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

Monday, July 4, 2011

Day twenty-eight - Emerson MB

[Day 28 was the July 3rd, posted a day late because of wifi issues in Emerson]

Our best of friends in Winnipeg: Mohammad, Hanaa, Sahand and My. A cyclist (not to mention his spouse, mother-in-law and teammate) could not want more generously supportive, encouraging and understanding friends. Great cooks too! Our endless thanks.

The team assembles for Day twenty-eight. The rose in the middle is Aleesha Gillette, the sixth Just Rider and, with no apologies to the boys who preceded her, simply the best! Hers was no ceremonial ride. Aleesha spent the entire day with us, cycling 105 kms (plus more, searching for breakfast and finding our motel). And, from about 8:30 am until we finished, every one of those kms was tough. We faced a stiff SE wind all day and Aleesha set the pace for much of it.

Aleesha has lived in Mae Sot, and visited the Mae Tao Clinic. She contemplates a volunteer stint at the MTC at some point. She commenced her residency in family medicine at the Seven Oaks Hospital in Winnipeg the day after our ride. I guarantee that some lingering aches will remind her all day of her Just Ride. Happily, her man, Brad, made a timely arrival in Emerson to give her a lift home.

We are seriously honoured by Aleesha's support and participation. We salute the best Just Rider to date!

Because of the headwind, it took us over 5 hours and 45 minutes to cover a distance that, in neutral conditions, should have taken a little over 4 hours. Thank heavens we were not carrying panniers. We arrived exhausted, just in time to greet the panniers, transported from Winnipeg by My and Mohammad and family together with Adeline and Teresa. A last supper and another sad farewell.

Today: 105 kms. To date: 2,515 kms. Total "earned" per km pledges: $2,722.49.

1 comment:

  1. Congrats Rod, and Soe Win--the halfway point! I know it isn't literally so, but Winnipeg has always seemed like "the middle of Canada" to me. And Rod's reunion with Adeline makes Winnipeg a milestone of sorts. Best wishes for the final "half"!