Mateo Everitt (left) and Liam Zahara left Little Fort Sunday evening and were on their way to Bridge Lake up Highway 24, where they were camping for the night. (Stephanie Hagenaars photo)

Childhood friends cycle for charity

Riders will cycle 1,400 kms by the end of their journey

After nine days, about 800 kilometres and passing through numerous towns, two B.C. boys are only halfway through their journey, and took a break just before the turn-off to Bridge Lake and Highway 24.

“One hundred and 50 kilometres in a day — that in itself is really hard,” said Mateo Everitt, a real estate broker from Victoria. “But we’re doing 150 kms, nine days in a row, so, by the third day, your body starts to wear down pretty quick.”

He and Liam Zahara, a realtor from Vancouver, are cycling from Northern Alberta to the B.C. Coast to fundraise for Power to Be, a non-profit organization that “helps people living with a disability or barrier access to nature.”

Zahara ran an ultramarathon (100 miles) last year for the group, and said while he was training for the race, he thought it would be cool to team up with the charity and do something each year.

“We’ve volunteered for the charity before,” he said. “They have really fun events and essentially, the basis of what the organization does is help enable people with different barriers…to get outside in nature and just enjoy the outdoors.”

Power to Be holds events each year, but when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, all large gatherings and events were shut down.

The two had coincidentally purchased a couple of bikes at the beginning of spring and thought a cycle through nature would be a great way to fundraise. They just needed a route.

The two grew up on Bowen Island, and are friends since Kindergarten. They also live nearby, so it became their final destination. Their starting point, however, came from Zahara’s childhood.

“I’ve driven through here many times,” he said about Highway 5. “My grandparents live in Northern Alberta, so it was like, ‘It’d be really cool to cycle that.’”

So, the two flew from Vancouver to Edmonton and drove up to Culp, Alta., about five hours north, to begin their trip. The connection to their own lives gave them the idea to call their adventure, “Riding Our Roots.”

“It’s kind of a weird thing doing the fundraising and putting out a lot of photos and posts,” said Zahara. “It’s fun to do these things and go do them, but now when we’re putting it out there to the world, it’s a little uncomfortable at the beginning but it’s been really cool because we get a lot of support.”

One of their friends put their jerseys together, another helped with their flights through WestJet and they each got a bike fit through BC Bike Fit.

“All of these things just came together really well,” he added. “It makes the whole thing that much better when you have the crappy moments.”

One of those “crappy moments” was a day prior, when they had cycled their entire day through the rain. They had originally planned to camp at each of their destinations throughout the trip, packing camping gear, dehydrated foods and sleeping bags on their bikes.

But the rain soaked their sleeping bags, causing them to find a motel for the night.

“We were trying to do start to finish, camping the entire way but the hot shower was maybe the best shower I ever had,” Everitt laughed.

The financial goal for the ride was originally set for $5,000, but they passed that goal rather quickly. Their new goal is now set at $7,500. As of publication, they’re sitting at $6,590 with one week and two days left to go.

“I think a lot of people thought it was a really cool idea and could feel really connected to what we were doing” said Everitt. “It touched on a lot of bases on a personal level.”

Anyone who would like to donate can go to

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

test tube with the blood test is on the table next to the documents. Positive test for coronavirus covid-19. The concept of fighting a dangerous Chinese disease.
Interior Health records third COVID-19 death

A new community outbreak was reported at Okanagan Men’s Centre in Lake Country

Clearwater Mayor Merlin Blackwell received the first poppy by Clearwater Legion 259 president Charlotte Cederholm marking the launch of the Royal Canadian Legion's National Poppy Campaign. (Stephanie Hagenaars photo)
Remembrance Day ceremony to be live streamed

The Clearwater Legion is open for business, starting November, 2020. This years’… Continue reading

There has been COVID-19 exposures at two elementary schools in District 42. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 24 additional COVID-19 cases

This includes three school exposures in Kelowna

One person was killed in a two-vehicle crash south of Williams Lake on Highway 97 Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020. (Photo submitted)
Highway 97 crash south of Williams Lake claims one life

Road conditions at the time were slippery and covered with slush: RCMP

A woman wears a face mask and plastic gloves while browsing books as a sticker on the floor indicates a one-way direction of travel between shelves of books at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch, after it and four other branches reopened with limited services, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
B.C. reports 234 new COVID cases, 1 death of senior who had attended small birthday party

Roughly 5,700 people are isolating due to being exposed to a confirmed case

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Interior Health reports seven more COVID-19 cases

Eighty-nine cases remain active, none of whom are currently hospitalized

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A can of Canada Dry Ginger Ale is shown in Toronto on Thursday Oct. 29, 2020. The maker of Canada Dry Ginger Ale has agreed to pay over $200,000 to settle a class-action lawsuit launched by a B.C. man who alleged he was misled by marketing suggesting the soda had medicinal benefits. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Joseph O’Connal
B.C. man’s lawsuit over marketing of Canada Dry ginger ale settled for $200K

Soda’s maker, Canada Dry Mott’s Inc., denied the allegations and any liability

Vancouver Island-based Wilson’s Transportation has expanded to fill some of the routes left unserviced by Greyhound as of Nov. 1, 2018. (Black Press files)
B.C. bus companies say they need help to survive COVID-19

Like airlines, motor coaches have lost most of their revenue

A deer was spotted in October 2020 in Prince Rupert, B.C., with a bright pink yoga ball stuck in its antlers. (Kayla Vickers/Chronicles Of Hammy The Deer Official Page)
Hammy 2.0? Prince Rupert deer spotted with bright pink yoga ball stuck in antlers

The BC Conservation Officer Service is aware of the deer roaming around the city

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Kelowna Mountie hit with 2nd lawsuit in 2 months for alleged assault

Const. Julius Prommer is accused of breaking a woman’s knee during while responding to a noise complaint

Hirdeypal Batth, 24, has been charged with sexual assault and forcible confinement in relation to an incident in August 2020. (VPD handout)
Man, 24, charged with sex assault after allegedly posing as Uber driver in Vancouver

Investigators believe there could be more victims outside of the Vancouver area

Most Read