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Oh, Canada: U of M professor to pedal across his native country for nonprofits

Peter Hilger is an architect and construction professor who will ride 5,700 miles from Seattle to Newfoundland raising money for causes close to his heart.

MINNEAPOLIS — A Twin Cities architect and U of M professor is about to embark on a bold journey across his homeland, to support a handful of causes close to his heart. 

Peter Hilger lives in North Oaks but is a native of Canada. The 66-year-old professor of construction and facility management will be pedaling out this Sunday on the first leg of a road trip that will take him 5,700 miles from Seattle to Newfoundland.

Unlike previous lengthy summer bike trips (Hilger has taken 21), the 66-year-old Hilger will use this one to raise funds for three local nonprofits that are close to his heart: Can Do Canines, NPH USA and the U of M Hilger Leadership Scholarship he established. 

“The theme of the trip is education, whether it’s educating an orphan, a college student, or a dog,” Hilger quipped. 

Breaking the journey down, the professor figures he'll average 60 to 65 miles per day and lose about 10 pounds during the process. The bike he'll ride, a trusty Litespeed Blue Ridge, is more than 20 years old and has nearly 35,000 miles on it. 

Credit: Peter Hilger
Architect and professor Peter Hilger is a veteran of long bike trips, and says his current two-wheeler has more than 35,000 miles on it.

While he'll do most of the trip solo, Hilger will have a companion for the leg from Seattle to Calgary. Rich Freyholtz is also an avid bike rider with a connection to Can Do Canines. While Hilger designed Can Do's new facility, Freyholtz donates time as a foster volunteer, helping to raise and train the puppies on their way to becoming assistance dogs.

Anyone interested in following along on Peter Hilger's journey or donating to his favorite causes can log onto his website. 

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