If you spotted a man dressed as the Flash whizzing through Lacombe Tuesday, it was Danny “Hurricane” Halmo, a 59-year-old determined to win back a Guinness World Record for Canada.
A former stock car racer, Halmo, who hails from Langley, B.C., was the world record holder for the longest ride on electric bicycle. That record was recently broken by an American who set the distance at 8,209 kilometres, but Halmo’s on a mission to get it back by touring across Canada.
In fact, he tells anyone he meets he’s in the midst of a “live Guinness World Record war game,” because he’s declared “war” on the U.S. over his stolen record.
“This is for national pride,” he said during his brief stop in the city. “An American beat my record from 2012, so I’m going to do 10,500. The reason for that is it’s three times the length of the Tour de France, and I’m going to do it five days faster.”
Games aside, truthfully, it isn’t really the record he’s after, but more awareness for electric transportation and electro mobility – something that’s become a $17 billion a year industry worldwide.
Halmo first discovered electric transportation in 2011, when he visited a drop-in centre in Langley. He was new to the community and was looking to get to know some people in the area. While the drop-in centre attracted a number of people with a variety of disabilities, they seemed to get around just fine on their own using e-scooters. Curiosity and wonder sucked him in, and while visiting family in Windsor, Ont., he acquired his first e-bike.
“I got on and before I even got to the centre line of the first street, I said ‘I’m riding this, or one like it, back to Vancouver,’” he said.
He launched a B.C. or Bust Foodbank-athon that same year, but crashed and hurt his knee just 2,600 km in. In July 2012, he tried again, commencing his “Mania In Motion Transcontinental Tour of Canada,” which he finished Sept. 4, 2012 with a splash into the Halifax Harbour. His passion for electric-powered vehicles also saw him hit record-setting miles on a Segway, all while advocating to make the Segway legal on B.C. streets.
Now he’s back to e-bikes, and launched his latest tour Aug. 28, not only to get back his record, but show Canadians it’s possible to traverse the country on cleaner energy, a lot cheaper than one would using fossil fuels.
“It’s the most efficient way to get around since walking,” he said. “It costs me less than a penny a kilometre to ride this bike. That’s as cheap as it gets.”
Range and charging times become the challenge, especially as temperatures get colder. While his bike is equipped with a solar-powered trailer that charges batteries while he rides, there will be times when he will need a charging station. However, finding one is not too much of a challenge in Canada.
He‘s partnered with Sun Country Highway, a company which has created the world’s largest and longest electrified highway system – a total of 4,000 charging stations for electric vehicles across North America, which allows drivers the ability to travel with an electric vehicle, without worrying too much about where they need to stop to charge.
Many of those charging stations are at Peavey Marts across the country, which Halmos is trying to visit along his tour, including stops in Wetaskiwin and Edmonton, where he was headed after Lacombe.
He wants to do the first 3,500 km leg in Western Canada, and in his second leg, outpace the Tour de France, before finishing in early December.
“I’ll be physically and mentally prepped. I’m already in good shape thanks to this bike,” he said.
“It’s so much fun. I’m so blessed and privileged I get to do this.”