From the time I got my license on my 16th birthday up until about 5 years ago I didn’t ride a bike. The bug bit me accidentally when my son won a bike in a raffle at the dentist’s office. I didn’t want him to have to be limited to riding circles in the playground and so I bought a used bike. “Just for riding in the ravine with Daegan.” That lasted about two months before I started riding further and further and then actually going on the road. I still remember one day I went for a ride and came home thrilled with myself that I had made it 15 kilometres (about 9 miles). I built up stamina pretty quickly, though, and before long was able to ride to work daily – 40 km round trip. About that time the bug bit me. I wanted to ride further. If it was possible to ride to the store or to ride to work, surely it would be not much of a leap to ride to a whole other city. At the same time, it felt selfish to ride that far when so many are able to use a ride like that to help others. It was then I found out about the Friends for Life Bike Rally.
The Bike Rally is a charity ride from Toronto to Montreal, a total distance of about 600 km over the course of 6 days. Riders and crew work together to raise money for the Toronto People with AIDS Foundation. This organization provides food programs including a food bank, income assistance, treatment programs, and health promotion programs for men, transmen, transwomen, women and children living with HIV/AIDS in Toronto. It is a fantastic ride for an amazing cause. And then I saw the minimum fundraising amount: $2,200. The most I’d raised to that point was about $75. I shelved the idea, completely overwhelmed at the idea of raising that much money. Where would I start.
In December of 2009, though, I came across information about the ride again. This time, I resolved, I would try to do the ride. I’d figure some way to raise the money – and whether I was successful or not, PWA would benefit. If I didn’t try, PWA was 100% certain to get no help from me. To make a long story short, I raised the money – almost $1,000 more than the minimum and had a wonderful time as well.
I had such a wonderful time that a few days after I returned I resolved to do it again. And the ride itself felt so good that I resolved to ride even farther after the end of the Bike Rally the more money I raised. In the end, I raised close to $4,000, rode 1,050 kilometres to Quebec City and had an amazing time and told the story of it over at Long Ride East.
This year, of course, I won’t be doing the Bike Rally. I wanted to do a ride this summer with Daegan and at his age he is a bit young for the rally itself. However, I still want to help the Bike Rally as much as I can. So from here on out, I will donate $1 for every pledge received during a given month to the Bike Rally up to a total of $200 per month.. You can make your pledge here.