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A cyclovolcanic quest

West coast team conquer second stage of ambitious journey ‘Cycling the Pacific Ring of Fire’



What: Cycling the Pacific Ring of Fire Part II: A Mariner’s Journey

When: Thursday, Jan. 22, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Squamish Howe Sound Brew Pub

Admission: $5

For the past six years, Janick Lemieux and Pierre Bouchard have been viewing unique locales from the seats of their bikes: they’ve been traveling from one volcano to the next, clockwise around the Great Ocean, starting in Vancouver and ending in Vancouver.

Though in hindsight, the journey may seem daunting, Bouchard and Lemieux broke it down into manageable stages.

“We have rarely pondered on the whole ‘Ring,’” Lemieux admitted. “It's been done in stages, stretches, sometimes one day at a time, even one kilometre at a time. The truth is that we thought it would take us three years at the most!”

Both avid cyclists and adventurers, Bouchard and Lemieux were inspired to embark on the journey while on another trip, from Siberia to India.

“We were having a very rough crossing of the Tibetan Plateau during the last freezing weeks of 1997,” Lemieux explained. “There was little sleep to have, with most nights spent over 4,000 metres of altitude and often under –20 Celsius! We were also both very ill with Giardia. During one of those painful nights we projected ourselves in the future: ‘What if we make it out of here alive?’ we wondered. Of course, we would continue travelling amongst the world's mountains on our bikes. Remembering that our toes were frostbitten, we decided to stick to warmer mountains... mountains of fire... volcanoes... the Pacific Ring of Fire!”

But this journey was different than any other they have embarked on.

“The Ring of Fire is completely different than the random migrating we've done before,” said Lemieux. “Having a theme, a common thread, has given us an added angle to look from that makes the traveling so much richer. We've hiked a lot more, went to the end of dozens of dead-ends and to un-cyclable destinations just because of the volcanoes. We can say that they took us to some of the most amazing spots on our planet and the warmest of people.”

Aside from the excitement of visiting “living mountains,” both Bouchard and Lemieux were thrilled with the idea of traveling through the Americas, returning to Indonesia and Russia, and an excuse to visit the islands of Polynesia, Melanesia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Japan.