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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.
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Thank you so much Barb for your hospitality.
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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 ..
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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!
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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!


There friends, family and media were waiting.

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.

Day 35 Powassan to Home, Ontario

Today we rode 35km down beautiful paved country roads with low rolling hills. We took Memorial Ave to Alderdale to Lake Nosbonsing Road. From there we turned onto Hwy 94 which wasn’t the greatest for cycling. We skirted along Main St through Callandar before jumping back onto Hwy 94 which took us right to Lakeshore Dr., North Bay.

Day 14 Fredricton day off

After checking our route, the weather forecast, the calendar and then checking everything again, we decided we would be safe to stay in Fredricton one more night to give ourselves a break from the bikes. No regrets with that decision!

It was wonderful to run a few errands in town, be tourists and visit with our hosts.

Back on the sunny side

I know it may seem shallow to start another blogpost about the weather but it makes a huge difference in how much we manage to enjoy our day. The sun is back! Yippee!

So yesterday we rode off from Moncton along a remote highway of New Brunswick. Although I have been through the province a number of times it is incredible to see it one meter at a time instead of speeding through on the freeway. We rode through forest most of the time that would open up to beautiful farmland.

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Our backroad route was pretty empty and so when we had to stop to break it wasn’t in a town or village but a picnic on the side of the highway for a feast of what we had packed in our bags. Main course: peanut butter, (high class dining indeed).

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Considering we were camping that night, we didn’t have to worry about getting to our destination at a particular time. That being said, the afternoon was pretty sluggish under the hot sun and any excuse for a break was appreciated. When Nellie cried “I smell raspberries” and pointed at the ditch, we both immediately pulled over to forage from the luscious patch of wild berries. Yum!

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Today we had an earlier start with no one to visit with at breakfast and friends expecting us in Fredricton and Kingsclear. The pace was quick with only a few short fuel breaks and a photo stop with Harvey’s Giant Potato.

 
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This afternoon we were warmly welcomed by the Zuidhof family.
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It has been a lot of fun at their busy household. Swimming, visiting and eating have been the three main activities. It has been a tough decision whether or not to take a full day off tomorrow and bike more kilometres the following 4 days to Quebec City or leave early tomorrow morning to ensure we don’t run behind schedule. Since we are both pretty undecided it sounds like we will take half a day off and leave around 11am tomorrow to get some more visiting and kayaking in before heading north towards Florence-Bristol.

Its getting late so I better hit the hay. 12 days in and still going well! (knock on wood).