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

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Day forty-six - Toronto ON

This was the countryside we were cycling about 9:30 this morning, a few kms before we reached Dundas. Within an hour we were on Main Street in Dundas and lost. Our map indicated a rail path toward Hamilton and the men at the tire store assured us we'd find it "at the end of the mall". They paused for some time when we asked if there were any streets we could take if the path wasn't suitable. We construed the puzzled expressions to mean we'd have to go back about 2 kms and start again. You know how much we like to go back.

Fortunately, we met Vanja and Ted. We would have been fortunate to meet them under any circumstances; they are plainly people of quality. But it was our immense good fortune to ask them for help as they bicycled by, on their way to their jobs at McMaster University. They explained the rail trail went the other direction, and they gave us impeccable directions to guide us to Hamilton and beyond on streets which did not require any backtracking.

Vanja and Ted with old what's his name on the left. We thank you, Vanja and Ted, for the assistance we needed so badly today. And we wish you the very best of everything, especially your bicycle adventures. If you're interested in a matching Brodie Elan, Ted, mine may be on the market in about three weeks.

So we eventually found Lakeshore. And it went on and on and on. Today was the hottest day of the year so we took great care to keep hydrated and as cool as we could. Eventually, we found our way to the big smoke, where we immediately found a bike shop to inquire about packaging Soe Naing's bike for his trip home and get an assessment of the condition of mine.

As a result of our careful research, we offer this advice: if you're ever in need of service related to your bicycle in Toronto, do not bother with Sweet Pete's on Bloor. They just didn't have time for us. Broadway Cycle, in the next block to the west, was far more helpful and far less bike culture snobbish. Go straight to Broadway Cycle.

This is Bloor Street, west of High Park, near where I'm staying in the basement of the home of Dick's Audrey. She's not here and I've never met her. She's obviously a brave and generous person. Cannot thank her enough.

Today: 109 kms. To date: 4,4216. Total per km pledges "earned": $4,791.14.

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