Katherine Taylor bikes into Vancouver one day and likes it so much she decided to stick around!
I ran into Katherine Taylor while she was working at Chapter’s on Robson. I had a few minutes to kill while waiting for some friends and what better way to do so than browsing at a bookstore. Katherine politely offered to assist me in finding something and without anything particular in mind I asked for some recommendations. She thought for a moment as we meandered down the fiction section and then pointed out The Life of Piby Yann Martel. Having read it and thoroughly enjoyed it my esteem for Katherine’s recommendations went up as she started to browse for her next pick. Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner came next. I commended her again on another great choice but had read those as well. This went on coincidentally enough for about 5 books, more likely than not the only 5 books I’d read out of the hundreds she passed over. I suspect she thought I might have been trying to show off but she stuck with me as we decided to give up on fiction and hit up her speciality – travel literature. As a travel enthusiast who reads predominantly fiction I was keen on the idea. We got to swapping travel stories and it didn’t take long to find out that Katherine was new to Vancouver. She didn’t come in any traditional way and hadn’t even planned on staying. She set out on a bicycle excursion from Nova Scotia and rode the 7000(ish) kilometer trip across Canada to the Pacific coast. She did this all for charity and personally raised over $6000 for juvenile diabetes with an organisation called Cyclebetes. The best part is that instead of returning home like originally planned she couldn’t bear to leave Vancouver.
Katherine found out about Cyclebetes through a research fair at The University of Western Ontario in London. She’s been an advocate for juvenile diabetes since the age of 17 as a result of her youngest cousin being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 2 years of age. She couldn’t wait to sign up and soon found herself in Nova Scotia meeting with Cyclebetes team members. With a team made up of people from all over the country they set out on August 14, 2010 with a couple RV’s and support vehicles. Taking shifts on single and tandem bikes they covered about 400kms of ground per day. With riders aged 6 – 72 and a diverse group of novice to professional cyclists, everyone pulled together as a team and became fast friends. Katherine describes it as a life changing experience and has made what she hopes will be life-long friends. The crew went through every major Canadian city along the way and did a community ride to raise awareness for the cause. Katherine’s favourite part of the trip was when she got to ride tandem with Willie Cromack (pro cyclist and owner of John Henry Bikes on the North Shore) through Eastern Ontario at speeds exceeding 70 km/h. After just under 3 weeks the Cyclebetes team made it to Victoria where they parted ways forever changed by their experience together.
With nothing but the clothes on her back and a few supplies Katherine cancelled her flight back to London, Ontario where grew up and set out looking for a place to live. As a recent University of Western Ontario graduate with a BSc in Kinesiology, Katherine is all about fitness and as you’ve probably noticed Vancouver is a mecca for all things fun and active. She found a furnished room in a basement suite in Cambie Village and immediately began hunting for a job. It didn’t take long for Katherine to get settled with not one but three jobs and she has subsequently moved downtown to be more in the thick of things. Along with Chapters she works at healthy lifestyle oriented The Chopped Leaf (offering organic, vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options), and Park Place Health Club. She enjoys working 70+ hours a week because it keeps her busy and meeting new people. Katherine’s next goal is to become a personal trainer which seems fitting with her commitment and energy levels. Katherine is loving Vancouver and plans to make it her home. She spends her spare time hiking, swimming and is looking forward to hitting the slopes. Katherine describes living in the West End as a holiday and finds a new adventure every day. This is someone who has travelled throughout Europe, South East Asia, Australia, Fiji and the United States. She’s raised over $20,000 to date for Juvenile diabetes combining her cross-Canada bike trip with marathons in both Hawaii and Iceland.
Katherine’s biggest hope is that she inspires people to go out and set their sights high. With the right attitude and the proper mindset anyone can accomplish something incredible like this. Check out the Cyclebetes website and find out how you can make a difference for thousands of young Canadian children who have to deal with this devastating disease on a daily basis.