When Joyce and I tried the cross-Canada trek in 2009, I opened our blog as you see italicized below. Other than being four years further along, little has changed in the 2009 preface. An “over the bars” accident prematurely ended our tour in ’09, which happened to be progressing so well. The resultant, broken, right clavicle has healed well. St. John’s, Newfoundland is again our objective, of course with added incentive. We’ll do it this time! Upon completing this trek, I’ll have satisfied my “bucket list” since in July 2010, I enjoyed a terrific, memorable canoe venture down the South Nahanni River in the NWT in a group of eight guided by good friend, Bill Lawson.
Our Grandchildren now number five, Chris’ two boys, Jack and Noah, and Robert’s two girls, Mackenzie and Mya, and one boy, Myles. Besides being blessed with a great family, we didn’t want to delay our trip any longer since we continue to be blessed with good health.
“For the past ten weeks, Joyce and I have been training using a training programme from a book, the Complete Guide of Long Distance Cycling by Dr. E. BURKE and E. PAVELKA. The programme is “heart rate” based, and seems to be of the theme “work smart, not hard”. That suited me just fine since I had no idea how I should prepare for such a rigorous adventure. In the end, our preparation racked up about 2500 kilometres, the longest ride being about 140 kilometres.
The obvious question would be, “why?”. The obvious, simple answer, “Why not?”
When I was a wee lad in the late fifties, the thing that I wanted most in life was a bicycle. My parents resisted my desire, due to the traffic, in the 50s no less, for quite a while. But, I was in the hospital for an unknown malady (likely tonsils since I’ve had them out), and my parents must have missed me. When I arrived home, a brand new, red, 1-speed CCM two-wheeler was at the foot of my bed. I was ecstatic, and frustrated. Another week’s bed rest was ordered by the doctor. For a whole week, I had to look at my new mount. I eventually got out, and onto the bike. It didn’t take long for me to “spread my wings”, and enlarge my “sphere of influence”. Days of riding to places like Rest Acres, west of Brantford, for a day of swimming, and lunch with a couple friends became the norm. There were few places I went without my bike. I even went so far as to suggest to my Dad that I was going to ride to the cottage some 310 kilometres distant. That suggestion elicited a quick, profound “No!” from my Dad. So ended my thoughts of cyclo-touring, at least, temporarily. My teen years, my fascination with cars, and wanting to be with the “in-crowd” in highschool diminished my interest in bicycling. My parents even sold my trusty steed pretty much purging my life of the bicycle.
In 1980, the Ontario Provincial Police moved me and my family to Huntsville where I embarked on a career in policing. The government replaced our decrepit detachment in 1983 with a modern, well-equipped building, including locker room and showers. Being a new family and having a new career, we made do as a “one-car” family. Joyce, being the compassionate woman she is, advised me to “suck it up, and get riding” when she left with the Boys for a visit to Brantford in the mid-eighties. That set the precedent. For the remainder of my career, the next quarter century, I normally rode my bike, walked, or ran to work, the short distance of five kilometres.
As time went on, I became more interested in riding my bike farther. In ’96, I bought my first road bike, a Bertrand, which was “made to measure”. With the road bike came an avid interest to cyclotour. Books, magazines (Adventure Cycling, mainly), and general conversation with like-minded people convinced me to get going. I did. It wasn’t long before Joyce started to question my interest. I gently coddled her with some short, “credit card” tours increasingly taking bolder steps. It wasn’t long before we were touring fully loaded, most notably the Erie Canal, and Quebec City to Ottawa, great tours both.
Leading up to my retirement, it became quite evident that there were two priorities on my “bucket list”, one being the “Tour du Canada”, a ten week bicycle tour of all ten provinces starting in late June. Joyce just couldn’t comprehend being separated for two months. Coupled with the fact that she’d talked to other female veterans of the tour, Joyce made the monumental decision to accompany me on this epic trek. Her big concern was leaving her responsibilities at home, primarily being a Grandmother to her three Grandchildren. A tough decision!
The training started in earnest in early April.”