Hometown Charity Ride is Personal for Devon Kershaw

As if a demanding Olympic training regimen weren’t enough for Canadian cross-country skier Devon Kershaw, he has decided to use the 2010 spotlight to go on a long bike ride and raise awareness for an important cause.

Namely: the peaceful coexistence of bicycles and motor vehicles.

Cycling fatalities and injuries are an ever-present reminder that car-bicycle collisions are not uncommon and are extremely dangerous. In order to raise awareness for bicycle safety as well as healthy living, Kershaw decided to team up with “Share the Road” (), a group dedicated to that peaceful coexistence. Returning to his hometown of Sudbury, Ontario, Kershaw helped Share the Road host a 15-kilometre bike ride on July 29 for riders of all ages and abilities.

“As a full-time athlete, me and my teammates spend hundreds of hours each year on the road roller-skiing, running, and of course cycling,” Kershaw told Olympic.ca. He said that sharing the road with cars and trucks is a near-daily factor for him every day outside of the winter season.

But for Kershaw, there is a very personal connection: “I was also deeply affected by the tragic loss of my girlfriend at the time, Sofie Manarin, in a cycling accident eight years ago.”

He said he is now ready to make a difference so tragedies such as Sofie’s can be avoided – and those enjoying an active lifestyle can feel safe on the roads.

Share the Road is based in Southern Ontario and was founded by Eleanor McMahon, who lost her husband, OPP Sergeant Greg Stobbart, in a cycling accident three years ago. McMahon started Share the Road as a community initiative to educate all road users on safety measures to avoid future tragedies and create a bicycle-friendly Ontario. Through Kershaw and McMahon’s joint initiative in Sudbury, the hope was to turn personal tragedies into greater public awareness.

In order to be in top shape for his Vancouver 2010 Olympic run, Kershaw – a three-time World Cup medallist and 2006 Olympian – follows a gruelling routine. Along with his team, he just completed what he said may have been one of the toughest camps not only of the season, but of his life. To top it off, the team participated in the Canmore Olympic Distance Triathlon immediately thereafter. Now, Kershaw trains for what will be a crucial World Cup season, one that ends in Olympic fashion.

In Sudbury, Kershaw also hosted a fundraising luncheon at the Idylwylde Golf Club the next day to raise funds and find corporate partners to join him in his journey to 2010 and beyond. More information on Devon Kershaw, his charitable work and his Olympic training can be found at.