In the summer of 2000 I was living in Kingston, Ontario. A few friends (who were my roommates from September – April) came to town one weekend, ostensibly to watch Euro 2000. In the morning, lazing around and deciding which greasy breakfast joint to go to, a couple of us ended up seeing a promo show for that summer’s Tour de France. The race took three weeks and was over 3600 kilometres long. That got us wondering how long it would take to race across Canada. We quickly decided that the answer was ’longer’. We weren’t thinking too well that morning, and a few turns in the conversation led us to decide that we should bike across Canada after we graduate in 2002. It wasn’t much of a decision really. We hadn’t put a whole lot of logical thought to it, but it was a decision, and it seemed like a good idea at the time.
As we began our final year of university, we made plans to go through with it and in January my accomplice, Kinger, and I actually began “preparing”. We went to the gym, went for runs, and would occasionally think about the logistics of it. We were also in our final year at university, so we went to the bars every now and then too. Anyway, everything ended up working out and after Kinger’s parents were exceedingly helpful, we were able to do some real planning and preparation in May. One of the simplest items we decided to bring with us, was, in the end, an item that has proven to be invaluable, a journal.
In 2012, I wrote a manuscript which I was hoping would become a book – it didn’t. The manuscript was about that 2002 bike trip across Canada with Kinger and Gogi and my brain injury the following summer, 2003, which resulted from a crash on that same bike that had taken me from Vancouver, BC to St. John’s, NL. For the bike trip part, I originally planned to rely on my 66 days of journal entries to recount the experience. Instead, I decided to transcribe my journal. After reading it over, I used the benefit of hindsight to write my thoughts about each day, ten years out.
This section contains my journal entries and ten year retrospectives of my bike trip across Canada in 2002. The experience was amazing; fun, tough, frustrating and humourous. It was an incredible summer spent with great friends, and, luckily, great weather. I’m so happy that we decided to write journals for each day, giving me a written account of such a long, difficult and rewarding physical and mental challenge, before my brain injury in 2003 gave me a different perspective on those challenges.
The place names I give are either cities/towns or the last sign I saw on the road. We didn’t necessarily camp there.