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City firefighter prepares for next leg of journey

Rudy Pospisil excited to ride through bike-friendly Europe

It's been less than a year since Rudy Pospisil returned from his 9,600 km cycling journey and already he's preparing for his next trip - this time heading across the Atlantic to bike his way through Europe.

"I'll start in Portugal," he said. "And from there I'll follow - what's actually a pilgrimage trail - for 800 km through Portugal and Spain."

Pospisil's goal is to bike around the world, raising awareness and funds for cancer research. He spent last fall riding from Vancouver, down the West Coast to California and then east to the Atlantic. Because he's only able to do the rides during his vacation time - he is a captain for the Burnaby fire department - it takes a lot of determination to stay in shape while he's at home in Burnaby.

"I just cycle around the city. I cycle around Vancouver and all the bike routes in Burnaby and I'll do bike rides up to Whistler," he said.

And when he's not out riding his bike - which is rare, Pospisil said he hasn't driven his car to work in more than a decade - he's at the gym. He's there so much that the folks at Steve Nash Fitness World started getting involved in his cause.

"They've been really supportive of my rides ... and kind of taken me on as a sponsor," he said.

Even with sponsorship and fundraising, the rides are very expensive, but Pospisil said he doesn't care, it's all about getting people involved in the fight against cancer.

During his ride along the Mexican and American border, people's reaction to him and his cause were mixed. Pospisil said that while some people were excited to learn about his cause, others were more hostile, especially in Texas, where he was run off the road a couple of times.

But he expects his European journey, which kicks off May 3, will be a more positive experience.

"Europe is so big into biking, it's so welcomed there that I'm really looking forward to (it)," he said.

From Portugal he'll continue into Spain and then make his way north to Switzerland. "It's really cool because the mayor of Zurich is going to come and meet this guy from Burnaby," he said.

Pospisil, a cancer survivor himself, has raised close to $20,000 for cancer research and he hopes to reach $50,000 by the end of his global journey.

The European leg is scheduled to finish in Istanbul at the end of June.

After that, he'll return to work in Burnaby and save up more holiday time in order to return to Asia to continue his journey.

For more information on Pospisil's ride, or to make a donation, visit www.firefightercycle. com.