Military Police member puts “Best” foot forward for charity

Corporal Matthew Best, Military Police Unit Esquimalt poses with a Tour de Rock jersey.

Corporal Matthew Best, Military Police Unit Esquimalt poses with a Tour de Rock jersey.

Will Chaster, MARPAC Public Affairs ~

Riding 1,100 kilometres from one end of Vancouver Island to the other isn’t relaxing, but it does generate plenty of goodwill.

That’s what Corporal Matthew Best of the Military Police Unit Esquimalt and his 23 co-riders are preparing to do when they take part in the Canadian Cancer Society Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock bike ride from Sept. 23 to Oct. 6.

Tour de Rock is a nation-wide event that raises awareness and money for cancer patients and cancer research, and has been taking place annually over the past 20 years
The Vancouver Island segment of the Tour de Rock raises millions of dollars every year, with most of the proceeds going towards helping children affected by cancer attend Camp Goodtimes, a camp that provides these children and their families with a fun, medically supervised experience.

Snaking its way from Port Alice all the way down to Victoria, the ride seeks to reach as many communities as possible.

“This is about getting all of Vancouver Island involved,” says Cpl Best.

In an effort to visit as many communities as possible, Tour de Rock takes a winding route, with riders cycling between 40 to 140 kilometres in a day. 

This year’s riders are a diverse group. In addition to Cpl Best, there is another MP from CFB Comox on the ride, plus three Saanich police officers, one Victoria Reserve Constable, RCMP officers, media and corporate riders, and, new to this year, firefighters and paramedics.

They have been training since March 5, but are aware there is still a lot more training to do.

“There are three groups: a northern, a middle, and a southern Island group, which train separately three days a week. Here in Victoria Tuesdays are hill nights, Thursdays are speed nights, and Sundays are focused on distance; it’s a lot of work,” says Cpl Best.

Training has been grueling, but seeing the team’s progress is making it rewarding.

“As individuals, this training is preparing us for those long days in the saddle. We’re learning all about the techniques of riding as a group, such as how to draft or change positions properly. It’s tough but a lot of fun,” he says.

Despite the time and effort, Cpl Best says it’s all worth it because of who the ride helps. Every rider in the Tour de Rock has been assigned a “Junior Rider” from the Canadian Cancer Society. These are children fighting cancer and Cpl Best says he takes inspiration from his own Junior Rider Roane Abbott-Haines, age five.

“My family has been affected by cancer so that motivated me to participate, and when I see what these kids go through, I had to join. I felt that since I could help, I had to. Sometimes people assume someone else will help, well this time I’m that someone else.”

While each rider must raise a minimum of $5,000, Cpl Best has set his goal at $10,000. He plans to raise money at car washes and a spin-a-thon, and has more events planned throughout the summer.

“I want to host some events at CFB Esquimalt. Because this ride is such an important Vancouver Island event, I really feel like the military can take a leading role in order to show how we support the Island, our community, and our neighbors,” he says.

Cpl Best is joining a long line of MPU members who have participated in this cause.

In order to stay updated on his events and to donate to his ride, visit

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