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Steve’s Blog – July 26 –  wind at our back- Shaol Lake to Westbourne, Man

This is the kind of day that keeps you cycling for years. 

We have a stiff tailwind and a straight route to take maximum advantage. Good thing, as we are committed to a 160 km route. This was sheer fun as we played in the wind. The road conditions are good (mostly), and the drivers are patient and even encouraging. While I was cooking along, one guy slowed his car to roughly match my speed and gave me a thumbs up. I thought that there might be trouble as a car behind had to brake hard, but by the time the second car passed, he too gave me a friendly wave. Gotta love Manitoba.

The last hour was a little harrowing, as a dark sky overtook the road ahead, and it flickered with lightning. The wind direction changed erratically, and it started to look a little tornado-y. So naturally I aimed for refuge at a trailer park.   Add to that, Google took me 8 km the wrong way up a soft gravel road from which I had to be rescued, lest the other worn tire pop.

We wind up in a delightful camp called Sportsman’s Corner, with a site overlooking the river. The owner/manager Barb is a treasure.

We have a chance to meet Susan, a Parkinsons care giver to her husband, who was diagnosed 10 years ago. They live in a smallish town on the outskirts of Winnipeg, and don’t have contact with many others with PD, so we enact a spontaneous support group and talk over lots of topics. Again: right place at the right time.

The landscape of Manitoba is almost immediately distinct from Saskatchewan – at least what we can see from the road – more ponds and small lakes, more trees and shrubs, more scrub land, irregular lot shapes. Already the prairies are changing.

One Response

  1. I can’t believe you can ride all day and on top of that write these descriptive blogs. You are amazing!!

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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.”