For maybe fifteen years, I’ve had a goal: to ride my bicycle across Canada. In fact, I’ve told myself that I’m not going to lie on my deathbed grieving that I didn’t do it. When Jody was ill and after she died, my oomph for the journey faded and wearying thoughts flooded my brain:
You’re too old
It’s too hot and humid in Ontario
You’ll never climb the roads on Cape Breton Island’s Cabot Trail
And I believed it all.
As far as I know, the oldest person who’s completed the Tour du Canada is 73. I’ll be 69 in my target year – 2018. “That’s pretty close to 73.”
“You wilt in the heat, my man. And that’s when you’re sipping a drink on the patio, not riding for seven hours a day.”
“Have you seen pictures of Cape Breton? It’s straight up!”
So says my small mind. But I know there’s a bigger one inside too.
A couple of weeks ago, I had a thought. I love these Grade 6 kids at South Dorchester School. I wonder if they could help me break past my mental barriers about the ride. I’m smart but they’re no doubt smart in different ways. Fresh brains. Ideas unfathomed by this “mature” guy. And how often does an adult ask a kid for help?
I showed up at the school this afternoon for volunteering. But there were hardly any young ones since freezing rain had cancelled the buses. There stood Tiffany, the teacher I work with. “Ask her.” So I spilled my thoughts about crossing the country. She got excited. “The distances you cover can be a Math assignment. I told her that I wanted to blog from Victoria, B.C. to St. John’s, Newfoundland. And that on days when I was struggling on the bike, maybe a few students would e-mail me some encouragement. Tiffany then envisioned a writing project. Seventy letters from the children, written in 2017 but not opened until the seventy days of Tour du Canada 2018. Oh my. That would sure be a boost to my spirits.
How about Geography studies of towns I pass through?
How about the students writing people I talk to in Saskatchewan, Prince Edward Island and Quebec?
How about composing a song that we 25 Tour du Canada riders could sing on our merry way?
How about making funky posters to be mailed to us at spots along the route?
How about creating recipes that we riders could cook up for breakfast or supper?
How about sending us photos of you kids on your bikes?
Children and adults
Adventure on both ends