Mike Kosof began his annual bike ride Sunday under hazy skies near Grand Forks. By the time he arrived in Castlegar he could feel a tickle in his throat.
His wife later noted Kosof’s voice didn’t sound right after a day pedalling in the smoke.
Undeterred, Kosof set off again the next morning from Castlegar to Nelson. The reason for the ride, he decided, was worth enduring the polluted air.
“It comes back to the same thing: Why are we doing this?,” said Kosof during a break in Nelson en route to his last stop in Procter. “So unless somebody tells us we can’t ride, like a boss or Cops For Kids says it’s not healthy for us, we will continue to ride.”
Kosof and Rob Crowder, two Nelson sheriffs, led a small peloton into the city Monday as part of the provincial Cops For Kids campaign. Every year, officers ride thousands of kilometres to raise money for the families of children who have suffered medical, physical or traumatic crisis.
Twenty nine officers are cycling 1,000 kilometres each between Sept. 11 to 20. In past years the event would feature a team riding together across a region of B.C. for 10 days. That changed this year due to COVID-19, with officers like Kosof and Crowder committed to hitting the 1,000-km target individually.
Kosof was completing his eighth year participating in the ride. Previously the event was only open to RCMP officers, but that changed in 2012. Kosof had always wanted to take part, but admitted to not knowing the significance of the event until he was on the road.
“That’s when I really learned what this ride was about,” he said. “It’s not about the ride itself. It’s about all the kids and the families that we help.”
Crowder was encouraged by Kosof to join ride six years ago, despite his lack of cycling experience. He became a believer once he started meeting families who had been helped by Cops For Kids.
“That’s why I keep coming back,” said Crowder. “And that’s, I think, why Mike keeps coming back too. It’s just so awe inspiring how many families and how many kids actually get helped.”
To make a donation, visit copsforkids.org.
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