Out of the leather and into the spandex, Saanich Police Const. Jonathan de Boer has made the jump from motor bike to road bike this summer.
De Boer’s 62-centimetre Trek is the biggest bike of the Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock team in 2017. The former high school basketball player is one of three constables continuing Saanich Police’s rich legacy of contributing riders on the tour.
As the Tour enters its third decade, there is a new trend the organizers couldn’t have dreamed about 20 years ago. That trend is riders such as De Boer, who comes from a generation that remembers the Tour de Rock riders coming through his town.
“I grew up in Qualicum and I was inspired by the Tour de Rock riders when they stopped at our school,” de Boer said. “Then I moved here during high school and graduated from Reynolds [secondary] where Dean Norris-Jones was my English teacher, and he was inspiring, the school was inspiring.”
Meeting up for Tour de Rock’s group training rides three times a week is a rewind for the trio. It reunites the former A Patrol officers of de Boer and Hendren, with Cofield, who remains in A Patrol. De Boer has graduated to the Traffic Safety Unit and Hendren made the move to the Family Protection Unit a few years ago.
“We’re team A Patrol again,” said de Boer, who recently qualified for his police motorcycle ticket, should that opportunity present itself one day.
For Cofield, there was some preparatory work that had her ready for this year’s Tour.
“My fiancé is a Saanich Const. [Nawid Akbar] who did this two years ago and I helped him with the fundraising.”
Cancer has affected too many people in Cofield’s family for her to list.
“It’s been multiple family members on many different levels, I’m just lucky enough that I can ride, so I am.”
Hendren’s story is pretty close to the heart, and close to the team. His younger brother Ryan, a paramedic with B.C. Amublance Service, survived leukemia as a teenager.
“I already had memories of the Tour de Rock and once I got to Saanich Police and learned what a great part of the culture it is, I knew I’d do it one day,” Hendren said. “The timing is right as my brother is doing it too.”
The Tour de Rock is a two-week, 1,000-kilometre bike ride by a team of police officers and first responders who raise money to fight childhood cancer. The tour unifies every community from Victoria to Port Alice to support children who are battling cancer.