70-year-old Cabbagetowner to cycle to Mexico for charity

Mark O’Neill —


Cabbagetowner John Murtaugh on a previous trip to Mexico plans to cycle down to raise at least $25,000 for Amistad Canada, his favourite charity that was co-founded by his late wife.

Not many people kick off their eighth decade with a 2,500 mile (4,000 km) cycling adventure, but that’s Cabbagetowner John Murtaugh’s big birthday goal. He wants to raise at least $25,000 for his favourite charity, Amistad Canada.

Murtaugh was inspired by the documentary film CICLO which tells the story of two Mexican brothers – Arturo and Gustavo Martinez – who cycled from Mexico City to Toronto back in 1956.

They remained in Canada, married and raised their families here. Several years ago, filmmaker Andrea Martinez Crowther persuaded her father (Arturo) and uncle (Gustavo) to retrace their journey.

After seeing the film, long-time Cabbagetown resident Murtaugh, who is himself an experienced long-distance cyclist, decided to take the same trip, but in reverse. Hence BI-CICLO.

John Murtaugh’s late wife, Elizabeth Harris, was one of the founders of Canadians for CASA now known as Amistad Canada (a CRA-registered charity). Amistad’s purpose is to provide a way for Canadians to support Mexican partner organizations operating various social and education projects in and around San Miguel de Allende in the central Mexican state of Guanajuato.

Three of the projects are run by CASA (Centro Para Adolescentes de San Miguel de Allende). Amistad contributes to the salaries of the School of Midwifery Clinical Coordinator, the Library Coordinator and one of the Anti-Violence team psychologists. The $25,000 Murtaugh hopes to raise will pay those three salaries for an entire year.

Murtaugh will leave Downtown Toronto at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, September 15 (Mexican Independence Day) from the Pitman Hall Quadrangle at Ryerson University (in front of Pitman Hall just off Church Street between Gerrard and Gould).

Then, after about 40 days of steady cycling, he aims to arrive at CASA’s headquarters in San Miguel de Allende in time for Day of the Dead (November 1 & 2). Supporters can follow his journey via the Amistad Amistad website and the Bi-CICLO Facebook Bi-CICLO Facebook page.