Red Deer couple cycles 6,000 km to inspire and fundraise for literacy

A Red Deer based husband and wife tandem cycling duo have returned home after a 6,000 km long journey around western and northern Canada.

Dubbed the Ignite Possibilities: Cycle to the Top of the World tour, JB Owen and her husband Peter Giesin left Red Deer on June 26 and just returned on Sunday.

Their journey took them from central Alberta all the way to the Top of the World Highway along the Yukon-Alaska border. From there, they went south to Prince Rupert, B.C, with the plan being to head through Kelowna, but a detour north had to be planned due to the forest fires. So instead they went to Grande Prairie and then back south to Red Deer.

Along with the two of them, their team was made up of an RV as a follow vehicle, the RV driver/cook, and the couples 13 and 16-year-old daughters.

Owen says the goal of this ambitious endeavor was inspiration, and to show that nothing can stand in the way of your dreams and goals. Not even heat waves, wildfires, or global pandemics.

“Our movement is called Ignite Possibilities, and the whole idea is to inspire people to think about what is possible. In a time of COVID where everything is so difficult and people aren’t sure of the future, we really want to encourage people to believe anything is possible and they can go after their dreams.”

They also have ambitious fundraising goals in mind.

Together they founded Ignite, a publishing house based in Red Deer, with another goal being to promote literacy around the world.

They are working in collaboration with Classroom of Hope, which is a non-profit group which helps provide quality education in developing countries. Specifically, Owen and Giesin are looking to raise $35,000 to pay for the 35,000 bricks necessary to build a school in Cambodia.

So far they’ve managed to raise around $4,500.

“We want to promote literacy, reading, and storytelling. We want to show people that anything and everything is possible,” shares Owen.

Last year, the couple cycled 5,000 km across Canada to raise money for the Sunshine Foundation of Canada, a charity that helps fulfill the dreams of children with severe disabilities or life-threatening illnesses.

Owen, 51, says neither she nor her husband, 53, were professional athletes prior to this, but they still managed to average 100 km a day during their journey.

“I wanted to show people you can have a dream or an idea and just go after it. You don’t always need to know how to do it, you just need to know your goal and go after it. So many things changed along the way and you just had to pivot and shift and continue on, get up every day and keep going.”

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