BAHA's youngest Grandchild Nash wrote a message on Maya's car for him! 
'Biking for Baha' reaches goal

Lise Broadley, Comox Valley EchoPublished: Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Just as they were wrapping up their cross-Canada journey on Thursday, the Mackinnon brothers reached their goal of raising $40,000 for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.

The four brothers rode in to Comox Marina Thursday evening after completing a two month,coast-to-coast bicycle trip in honour of their grandfather and to raise money to combat Parkinson's disease, which took his life in 2003.

The Mackinnon boys, who affectionately refer to their grandfather as Baha, set out in May on the 61-day Biking for Baha ride with the goal of raising both money and awareness. As they rode in to Comox Thursday flanked by dozens of friends, family members and admirers who joined them for the final leg of their journey from Nanaimo to the Valley, it was clear they had succeeded on both counts.

"Any time you see four guys fully packed up with bikes it's something that people ask about. That was big for us - it brought conversation," said youngest brother Ryan, 22. "Canadians are stereotypically very nice and I am full-on that now, I'll agree with that. They asked us what we were doing and we got a lot of donations up front. It was really nice."

The four brothers - Scott, Sean, Ross and Ryan - first thought about riding across Canada to honour their grandfather in 2010. Their Baha, as he became affectionately known after one of the boys mispronounced "grandpa" as a child, was an Olympic athlete and avid cyclist who had planned his own cross-country trip before Parkinson's disease prevented him from going.

After watching their beloved grandfather bravely fight the disease, they decided to embark on the trip their Baha was unable to complete. They even rode two of his vintage 1980s bicycles.

"It was always his dream. He always planned to but was unable. We actually rode two of his old bikes," said Ryan. "It was kind of like we had him with us the whole way."

They started out in Vancouver and eventually made their way to Halifax, where they dipped Baha's bicycle wheels in the Atlantic Ocean and sprinkled some of his ashes there. They then flew back to Vancouver before taking the ferry to Nanaimo and riding in to greet a group of cheering supporters in Comox Thursday night.

During the barbecue that followed, they raised about $6,000, enough to push them over their fund raising goal of $40,000 for the trip.

"It was unbelievable. To be honest, we weren't expecting anybody to come. Maybe just family, friends," said Ryan. "We had about 20 people bike with us from Nanaimo and when we got to Royston it must have been 50 or 60 people all together riding. We eventually came down into Marina Park and I'd say there must have been 100 or 150 people waiting there for us at the barbecue. It was an amazing experience for us to see that and it just goes to show what kind of community the Comox Valley is and what kind of support we've had and what great friends we have here."

Along the way from west to east, they camped, sometimes sleeping on the side of the road when there was no campsite nearby. They stayed in motels from time to time and also bunked with people they met along the way, strangers who opened their homes to the brothers as well as old friends spread across the country. It was, said Ryan, a humbling experience.

"We had a lot of amazing people put us up just by meeting us on the street, telling our story," he said. "A big thank you to everyone. We were amazed by the support we received. Thank you."

The boys completed the trip without a support vehicle which meant they had to carry everything they needed on their bikes. The first part of the trip was the most difficult, said Ryan, not only because the brothers were passing through the steep Rocky Mountains, but because while they are fit, none of the boys are long distance riders and none had done such a trip before.

There were days, particularly in the first two weeks, when they began to have doubts about their ability to carry on and see the trip though, but they persevered.

"I thought it was cool not only to see the history, but the geography of Canada as it changes going east," said Ryan. "It was also pretty cool meeting people with Parkinson's disease. Interacting and speaking with them, listening to their experiences and just meeting them was cool."

To read the brothers' blog and view photos of their trip visit bikingforbaha.






Cycling the Dyke with 60 plus supporters into the Comox Valley Marina and our last stop.
Russ and more cyclists cycling along the Dyke.
Cycling into the Marina
Cycling down into the Marina.
The town of Comox most wonderful place in the world! We cannot thank our family and friends enough for everything that they have done.
A big thank you to everyone who came to the arrival home BBQ this past thursday.  The amount of people who biked in with us and showed their support was amazing.  Us MacKinnon boys were shocked!!! We also wanted to thank a couple specific people who helped with the set-up and running of the event. Without you none of this would have been possible! We are again humbled and taken back by the generosity and caring nature that our small community of the Comox Valley possesses. 


Grant Ashlee- Thanks for being an unbelievable help with security, truck duties and making fun of our dad! If there is one regret in the Mackinnon Boys life it is they never had Grant for a basketball coach.

Larry Street- You were unreal with security, for years you have mentored us and once again bailed us out when we needed you!

Steve Knight- Again you kept the young bucks at ease in the beer gardens.  You are too nice to our family.  Thank you for your contagious energy and humor!

The Dodd Family- Wow! All of your help did not go unnoticed. Running the tickets for the Beer Gardens and being the best sales people possible! You stayed to the bitter end. Thank you for donating your well used time and running a seriously successful entrance to the festivities! 

Don Tait- You were great and a huge help in the cleanup!!! Like father, like son, Just like Graeme, you saved our butts!

Ginger Titchener- As always Ginger you were amazing and so helpful. Your smiling and laughing face helped pass the time of cleaning up all the chairs and tables. 

Simon Cycles- Thank you Patti for sponsoring the Dunk Tank! It was a pleasure to talk with you during our ride and you have now inspired us to look into touring Scotland and England. The dunk tank was a hit and helped us reach our fundraising goals.  You are the best!

Quality Foods: Thanks again for being the local grocery store that goes to no end to help support our community. All the burgers and condiments you supplied help to feed the hungry mob of Comox Valleyians!

Hughy Mac/Kathy Mac- As always cleaning up after us and making us look good.  Thank you! Hughy Mac also raised over $300 bucks when he entered the dunk tank competition, shirtless and branding the two rival high schools from the Comox Valley written on his chest and back. Legendary effort.

The Lewis Family- You were an unbelievable help.  Thank you for donating your time and being so so so so helpful. The pancake breakfast and all the help at the final BBQ was much appreciated. You guys are great!!!!!!!!!

Maya Villanueva(Last but definitely not least)-  You went above and beyond in organizing media, our wrap-up BBQ and basically everything.  You are the nicest girl in the world and thank you for giving up your personal time.  Lets make a date soon for your own MacKinnon dinner!


Today was by far the most anticipated and exciting day of the trip.  We were lucky enough to have our Aunty Sand and Uncle John(both children of BAHA’s) pick us up at the airport the night before.  As per usual, our lack of planning left us with all of our bikes boxed up and barely fitting into the two vehicles we came in.  Luckily, we all squished in and had sushi to top it all off waiting for us at the house.

The morning was absolute mayhem, we got dropped off at the ferry around 5:55 AM to catch the 6:30 ferry.  However, what we didn’t plan was carrying all of our boxed bikes and bags from the tollbooth all the way to the ferry ramp.  Losing stuff along the way we all had boxes and about two bikes each to carry over 400 meters away.  If it wasn’t for our Aunty Sand and Uncle Mike we would have missed that ferry!

After arriving in Nanaimo, we had the pleasure of biking up to 106.9 THE WOLF radio station to chat with our good friend Graeme Tait.  An absolute beauty he had us chatting for about 15 minutes.  Graeme, thanks a ton for everything you did for us and making us sound somewhat smart.

To be honest, when us boys thought of asking people to join us on our journey back to Comox we thought maybe 3 or 4 would join.  When we arrived at Dover Bay we were absolutely humbled by the support we had.  Over 20 friends and family came to ride the 105 km journey back to Comox.  It was unbelievable to see everyone come out and a total relief that we finally had someone else to talk with while riding.  Friends came from Victoria, Comox , Nanaimo and even the Philippines to ride with us.   The day went without a hitch as we cruised along the eastern coast of Vancouver Island.  Stopping throughout for snacks and chatting with high dignitaries such as Mayor Paul Ives and Town Council member Patti Fletcher(also owner of Simon Cycle’s).  It was even neat to have many of our friends join us from our first checkpoint.  I had buddies who drove from Victoria to ride up as well as my good pals Cam and Jared who came from Comox (never thought they would have been able to bike that far).

Eventually when we strolled up to Royston our support was unbelievable.  Seeing the mob of friends/family waiting for us was way too cool.  My jaw dropped immediately after I rolled up.  Our massive biker gang was full of some amazing friends and family.  One big shout out is too our Uncle John(Baha’s youngest Son) and his amazing family who came all the way from the Philippines to join us. John,  Ava, Kaya, Josh and Nash basically made a last minute vacation out to B.C. with hopes of also making our final leg.  You guys are the best!!!!!!!

Riding into Comox was one of the best feelings of my life.  Surrounded by many people I grew up with and many friends and family made it even better.  To share something so special with everyone made it even better.  As we strolled down into the Comox Marina I was blown away with the amount of people.  For a guy who rarely shows emotion and who hasn’t ever cried in my life ( I hope you don’t ask any girl who has dumped me to see if that’s true) I had tears in my eyes.

To everyone who came out and supported us on our final leg our family and us brothers were humbled and just astonished by how much you did.  It highlights the fact of why I brag to everyone about the kind of community and high regard I hold the Comox Valley in.  Our tight knit community comes to the help of their friends and their lowest and highest points.  Us boys could not stop talking about how shocked we were.  We love all of you guys and are just so elated still from your support.

In typical Mackinnon fashion, 20 Kilometres from Point Pleasant Park, Halifax and our intended goal the four of us found ourselves on the no cycling 100 series highway with blue and red lights illuminating the sky behind us. On our final push to the Atlantic Ocean,  being almost arrested for the third time we honestly believe this is the only fitting way for us to end our make shift journey from coast to coast. The nice "Newfie" police officer who pulled us over, loved our story, laughed at our weak attempt at growing beards and in turn gave us a royal and unintentional lights a blazing escort 10KM down the highway and into Darmouth over looking the Halifax Harbour. The feeling of cycling into Halifax and finally making it to our final eastern destination was unbelievably surreal. When the four of us pulled up onto the beach and witnessed the Atlantic covering the horizon we all had goose bumps. It just did not feel like we were actually finally here. 

For 61 Days, we struggled through a trip that all of us would call the most rewarding and challenging experience of our lives. I really cannot describe the feeling we had when we finally knew we had made it. The sights we have seen, people we have met, stories we have heard, support we have received the last two months has been literally life changing.I think we have learnt so much about ourselves as people, our strengths and weaknesses and most of all how lucky we all are to have each other as brothers. Having the ability to speak with people on a daily basis about our grandfather, his life, how much we looked up to him and what a wonderful man he was, was something that we needed, absorbed and has only increased our respect and admiration for our BAHA and any Parkinsonian who has the will to fight Parkinsons like he did. 

For the last 61 days we have talked about our goal of dipping our Baha's bike tire into the Atlantic Ocean. We also had another life long goal that we kept quiet which continually inspired us to make sure we made it to the Atlantic. On August 31st, 2004, On the one year anniversary of our Baha's death our family (Kathy Mac/Hughy Mac and the four boys) went down to Goose Spit on the Georgia Strait that flows into the Pacific Ocean and spread our Baha's ashes into the ocean. At that moment we all knew one day we were going to get our Baha to the Atlantic. Almost eight years later, arriving on Black Rock Beach in Halifax, 60 painful days after departing Vancouver, each brother got a chance to spread some of our Baha's ashes into Atlantic. An emotional moment for all of us, it was pretty amazing to know that our Baha finally made it across the country.

     Mackinnon Brothers

    With this blog The Mackinnon Boys hope to keep sponsors, friends, family and anyone interested updated on our travels, experiences and thoughts. All four boys will be making entries as well as our father Mr. Hugh Mackinnon who will be accompanying us for parts of the trip in his 1967 VW van.


    July 2012
    June 2012
    May 2012
    April 2012
    March 2012