It will be a long ride.

Rod Germaine
On the steps of his law school in Halifax (Nick Pearce photo, courtesy of Dalhousie University)

The Codger has done it. His crazy journey ended on August 7.

This is the blog of Rod Germaine’s bicycle ride across the continent in 2011. Accompanied by his good friend, Soe Naing, Rodger the Codger left North Vancouver on June 2nd. He did not stop until he got to Halifax where he attended his class reunion. It was the 40th anniversary reunion of the Dalhousie Law School class of ‘71.

Among other things, the ride was a fundraiser for the Just Aid Foundation: The total raised was close to $35,000. Germaine is genuinely grateful to all who donated so generously.

It is worth mentioning that none of the donated funds were used to pay expenses. Germaine paid for the ride with his own money. And the long succession of cheap motels and mostly mediocre meals cost some real money. He did not keep track but a member of his family did; the cumulative total was well over $8,000. Soe Naing was more frugal but he also spent a few thousand dollars of his own money by the time they got to Toronto. Covering the costs out of their pockets was consistent with the policy and practice of the Just Aid Foundation. It is maintained by volunteers; expenses are limited to accounting fees, a modest honourarium for the bookkeeper and the charges imposed by online service providers and credit card companies. Subject to these unavoidable costs, all funds raised by the Foundation are used to support the Mae Tao Clinic ( and the Back Pack Health Worker Team (

Germaine extends his thanks for all the support he received from friends and family, from new friends he made along the way, and from Burma activists in many towns he visited. Four individuals deserve very special thanks:

  -Soe Naing, without whose company and assistance he may not have made it to Toronto;
  -Bob Blair who cheered the team, carried the gear and guided the ride through Southern Alberta;
  -Murray Clemens, whose company and assistance through the Province of Quebec must have cost him a small fortune but was immensely appreciated because it was especially timely and great fun; and
  -last but most certainly not least, his angel Adeline, who transported his gear up the first big hills on the Hope Princeton so he could cycle on a light bike, and who worried constantly but patiently tolerated and even supported a project she considered completely crazy.

The daily blogs follow in reverse chronological order. The blog on the top was posted only recently and it is the last. Earlier blogs are accessible by clicking on “Older Posts” at the bottom of this page. You can contact Germaine at

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Day seventeen - Medicine Hat

Bob's an early riser. So are we, but apparently not so early, as we learned when we opened the motel room door this morning. There he was, across the parking lot, practicing on his "lesser" Weissenborn. In case it may be necessary, a Weissenborn is an acoustic steel guitar and he has two, the other being of superior quality. Bob, who often plays with Andrea House in Edmonton, is preparing for a gig on Sunday, June 26. He will appear in Jeff Bradshaw's annual Canadian Steel Guitar Show in Caroline, AB. Too bad we can't take it in.

The Man and his Weissenborn

When we were ready for the road, Bob loaded all of our gear into his slick, black SUV and stayed behind to practice some more. Whether he was practicing law or on the Weissenborn, I'm not sure.

With no freight at all, our bikes felt weightless and the ride was "the best ever", as Soe Naing described it. After 39 minutes, we stopped for the first time; we'd travelled 20.5 kms. Yes, of course there was a tailwind. The nearest prospect for breakfast was 57 kms from Taber, in Bow Island. We were there in two hours.

Bob meanwhile had overtaken us and scouted the only restaurant in town. He parked, pulled his bike out and joined the Just Rider crew as we pulled up at the Rolling Pin, a bakery and restaurant with a distinctly Mennonite character and delicious food.

So Bob is the fifth Just Rider. To record the event, we asked a passing couple if one of them would take the mandatory photograph. The gent obliged and asked about our trek. When we explained, Kent Brown pulled $40 from his pocket and made a donation. The village of Bow Island proved to be a surprisingly positive experience on the road to Halifax.

Today's team: Bob, Soe Naing and old what's-his-name

Another 60 kms to Medicine Hat and more to the home of Elizabeth and Alan, Bob's sister and brother-in-law. Elizabeth and Alan have generously offered us shelter, a shower, a washing machine and dinner! We are spoiled!

Serious thanks to Eric and the CEP, Local 467 for the major boosts to the per km pledge rate!

Today: 121 kms. To date: 1,368 kms. Total "earned" pledges at $0.6825 per km: $1,412.46.

1 comment:

  1. Imagine how envious I was as you disappeared into the rain yesterday morning.......

    anxiously awaiting todays' entry which I hope will come from Swift Current.