James Baker grew up regularly riding on the back of his father John Baker’s motorcycle, and for years the pair have talked about one day riding across Canada on Harleys. An autism diagnosis in the family was the motivation the father and son needed to see the country on motorcycles, while also raising funds for an important cause.
“A light just went off to combine the two, that we could raise some serious awareness and some money, as well, and also fulfil a lifetime dream of riding across Canada on Harleys,” said 29-year-old James Baker.
On July 29 the Baker’s left Vancouver on their 39-day ride across Canada to raise awareness of autism and funds for research.
The Bikers for Autism ride aims to raise $100,000, to be divided between Autism Speaks Canada and Osoyoos Autism Behavioural Centre, which was recently opened by the Baker’s cousin after her four-year-old son Jude was diagnosed with autism.
“Before I started getting involved with raising money for Jude, I had no idea how widespread autism was. . . . It’s considered an epidemic, so that’s a message we’re trying to spread as much as possible,” Baker said.
The pair arrived in Calgary on Wednesday and they participated in autism fundraisers at Calgary Harley-Davidson and Melrose Bar on Thursday.
Baker said less than a week into the journey, he’s enjoying riding, raising funds for a cause close to his heart and breaking the bad-boy biker stereotype.
“Bikers, I think, almost get a bad rap straight away just because we look bad. . . . I like to say look bad, do good,” Baker said.