Here I am. What a great weekend for the bike tour. I did the entire course the first day and skipped a couple of legs the second day for a total of about 80 kilometres. We had a slight change in the course from last year so had a few added hills. Rather than recap, here's my next article for Atlantic Pedaler e-zine:
Another year, another MS Bike Tour. Wow.
Actually, I took part in two bike tours this summer. The first was in New Brunswick the first weekend in July, the second was the last weekend in July in Nova Scotia. I knew that I would only be riding the first day in the NB tour as I had only been back on the bike for a month at that point and didn't want to push too hard and risk injury. I was ready for two days of riding for the NS tour though. What a rush this event is, for two different reasons.
For years I have been a volunteer at this event, manning a rest stop, driving a support vehicle, working with the ham radio operators or MCing the banquet on Day One. Two years ago, when I began riding a bike to support my boyfriend's efforts at training for the ride, I never imagined I'd be riding, too. But I did last year and now two tours this summer. The idea that I'd be riding a bike for 50 kilometres two days in a row was absolutely unimaginable a couple of years ago. It still gives me a little thrill to think of myself as an athlete. In school I was usually picked last or close to last for team sports so to be able to say that I bike 100 k over two days is exciting.
The other rush comes from thinking about the sheer number of people who fundraise all year long and then give up at least a weekend in the summer to bike in whatever weather Mother Nature throws at them or the people who volunteer to man a rest stop or be a flagger at railroad tracks or fix broken bikes or or or....All those people who come together because they want to support the MS Society. I can't even begin to explain the warm fuzzies I get just thinking about it. It never fails to bring tears to my eyes at least once on the weekend.
And for those interested in numbers, we had around 500 riders registered for the NS ride, with over $475,000 turned in to the MS Society before the weekend. More will trickle in before summer's end.
I would like to thank Ken Trenholme for allowing me to tell you about my experiences with becoming a cyclist in my 40s and as a person with MS and of course for being able to promote the MS Bike Tour through Atlantic Pedaler. I hope that I've entertained, at the very least, and increased awareness about a wonderful event for a wonderful cause.
Enough sappiness. I'll leave you with my Top Ten Clues that you've been bitten by the cycling bug:
10. You start calling everyone close to you "Lance".
9. You experiment with a bicycle powered lawn mower.
8. You think your car looks naked without a bike on it.
7. You match your bike shoes to the colour of your bike.
6. You bring your bike with you when buying a new vehicle to test fit.
5. You sleep in your bike clothes.
4. And shoes.
3. You can't put anything in the trunk of your car because it's full of cycling gear or there's a bike rack on it.
2. You consider getting rid of furniture in your home to make room for bikes.
1. When someone asks how many bikes you need, the answer is always "One more".
Looking back after crossing Sangster's Bridge and halfway up a hill.
Looking in the other direction from Sangster's Bridge. Then on to the top of the hill and what did I find? A hammock. I went to the door of the house, which turns out to be a heritage property. Two lovely ladies were there and took the picture for me and invited me back anytime. I also invited them to join us on the bike tour next year. We just may see them.
This is Geoff Regan, my Member of Parliament in Ottawa. With Cranky Baby of course.
And here's the majority of my team getting ready to bike the last half kilometre to the finish line. We like to finish as a team when possible.
Of course I met a bunch of new people, ran into old friends, and even my neurologist and Member of Parliament were participating. Dr. Murray retired earlier this month, this was his first bike tour. I had sent a request for a donation from my MP as he had given one last year, but I never heard back from him. Imagine my surprise when I saw him at the lunch stop on the first day. He was participating as a rider. That explains why he didn't sponsor me; he was looking for his own sponsors.
The team the Wookie and I ride with are the Cycledelics. Every year we have a theme and this year were known as the Cycle-Dudes. Dressed as surfers with Bermuda shorts and loud shirts, pukka (sp?) shell and hemp necklaces and singing our cheer to the tune of Surfin' USA we were quite a sight - and sound. After the ride yesterday most of us congregated at the home of our captiain for a pool party and planning session for next year's theme. Yes, we get started early. And no, I can't reveal our theme as it's top secret until the Day One of next year's ride.
Today will be spent putting stuff away and writing thank you notes to my donors. And probably a nap.