Nova Scotia

Cycling grandpa sets record

A Winnipeg man is resting his legs after cycling from Vancouver to Halifax in record time.

A Winnipeg man is resting his legs after cycling from Vancouver to Halifax in record time.

Arvid Loewen, 54, arrived at Halifax City Hall at 6:13 p.m. Thursday. He made the 6,055-kilometre trip in 13 days, six hours and 13 minutes — beating the world record by nearly three hours.

To get into the Guinness World Records book, which must still verify the time, Loewen had only three hours of sleep in the final three days.

But the sacrifice was worth it, he said.

"To me, setting a Guinness record is important. I don't want to downplay it. Obviously I love a challenge or I wouldn't be doing this thing. But it's a platform for my greater cause, and that's what is important to me."

Loewen's cycling adventure was a fundraiser for Mully Children's Family, an organization that supports street children in Kenya. So far, he has raised $350,000.

He said he was motivated throughout the ride by thoughts of Lillian, a girl who was rescued by the Kenyan charity at the age of eight and weighing a skeletal 16 pounds.

"Last November I was there and I always make a point of connecting with her," he said. "Now she's a healthy teenage girl."

Grandpas Can

Kids motiviated him closer to home, too.Loewen, who left Vancouver on July 1, said he called his project Grandpas Can because he was inspired by his three grandchildren.

He slept two hours a night to stay on pace and was almost forced to quit at one point because of leg injuries, before taking 18 hours off instead.

He was nearly back on pace by Tuesday.

He said the challenge was more mental than physical.

"Working under sleep-deprived conditions is one of the more difficult things because it hurts — it really hurts," he said. "But the other thing that really happens is your attitude goes south on you completely.

"If you had a reason for doing something, all of a sudden that disappears."

With files from The Canadian Press