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B.C. cyclist plans to ride across Canada wearing a face mask

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Jake Musgrave knows what it’s like to lose somebody close to you. Now, as a pandemic threatens people’s well-being the world over, he’s raising awareness and money so others don’t have to go through a similarly heartbreaking experience.

At the end of August Musgrave plans to bike across Canada, from Horseshoe Bay to Halifax, to raise money for leukemia research – as well as those impacted by COVID-19.

Musgrave, a lifelong North Vancouver resident, lost his dad, Randy, to leukemia when he was just eight years old.

Randy was a Vancouver firefighters who led an active lifestyle. His passing was sudden and unexpected, according to Musgrave, now 23.

“I was only eight when I lost him,” he says. “The memories I had with him were fond and he was a fantastic dad.”

By the time Musgrave has finished riding the approximately 6,021 kilometres across the country at the end of September, he hopes to have raised $10,000 for the the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada.

Biking with his dad is one of Musgrave’s earliest and fondest memories, so his cross Canada adventure is the perfect way to honour him, according to Musgrave, adding that his dad got him out on the mountain bike as soon as possible when he was a kid.

Following his dad’s passing, Musgrave put biking a side for a while, but remained active playing other sports such as rugby as a teen.

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A photo of Musgrave as a baby along with his father Randy, who passed away when Musgrave was eight - photo supplied Jake Musgrave

His aunt, Olympic cyclist Lesley Tomlinson, helped Musgrave get back into biking when he was 16.

“She showed me the ropes of road riding and I fell in love with it after that,” he says, noting that cycling provided much needed reprieve after he sustained a couple shoulder injuries from rugby. “I just love getting outdoors and being active. … It keeps my focused, my mind at ease.”

Like anyone faced with doing anything this year, the pandemic has complicated things. But because of it, Musgrave has also endeavoured to add another element to his ride besides raising money for leukemia research.

He’ll be wearing a face mask for the entirety of his ride in order to demonstrate how important they can be in the fight against the spread of novel coronavirus.

“We still haven’t found a vaccination for COVID. Losing family like I did is really a terrible thing. Wearing a mask is an easy way to stop the spread for something that could easily become another nightmare again,” he says.

As Musgrave mulls biking the Trans-Canada across the country while wearing a mask, he notes his training regime has included wearing one while he rides. While it doesn’t make for ideal biking road wear, nothing about the current pandemic is ideal, he says.

“I believe that losing life is a just terrible thing and just having to wear a mask can stop the threat as easy as that,” he says. “It’s not difficult.”

Musgrave’s GoFundMe for leukemia research can be found be visiting gf.me/u/ykdsjt

In tandem with his leukemia fundraiser, Musgrave is also raising money for the Canada PayPal COVID-19 Relief Fund. More information here: gf.me/u/ykdn93