Joining the tour a day early

Jane and I drove from Cobourg to Holland MIchigan on Friday arriving at Hope College at about 4:00 pm. Riders had come in from Benton Harbor MIchigan and were already relaxing for the day. 

After supper we attended the Peleton meeting of cyclists. The key item was giving cyclists who were ending their participation in the tour an  opportunity to share some thoughts and thank the fellow riders for the heartwarming experiences.

We left this morning with clear skies and comfortable temperatures and a reasonable 60 km ride ahead of us. Much of the route was on well maintained bicycle paths. I was told this was like a ‘ride in the park’ compared to the usual day’s ride. It was heartwarming to see the many well wishers along the way encouraging the cyclists with either cheers or drinks, cookies, bananas, blueberries, granola bars, and anything else the would maintain our energy or tickle our taste buds.

We met for a lunch at Calvin CRC Church on Franklin Ave for a lunch. From there we did an organized ride into Calvin College. What an impressive sight seeing over 150 cyclists in riding colours meandering the 5 km to the college campus. I came in last, riding on one wheel realizing I could not keep up with the rest of the crew. A fellow cyclists from B.C. showed great consideration and stayed back with me. That’s the type of support riders have been experiencing throughout the ride. 

As one cycles, one realizes it’s not about the person, it’s not about the bike… it’s the journey that counts. It’s the experiences and the considerations that people show that makes it an experience to remember. 

On our route into Grand Rapids we were reminded of poverty. We travelled through the hispanic area of Grandville. From there we travelled through the african-american neighbourhood of Wyoming. There is evidence of poverty clearly evident in these neighbourhoods. Our presence there did not go unnoticed. 

At this point we are being luxuriously hosted by Calvin College. We are being put up in dorm rooms, hot shower facilities, supper in the dining hall and various details…. Blessings not experienced by many people living just 10 km from the campus.


Author: Jasper Hoogendam

After 36 years as an educator my career ended due to a TBI. Renewable energy as part of 'walking lightly on this earth' has been and continues to be my interest since my teen years. Since early 2015 I have been learning to live with ABI (Acquire Brain Injury). I don't want to let my ABI limit the goals I set for myself. I'm living with a different brain, not a lesser brain. In sharing my day to day successes and struggles, I am better able to understand how my life had changed and begin to accept the change. In sharing my experiences I'm hearing from caregivers and fellow ABI's. I'm encouraged when my experiences are helping others understand some of the complexity of living with ABI.

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