OC Alumnus cycles for charity in solo ride across Mexico
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.
Tags: OC Alumni Association, Okanagan School of Business, Inside OC
June 14, 2022
The Casorso active transportation corridor (ATC) between Raymer Ave. and KLO Rd. is the latest addition to Kelowna’s cycling network and it is now ready for riders. The B.C. Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, Honourable Rob Fleming, visited Okanagan College to recognize and celebrate the completion of this project. The College is one of the main destinations connected along the Ethel Casorso ATC corridor stretching from Downtown Kelowna to the Pandosy Urban Centre. “Having safe and convenient routes for walking, cycling and acti...Read more...
June 7, 2022
Grads of Okanagan College’s Animation Diploma program are finding their skills have never been in higher demand. First- and second-year students showed samples of their artwork and demo reels to industry partners at OC’s annual Animation Industry Night on May 17. “Lots of the work was very professional,” says James Wood, Chair of Okanagan College’s Animation Department. “Our program is short, but intense. The instructors make sure the students have a realistic understanding of what they need do to succeed in a competitive and demanding wo...Read more...
May 30, 2022
Business students from Okanagan College are once again able to travel to Jyväskylä, Finland to experience an international summer school at the JAMK University of Applied Sciences. Finland’s education system is widely regarded as one of the best in the world. OC Business Professor Blair Baldwin, who has taught Services Design at JAMK for several summers, says working in Finland has helped him innovate and create new teaching methodologies. “JAMK employs experiential learning across its curriculum,” he says. “They stress critical thinkin...Read more...
May 27, 2022
Okanagan College students will once again be competing for the Canadian title after qualifying for the Enactus National Exposition with a first-place finish in their league during the semi-final round. Enactus teams at post-secondary institutions across Canada competed virtually earlier this month, and Okanagan College scooped up top position in the TD Entrepreneurship Challenge, and runner-up in the Scotiabank Climate Action Challenge for the Unusually Good Food Co. project. It also included national runner-up in Shaw and RBC accelerators...Read more...