One highly motivated Toronto man has turned a lifelong passion for cycling into an opportunity to support a good cause, by raising funds for Tropicana Community Services through his annual Momentum Ride.
From his childhood days of riding around his neighbourhood to competitive cycling in his adulthood with equally competitive friends, all paths ultimately led Jeff Kansun to combine his love of cycling with his desire to do good.
“I wanted to do something more than donating a sum of money and then never thinking about it again, and this was the best way I knew how,” he said, “I knew I could get a reasonable turnout [for a long-distance ride], and that I had a lot of family and friends who would be willing to donate.”
Jeff recruited his fellow Toronto cyclists to participate in the ride. He started with his regular biking friends, whose enthusiasm then drew in more participants. “Everyone is from different backgrounds, and different parts of the city.”
In for a long ride
In 2020, the cyclist ventured some 600 km from Toronto to Mont-Tremblant, Quebec.
Originally Jeff and the team had plans to ride to the U.S. this year, but COVID-19 changed the plan. Instead, the Momentum Ride participants will ride 200 km over three days, through the serene cottage country, to Collingwood
Jeff’s looking forward to the beautiful vistas he and his fellow riders will witness on their trip to the tip of Nottawasaga Bay—which will happen come rain or shine.
“When I complete a really long ride, I like to check it out on a map; just to see the distance I’ve travelled,” he said. “It’s a very goal-oriented sport. You have to be persistent and determined.”
Days-long ride like this provide Jeff ample opportunities to relax, socialize with fellow riders, and break a heavy sweat. “You go through different mindsets when you are on long rides like this one. I find it very therapeutic.”
Beyond meeting his philanthropic pursuits, a sense of being challenged, and a feeling of accomplishment fuels Jeff’s efforts.
“At certain points, there’s a painful aspect to cycling, so you really have to have that sense of accomplishment to keep you going.”
In the past, Jeff regularly donated to charities that had a connection to his friends or family. He heard about Tropicana and its mission through a friend, and after researching on his own, he saw the organization as a great fit with his own goals.
“The more I talked with people and heard about the work they did, the more my decision to ride for Tropicana was reaffirmed,” he said of his choice of charity. “I feel very good about being allowed to participate in Tropicana’s cause.”
Jeff and his companions earn every dollar they raise, and by no way took an easy route to raise the funds for Tropicana. This challenge, even for these experienced cyclists, takes a great deal of determination.
“In events like this when you’re in a big group and all in it together, you motivate each other,” he said. “Last year, on the third day we had torrential rain all day and it was cold. But everyone still made it.”
The funds that are raised from the ride will contribute to Tropicana’s work in providing support to people of Black, African, and Caribbean backgrounds, as well as newcomers to Canada, and anyone who could use a little help. Programs include culturally appropriate counselling, youth education, employment services, daycare, community services and more.
And on behalf of Tropicana, Jeff has accomplished much, he raised more than $30,000 in 2020, and hopes to raise $50,000 this year. The Momentum Ride 2021 takes place from August 12th to 15th. The team leaves from Toronto and ends in Collingwood, with a stopover in both Peterborough and Bracebridge.
Raymund Guiste, Executive Director of Tropicana Community Services stated, “We are grateful to people like Jeff and his team, who are willing to get involved and help us change lives.”
If you would like to support Jeff and his fellow cyclists, please click here.
If you want to join the likes of Jeff and his team and help raise funds for Tropicana with your own event, email email@example.com, or visit mytropicana.ca for more information.
About Tropicana Community Services
Tropicana Community Services (Tropicana) was founded in 1980. It is a non-profit community organization, with a mission to serve the disadvantaged, particularly those with a Black, African, and Caribbean heritage, as well as newcomers, and others in need. Over the past 40 years, the organization has grown into a multi–service delivery agency with programs across a number of disciplines. For more information, visit mytropicana.ca