Ukrainian War Veterans completed Bike Ride across Canada for Peace

Chumak Way cyclists with MP James Bezan and Minister MaryAnn Mihychuk. Phot credit: Norbert K. Iwan

Anna Dombrovska, Montreal.

On August 14, 2018 a team of Ukrainian cyclists completed Canadian leg of their 10,000 km transcontinental cycling tour. The team of 8 war veterans and volunteers called “Chumak Way – cycle U.S. & Canada for Peace” cycles 100-200 km per day from Pacific to Atlantic to raise awareness about the need for peace in Ukraine and in other places where civilians are currently under military attack.

“Ukraine needs help of countries like Canada in its efforts to protect peace on its territory. Our team cycled 4,000 km in Canada and met with hundreds of people across the continent. Canadians support our goals, many of them biked with us for peace”, says Chumak Way team leader and by Eastern Ukraine war veteran Kostiantyn Samchuk.

Canadian part of the Chumak Way cycling tour started in Vancouver and went though the Rocky Mountains, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, London, Toronto, Niagara Falls, Ottawa and Montreal. The tour started in Los Angeles on May 23 and will end on August 29 in Washington DC. By that time the team of 10 people will have travelled some 10,000 km through more than 435 cities and towns of Canada and the USA. The cyclists met with many politicians, community leaders, civil society organizations, activists and other cyclists along the way.

Chumak Way cycling tour is organized by non-profit Proidysvit.org led by Kostiantyn Samchuk in cooperation with the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, USCAK, UNF and local communities. Chumak Way accepts donations to help families and orphans affected by war in Eastern Ukraine.

Detailed route map and tracking: https://bit.ly/2jkhaIZ
Events dates and details: https://bit.ly/2HExbnt
Online donations: https://bit.ly/2KHSwOD

BACKGROUNDER

Putin’s 2014 invasion of Eastern Ukraine and takeover of Crimea, has to date resulted in more than 10,000 deaths and millions of Ukrainian citizens being displaced.

Still, the Chumak Way Ukrainian cyclists are riding for Peace. Three of them are veterans of the current war in the Donbas coal regions of Eastern Ukraine.

After surviving two World Wars, Ukraine has been under attack of pro-Russian forces since 2014, soon after Russia illegally annexed Crimea in 2014. Russian aggression came as a reaction to the success of the Ukrainian Revolution of Dignity (or EuroMaidan) when people of Ukraine revolted against the decision of corrupt government of Viktor Yanukovych not to sign cooperation agreement with the EU.

The Chumak Way cyclists took part in EuroMaidan revolution and were fighting at the frontline in Donbas. They witnessed real situation of the military conflict in Donbas and the shooting of peaceful protestors in Kyiv. Still, they believe in peaceful and prosperous future if their country and other countries that are under attack.

To demonstrate that Ukraine is moving forward despite the war, the Chumak Way team brought cool bike technology created in Ukraine such as longest range electric bike, super lightweight track bicycle and wooden frame Woodrover bike. At the meetings organized in every majour city and town guests had a chance to test drive the bikes, explore Ukraine as a travel destination, and talk to the cyclists about situation in Ukraine and share experience of the 10,000 km cycling tour.

  • June 14-15 – meeting and bike ride in Vancouver
  • June 18 – meeting in Vernon, BC, visiting Internment Canada landmarks
  • June 22 – Banff, visiting memorial to Ukrainians interned in Canada during WWI
  • June 23 – meeting with the Calgary community, visiting Ukrainian church, first cyclist who biked for peace with us to Edmonton
  • June 25 – meeting with the Red Deer community
  • June 26 – meeting with MPs Lynda Duncan and Kerry Diotte on the Alberta Legislature grounds
  • June 27 – meeting with the Edmonton community
  • June 28 – tour of the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village with its founder and senior historic manager Radomir Bilash, welcome by the mayor of Vegreville, AB, visiting largest world Pysanka landmark.
  • July 1 – Canada Day in Saskatoon
  • July 2 – meeting with the Saskatoon community
  • July 4 – meeting with the Regina community
  • July 5 – meeting with the Yorkton community, welcome by MP Cathay Wagantall
  • July 9 – tour of Winnipeg, meeting with the City Councilor, meeting with Manitoba’s minister of infrastructure Ron Schuler at the Manotoba’s legislature, visiting Shevchenko and Holodomor memorials, tour of the Leo Moll garden, special dinner with the Ukrainian community of Winnipeg, MP James Bezan and Minister MaryAnn Mihychuk
  • July 27 – Windsor at the U.S. border
  • July 29 – meeting with the London, ON community
  • July 31 – CYM Veselka Camp morning time, Poltava Country Club (Terra Cotta for BBQ) afternoon
  • Aug 1 – PLAST Grafton morning time
    – Ontario Legislature Tour (pm)
    – Holodymor Memorial CNE (near Princess Gates) 6pm
    – Sightseeing Toronto
  • Aug 2 – Sightseeing Toronto, St. Vladimir Institute Museum Tour, UNF Day Camp, press-conference, meeting with Toronto community
  • Aug 3 – meeting with the Hamilton community, welcome at St. Catherines
  • Aug 4 – Niagara Falls, visiting St. Mary Ukrainian Catholic Church
  • August 9 – #BikeForPeace to Parliament Hill with amb. Andriy Shevchenko, city councilor David Chernushenko, Ottawa Cycling Club, embassy staff and Ukrainian community. Parliament Hill welcome by Minister Catherine McKenna. Special guest – Lynn Slavo – who also bikes for peace and is attempting to become the oldest woman to cycle across Canada
  • August 10 – tour of Parliament by former MP and human rights activist David Kilgour and MP James Malowney’s assistant, meeting at the Embassy of Ukraine in Canada organized by UNF Ottawa-Gatineau
  • August 11 – 200 km Bike for Peace ride from Ottawa to Montreal (joined by several Ottawa cyclists)
  • August 12 – meeting with the Montreal community.