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A man and his dog just left Vancouver to bike across Canada in support of charities

He's riding his recumbent bike across Canada with his husky.
Bill-Shoup-Yoshi-Marie
Bill Shoup (right) will be riding his recumbent bike across Canada with his dog Yoshi, while his wife Marie provides support from the motorhome.

Decades ago a National Geographic inspired Bill Shoup.

In it a story covered different adventures people were going on, and one was a cross country bike ride.

"And I said one day I'm going to do that," the personal trainer and self-defense instructor tells Vancouver Is Awesome.

Setting off from Spanish Banks, Shoup, from Oro Station, Ontario, left Vancouver May 1 to do that. His trip will be a little different than others who take on the monumental task.

For one, he's riding a recumbent bike, which will be notable to any cars going by. It's a fairly unusual bike (technically a tricycle), as well. It has an electric assist motor, which won't power the bike but will help in the mountains; Shoup's actually customized the bike a bit, with a solar panel to make sure the battery is charged even if he's alone.

His travel companion will also add a unique aspect.

Yoshi the seven-year-old dog will be with him the whole way.

"He's a husky; he's a rescue dog from Finding Them Homes," Shoup says.

While Shoup has a trailer for Yoshi to ride in, the hope is the large dog will keep pace on his own when possible. Shoup hopes Yoshi, who loves to run, will jog alongside for up to 40 per cent of the journey. For Yoshi, the trip is already interesting.

"He's had his first encounter with the ocean, so that was cool for him," Shoup says.

His wife, Marie will also be traveling. She'll be driving the support vehicle (a 31-foot motorhome). While it's a small team, he says lots of others have helped during his two years of planning.

While the trip is a longtime dream of his, there's more to it. He's launched a website to raise money for three charities close to him along the way: the Canadian Women's Foundation, Easter Seals, and Crohn's and Colitis Canada.

Shoup has Crohn's and it affected his original plans to do the trip five years ago (he had to go for surgery in the end). He's also worked with Easter Seals back in Ontario and has immense respect for them. As for the Canadian Women's Foundation, that's for the women in his life.

"My mom raised us, me and my two sisters," he says. "I know the struggles she had and my two sisters have and I knew I had to do something in that way."

His journey started off with an unusual barrier; the Vancouver Marathon route meant Spanish Banks was cut off Sunday morning. Shoup had picked the dog park there to launch his trip since it gave Yoshi a chance to see the ocean. From there day one saw him heading to Surrey and his brother-in-law's home.

Looking east, he's excited about the journey, but that's tempered by knowing what's in store.

"I've been out to B.C. a number of times but never paid that close attention to the mountains," he says. "I underestimated how big those hills are."

"It took me everything to wolf down my breakfast this morning."

He plans to end his journey on Sept. 1 in Sydney, Nova Scotia (there will be the odd side trip along the way). He'll be updating his website and social media with info about his trip and the goal of reaching $50,000 in donations.