Steve’s Blog – July 18 – head wind that healed me – Cereal AB to Kindersley Sask

Well, dreams of a trail wind didn’t come true, and the head wind not only persists, it has intensified. Something’s coming.

I was so fatigued by the end of the ride yesterday, and worried about the ride today. We all were, including Mike, who opted to join us for today’s ride. We hopped on our bikes and immediately felt the push of the wind, now stronger and even more squarely in our face. But today we pushed back. The three of us had our heads down and tilted into the wind. We ride at our own rates, but meet up at regular intervals. Meet to stretch after the first hour; ride; meet at the Sask border; ride; meet at 70km; ride; meet at Flaxcombe; rest. That’s how you ride 90 km into the wind. Mike’s longest ride of the journey so far, and a triumph for each of us.

We stop riding 30 km short of Kindersley to leave room for a potential group ride tomorrow. We pile in the RV and drive to the home of Bonnie and Reid. Bonnie is Jim’s Aunt, and from Day 1, Kindersley has been a fixture of our journey. The route at first doesn’t seem logical but, knowing what I know now, it’s one of our smartest decisions yet.

We get in just as our phones wail in unison to announce a pending tornado watch, followed shortly thereafter by a pounding electrical storm.

Bonnie and Reid are the archetype of rural hospitality done right. Anything that could be done to make us comfortable was done with thought and love. Clearly there is affection for Jim, and perhaps we are just in the right place at the right time, but my bet is that these are just some of the warmest people around. 

We have a wonderful dinner (best fall-off-the-bone ribs in memory) and a heaping slice of Saskatoon berry pie.

We listen to old favourite music with Reid into the evening, discuss plans for tomorrow and collapse early

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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.”