And so it begins…

Hi, it’s Mike here, if you choose to follow this blog, you’ll get to know me. I assume I will be blogging the most this trip. Why? My qualifications are obvious, I completed High School and English marks were always the struggle. Steve and Darlene are lawyers and Jim a teacher.  Where I win this job of “Lead Blogger” (there I now have a self-proclaimed grandiose title to hold over the others) is in my disability.

I am 58 almost 59 and living with my Parkinson’s diagnosis for 9 years. I left my job because of this disease and its symptoms 3 or 4 years ago, funny I can’t quickly recall. Since that time, I have been living well but unfortunately things are still progressing. I can’t ride as long as the other guys. I will be riding for exercise, but I don’t have the stamina for the required daily toll the other two will be asking of their bodies. My wife will not let me drive, understandably. There you have it, Lead Blogger Mike, as determined by his inability to perform a more useful job on the road and having the most time on his hands.

At this point things are moving along quickly enough that we have now pulled the trigger! We are doing this! We are excited by this interest being shown, nervous about the endeavour we are asking of ourselves and keen to get started.

Still, I ask myself, how did I get here? It is not a desire of mine to ride across the country. I have ridden 100 km a couple of times and I will honestly admit that both times were with Steve leading and encouraging me on or I would have given up and not known I had it in me. (That may be the nicest thing I say about Steve. I love the man dearly but he’s too easy a target for my, humour, jokes asinine wit.)

I knew Steve had been interested in doing a ride like this for quite a while. He’s a cycling nut. His idea of vacations has been to travel the world and cycle tour when he gets there. He’s ridden all over North America and Europe. His recent trips, in the roughly 8 years that I known him have included Thailand, Shri Lanka and Nepal where riding wasn’t enough. Once his accompanying family and friends left, he and his sister Susan hiked on up to the first basecamp of Everest.

My idea of excitement is ordering something different off the menu at my favourite pub. So, you will understand me when I tend to laugh off Steve’s ideas thinking…no, actually saying, “You’re crazy man are you sure you have Parkinson’s?”

Then things take a turn. Steve gets to know Jim. Low and behold, we have two guys with the same affliction, afflicted with the same desire, glutton for punishment, check your meds, I really don’t know what to call it as I’ve never imagined it. If it’s a dream to cycle across this huge country then that dream must include a sore and chafed butt, bad weather, long sun exposure and grueling exhaustion. To me that dream equals a nightmare! (I will mention now and probably will again, I hate bugs of the mosquitoe, black fly and deer fly type. This only fuels my nightmare, their dream)

  In hindsight, I think I know where I messed up. I opened my mouth. Unfortunately, the thinking part of my brain is not quick enough, most of the time, to be able to stop spewing words. But it happened. During one of those rare times where I was communicating with my wife of 38 years, I mentioned Steve and Jim’s…Thing. I was chuckling about what Jim and Steve wanted to do. Apparently, my wife didn’t see the humour, and in fact she sobered me up when she exclaimed, “That sounds like fun, I’ll drive!”

If I would have thought about it, again, not my strong suit, I have heard my wife mention through the years that she has not seen enough of Canada. She has wanted to see the west coast and Rockies. We have traveled to different parts of Quebec and the Maritimes and loved it.

So here I am because I didn’t shut my mouth. Well at least it’s a familiar story. Since I am going, I am going to try to be useful. I will be reaching out to everything Parkinson’s in our path. I want to set up interviews with people in the Parkinson Community and share their stories. I want to be truthful and try to explain our journey and describe how our Parkinson’s is affecting us and our adventure.

This trip is happening. I am going. Stay tuned as our plans and route solidify.

Mike Loghrin

Lead Blogger

Spinning Wheels Tour

5 Responses

  1. I am soo excited for all of you. Looking forward to following you along this journey.

    The website looks great! Mike your blog is off to a great start.
    Steve, Jim and Darlene… BRAVO!
    We ALL cheer you on and celebrate your accomplishments!
    Travel safe.
    It’s the journey of a lifetime !

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Why We Are Doing it

You have probably heard of Parkinson’s Disease. You may even know people who suffer from it.  Get used to it, as Parkinson’s Disease is the world’s fastest growing neurological condition, set to double in number by 2040.

Parkinson’s Disease occurs when the brain’s dopamine-producing cells die prematurely. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter necessary for many functions of the brain and body, including muscular control, and its loss affects all forms of movement and balance, as well as non-motor functions such as memory, concentration and motivation.  Think of dopamine as the electricity in an electric car: without it, the lights dim and the wheels stop spinning.

There is currently no cure, no bio-markers to aid detection, and little is known about how it is triggered, except that Canadians are disproportionately afflicted

Most people living with Parkinson’s reduce or even discontinue regular intensive physical activity after their Parkinson’s diagnosis.  Why?  Their actual skills and abilities do not suddenly evaporate on the date of their diagnosis, though their mental fortitude often does.  As a result, many abandon the very restorative health practices, such as regular exercise, when they are needed the most.  For people with Parkinson’s, intensive exercise can boost energy, sharpen the mind, elevate spirits and keep the body mobile.  Studies indicate that intense exercise can help train the Parkinson’s afflicted brain to use dopamine more efficiently and be able to do more with less.

Let’s use the dopamine we have to build the lives we want.

What are We Doing

Canada is a big country.  It is home to over 100,000 people living with Parkinson’s disease, 9 in 10 of which suffer in silence, isolation, or without the support of a knowledgeable organization or community.  Starting in June 2022, we aim to cross our big country by bicycle to meet as many of these people as possible to personally deliver this message: get moving to stay moving.  

We start In Victoria, British Columbia and ride east through every Canadian province, and hundreds of cities and towns along the way.  Our route is approximately 8,000 km, and we expect to average 125 km a day, six days a week for approximately three months.  Our Spinning Wheels Tour team will include two riders with Parkinson’s Disease, as well as two ride-along supporters to keep things moving.  Along the way, we will be meeting with people whose lives are touched by Parkinson’s, and encourage them to get moving with us, get engaged in support communities, and to set up their own group athletics.

We are not athletes, just people with the resolve to do what it takes to live well with this disease, and to encourage others..  

Along the way, we hope to hear these words, “If they can do it, I can too.”