Saying Goodbye

Since today is Friday, part of our peleton meeting included saying goodbye to the riders who are leaving the tour this week. There were about 25 riders giving their goodbyes. Many riders had been with us for one week.

After sharing my comments I realized there were things I Had meant to share that did not come to me at the time. So let me repeat what I shared And what I had wanted to share.

This ride has heightened my awareness of the different faces of poverty. This struck me when I Was at the SAG stop at the Homer Watson carpool in Kitchener. As we pulled in on our expensive bikes a run down car pulled in to a parking Spot near our snack table. The driver stepped out of her car with a small bag of household Garbage.  The sign on the garbage bin read “no household garbage.” My initial response was one of minor indignation. Almost at the same time I realized I had no idea what this woman’s story was. Maybe she could not afford the tag to put her garbage At the curb. Or maybe she had no curb at which to place her garbage.

There were many people to thank in helping me meet my challenge of unicycling 200 km of the 1400 km that I Had the privilege of riding. To complete those 200 km I received the Gracious help of many a cyclist that happened to come upon me in a moment of need. Not having learned to free mount a 36″ uni prior to this ride I had to rely on a fellow rider with a sturdy shoulder to offer assistance.

I also want to thank the SAG volunteers for exchanging my bike for my unicycle so I Could pick the most suitable sections to ride. This was not always convenient. Yet I saw a Real willingness. It highlighted for me that poverty is also a real inconvenience.

I appreciated the riding time as an opportunity to catch up on people I Had not seen in awhile and meet new people and hear their story. The tour is an intentional community organized so people would look out for each other.

This has been my first experience with a multi-day cycling ride. I had done a reasonable amount of training but had no idea what to expect. The experience of the past two weeks would want me to do a full ride, the Lord Willing, the next time a Tour like this is planned.

The challenge, coming from this tour is how to continue to advocate for the poor, how to recognize the systemic changes that need to happen to address the issue, and how to make Personal lifestyle changes that leaves more room for The poor. This includes recognizing what purchases contribute to the issue of poverty.

Some of the tour people thanked me for using the unicycling to give the tour and the cause greater exposure in the press.

Today I decided to take it easy. Leaving historic Brockville I took the time to take pictures of the unique house designs, the historic sites,  the stone walls and the incredibly rich and varied vegetation.

Tomorrow we ride into Montreal. Very a fitting destination a We will be hosted at a First Nations school for the weekend. The appropriateness of this has not been lost on the riders.

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Getting Into the Groove

Last night at peleton meeting we said goodbye to about 2 dozen riders. Each had an opportunity to share a few thoughts about their riding experience. Many of the riders had been on the tour for 1 week. (One of the 1 week riders had introduced himself last Sunday as a weekling.) Others had ridden longer. As each rider shared their comments I was just glad that my ride would continue for another week yet. (Don’t be totally shocked if I can’t pull myself away from this ride and go on to New York – just kidding.)

Today I felt like I was getting into the groove. The bicycle riding has been going very well. The unicycling has definitely added some challenge both mechanical and physical. 

The mechanical challenges have been generously taken care of. The physical challenges have a fw components to it.

The official day one was great. I managed to complete 28 km which turns out is about a quarter of the route that day.

The second thing I check each day is to see which part of the day’s route looks best for unicycling. Sometimes the elevation maps get it right sometimes very different than what I expected.

The next thing that needs to be coordinated is checking with the SAG people to get the uni delivered to the right place and then how to get my bicycle back so I can finish up the route for the day.

Once the uni was repaired I started to work seriously on not only the 10 percent of the ride by uni but also the second challenge. 

I rode into London having completed 7 km. That was okay since I had bank some extra on the Monday. I rode into Breslau having completed 15 km. The rural country roads north of Ingersil and Woodstock worked very well. I rode into Redeemer (Ancaster) having completed 22 km. This was done leading up to and along Jerseyville road, with its rolling hills, onto Shaver Road, through a round-about and onto Garner Road, ending at the rear dorms at Redeemer University College.

That completed about one third of today’s ride on a uni.

This was greatly helped by two riders, Henry and Joyce Dejager from California. They helped me at the tip of about six hills when I needed a shoulder to lean on to remount the uni. They also rode ahead to give me the ‘all clear’ at crossings, not to mention creating greater visibility as we made our way along Garner Road.

The gradual increase in the number of kilometers each day will help me complete the 10 percent pledge sooner.

However, I need to work my conditioning to a point so I can complete Bill’s challenge of unicycling 50 km (30 miles to put it into American language) in one day. My guess it will be the day we ride from Kingston to Brockville.

Between good meals, lots of water, sunscreen for my nose, traumeel for my knees and prayers for safety and strength I should arrive in Montreal a week from now.