When I first thought about doing this trip, I thought I would really focus on spreading the word about it to raise the profile of Green Teams of Canada and raising funds. But I’ve since realized this bicycle trip has turned out to be more about a personal challenge and finding balance in my life more than anything else. Every part of my life for the past 3 1/2 years has been about building the Lower Mainland Green Team, creating Green Teams of Canada and creating this new green team – the Greater Victoria Green Team (coming up this fall 2014) that there hasn’t been enough time for me. So, while I’d love to have used this bicycle ride as a new way to reach more people about the work I do and raise funds to continue to create opportunities for volunteers to take care of our parks, it’s really just been a quiet bicycle ride that’s been about challenging myself mentally and physically. I will definitely still make an effort to do some more work getting the word out, cause it’s not over yet. I’ve got 300kms of hiking to still do by the end of August, but at the end of the day this bike ride has been one heck of an amazing once in a lifetime adventure that’s really made an impact on me as a human being.
Prior to this bike trip, I had ridden my bicycle now and then, I’m not a regular cyclist. I still can’t quite wrap my mind around the fact that I’ve ridden my bicycle from Victoria BC to Calgary AB. The drive to make every hill and reach every destination, no matter what the challenges pulled me through. I have noticed that I have a deer in headlights thing going on. When I started the Lower Mainland Green Team, I didn’t think it would be easy – but I didn’t realize how steep the uphill would be either, or how many challenges I would have to overcome. Same with this bicycle ride, I didn’t think it would be easy – but I didn’t realize just how challenging it would be either. I started both journeys, starting Green Teams of Canada and this bicycle ride, naively and innocently having no idea what I was getting myself into. I was in totally over my head. But, boy am I glad I dove in! I would have never found out what I was capable of if I hadn’t taken the risk and believed in myself. It’s been the act of getting up and carrying on that’s become a key reason why I’ve been able to reach my goals. I think everyone is capable of so much more than they think, if they choose to dive into the deep end and take a chance! Even if you take a chance on trying something out and it doesn’t work out, you still win because you learn more about yourself and what you can do, it’s just about giving yourself the opportunity. No one is going to hand you the opportunity. You have to create it for yourself. That’s what I’ve learned on my journey. And that’s what it’s really mostly about… the journey, not the destination. I’ve had a lot of time to think on this bicycle ride. For the first two days of the ride there was a lot of “noise” in my head about all my goings on at home work-wise. Then it got quieter and started living more in the present, asking myself things such as:
- Why are there always banana peels on the shoulder of the road? It never fails. Every single day, I’d ride by 5-10 banana peels. I’d see the odd orange peel, now and then. But mostly banana peels. What was the driver thinking? I’d love to see a cyclist slip on this?
- Why is there so much garbage on the side of the road?
- Why do trucks like to drive so close to, and sometimes in the shoulder when I’m there on my bicycle?
I did think of more deeper issues such as how:
- I’m going to make sure there is time for me, so that all my time doesn’t disappear into my work
- I will get more people connected to nature
I also thought about the pros and cons of this trip:
The pros of this trip:
- The spectacular views and seeing BC and part of AB in a way I would have never been able to driving through. I was really able to take it all in and see how beautiful BC and AB really are.
- Having Shawn there to share the adventure with and to support and watch over me
- Learning that I can carry on and ride in pouring rain and strong headwind
- That I could eat tons cause I was burning it all off (really enjoyed this part!)
- Loved the camaraderie between cyclists. You always felt when you met someone cycling that you’d just made an instant friend, that you understood what each of you was going through
- Not sitting on my bum in front of my computer at home in my basement apt
- Getting exercise
- Found myself smiling more than I ever have!
- Meeting cool, interesting and inspiring people along the way
- Learning I can make every single uphill, no matter how steep!
- Marmot provided camping gear and some warm tops that kept me warm when I was freezing. They have supported Lower Mainland Green Team volunteers with awesome Marmot products in the past, and now they’ve supported me on this adventure and I really appreciate it!
The cons of this trip
- Crazy truck drivers, whizzing by at break neck speed driving too close to me
- Vicious dogs chasing and trying to take me out
- Some bridges and tunnels that were clearly not made with cyclist safety in mind. I’d turn around see whether vehicles were coming and then pedal for my life. Had a few scary moments there. I don’t like playing Russian Roulette!
- bicycle mishaps (flat tire, chain issues)
- People who honked their horn as they went by (scared the heck out of me each and every time)
- Glass, nails, car parts, banana peels, garbage on the shoulder
- Encountering bears. Some people would put this in the pros part, but not me. While I respect them, I didn’t enjoy having nowhere to go if they had taken an interest in me.
I’ve loved every part of this bicycle ride, all the pros and the cons. It’s been amazing beyond words. I cannot wait to start the hiking part and report back on how it goes. I’m planning on some overnighters and some scrambles to tops of mountains. Another part of this journey is about begin! Stay tuned 🙂