Family makes ambitious Canadian trek on bicycles

| Wednesday, July 10, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

A Pleasant Hills family spent part of June on the move.

This year, the Snyder family rode 650 miles around Lake Ontario from June 10 to 22.

Gabriel, 10; Elizabeth, 9; Belle, 7; and their father, Steve, began and ended their trip next to Horseshoe Falls. After biking 30 miles in a torrential downpour, the Snyders could not find anywhere to stay, so they took a taxi back to the truck, thereby losing a day and their miles. The next day, they drove back to the falls and started over going the opposite direction.

“I hate wet socks and shoes,” Gabriel said about the experience with a smile.

They weren't discouraged by the setback.

“I could just see this year how proud they were compared to other years,” Steve Snyder said.

This year, the children faced new challenges, such as adding more weight to their saddlebags and battling rain, wind and hills on their ride.

The trip also was educational for them, as they each selected a charity for study and fundraising. Each child raised more than $100 and will complete a research project.

Gabriel selected the American Diabetes Association after seeing its pamphlet in Walgreens and at local youth triathlons.

Elizabeth and Belle both selected animal-related causes, such as the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society and the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, because of their love for animals.

“Not only do we teach those goals,” Steve Sndyer said, “but we want it to be educational.”

In addition to the research about their charities, the family visited zoos on their trip and landmarks such as the CN Tower in Toronto.

The family bonding makes the trip special.

“Our favorite part is spending time with our dad,” Gabriel said.

Elizabeth and Belle agreed wholeheartedly.

Brittany Goncar is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5803 or

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