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Steve’s Blog – July 24 –  Mike Day – Abernathy to Churchbridge, Sask

Morning mist soon evaporates, leaving the road ahead clear and dry. This may not have been the state that Mike was looking for. He had already committed to ride today, perhaps unaware of the day’s rigour. Our route today is to Churchbridge, close to the Eastern border of Saskatchewan. It is relatively flat, though 126 km long. You see, Mike has ridden 100 km – twice, I believe – and they were both significant and draining feats. To add 25% to that number seem impossible.

Well, from the very beginning, Mike was set to make this possible. He road strong out of camp and never looked back. He burst through 100 km still feeling strong and led much of the remaining distance to our campground. This was Mike’s longest ride – ever. He impressed his harshest critic and impressed his closest supporters.

That’s why this is Mike Day.

As for me, a slight quad pull has me worried. We have 2-3 longish days ahead, and I’ll be taking it easy.

We have another amazing meal from Darlene. This one has an amazing side show, as a crop duster buzzes us dozens of times so close we can almost hit him with a drone. Ironic, as the pesticides may be the thing that brings us out here in the first place.

Our campground is mostly empty (as the majority have been), though we do find two other groups of cyclists that are also doing long rides: a British couple who are travelling East to West, and a solo 62 yr old, who is travelling in our direction, even going to the same place as us tomorrow. His wife mails him freeze dried meals that he created, which he picks up at post offices along the way. That level of preplanning … um … eluded us. We have them over to our fire and exchange travel stories for a little while. It’s a reminder of how much we all enjoy the camping part of this.

Tomorrow we cross into Manitoba. Wow this is going fast. 

Stats to date: 3,952 km and 28,426 m vertical. The verts aren’t changing much, but those kms are still clicking along.

6 Responses

  1. Wow! You guys are doing great! What a fabulous experience! Thanks for the newsy blogs! They make me feel like I’m there with you all sharing your amazing tour!

    Kudos to you, Mike, on setting a new distance record for yourself!

    Keep up the great ride – one day at a time. And if that feels like too much, then moment by moment will get you to your goal. 🙂

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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.”