Who Are You And Why Are You Biking So Far?Jess Parliament Hill

I’m a lover of cycling, culture and the great Canadian outdoors, and I decided to combine my interests into one giant adventure. I’m also an amateur musician, a former tour guide, and a registered veterinary technician with a theatre degree. After working for over two years as a wildlife rehabilitator it was time for something different but equally exciting. People who know me well have described me as “intense,” “independent to a fault,” and one who “never does things the easy way,” so a solo, self-supported, cross-continental bicycle tour seemed to fit the bill. I love travelling by bike – it’s immersive, environmentally friendly, and just the right amount of tough.

I’m also using this trip to fundraise for Gillian’s Place, a shelter for abused women and children in my hometown of St. Catharines, Ontario. Gillian’s Place supports women affected by violence with a multitude of services including housing, counselling and legal advocacy. You can learn more about Gillian’s Place here and make a donation through my fundraising page here.

Why Canada?


Why not? Canada is a big big place with a huge variety of landscapes and local cultures to explore. My journey is taking me over 9,000km from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and I still won’t see everything I want to in this great country.



How Did You Choose To Support Gillian’s Place?

In the early stages of planning this trip, I encountered people who thought that I shouldn’t take this journey because I am female. While researching a response to their (unfounded) belief, I learned that statistically, Canadian women are nearly three times more likely to experience violence from their own spouses and intimate partners than from strangers. According to the Canadian Women’s Foundation, a woman is killed by her partner every 6 days in Canada. This sad and unacceptable statistic prompted me to use this trip as a platform to raise awareness about the true nature of violence against women in our country, and to raise money for an organization combatting the problem close to my home.


Isn’t It Dangerous For A Woman To Travel Alone?Jess Outhouse

See the above question. While I admit that this trip, just like anything else worth doing, isn’t completely risk-free, the hazards are NOT the result of my gender. If you want to worry about me because I’m a woman, worry that I make 74 cents for every dollar a man makes. 🙂



Will You Be Biking Near Me?

I just might! Check out my proposed route map here. If we’ll cross paths, I’d love to hear from you. And if you’d like to ride a few km (or a few hundred) with me, let me know!

Jess Fruitstand
“Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world.” – Grant Petersen



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