Wow, after 3000km of biking, 35 days on the road, 62 blog posts and $4 000 raised for Habitat for Humanity, I will be sad to see the end of this Ride for Home but equally excited to see what it has allowed the community to accomplish together.
Yesterday, our day started with a delicious gourmet breakfast from Barb at The Sparrows Nest B&B. It was totally unexpected and thoroughly enjoyed.
Thank you so much Barb for your hospitality.
We hit the road early in order to be absolutely certain that we were not late for our group ride. It was so exciting to ride through Callander, getting closer and closer to ..
We had left room in our schedule for several flat tires, navigation problems and injuries that just never happened so we were an hour early. Ice cream break!
Meeting the group at Sunset Park Public School was phenomenal! Our mayor, Al McDonald and chair of Habitat North Bay and Blue Sky Region, John Humble were there in cycling gear, ready to ride, as well as neighbours and friends from the community. My sister, Hannah and two friends Leah and Caitlin had all dressed up for the occasion.
We rode along the Kate Paceway to our destination
the gateway to the North!
I have never seen my parents so excited and proud.
After interviews with The Nipissing News, MCTV, Cogeco, The Nugget and EZ rock it was time for some speeches and a proclamation!
Habitat for Humanity presented Nellie and I with certificates for our efforts.
Al McDonald then proclaimed August 18th, 2012 as Ride for Home Day. That’s right folks, I hope you celebrated accordingly with a bike ride or a contribution to your community!
The barbeque was amazing! It was even better than I imagined. It was an event that I had played over and over in my head..you get a lot of thinking space when you cycle 5-8hrs a day. My family and the sponsors did a lot of work to put the whole thing together. The signs were beautiful, the hotdogs (with homemade relish and fried onions) were delicious, the corn was so fresh and the cake was to die for!
But wait it gets better, there were so many people! Over fifty people came out to celebrate with us. I wished I had multiple me’s to talk with everyone.
The interviewer of MCTV asked me what I had learned about myself and Habitat along this trip. I had a hard time answering this on the spot and infront of the camera but with some reflection I realize I have learned so much. I will share a few key points:
First of all, I learned that cycling 3 000km is possible and can feel like a Sunday afternoon ride in retrospect.
Secondly, I learned that the snowball effect works when you are willing to put yourself out there. I am still blown away by the generosity of the people I have encountered this summer. There is so much good in this world and its contagious!
At the beginning there were definitely doubts that this would work. My efforts to organize this ride and rally support, at times felt futile. After rejections from businesses and disinterest from people, the whole project seemed as though it would never come together. The idea was silly, Newfoundland to North Bay was just to far for an inexperienced cyclist and $2500 was inacheivable fundraising goal. Plus, housing? Pff, nobody really cares about that. Thankfully doubting Heather was proven wrong.
As I pedaled I never had to ask anyone donate to Habitat, people said they were inspired to give. It was incredible to witness the donations coming in online from friends, family, community members and people we met along the way. Two people pedaling really can drive a community to come together and push for adequate housing for all.
Plus, people wanted to contribute to our journey. So many welcomed us (sweaty and muddy) into their homes, satisfied our ferocious appetites and insisted on nothing more than a thank you in return.
So MCTV reporter, I have my answer ready now. With support from others, a crazy little idea and some pedaling really can materialize into an inspired community and a step closer to a home for all.
Thank you to everyone who was a part of Ride for Home. To the procrastinators out there, the donation page will stay open for the next few months incase you still want to donate. The ride is over but the journey to better housing has only just begun.