Blind cyclist makes history, sets off on cross-Canada tour for charity

Aug 01, 2013, 12:30 ET from CNIB

To learn more, donate or fundraise, visit our website at

ST. JOHN'S, Aug. 1, 2013 /CNW/ - On Sunday, Aug. 4, blind cyclist Craig Aucoin is embarking on a ride of a lifetime; a journey he has been training for since August 2012. Departing in St. John's, N.L., Aucoin and his good friend and cycling partner, Lloyd McLean, will begin their 85-day, 8,200 km bicycle tour across the country.

Their national ride will raise awareness and funds for three major Canadian charities that Aucoin credits for changing his life: CNIB, Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind and YMCAs in Canada.

"Along with raising funds for three extraordinary causes, we hope this tour will inspire Canadians of all ages to overcome their own personal challenges and to adopt a healthy and active lifestyle," said Aucoin.

Aucoin will be the first blind Canadian to cycle across the country on a two-wheeled bicycle, but the journey to get here hasn't always been easy.

Born with the incurable eye condition, retinitis pigmentosa, Aucoin was able to live a normal, active childhood until age 15 when his condition worsened leaving him completely blind. This affected Aucoin both physically and emotionally.

"In the past 10 years, Craig has completely turned his life around for the better. He has lost 80 pounds, completed several running events and triathlons and continues to exercise and eat properly. Craig's dream was to be fit and strong, so you could say that he is now living his dream and inspiring thousands of people along the way," said McLean.

Aucoin and McLean are travelling 8,260 km cross-country on the Altena Janus, a back-to-back recumbent tandem bicycle - the only one of its kind in Canada. The pair will arrive in Victoria, B.C. on Oct. 27, 2013. Canadians will have the opportunity to meet Aucoin and McLean along the way at community receptions hosted by Home Hardware.

For more information on the Craig Gives Back-to-Back Cross Canada Bicycle Tour or to donate, please visit and 'like' Craig Gives Back on Facebook at

To donate $5 on your mobile phone, text 45678 with keyword CRAIG.

About CNIB
CNIB is a registered charity, passionately providing community-based support, knowledge and a national voice to ensure Canadians who are blind or partially sighted have the confidence, skills and opportunities to fully participate in life.

About the Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind
Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind (CGDB) is a national, non-profit, registered, charitable organization that assists visually-impaired Canadians with their mobility by providing and training them in the use of professionally trained Guide Dogs.

About the YMCA
YMCA Canada is a registered charity dedicated to building healthy communities by nurturing the potential of children, teens and young adults, promoting healthy living, fostering social responsibility in order to create lasting personal and social change.


Video with caption: "Video: Craig Aucoin of Pictou, Nova Scotia and his training partner Lloyd McLean are embarking on an 85-day, 8,200-kilometre journey, cycling from St. John's, NL to Victoria, BC on a unique, tandem recumbent bicycle - the only one of its kind in Canada. Credit:". Video available at:

Image with caption: "Inspired by the likes of Terry Fox and Rick Hansen, Craig wants to motivate Canadians of all ages to overcome their personal challenges and adopt healthy, active lifestyles. Credit: (CNW Group/CNIB)". Image available at: