By Wanda Wierzbicki

Many of us dream of taking a unique and challenging vacation, but most of the time these remain only dreams. For Radek Szulc, this year was different.

Radek, 43, formerly from the Centennial area (his parents Anna and Andrzej still live on Clappison), decided this was the year to ride his bike across Canada. Currently living off the grid in Bancroft, Ontario, Radek began his journey on July 30 when his mother Anna dropped him off at the Toronto airport for his flight to Vancouver.

It was a challenging exercise, planning the bicycle excursion and deciding how and what to pack for the flight and the following six-week trip. The bicycle itself had to be carefully stowed in a special carrier.

Radek also had to take his camping gear, including a lightweight tent and sleeping bag as well as food and water, and clothing for both cold and hot weather. All this was necessary because he planned to spend most nights along the way camping in his tent.

For most people, this sounds like an extreme vacation, but Radek was a Boy Scout. As a kid, he spent many summers at the Polish Boy Scout camp in Kaszuby, Ontario, just outside Barry’s Bay near Algonquin Park. It was there that he acquired the skills required for surviving and thriving in the great outdoors.  

The journey from Vancouver to Bancroft covers about 4,500 km. It is a trip many would not attempt in a car. The Rocky Mountain roads can be steep and treacherous, while the prairies can appear endless.  

In order to complete the journey in six weeks, Radek had to average over 100 km per day. Often he was cycling 150 km before stopping for the night. Occasionally, and especially if it was raining, Radek would treat himself to a night in a motel where he was warm and dry and the water was hot. 

Good job, Radek! That was truly an extreme vacation. The rest of us can only dream.