Somewhere east of Calgary on Thursday, Zachariah Choboter, 25, is flying along the shoulder of the Trans-Canada Highway wearing in-line skates.
Choboter, who lives in B.C., is passing through Alberta while embarking on a 9,000-kilometre, zigzagging journey from one end of Canada to the other, with an objective of passing 120 to 130 kilometres under his feet every day.
The goal is to raise money and awareness for bee research and conservation — and get in the Guinness World Records book for the world’s longest journey on roller skates while he’s at it.
The idea was sparked by a whim that grew into a fundraiser called “Blading for Bees” after Choboter began researching the importance of bees on natural ecosystems. He then partnered with Pollinator Partnership Canada.
“I was in my stepdad’s shop and I saw my roller blades, and I just knew I needed to roller blade across Canada,” Choboter told the Calgary Eyeopener on Thursday.
“I knew it was a great opportunity to raise awareness and educate people about something I care about, and I really care about the environment.… [Bees] were the perfect mascot, because if you do all these things to help [them], it’ll help everything else as well.”
Type 2 fun
The cross-Canada tour kicked off in Whistler, B.C., on May 25, and wound through B.C. destinations like Horseshoe Bay and Nanaimo before Banff, Alta.
It will come to an end when Choboter reaches Newfoundland, which he projects will be mid-to-late August, depending on winds.
He is being helped along the way by a support crew that travels with him in a van. It includes his sister, Rachel Choboter, who manages issues like route planning.
“It seems like I’m doing a lot of hard work because I’m roller blading eight hours a day. But [Rachel] has so much logistics stuff to do,” Choboter said.
“And I wouldn’t be able to do this without her and … the rest of my team. “
So far, Choboter describes the experience as “Type 2 fun,” which various wilderness blogs define as an activity that is miserable in real time, but later remembered with nostalgic enjoyment.
And he has been lucky with the weather so far, as it has rained only a few days — though he is aware he must monitor the wear-and-tear of constant in-line skating on his body.
“I’m feeling good. My muscles are good. My feet are the thing that I’m trying to be the most careful about,” Choboter said.
“I don’t think they’re too happy, but I’m managing the blisters pretty good, and my mentally, I’m strong. So I think that’s the most important part.”
Challenges aside, helping out bees feels great, he said.
“We’re all so connected,” Choboter said. “It’s really sweet.”
With files from the Calgary Eyeopener.