Thursday, May 6, 2021

My Covid-Inspired Cycling Journey Across North America

When the Covid-19 pandemic first took hold in March 2020 we responded quickly as a family - including strict stay at home orders and no outside contact until we could get a handle on the risks.

The first major impact for me was losing my hockey game(s) each week. Sunday morning hockey and Tuesday night beer league games were put on indefinite hold. More about my 45-year hockey story here.

The question now turned to exercise. Those who know me well will attest to the fact that I have a serious sweet tooth and extended time without elevated heart rate was going to pack on the pounds. Running was quickly ruled out because, as a sprinter, I don't think my body is equipped to run past 200 meters. 

My attention now turned to the garage where I had a couple of 20 year old bikes sitting there - a Kona mountain bike and an aluminum Trek 100 road bike. I remembered back to some epic rides growing up including: 

  • 1986 - Braeside (Southwest Calgary, Alberta) to Okotoks on my BMX bike (~70km)
  • 1987 - Braeside to Hawkwood (Northwest Calgary) on my BMX bike (~60km)
  • 2005 - Markham (North of Toronto, Ontario) to Barrie on Trek (~172km!)
  • 2013 - Wynantskill (East of Albany, NY) to Saratoga Lake on Trek (~70 miles)

So off I went - taking off from our home in West Boynton Beach, FL each Sunday morning. 

I explored towns north, south and east of our house and then settled on a route on A1A highway (by the ocean) from home to Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort and then down to Linton Avenue and back home. This was roughly 50 miles - and I would never come off the pedals for almost 3 hours (on red lights I would turn right and then U-turn back).

As I logged more and more miles each week I started to track on a spreadsheet - because that is what I do as an analyst! More on why I count everything here.

As the mileage started to reach 500 miles - I gave myself a goal to ride the equivalent of mileage to Toronto, Canada.

Now with 1,182 miles in the books and a pandemic that was lingering into a new year, the plan expanded to now ride over to my mom's house (virtually) in the Sunshine Coast, BC.

I also started to get enamored with cycling shows on YouTube, social communities, and newer bike technology. I walked into a local Trek dealership and said it was time to upgrade the 20 year old aluminum bike to something more modern (carbon) and aerodynamic. I was shocked to hear the pandemic drove up demand (kinda like toilet paper) of road bikes and they were quoting me a 1.5 to 2 year waiting list for bikes!

I wasn't willing to make a 50% deposit on something I wouldn't see for years so put the plan on the back burner. 

One day, we (Michelle, Brooklyn, and Cali) were down at Delray Marketplace (about 5 miles down the road from our house) and I mentioned I was going to pop into a new cycle shop called Epic Cycles.  

They miraculously (and unexpectedly) had just received a new BMC SLR carbon road bike in my 54 size that day. I told them I would think about it and left the store - about 20 seconds later I gave the kids some money to go to the candy store and I made a quick u-turn back into the store!

Now I was cooking with gas! My average speed improved by about 2 mph and I was carving 50 mile Sundays without the pain and suffering that it normally came with.

I was also moving my way across Canada on my new goal to Vancouver. As of this writing (May 6, 2021), I have passed Regina and now en route to my alma mater - Lethbridge, Alberta:

With Vancouver coming into view (about 11 more Sundays) I am guessing I will start to (virtually) ride down the Oregon coast to California and back across the southern U.S. visiting my daughter Danica in Waco, Texas (2nd year law school finished, go national champion Bears!). 


8/17/21 - This past weekend I made it to the Sunshine Coast - my mom's home - just north of Vancouver, BC!

This strange Covid-inspired journey will likely be 6,000 miles of riding and a couple of years to encircle North America.

So there is my cycling story - I believe it may have just begun a lifelong hobby on the pedals!

Other personal stories are here...

My Life Story
 - Have you ever thought about the impact of big decisions that you made in your life? How about the small ones or the ones made for you? How would have your life turned out if things went the other way?

My Love Story - Michelle and met on October 15, 2010 in a serendipitous way. We were both part of a charity in Raleigh, NC and one night at a dinner struck up a conversation about many things - including our love of travel.

My Housing Story - After 13 moves and stops in three Canadian Provinces and three U.S. States, here is my journey in pictures from the Northwest to the Southeast of North America.

My Car Story - I have the dubious honor of getting speeding tickets on all 6 driveable continents - lucky that there are no cars in Antarctica! Did I ever tell you the time I passed the Polizia in Italy with my mom?

My Travel Story - After visiting 85 countries (many with kids in tow), we are preparing for a trip to our 7th continent (Antarctica) in January 2021 assuming restrictions from COVID-19 lift.

My Nautical Story - I am pretty sure the love of water started in 1972 when I was six weeks old and my grandparents Bob and Dona McBain retired to Shuswap, British Columbia, Canada, and built a log cabin.

My Crazy MBA Story - In the summer of 2017, while climbing Machu Picchu, Peru as part of my wife Michelle’s International MBA from Manhattan College, I thought – why not me?

My Hockey Story - As long as I can remember, I have been playing hockey. Over four decades and thousands of games later, I still lace them up a couple times a week, year-round.

My Christmas Story - Whether traveling to see family, or going to Disney or Hawaii, or simply staying home - the season is packed with memories of family and friends.

My Music Story - My favorite music can be best defined as sad / emotional / multi-level slow music. Oddly, it is opposite of my worldview - which is normally overly-positive and optimistic.

My Movie Story - Oddly enough, I think Pretty Woman made me very interested in business. I named my cat Austin Powers - oh, and yes, "Danger" is his middle name. Our current dog is named August Rush (Auggie Doggy). Movies such as Planes, Trains & Automobiles, Forrest Gump, & National Lampoon's Vacation have become soundtracks to my life.

These are all my personal stories. My business stories wrap around channels, partnerships, alliances, and ecosystems and can be found here