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Steve’s Blog – Aug 1 –  breakdown –  Dryden, Ont to English River, Ont

Last night we started at an RV Park that I shall keep unnamed. We were “greeted” by three troublemakers, who together were comical diabolical, like if the “3 Stooges” were reimagined as an adaptation of a gritty graphic novel – harmlessly menacing.  The commented on the value of our bikes, which got us thinking about bike security. Worried, we thought what if they have a gun, then realized that they probably do and have used it in prior escapades, only to end up shooting out their wifi, showers or bathroom, all of which are out of service.

The day started well enough. We ate fast and hit the road at a reasonably early hour ( for us) of 8:30. I decided early on that I am going to try something very hard ( for me) off doing century’s Mike at 35 m\h. It was in my cross hairs when, after about 40 minutes, my bike chain slips for the first time. When I looked closer I saw that I was able to peddle, but that the gears would rotate without engaging the wheel. I know that this is often caused by gunk buildup in the hub, but there was no way to remedy it where we were. That meant switching to the recumbent bikes , which I had only ridden once before. Balance is difficult when first starting to ride, and I look like a prepubescent albatross randomly thrusting legs and arms in the intended direction of travel until – miraculously – I am in flight.

I couldn’t imagine riding the remaining 140km on this bike, and I maintained this thought process all day long until we finally made it to our destination for the night,     English Bay.

Note: the recumbents use different leg muscles compared to a regular road bike. I discover that I don’t own these leg muscles.

Another long ride tomorrow and the next day. I want my bike back.

One Response

  1. Steve, I sent those trouble makers to meet you guys. I thought it would add another dimension to the narrative. You will meet them again in White River, where they will fail comically in their scheme to steal your bikes (all three of them making off pathetically on a single recumbent) and later on in Sudbury, where you will be delayed in an abandoned nickel mine by their hijinks (plan to make up for an hour max). An annoying distraction to your team, yes, but they are testing well with your followers.

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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.”