A Vancouver, BC, man nearing the end of a globe-girdling bicycle tour to raise funds and awareness about mental illness lost his bicycle to an opportunistic thief on Thursday.
Michael Schratter had bicycled through 32 countries since August 2010, covering more than 22,000 miles, only to lose his bike in his home province of British Columbia.
“Maybe the person who took it doesn't realize it wasn't just abandoned. I suspect that person doesn't know it's a key piece of this journey to help people with mental illness,” he said in news reports.
Ride Don't Hide
Schratter, a teacher and newspaper columnist, took off on the Ride Don't Hide bicycle tour last year to bring attention to the stigma of mental illness and raise money for the Canadian Mental Health Association, BC division.
Schratter has been riding around British Columbia to hit his around-the-world goal of 40,000km, about 24,800 miles, when he and his escort vehicle stopped on Thursday near the small town of Savona, near Kamloops, to eat and take a break.
After grabbing a bite, Schratter asked the driver for a lift into town for a jolt of coffee. On the way, they realized they'd the bicycle behind. They immediately returned, but the bike — a white FOCUS — was gone. He values the carbon fiber bicycle at $4,000.
Bike on loan
To make matters worse, the bicycle was on loan from a friend who let him use it on the final leg through Canada.
Hearing of his plight, a sponsor from North Vancouver, Willie Cromack of John Henry Bikes, lent him his own personal bicycle.
Schratter has 3,400km, more than 2,000 miles, to ride before hitting his goal of 40,000km. He target for returning to Vancouver is Nov. 12.
So far, Schratter has raised $52,000 for the Canadian Mental Health Association. That's far off his goal of $100,000, but a very decent sum. He's also encouraged many with mental illness to not be ashamed of their conditions and to seek help.
You can donate to his cause at Ride Don't Hide donations.