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: www.justaid.ca. 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 (www.maetaoclinic.com) and the Back Pack Health Worker Team (www.backpackteam.org).

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 info@justaid.ca.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Day forty-seven - Scarborough ON

This is a day off. There's a fundraiser tonight in Toronto, organized by the local community from Burma. I'm to attend, so I could not leave the city. I probably needed a day off. But I could not stay off my bicycle entirely. That would have been a double whammy, a withdrawal crisis compounding the more serious source of trauma today.

After 46 days of cycling, I've lost my teammate. Soe Naing took me to dinner in the Bloor West Village last night. It was a terrific meal. He said it was to repay me for the dinners I have bought him but it was a great trade for me: in exchange for several mediocre meals, he footed the bill for an excellent feast. After dinner, he went to stay with an old friend in Scarborough. He's getting his bike packaged today so he can check it in on his flight home tomorrow. His vacation is spent. He has such a supportive workplace, he could get an extension. But it is time for him to get home to Than Than and Juno, for practical reasons as well as family needs.

I will see him tonight at the fundraiser, but yesterday was our last day of riding. Gone is the most agreeable, sturdy and helpful partner a cyclist could want, a man whose character is accurately reflected by a dazzling smile. I'm going to miss him, seriously miss him.

So it was something of a distraction to get on my bike and navigate my way across the big smoke. It proved a lot easier than expected. There is a wonderful bicycle path starting about where I turned onto Lakeshore Blvd. I had planned to follow a more downtown route to Scarborough, from which I can travel downtown reasonably conveniently tonight, but again I benefited from some sound local advice. I followed the path until it ended just east of the Beaches.

As I said, a day off. The 31 kms cycled today represent a day off at this point of the trek.


This shot of Toronto's Lakeshore bicycle path was taken on the west side of town. If you expand it enough, you'll be 'rewarded' with a glimpse of the most over-photographed structure in Canada: the CN Tower.


Here's the path in the Beaches area.


This is Pat, whom I met as I was looking for a motel on the Kingston Road in Scarborough. More good luck. Pat informed me of the Great Waterfront Trail, which promises a superb ride for much of the distance from here to Quebec. Many thanks Pat.

Today: 31 kms. To date: 4,457 kms. Total per km pledges "earned" at $1.0825 per km: $4,824.70 (in addition to the donations of $16,004.30 as of today).

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