Brothers ride wooden bikes across Canada to advocate for green jobs
Two brothers from Ottawa are crossing the country on wooden bicycles as part of a campaign to encourage young Canadians to work in eco-friendly fields.
Zac and Nicholas Wagman left Victoria, B.C., on May 13 for their Canada-wide trip and they arrived back in their hometown on Monday. They anticipate making it to St. John’s, N.L., by the end of September.
“It's been a journey,” Nicholas told CTV News. “I think we've learned a lot from each other.”
Along the way, the Wagmans have made several stops at community gatherings and other events in an effort to convince young Canadians to choose a career that will help the environment.
Zac said he spent a little too much time in front of a screen playing video games as a kid, but found a passion for the outdoors while working for Parks Canada on a summer placement.
“These jobs are out there and they're incredibly fulfilling,” he said.
He now works for Project Learning Tree Canada and operates a funding program called Green Jobs in Green Spaces, which helps to place Canadians aged 15-30 in outdoor jobs. The program covers 50 per cent of an employee’s wage to encourage companies to hire the young workers.
The careers include anything from forestry management to climate-change research to jobs with provincial or territorial parks.
To provide emphasis on the need for sustainability, the Wagmans are making the journey on bikes that look like those a professional cyclist might use, except the frames are made completely of wood.
The bikes -- designed by the Montreal-based cycling company Picolo Velo -- are handcrafted using Quebec ash trees, which the company says provides a solid base with a resistance to water, while also protecting the cyclist from vibrations on the road and weighing comparably to a modern bike.
The brothers said they routinely cover about 100 kilometres a day as part of the journey.
“Leading up to this ride, I think the longest day that we've ridden was 40 kilometers and that was a big day for us,” Zac said. “We were hurting the next day.”