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Jim and the Recumbent

A couple days ago Dan Steele from Prince Edward Island and his friend Jason decided they would drive from PEI to Kingston, Ontario to deliver two recumbent bikes for Steve and I to use on our Cross-Canada adventure. The drive took about 15 hours and they pulled into Kingston about 5:30 am. They stayed in Kingston for just about 6 hours; enough time to get a little sleep, have some coffee and tea and try to show Steve and I how to reassemble and ride the bikes. Then it was back in the Rav4 and time to get back to the Island. You couldn’t make something like that up even if you tried. Our gratitude towards Dan and Jason will be everlasting and one day I hope to get the chance to pay something like that forward.

Until that time comes I figured that I should try to figure out how to really ride a recumbent bike!
When I see people riding a recumbent bicycle they look like a picture of serenity. Contrast that to every muscle in my body being tensed to the point of spasm while I first tried to get the bike moving in a forward direction using the pedals instead of pushing off the ground with my feet Fred Flintstone style. It was not a pretty picture.
After about an hour I could start from a stopped position using just the pedals like any other bike; I could turn around and go in the other direction without having to stop and literally turn the bike around before pedalling again, and I could get from Point A to Point B in a relatively confident, yet admittedly not serene, manner. Icing on the cake: I was even sweating a little bit. Maybe it was time to stop for the night. My first real attempt at riding a recumbent bike was definitely in the Success category.

Feeling quite proud of myself and thinking that I had things mostly under control when it came to riding a recumbent bike, it then dawned on me that I only ever turned left during my first training ride. There was a complete deficit of any sort of turning to the right. Shatner! The bubble was burst. I have another training ride scheduled for this evening and I will attempt to make at least 1 turn to the right.

Jim Redmond

2 Responses

  1. One of the things that I like most about riding a recumbent bike or trike is that you are completely open to see all of the scenery that a ride has to offer. I’m know that you will gain confidence with each day’s ride. Give it time and you will fall in love with the experience.

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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.”