Winnipeg grandfather breaks 2nd cycling world record

By | July 30, 2020

A Winnipeg grandfather became a world record holder for the second time on Wednesday night after smashing the record for the farthest distance biked in a month — but Arvid Loewen isn’t done yet.

“I beat the record, but I also want to set a higher standard so that the next person has a little bit more work to do than I did,” Loewen, 63, said over the phone on Thursday morning, as he continued his route down Henderson Highway toward Lockport, Man., roughly 30 km north of Winnipeg.

Loewen beat the previous record of 11,315.29 km, set by a man from the U.K. in 2017, on Wednesday. But with several hours left before the 30-day time period ends, he’s now aiming to add roughly 300 more kilometres to his total by Thursday night, he told CBC’s Information Radio host Marcy Markusa.

The previous record holder, Mark Beaumont, got his kilometres in by cycling through Europe, Russia and China, then eventually going to Western Australia and completing his journey in the town of Jerramungup, the Guinness World Records website says.

But for Loewen, the task didn’t require international travel. He broke the record by riding from Winnipeg to Lockport, over and over again.

“I’ve been going back and forth. I think it’s around 450 times,” he said. “Something like that.”

The latest ride will still require confirmation from Guinness World Records before it’s deemed official.

Raising money for Kenyan children’s rescue

Loewen still holds the record for the fastest bike ride across Canada, which he set in 2011 when he travelled from Vancouver, B.C., to Halifax, N.S., in 13 days, six hours and 13 minutes.

His current journey is a different kind of ride than the one in 2011, but for the same cause: to raise awareness and money for the Mully Children’s Family, a street children’s rescue mission in Kenya.

Since 2005, Loewen has helped raise more than $7 million for the organization through his extreme cycling ventures, including between $300,000 and $400,000 with this latest endeavour.

“We have been very blessed and very fortunate, and people have supported us,” he said. 

The region has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced schools to shut down, Loewen said. 

Loewen said the wind and extreme heat this month made his record-breaking ride between Winnipeg and Lockport a trying one. (Arvid Loewen, Cycling Philanthropist/Facebook)

Last year, Loewen received the Order of Manitoba for his fundraising efforts.

He said he has spent about 16.5 hours on his bike and travelled roughly 390 kilometres every day for the past month. And while he’s starting to feel a little tired, Loewen said he also feels fortunate to have suffered no injuries along the way.

The final day of his trip, Thursday, began as a beautiful, sunny one. But every day wasn’t quite as easy, Loewen said.

“Manitoba’s had a lot of wind, and cyclists are always whining and complaining about wind. And I’m no different, so that was hard,” he said. “But we also had four days of pretty extreme heat, so it was tough to get through those days.”

To wrap up his achievement, Loewen has planned to ride the last kilometre of his journey down Henderson Highway with his family at his side, including his 11 grandchildren. 

Because of the restrictions on group sizes during the COVID-19 pandemic in Manitoba, the event will be live streamed on Loewen’s Facebook page at 6:45 p.m., he said.

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