On September 1, a group of Ontario Public Services (OPS) employees will be embarking on a 10-day cycling trip from Thunder Bay to Toronto as part of the annual fundraising drive for the United Way. The trip, known as T2T for United Way, has attracted 15 cyclists to complete the 1,400-kilometre journey. “It’s not your typical summer vacation, that’s for sure,” said Simon Trevarthen, with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, and a co-founder of the T2T initiative. “This is an opportunity for a group of OPS cyclists to form a unique team and be involved in a fundraising campaign that makes an important difference for many people in Ontario.” This group will not have much time to dillydally along the way—they’ll need to cycle an average of 140 kilometres per day to stay on schedule and arrive at Queen’s Park on September 10!

The participants are from a cross-section of government offices that span the province. Two participants, Frank Pollari and Doug Flegel, work for the OPS in Thunder Bay (Pollari works for the Ministry of Government Services and Flegel works for the Ministry of Transportation). Both were drawn to the T2T fundraiser out of a desire to contribute to a worthy cause in an adventurous way (clearly these guys are not the bake sale type). Pollari brings a unique perspective to the group as an avid cyclist that has completed several long-distance trips; he is also an accomplished musician (harmonica, guitar, flute, and sax) and is legally blind due to a degenerative eye disease known as Retinitis Pigmentosa. For Flegel, T2T will be his longest ride to date but he is up to the challenge—he’s done some hill training in hopes of making through the north shore of Lake Superior without too much moaning!

To support the T2T for United Way or find out where you can cheer the group on as they depart Thunder Bay, visit t2t4uw.com.

Doug Flegel (left) and Frank Pollari (right).