North

Father and son cycle the North to raise funds for SickKids

Patrick and Paul McCue spent a month biking the North, raising over $4,600 in funds for the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto

Patrick and Paul McCue spent a month biking, raising over $4.6K for Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children

Patrick McCue, left, and his father Paul, right, decided to raise money for the hospital where Patrick had life-saving heart surgery as a child. (Mackenzie Scott/CBC )

People travel the Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk Highway for many different reasons, but for one father and son, Patrick and Paul McCue, the journey is personal.

"My dad always wanted to visit Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk since I was a kid, and he talked about it for years," said Patrick McCue.

The pair decided they would finally tackle the journey this year, but instead of hitting the gas, they decided to pedal on their bikes. And they raised more than $4,600 for the Hospital for Sick Children, or SickKids, along the way.

This is sort of like a dream for [an] old man … this is another leg in the history of father and son.- Paul  McCue

The father-son duo said they wanted to raise money for the hospital that saved Patrick's life.

When Patrick was just 15 months old, he had life-saving heart surgery at the hospital as he was born with a ventricular septal defect, or holes in the heart. 

Patrick said back in 1996, he and his father completed a cross-Canada ride, cycling 9,144 kilometres over three months between Vancouver and Cape Spear, N.L., also raising funds for the hospital.

Now, more than 20 years later, they've completed another long-distance cycling trip, this time through the Northwest Territories, Yukon and Alaska.  

Patrick and his father flew from Toronto to Inuvik in June and started biking to Tuktoyaktuk. They then continued on to Dawson City, Yukon, then to Tok, Alaska, finally ending in Whitehorse, cycling a total of about 2,000 kilometres

Patrick and Paul McCue spent a month cycling about 2,000 kilometres between the Northwest Territories, Yukon and Alaska. (Emily Blake/CBC )

Highway challenges

The journey on the Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk Highway wasn't without it's difficulties, however. 

"The first day was the toughest 60 kilometres I ever cycled," laughed Patrick, as his dad Paul chuckled along.

"Just the road condition, it is difficult … the dry parts are not too difficult but the wet section of the road was really hard."

For Paul, the reason he wanted to make his way up North goes back to a childhood pact he made with two friends.

"I lived off the side of an air force base. My two best friends, at eight years of age we transferred out. We decided if we'd ever meet each other again at 55 years of age, that we would meet in Inuvik," said Paul.

He said by the following year, both of his friends had died, one in an avalanche, and one in a snow-fort collapse. 

'The first day was the toughest 60 kilometres I ever cycled,' Patrick said of tacking the Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk Highway on bicycle. (Mackenzie Scott/CBC )

Paul says at 65 years old, he's finally able to keep his promise to his friends, and gets to do it with his son.

"I always wanted to come and honour them. So [I] finally made it and we waited until this road was here to make it more of [an] attraction."

The McCues said the view from their ride along the highway was beautiful and they took in all of the nature as they biked up to the Arctic Ocean.

"This is sort of like a dream for [an] old man. I get to go cycling which is a passion I loved since I was three, four years of age … this is another leg in the history of father and son," Paul said. 

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