Gallant’s long ride for a great cause
He hasn’t quite got the kitchen sink, but Steven Gallant has most everything else tightly packed on his motorcycle.
“I’ve got a tent, a sleeping bag and even a mattress,” he said. “I’ve got all cooking gear, with a stove, pots and pans, plates, a cutting board and even food.”
The 26-year-old Halifax resident will need the items on what will likely be the longest ride of his life.
Gallant, a master seaman in the navy, was getting ready to leave Dartmouth Crossing late Friday afternoon on a 20,000-kilometre motorcycle ride around North America he has been planning for nine months.
“I built special luggage compartments on the side of the bike, and a top case,” he said in an interview Friday before leaving.
“The only downside to riding my motorcycle is I couldn’t bring my dog. It would be awesome if I could bring him with me.”
Gallant has dedicated the ride, which will take him on many secondary and historic roadways, to war veterans. (Both of Gallant’s late grandfathers were in the Second World War.)
“This is something that I have wanted to do for a long time,” Gallant said. “It was pretty much a list of sites I wanted to see in the United States mapped out so that I hit all four corners of the U.S. I posted it on Facebook.”
Gallant said he got so much feedback and encouragement from people who saw his Facebook post that he made up his mind to go on the trip and turn it into a fundraiser.
“I decided to do it for the worthiest cause I could think of, and that was the veterans facility in Halifax,” he said.
Gallant has named the the trip “North American Circle — 20,000 kilometres of freedom for those who fought for it.”
“The idea behind my trip is I wouldn’t be able to ride 20,000 kilometres on my motorcycle, over 27 states, eight provinces if it weren’t for the fact that our veterans have made the safest place in the world for us between the two closest countries in the world.”
Gallant, who just began riding a motorcycle last year, expects to be gone about 42 days.
He will travel down the eastern seaboard to Florida, then west through the southern states.
“From Texas, I ride through New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, California and then up the West Coast to British Columbia and then home again through the entire Trans-Canada,” he said.
He will visit a number of veterans hospitals along the way.
Gallant appears to have thought of everything. Even his jacket is equipped with a 1.5-litre bladder, rigged to attach to his helmet, so he can quench his thirst without stopping.
Although he plans to do some camping, Gallant plans mostly to “couch surf” and has prearranged places to stay. He will also stop in Campbellford, Ont., to see his parents and in Kingston, Ont., to visit with his grandmother, a war bride.
“I think that fits on the trip very well,” he said.
Gallant said he expects that many motorcycle riders will join him for parts of the journey.
“I’m looking forward to doing it,” he said.
“I’m pretty sure any motorcycle rider in the world would be jealous of what I’m doing.”