goal motivated and process oriented,” says Pelletier. “My goals were clear, raising money for the charity and completing the trip. I stayed process oriented by waking up and focusing on what I needed to do that day.”

Despite the hard days on a self-supported solo trip, stopping wasn’t an option for Pelletier.  

“You won’t always have the motivation,” says Pelletier. “But you can have the discipline to keep moving forward. The toughest part of each day for me were the first 50 km. But as the day would progress, I’d get a boost seeing those numbers add up. Keeping a sense of humour also helps.”

See Pelletier’s sense of humour as he documents the adventures of his daily rides with a video diary. Find his weekly updates from the trip online, along with an opportunity to contribute to his fundraising efforts.

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