Steve’s Blog – July 10 – Home Coming – Cranbrook to Fernie

When my wife was a child she invented a word for her own use to describe ‘something soothing, familiar and comforting’. The word was “fernie”. Years later we bought a second home in Fernie, BC, and it  has proven to be all these things.

I have been eagerly awaiting my return to Fernie on this trip and, wouldn’t you know it, 17 of my family members had the same idea, and Fernie became a real homebase for this journey.

We planned to meet in Elko (about halfway to Fernie) to go swimming and cliff diving, but the weather did not comply. When we called enroute to make new plans, wouldn’t you know that by coincidence  we had all stopped at the same place. Even though we were not yet in Fernie, even there on the side of the highway we were instantly in a fernie place.

Our route to Elko was another story. The highway between Cranbrook and Fernie is well travelled by trucks and cars. We were starting early, so traffic was light, but our bike navigation tool showed a paved backcountry trail – road cycler’s Valhalla – for most of the way, so we committed to that path. The first few kms, went well but then the trap was sprung, as our trail became a trial. We spent the next few hours crawling along loose stone/gravel roads on our thin tires. I thought it would be more than my bike could handle, as we tweaked, rattled and ricocheted along our pinball course, skirting water-drenched craters and bike-eating rock patches.  Off in the distance I occasionally caught sight of Mike, who was super human on his gravel bike.

When we finally hit pavement, it felt soft and silky – almost fernie. Despite the heavy traffic into Fernie, familiar sites play like a photo album. It feels good here.  We will spend three nights as tourists before returning to our nomadic ways.

P.S. tomorrow is my wedding anniversary. I must not forget. [Editor’s Note: I wrote this blog the next day, and I had forgotten. This blog is my mea culpa, though all was forgiven.]

3 Responses

  1. Happy Anniversary !!!
    How cool you road the route from cranbrooke ? How did your metal plate like the reunion?

  2. Nice to have your own homecoming! Glad you (and your bikes) made it through the gravel. Enjoy a few days of rest!

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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.”