It’s early July. Daegan and I have been on the road on our tandem bicycle for just under a week. We’ve traveled about 250 miles through heat and humidity, up hills so steep our rear tire spun. At the same time, we were having the time of our lives, passing through some of the most beautiful country our province has to offer and staying with some of the kindest and most interesting strangers who opened their homes to us through the couchsurfing.org website.
All of this was for a good cause, the 500 Kindnesses project: a charity ride we came up with to encourage folks to pledge to perform acts of kindness in the same way other cyclists might ask for donations when participating in a charity ride. We were within site of our goal of 500 pledges and had our fingers crossed that people would make the pledges before we arrived in New York City a few weeks later.
But today we have two concerns: the everpresent concern of staying cool and hydrated, and now a new concern. We are on the Trans-Canada trail, a separated bike trail leading to Ottawa that at the moment was passing through a swamp. The swamp was so filled with biting insects that even wearing insect repellent when we look to our left we see the shadow of our bike, my head followed by Daegan’s head, and then the shadow of the cloud of insects in hot pursuit. Slow down even a little and they would start biting. It was a challenging ride, but finally we made it to a coffee shop where we could load up on cold drinks and calories to fuel our trip. When I stopped I checked my email and there was a message from Geri, an Activity Specialist at The Moorings – a retirement home outside of Chicago. Over the previous months the residents of The Moorings had been following our project and posting their own pledges of acts of kindness on their bulletin board. Geri would collect them and send them to us. Today, though, was a simple message of encouragement – the residents had seen how far had gone and had heard the weather was hot. Were we drinking enough? Were we resting when we needed to?
Throughout the ride we received many messages like this and often at the times we most needed them. Now the holidays are coming and they could use your messages. As you’re preparing your holiday cards, please send an extra one to the residents at The Moorings and bring them a bit of holiday cheer. You can send them to:
c/o The Moorings of Arlington Hts
761 Old Barn Lane
Arlington Hts Il 60005
For those of you on Facebook, please consider joining the event and inviting your friends.
Photo by Jagrap used under creative commons license.