From the Pacific to the Atlantic.. one day at a time...

About Us

The Cross Canada Grandpas 2018

From left to right may I introduce:

Elio Zanella, Mike Tanner, Volkmar Bandermann, John Greven

missing: John Damoiseaux. Scroll down to see John D.

Volkmar Bandermann

Volkie is the senior member of our team. He is an enthusiastic cyclist as well as a retired marathon runner. Volkie, his wonderful wife Elaine, John and his patient wife Cathy have cycled extensively in Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands. 

John Greven

John is an avid cyclist, retired teacher and woodworker. His passion is helping others. John and his wife Cathy are volunteers with Developing World Connections and have travelled the world working with communities in developing countries to help them achieve their visions.

Elio Zanella

I am cycling across Canada (Victoria BC to St. John’s NFLD) for ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) in memory of my late wife Felicia. If you would like to sponsor my journey across Canada please click the link below. All the donations are greatly appreciated. Thank you!

John Damoiseaux

John was born in Holland (on a bicycle?) and moved to Canada in 1975 and never lost his love of cycling. He also had the urge to ride across Canada at some point and decided to jump at the chance to do at least part of it by joining the other grandpas on this "Tour de Canada". He spent most of his career working for Ontario Hydro, which later became  Ontario Power Generation, as a Control Technician and is now RETIRED !!!!!!!

Mike Tanner

My wife and I emigrated from England forty years ago for adventure and fortune; we stayed and raised a family of three daughters, whilst establishing careers in Engineering and Medicine and business. My wife died, children grew and married, and I started riding my bike. I cycle with the Lambton Outdoor Club, and as well as local rides have participated in RAGBRAI, the annual madcap pilgrimage across Iowa. It was that ride that planted the seed for a Cross Canada jaunt, and I am happy to have met men who share the same dream.  

Dean Morais

Dean is the man behind the scenes. He rode across Canada 5 years ago in support of ALS. Elio was to go on that trip but could not due to illness. Now Elio is riding with us and his good friend Dean has volunteered his time to help us. Dean has worked tirelessly for many days fine tuning a route that works for slightly older gentlemen like us. He has mentored us on the ways of touring on a bike and answered every question that we could throw at him. Dean will be driving the support truck and camper for the first three weeks carefully shepherding us through the Rockies and the prairies. 


We all have 24 hours each day of our lives to use to the best of our ability. We could roll over and get another hour of sleep or we can get up and see just how much living we can pack into the next 16 hours or so. 

We are in our seventies. Some consider this old, time to sit back and relax, you've earned it. For others it is just a number that tells us how many years we have had an opportunity to make a difference. We ride to stay healthy so that we can continue to make a difference. As with everything, you must do it one day at a time. Canada is only 72 of those days.


This summer, starting in late May, four men intend to ride their bikes Coast to Coast, from Victoria, BC to St John’s Newfoundland, beginning in Sarnia, Ont. This epic journey stretches over 8,000Km, 10 provinces, 6 time zones. The ride will be supported by a pickup and travel trailer. For the Western portion there will be a dedicated driver, while the other sections the riders will rotate driving. The route follows the trans Canada, Provincial highways and bike trails. We have allowed the entire summer, from June to August, averaging 100Km per day. We are riding for ourselves, and 4 causes.


We are 4 average men John, Volkmar, Elio and Mike, hailing from SW Ontario; Burlington, Stratford, Sarnia and Windsor. We are recreational, weekend cyclists who separately decided on this challenge. We are North of seventy grandpas with supportive families and faith communities, who see the value in setting ambitious personal goals. Our backgrounds are English, Italian, German and Canadian (Dutch parents), but we are all Canadians and celebrate the opportunity to explore this vast country on two wheels. Other riders and support drivers will join us en-route, notably Dean Morais, driving from Victoria to Regina, and John Damoiseaux, riding from North Bay to St John’s. 


Each of us had the heart desire to tackle the greatest Canadian cycling challenge, a cross country ride. Elio and Mike responded to an e mail asking for riding partners from John and Volkmar, and this unlikely match up cemented a desire to work through the logistics of route, support, equipment and accommodation. Occasionally in life, the stars line up, and it is prudent to seize the moment. 


Our journey starts with a 3 day, 4,000Km drive to Vancouver. Camping at Tsawwassen, we take the ferry to Vancouver Island and ride to Mile 0 in Victoria to dip our rear wheels in the Pacific. The hard ride through the Rockies takes us through Kelowna and Banff to Calgary. The route through the rolling Prairies is flatter, with the wind at our backs, through Regina, Winnipeg to Kenora and Ontario. It is a long, hard slog along the trans Canada N of Superior, through Thunder Bay, Sault St Marie to Ottawa. In Quebec we follow the N shore of the St Lawrence to Quebec City, then through the forests of New Brunswick to the Confederation Bridge and PEI. A quick jaunt through the rich red countryside; a ferry to Caribou, NS then the scenic grind along the Cabot Trail to Sydney. Catch the ferry to Argentia, NL, and a day’s ride to St John’s, dip our front tires in the Atlantic, and our summer epic is complete, save for the 1,500 Km drive home.


Our initial motivation was to ride for ourselves, to prove that we were tough and resilient enough to survive eighty days in the saddle; that age was not necessarily a factor and that living outside your comfort zone is liberating. Each of us realised that this was a golden opportunity to raise funds and awareness for causes that resonate for each of us. Here are our stories.

Mike Tanner-Hospice and Palliative care

My late wife, Dr Linda Bowring was an early pioneer in the field of End of Life care. Due to her work and that of many others beginning in the ‘80’s, Sarnia has enviable Palliative Care at Bluewater Health, and compassionate end of life care at St Joseph’s Hospice. Tragically, she died of cancer in 2003, being cared for by the nurses and staff she recruited and trained. Hospice and Palliative Care programs require supportive funding, and my goal is to raise money for both. Music Therapy was valued by Linda, and a Therapist is funded by a trust in her name at Bluewater Health. Donations can be directed to the Bluewater Health Foundation or  St Joseph’s Hospice or your local institution. 


Elio Zanella-ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)

I am a 73 year old grandpa. I am one of four grandpas, all in our 70’s who are cycling across Canada this summer. Each cyclist is riding for his own specific charity. ALS has forever altered my life and by joining in the fight against this disease, hopefully I can help alter someone else’s life for the better!

My story with the ALS Society of Canada began in 2009 when my wife, Felicia, to whom I was married to for 42 happy years was given a diagnosis of ALS! By February of 2011 Felicia succumbed to this vicious illness also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. The support I received, both emotionally and materially by the ALS Society is so gratefully acknowledged. In 2013 my plan of cycling with the Windsor Cross Canada bike team for ALS was regrettably sidelined by my own health issues in the very last days before the ride was to commence. Now, five years later I am ready to fulfill this dream and put purpose behind my passion for cycling, not only in memory of Felicia but for all those who are battling this devastating disease. Please support my endeavour by contributing whatever you can to this worthy cause.
God Bless you all! 

Volkmar Bandermann- Indigenous Healing  

Even while I was growing up in Germany, I was inspired by the lives of Aboriginal Peoples of Canada.  I believe that all Canadians have much to appreciate and learn from Indigenous Peoples. Additionally, when it comes to “Truth and Reconciliation”, actions speak louder than words.  I consider this epic ride across Canada a privilege and an honour to raise money and awareness for this cause.  According to the United Church of Canada website, 

“The Healing Fund provides grants to support healing initiatives for survivors of residential school and its ongoing intergenerational impacts on children, families, and communities.”  For further information and to make a donation, go to

John Greven- Light Up Guatemala

Respiratory infections are among the leading causes of death in Guatemala, particularly for women and children who spend a lot of time around cooking fires. A vented stove can prevent a lifetime of health problems, but not everyone can afford one. Developing World Connection (DWC)’s project “Light Up Guatemala” provides highly efficient, vented Eco-stoves to stop the harmful impact of cooking fires and reduce deforestation. Funds raised from my ride across Canada will go directly to the purchase of these stoves and offsetting travel and project costs for youth who want to participate in a Developing World Connections trip to Guatemala in March 2019. For more information on “Light Up Guatemala” and Developing World Connections visit https:// Donations can be made at:

Where are we, how are we doing ?

We will be posting a daily blog describing our progress, photos of the people we meet and of this land called Canada. Click here for our blog: