BY SHERI LANGELAAR, PRIMARY FRENCH TEACHER

I love a big challenge. I love the idea of committing to the challenge and the feeling of accomplishment when it’s done. And if it involves some type of outdoor adventure, I’m in.

A Spark

Maybe this trait is passed down to me from my Dad. In 2017, my Dad decided to cycle across Canada on the Sea To Sea tour, a ride to raise money for organizations working to end poverty. He started from scratch, buying a bike, training through the winter, and then completing the over 7000 km ride that summer! My mom and I joined him for the final two weeks, cycling from Ottawa to the Atlantic Ocean. I loved experiencing eastern Canada this way, cycling with a big group of new people, and even practicing my French a little! It also sparked a love for these long-distance rides and made me dream of biking across the whole country one day. I am not able to be away for a whole summer, but I decided I’d like to keep checking off provinces a few weeks at a time over several years.

Slowing Down

Luckily for me, my parents were up for doing this together. We planned to cycle across the Rockies, from Abbotsford to Calgary in July 2020. My Dad would cycle with me and my mom planned to be our support, driving the motor home, and feeding us. I know, we had it so good! We planned the route, booked the campgrounds, and began training. It turned out cycling was a great outdoor, distanced activity to be busy with in the Covid spring of 2020.

We left on July 12 and cycled for 13 days, averaging approximately 90 km a day. We often cycled on highway shoulders but occasionally we were able to enjoy a quiet back road or bike trail.

One of my favourite days was cycling from Lake Louise to Canmore on the newly paved, closed to traffic, mostly downhill, and spectacularly beautiful Bow Valley Parkway. What a treat! Each day I absorbed the beauty of this part of the world we live in at a slower pace. On a bike, you experience things with your senses that are missed when driving a vehicle. You smell wildflowers and pine trees, hear birds, rushing water, and trains and you feel the elements like wind, sun, and rain on your skin. It is amazing.

The Good Tired

This challenge was worth it! I was often exhausted by the end of the day, but I always felt it was the good tired when you are happy with what you have accomplished! I am so thankful for the stunning scenery, great weather, the safety, and the family memories God blessed me with on this trip.

I look forward to continuing my journey east, cycling Calgary to Winnipeg (my hometown) possibly this summer. Eventually, I hope to be able to say I’ve cycled across this country! With these two long distance cycle trips completed, I know the goal is possible even if I need to take it one day or even one pedal at a time.