Kevin Miller, known as Buck by almost everyone who knows him, is a former professional road cyclist and member of the national road cycling team. He has been mountain, road, and adventure cycling for the last 25 years, and has used his knowledge and experience to promote both sport and humanitarian efforts.
Miller started racing as a kid in 1995 and by 2001 was an elite road cyclist. He became a member of Canada’s only pro cycling team in 2002 and raced full-time around North America, Europe and Asia until 2009. “While I enjoyed racing at a high level, it’s my post-racing involvement with cycling that I’m most passionate about,” he said.
Once Miller retired from professional racing, he moved back to Northern Ontario for six years. It was then that he considered riding the winter roads of James and Hudson Bay on his fatbike, which would later lead to expeditions that were part adventure, part fundraiser in support of northern communities.
“I’ve recently turned to focus my efforts on building a mountain bike culture. While I still train and race a little for fun, it’s all for fitness so my expeditions for charity go well and I don’t have any injuries,” said Miller.
In 2015, he moved to Huntsville where he co-founded the Huntsville Mountain Bike Association (HMBA) in 2018. “I have dedicated a lot of my time to the HMBA and I’m more than happy with our progress to date,” he said. Under an agreement with the Township of Lake of Bays, the group manages the trail system at Echo Valley, just off Hwy 60 west of Dwight. He is also an advocate for non-motorized, multi-use trails in Huntsville in response to the lack of off-road cycling options here, despite this being a town that heavily markets an outdoor lifestyle.
“I love all disciplines of cycling from the highest level of competition to commuting for fun. My long-term goal with the HMBA and Huntsville-area cycling scene is to work with youth and try to deflect a few kids from the hockey arena to consider riding and racing bikes,” he said. “Our area has the potential to produce some of the best cyclists in Canada. The terrain is second to none and it’s a sport that can take you around the world. The HMBA is working very hard to protect public spaces for more people to get out and enjoy riding. We’re only in year three and we’ve made great progress.”
Through it all, Miller hasn’t left his passion for the north behind.
In 2019, he organized the James Bay Descent, a 640km fatbike expedition through Northern Ontario and into Nunavut. The team raised $8,000 for the Moosonee Native Friendship Centre to buy youth sports equipment.
In early February of this year, Miller competed in the 200km Wendigo Fatbike Ultra where he raced from Cobden to Carleton Place and back in frigid temperatures that ranged from -18 to -30ºC. “I won, and only one other rider finished the grueling 200-kilometre event that took us 13 hours to complete, nonstop,” he said.
He used that event as preparation for a fundraising expedition he and two friends completed in early March.
Miller and two other avid cyclists, Eric Batty and Ryan Atkins, were the first team to successfully cycle the longest winter road in the world, the 750km Wapusk Trail along the Hudson Bay coast. They began in the Peawanuck First Nation and travelled northwest through Polar Bear Provincial Park en route to their final destination in Gillam, Manitoba.
The team had allotted two weeks for the challenging trek, but finished in eight days. They were completely self-supported on their fatbikes, carrying all of the essentials needed for the entire ride.
In the process, they aimed to raise $10,000 for True North Aid, a charity that provides humanitarian support for northern communities.
“I care deeply for our Indigenous friends across Canada,” said Miller. “I’ve spent the majority of my life with them, living in their communities. My daughter was even born on the reserve, my wife has a degree in Indigenous studies and started the first seven years of her career in social work for an Indigenous child and family services agency and she lived and worked all along the James and Hudson Bay coastal communities. I was born and raised in Northern Ontario and only moved here in 2015 from Moosonee, Ontario.”
While he recognizes that the expedition would be of interest to people for the physical challenge it presented, he said their focus is on the fundraising. They exceeded their goal, raising $11,562 to date.
See more from the expedition at the Expeditions Ontario Facebook page.
Learn more about the Huntsville Mountain Bike Association, and how both kids and adults can get involved, at huntsvillemountainbike.ca.
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