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Steve’s Blog: June 29 – Sunshine Valley to Princeton  

No shoulder to cry on.

We started with trepidation. It was cold (11c) and raining. It turns out that BC highway shoulders are water soluble, as they seem to have vanished as we progressed. Sometimes the ”shoulder” is ample and clean, sometimes it is missing entirely, but usually it is a 12” gap in the scattered debris between the rumble strip and the guard rail. It becomes very important to hold that line as transports pass at 100km.

This was a day of hills. You have to love hills to ride them in the rain. Rain days usually mean that you are inappropriately dressed for the 90% of the day when rain is not falling. Again, ya gotta really love hills. 

Today had lots of ups (6 hills in total, including a mammoth 16km killer). But the earned treat was the decent. Zipping through mountain canyons, beside waterfalls, and add in some crazy steep grades, and this was a decent into madness.

Alas Mike and Darlene are en route to our old campsite in the morning to pick up a misplaced item – a drone left stuck and abandon in a tree. Boys and there toys.

3 Responses

  1. A person with true grit has passion and perseverance. That fits both of you to a T. PD strong, my friends.

  2. Good job Steve and team, you’re making steady progress! Look forward to hearing more throughout your journey!

  3. The hills and mountains were always my favorite as well, Steve and Jim. They always provided a great beauty/challenge combo that is hard to match. As you get into the Prairie provinces you may miss the climbs but the challenge will likely be the winds. It isn’t flat like most people who drive through report it to be. Cycling changes your perspective on so many things. Sunny days aren’t always welcome and winds will become your best friend or biggest challenge depending on which direction they are blowing. Whatever comes, accept it as your own unique Canadian experience. Know that hill climbs will resume and if you get to the point where you hate them now, you will certainly love them again when they provide you refuge from the winds.

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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.”