Bob Hood is biking from Mexico to Canada in an attempt to raise money for breast cancer research, and he stopped by Lockport on Thursday to talk about his trip.
Hood started out in Tijuana, Mexico, on March 20, and he is headed to St. Stephen, New Brunswick province. His chosen route is approximately 4,160 miles.
Hood is the executive director of and primary cyclist for 3 Country Ride, a charity organization based in San Diego. While he rides his bike, board members Laura Ghosn and Ron Calabrese follow along with a van.
One reason they’re fundraising for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation is Ghosn’s mom, who’s a two-time breast cancer survivor.
3 Country Ride set a $40,000 goal and so far they’ve raised $15,000. In an effort to generate interest, the team scheduled three-minute interviews with mayors, council members and local notable citizens along the route. The interviews were worked out about a year and a half ago, according to Hood.
Calabrese said the team chose to stop in Lockport and interview Ray Wigle, director of Erie Canal Discovery Center, because “we figured it would be a nice opportunity to see something about Lockport.”
“The canal has a lot of heritage with the area,” he added. “Ray was very excited.”
Wigle said it was “very pleasing” to be interviewed. “It helps not only their cause but it really promotes Lockport too.”
He estimates that about 10,000 people visit Erie Canal Discovery Center annually.
So far, Hood said, 3 Country Ride “has been a very interesting trip.”
“Obviously, I got to see a lot of America in this, but the most fascinating has been all the people we’ve met in doing the interviews. Just very diverse and interesting people with a lot of stories to tell,” Hood said. “I’d have to say equal to that is just how incredibly nice everyone has been.”
Ghosn and Calabrese ride in the van behind Hood to alert drivers that Hood is in front bicycling. Ghosn said she has heard people give happy honks when they read what 3 Country Ride is all about.
Hood joked that his bicycle has held up “more or less” through 11 flat tires, a cracked rim, a cracked seat, and a few trips to bike shops to for tune-ups. He’s growing eager to finally arrive in New Brunswick, he added.
“It’s been fun, but it will be nice to not have to pedal six days a week.”
For more information and to donate, check out 3countryride.org/home.html.