Blink once and you may have missed a man on a mission heading through Hope Thursday, Aug. 30.
If you did see someone dressed as The Flash pedaling an electric bike, that’s 59-year-old Danny “Hurricane” Halmo, who began his e-bike trip across Canada from Langley Aug. 28. By the time he reached Hope he had ridden 162 kilometres and was readying himself for a trek up the mountain passes.
“I’m doing it for my country, because the Americans don’t respect us as a country. They don’t respect what we do, they laugh at us and think we’re funny,” he said.
Halmo held the title for the longest ride on an electric bicycle, but it was recently claimed by a U.S. rider who went 8,209 kilometres. He hopes to claim it back ‘before the ink is dry’ by riding 80 kilometres per day across Canada for a total of 10,500 kilometres.
When he meets Canadians along his path, which today has him traveling through Kamloops, he tells them: “This is a live Guinness World Record war game going on, because it really is. I’m declaring war on these guys.”
Halmo knew he had a gift for pairing a great cause with a somewhat crazy feat when in 2005 he gathered 107 tonnes worth of goods for Hurricane Katrina survivors after camping on top of a transport trailer and vowing not to come down until the trailer was full. He has since then had a hand in starting up a 24-hour electrical vehicle race, riding an e-scooter from Windsor to Vancouver and riding record-breaking miles on a Segway.
“All my life, people asked me ‘what do you want to be?’, I said a race car driver or a scientist,” he said. “Now I’m combining the two. I’m a scientist and a race car driver, racing for the world record for the top trophy on the planet for amateurs.”
The Guinness World Record, something he said is not ‘worth a penny in a pawn shop’, is worth something for Halmo if there is a higher cause behind it.
“This is a ride about sustainability, about showing the sponsors’ product and what we’re capable of,” he said.
Part of Helmo’s mission is to change perceptions about e-bikes, and about disabilities.
“There’s a perception out there that e-bikers are toothless, suspended scofflaws. It’s a standard perception among people who hate e-bikes,” he said, adding he’s also combatting the perception that disabilities aren’t possible to overcome. Halmo is bipolar, he said his disability doesn’t disable him. Rather, it enabled him the possibility to pursue a new career after his previous work as a master bodyman.
Halmo also finds he’s answering the same four or five questions about electric vehicles when he’s out on the road — cost, the range with a single charge and charging times.
Cycling across Canada has its perks — he gets to witness what he says he already knows about Canadians, that they are respectful, generous and love a good cause. As he lives on disability, he relies on sponsorship, selling raffle tickets and the kindness of strangers to fuel this ride.
The trek can also be frightening, but he is not deterred.
“It’s very scary, especially when you see bear cubs playing on the railroad tracks across the water, especially when you see road kill,” he said.
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