A man in the middle of a cross-country bike ride to raise mental health awareness says the theft of his bike and camping gear outside a Winnipeg coffee shop on Thursday was “devastating” but despite the setback, he’s determined to continue. your ride
“Immediately my heart sank” after discovering the robbery outside a Tim Hortons, Chris Aubichon said. “I rode that bike, I slept in that tent for the last two months – 3,400 kilometers. It was devastating.”
Aubichon began his journey in May, when he left Moncton, NB, with the goal of biking all the way to British Columbia. His goal was to advocate for mental health and try to prepare himself, mentally and physically, to go back to school in BC.
Aubichon, who is indigenous, grew up in foster care from the age of six to 18 in British Columbia, but said that after leaving the system she spent the next 20 years living with mental health and addiction issues.
Earlier this year, the British Columbia government announced that it would remove an age restriction on the tuition waiver for people who entered through the provincial foster care system.
Aubichon said she wanted to take advantage of that funding, but was struggling with her mental and physical health.
“I had two options: I could get on a plane and go west and go to school, or I could do something crazy and get on a bike, I could cycle across the country and I could get in the best shape.” train me physically and mentally and give me the best chance to succeed in school,” she told Radio-Canada in an interview on Thursday.
That’s what he’s been doing since May, documenting your journey on social media – This is how Winnipegger Adam LeFave found out about the bike trip.
Aubichon’s goals resonated with him, LeFave said, so he offered Aubichon a place to stay in Winnipeg before his bike was stolen.
“I’ve had my own struggles, not the same as Chris, but it’s things that come home to me,” he told Radio-Canada.
“It’s easy to get behind what Chris is doing, why he’s doing it, and then just want what’s best for him.”
But Aubichon’s trip hit a snag when he stopped at a Tim Hortons on Portage Avenue at Ferry Road. He put his bike up against the building and went inside for a quick coffee.
The bike and his belongings, which were in panniers attached to the bike, disappeared 20 seconds later, he said.
Aubichon acknowledged that he was warned about bike theft in Winnipeg.
And he still plans to complete his ride if he can get a new bike and gear.
“I have to end this for myself, but also for everyone who has supported me throughout this journey,” he said.
“If a miracle happens and I can get on a bike and go, I’ll go and finish this ride,” he said. “If I can’t, I’ll get on a bus and take the long way home.”
Since her bike was stolen, her story has also reached many people through social media. Followers on Instagram, including a local store, have offered to help him get back on the road.
Aubichon said she wants to go back to school and get an education so she can advocate for addiction services and at-risk youth, and she hopes to work in a space where she can help people, including children in foster care, as some have done. time.
“I’m still going to continue my path to health and success in school. I’m passionate about defense… [for] people who need help, people who need someone to fight for them, who can relate to them,” he said.
“So I’m still going to do that. However, I’d like to do it after I finish this.”