Bewdley, Ontario at Sunrise

Bewdley, Ontario at Sunrise
Mysterious Mist on Rice Lake

It is well worth cycling 25 km before going to work. Going from 2 weeks of just eat, cycle and sleep, being back at work is like trading a simple life for a complex and busy life..

Don’t get me wrong. What’s not to like about my job working with a great faculty and support staff and anticipating the return of eager students. That’s all great.
Two days ago I met Joey when I stopped briefly in Bewdley at the waterfront. Joey had been there with his bike since about 3:30 am because he was unable to sleep.
Joey’s life story is one of disappointment and hope. Due to a work accident he had been left a quadrapalegic. After more than 1 bout of cancer he was determined to get back on his feet. That is how I met him, once again being able to walk and cycle.
He can manage to bike 3 km a day or handle a weedwhacker for about an hour. He can’t lift objects. His life sure seems simpler than mine. He takes more time to enjoy the spectacular sunrise over the water. A simpler life at first glance but at the same time not without considerable challenges.
It was my 2 weeks of cycling that raised My awareness and compelled me to strike up a conversation with him and at the same time being encouraged by him.

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Hidden Handicaps

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I recently made the decision to sign up with www.seatosea.org to help support their efforts to fund projects to help break the cycle of poverty. Anyone who has considered poverty recognizes it as a complex economic, social and spiritual issue. As such there is no simple answer.

One aspect of poverty is that there are often underlying handicaps. Often these handicaps are not immediately apparent. Recognizing the role that handicaps play in understanding poverty will hopefully create greater empathy for those who receive help.

In choosing to join the Sea to Sea bike tour for two weeks I have committed to an additional challenge of completing 10% or more of the tour with a ‘one wheel’ handicap. The unicycle handicap is meant to symbolize the handicaps that contribute to the chronic nature of poverty.

My choice to do 10% or more by unicycle grew out of my interest in unicycle riding and unicycle antics over the past 8 years. Unicycling is one way of staying fit, but more satisfying it the thrill it creates for both young and old when riding in public. It is interestingly a way to get respect from the skateboarding crowd in town. It’s heartwarming how a unicycle can open doors.

However, a unicycle also created challenges. One day while unicycling at Ontario Place, one of the security personnel stopped me and told me that riding a unicycle was not permitted. Strange enough, I had not seen any ‘no unicycle’ signs. With ‘no bicycle’ and ‘no skateboarding’ signs in sight, the message was rather clearly implied. I might have argued the case on a technicality but I had 6 of my grade 7&8 students in tow. I decided it was in my interest as a school principal to be a good role model in dealing with authority figures.