Cross-Canada trip stalls in Saskatoon
Quebecer loses all belongings, journal
SASKATOON—A disabled man's cycling trip across the country came to a halt last week when his bike was stolen and a witness to the crime robbed him.
Since then, Maurice Bernier of Quebec City has been sleeping at the Salvation Army and relying on the kindness of strangers for an occasional ride.
"I said to myself, `Oh, this is not a good day,'" Bernier said on the weekend of his first hours in Saskatoon.
Bernier, 52, had stopped at a family restaurant for a bite to eat when his 21-speed bike was stolen.
The bike, reconfigured to better suit his disability, had lights, a handlebar computer and black saddlebags over the front and rear wheels.
"All my stuff was in there," Bernier said. "But now maybe all the bags are in the garbage."
The bags contained his sleeping bag, tent, stove, food, tools and clothes, as well as personal items such as an address book and a journal.
"Every day I would write in that book. It's all gone," Bernier lamented.
He estimates his bike was worth at least $800. To add injury to insult, Bernier says he was pushed down and robbed of the cash in his wallet belt after he went out and discovered his bicycle missing. He could only watch as a woman rifled through his credit cards, identification and cash.
Both robberies were reported to the police but Bernier doesn't plan to follow up because it means he would have to return to the city at some point if arrests were made.
Bernier, who left home May 21, has a hereditary muscle disease called myopathy, which is a form of progressive muscular dystrophy.
"Every year I lose more strength. I have a hard time walking right now but biking is good for me," he said.
His plan was to continue to Edmonton and then up to Yellowknife. His next stops were to be in Prince Rupert, B.C., Victoria and Vancouver Island. Bernier was then hoping to ride down into Mexico for the winter.
"Now I guess my trip is over."
Even with his strained ability to walk, Bernier walked to Canadian Tire and Wal-Mart stores to check out new bikes and equipment, but was discouraged by what he found.
"It's no use. It will cost me $600 for a bicycle but then I need a tent, a sleeping bag, a stove and all of that stuff.
"It's so discouraging because it's so many things I've lost.
"I've been doing this for seven years now. I don't know what to do. My legs hurt so much from walking in town."