N.W.T. man earns Guinness World Record for cycling across Canada

After a year and a half of waiting, Chris Bruckner of Inuvik, N.W.T., now officially holds the Guinness World Record for fastest time to cycle across Canada.

Chris Bruckner broke the previous trans-Canada solo men's cycling record

Chris Bruckner of Inuvik, N.W.T., broke the previous trans-Canada solo men's cycling record. (Mackenzie Scott/CBC)

Chris Bruckner got a late Christmas present from Guinness World Records.

After a year and a half of waiting, he's officially set the record for fastest time to cycle across Canada.

"It felt great but at the end of the day, it was more relief," said Bruckner, a paramedic in Inuvik, N.W.T.

"It's just kind of nice to bring closure to the event."

Bruckner actually broke the record on July 13, 2019, but it took more than a year for it to become official.

He said the ride was a time trial — a bicycle race where the rider races alone against the clock — across Canada. Cyclists are allowed to choose their own route, though for the trans-Canada race, they must start and finish at the city halls in Halifax or Vancouver.

"I'd never done an ultra endurance event like biking across Canada ... I just thought it was a personal challenge that I wanted to take on," said Bruckner.

Bruckner finished his journey at city hall in Halifax in July 2019. He completed the 5,747-kilometre ride in 13 days, 3 hours and 49 minutes. (Submitted by Chris Bruckner)

He completed the 5,747-kilometre ride in 13 days, three hours and 49 minutes, shaving about three hours off the previous record.

After the long ride, Bruckner celebrated — but then a new journey began.

He had to submit all the evidence that he and his team gathered during the race, which included photos, videos and times, to Guinness World Records.

On top of that, Bruckner suffered nerve damage during the race and it took about four months for him to fully recover.

"That was a process in itself too, and one as an athlete I'm not used to," said Bruckner. "When I was done I had cycled myself into injury … I was tired, in debt, had to work to pay for it, and I was done with it."

More cycling to the North

Bruckner was also racing for a cause, and raised about $5,000 for the Canadian Mental Health Association.

As a first responder, he said the organization and mental health are close to his heart.

"Mental health, especially, with first responders is especially a topic and issue that kind of gets swept under the rug," said Bruckner.

"Sooner or later everyone is going to be affected by what they do on the job. I'm thankful for the Mental Health Association, they were there to see me at the finish line."

Bruckner, second from right, with his team members Tyler Pilling, Peter Bruckner, Sheila Bruckner and Justin Attfield at the finish line at Halifax city hall. (Submitted by Chris Bruckner)

Bruckner said he's been in contact with the organization and plans to work with them more in the future.

Though the COVID-19 pandemic has put some of Bruckner's cycling plans on hold, he remains focused on expanding cycling in the North. He started the Inuvik Cycling Club, and in collaboration with Yellowknife cyclists, he's hoping to help build up the cycling community in the North.

"A lot of people come here and bike the ice roads and the Tuk highway and do the Dempster [Highway]," he said.

"It's a fun, adventurous place to ride."