My Activity Tracking
My target 1000 kms
The charity I am supporting is Children's Health Foundation.
Charities need us more than ever and that is why I’ve signed up for the first-ever global, virtual RBC Race for the Kids to raise much-needed funds for youth charities around the world.
Donations to Children's Health Foundation will support the child and youth mental health at Children's Hospital, London Health Sciences Centre. Mental health needs for our children and youth are increasing because of the pandemic. Funding for mental health care is just as important as ever!
- Did you know: Children's Hospital has almost 11,000 child and youth mental health visits annually.
- Since the pandemic started, Children's Hospital has seen a 16% increase in referrals for outpatient mental health services?
Your support will ensure access to critical mental health resources for youth facing anxiety, depression, or trauma – especially now when stress is at an all-time high.
Thank you from me and all the RBC Race for the Kids participants and charities!
Why I ride my bicycle.Thursday 17th Sep
It was blue and white and had rust all over. The seat was black and white, there were streamers on the handle bars, pink spokie dokies on the spokes, a pink snoopy basket on the front of the handle bars, and the thing felt like it weighed 100 pounds. Aw yes, another hand me down from my two older sisters. How many of you remember your first real bicycle? I remember this bike fondly, and I also remember my dad on the day I learned to ride this bike.
Now I was always jealous of the town kids that had pavement to ride their bikes on, or play basketball on. A smooth surface. We didn’t have that option on our dairy farm. The options were either the uneven lawn that was often rutted up from a tractor tire, or there was option B, which was the gravel laneway. Thankfully there were enough ruts that seemed to slope downhill in spots, so that is where my dad started me out. I fell the first few time of course, but never gave up. When I finally got the hang of it, and my dad stopped running beside me and let me go, it was the most amazing feeling in the world. Probably why I can still remember this moment and day so vividly in my memory. “Down and around the wagon”, and “now try some figure 8’s” is what my dad was calling out for me to do. Riding a bike was incredible, and so was the freedom and feeling of accomplishment that came with it. I was always on my bike.
When I was 12 and I asked my parents if I could “Drive” into town to get some ice cream at the store, they said sure!
I couldn’t believe how open minded and trusting my parents were with me. Before I headed out the door I poked my head back in and shouted to make sure they understood where I was going, as I was so proud they were letting me go into town, “Mom! I’ve got the keys, I’m driving into town, I’ll be back in a bit”! No answer. Although I did hear the vacuum cleaner going.
Yes, driving a truck and riding a bike are very different things. And when You learn everything earlier in life growing up on a farm, it’s important to choose your words carefully.
Don’t worry though, the truck was fine, I parked at the church and walked down to the store because I couldn’t parallel park our pick up yet, a brick of ice cream was only $5, and I got in a whole lot of trouble. But worth it.
Anyways, I digress. The years went by - swimming replaced cycling as the sport, and cars replaced the bike for freedom.
My childhood was spent in either a red 1988 GMC safari minivan, the barn, or a pool. My brother actually drew a portrait picture of my mom for mothers day one year when he was about 4 years old. It ended up being a big red square with 4 wheels and tinted windows.
My mom put all four of us kids on the swim team, and was our biggest cheerleader and supporter through it all.
I loved the water, and still do love to swim.
I have always felt spiritual and at home in the water. All is quiet and still in the world when you’re getting up at 4:30 am to get to swim practice. My dad would always say that the only people up at that hour are the dairy farmers and the swimmers.
Diving into the cold pool at 5 in the morning while most people are still at home and in bed was a really spiritual thing for me. It was colder than you know what, but peaceful at the same time. The silence of being submerged was deafening. With water completely surrounding you, you’re totally at peace with your mind, and accepting of your body. It’s so simple. Just swim.
I found the simplicity of the sport powerful and beautiful. The ultimate test of mind over matter, you versus the water. It was all so spiritual. And so this was my church. The services were 90 minutes at a time, 2 times a day, 6 days a week, and sometimes it felt like I saw Jesus!
Being alone in my thoughts, being one with the water, learning to work with it and not fight it to go faster helped me accomplish so much.
The sport of swimming was a vessel that paid for my university, let me travel, and got me on TV, but it was the simplicity I found in the sport, the beauty in the sacrifice of time and energy, being dedicated, and pushing myself to the limits that gave me my spirituality.
Now a days, I’m back on that bike. But, I don’t ride my bike to win races, nor do I ride to get places. I ride like I swam, to escape this world. To find solitude. I ride to find peace with myself, I ride to feel free, and I ride to feel strong.
I read a quote a few years ago, and I can’t remember the author, but it was “Run the first mile with my brain. Run the second mile with my feet. Run the third mile with my soul, God let me fly.”
I say this to myself when I’m out on the bike. When I’m pushing myself to the limits, when I’m 50 km from home, feeling low on energy, and the motivation is waning. Like in swimming when I would talk to myself whilst staring at that endless black line at the bottom of the pool 25 metres at time, cycling is great because I can talk out loud without the risk of drowning!
I’m thankful for my body, that I get to push every day. I am grateful for my bicycle, and feel lucky that I am healthy and able to do this, it makes me want to do it more for the people that can’t. Cycling on behalf of the Children’s Hospital foundation is truly important to me. For all of those kids that wish they could be outside on their bike, when they can’t be. This is why I am riding.
Cycling makes me appreciate everything more in life. And while I still enjoy some homemade cookies, a brick of strawberry ice cream, or a nice cold beer, cycling is that equilibrium in my life both physically and mentally. Calories in, calories out. Meditation and gratitude in, negative energy and stress out.
And finally I’ll close with this final thought. It’s my every day spirituality that I had in the water, that I now have on the bike that keeps my ecosystem healthy. I feel whole when I can push myself to do something I didn’t think I could. No matter how small that is.
Being spiritual, or just grateful & appreciative in whatever way suits you will enhance your life experiences, help you live your life more optimally, and will have a positive effect on everyone around you.
You never know where you’ll find your everyday spiritual self.
So, get back on your bike. The hardest part is to get the wheels turning. Once they’re going, you only have to give them a little push once in a while to keep the momentum.
Stay off the gravel, and don’t worry about the ruts on your lawn in life, there will be plenty.
Just look for the downhills, because they’re always there.
This ride is for you Children’s Hospital Foundation! I hope you’ll consider supporting me on with this ride, for an amazing foundation.Share
Thank you to my Sponsors
Van Osch Family
Cindy, Tom, And Ella