Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Thank you

Forty Six days on the road, Fourteen rest days, and thirty-two days of cycling from coast to coast, Vancouver to Halifax. This is what it took me to cycle across this great country of ours. There was a lot of food and liquids consumed, a lot of calories burned and a lot of sweat shed propelling myself across the vastness and endless Kilometers of Canada. There were many mountains climbed in the Western Rockies many rolling hills in the Prairie's and many unexpected and challenging hills in Northern Ontario with little or no cycling shoulders all in record or near record heat. However, when I reached the beautiful province of Quebec I was in cycling paradise. Quebec had wonderful cycling infrastructure from fabulous bike paths to excellent bike lanes on its roads. What a Joy it was to cycle along these roads known as the "Green Route", along the banks of the scenic Saint Laurence. No hills or mountains here, just gentle rolling countryside with picturesque towns and villages that dotted with rich farm land, running down to the majestic Saint Laurence River. It was then on to Grand Falls New Brunswick,with cooler temperatures and it's wide and smooth cycling shoulders.This was another great province to cycle through with lots of friendly people. From New Brunswick it was then on to Amherst, Nova Scotia. with its rolling hills and pastoral farmland and great people. The end was almost in sight. I could almost smell victory. One more day to Halifax and relief mixed with celebration. I arrived in Halifax around 6:00pm on August 12, the same day as the closing ceremonies of the London Olympics. No podiums this weary cyclist though. I just got my feet and bike tires wet wet in the Atlantic at Halifax forty six days after I went through a similar ritual in beautiful Stanley Park in Vancouver, British Columbia. The Odyssey was over it was time to think about getting back to reality which I was happy to return to. 

Not too much left to say except to thank my wife Mary who supported me between Vancouver and Calgary and later on at the other end between Quebec City and Halifax. Also thanks to my daughters Victoria, Sarah and Grace for their unwavering, moral support. 
A special thanks to Beansie and Greg Clark for making me feel at home on my first rest day in Penticton, British Columbia. Thanks also to my cousin Gary who fed and nourished me in Winnipeg, Manitoba while I was mustering up courage to face Northern Ontario. A huge thanks also to Beth and Kerry Keogan in Ottawa who made this road weary traveller feel so much at home with their tremendous hospitality. Thanks Kerry for the photographs, the blog and the wonderful tour of Parliament Hill, and Beth for the wonderful food. You Guys are amazing!! And last but not least a huge thanks to Sheila Laursen in Point Claire Quebec who took care of me in in my hour of need and nourished me back to health after a day of cycling into head wind with the humid ex at 45 Celsius. Thanks Sheila for your wonderful hospitality and the enlightening tour of your beautiful city of Montreal. A huge thanks to Cathy from Sturgeon Falls, Ontario who drove me all the way to Sudbury and back to my bicycle after we found my lost bike pannier, a distance of 126 Kilometers. Cathy I will pass it on. People like you are amazing!
It was great cycling with you David between Wawa and Espanola Ontario. Also To my friend Pierre from Laval, it was great cycling with you, for three days, from just past Montreal to Montmagny Quebec. We will cycle again Pierre in the west, and this time we will take our French, English dictionaries along for the ride.
These are just some of the great people that I was fortunate to meet in on my cycle trip from the West Coast to the East Coast of our great country Canada. 

Your cycling friend,

Sean Collins

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sunday August 12th. The eagle has landed..... I left Sackville at 6.30 this morning. The weather was grey and overcast with a Light fog. I was excited a about my last day in the saddle but not the 214 kms ahead of me. However, I persevered and as the hours passed the kms got shorter. I narrowly avoided several showers but never really got wet. My wife Mary met me at several locations along the way and provided me with nourishment as well as moral support. I finally crossed the McDonald bridge into Halifax at 5.30 PM. I dipped my foot and the bike into Halifax harbour and felt relieved to have this gargantuan journey behind me. It's also nice that I can give this a big X off my bucket list.

I would like to thank all the people for their moral support and also their financial support for Child Haven.

I would especially like to thank my family and my Long Suffering Wife for their patience and support during this arduous journey and futile attempt at self-destruction......


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Saturday August 11th. Just about there..... 1 more day in the saddle... Cycled to Sackville 201 kms with a little bit of headwind. It was raining lightly in the morning when I left and it cleared after about an hour but the skies were heavy and overcast for most of the day. However, except for a few light mists, I luckily escaped rain for the rest of the day. The roads and shoulders in New Brunswick have been excellent. Almost in Nova Scotia. I am determined to reach Halifax tomorrow by hook or by crook to end this 6 week odyssey on the saddle.
Friday August 10th. I started off the day with my second flat tire of the whole trip just 5 kms out the road and it was just starting to rain. This set me back 2 hours. However, despite the rain which cleared up after a few hours I made it to Fredericton which is 210 kms by 5.30 in the evening.

I will be crossing into Nova Scotia tomorrow, hoping to reach Sackville and then Halifax late Sunday evening to dip my bicycle and feet into the Atlantic Ocean.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Thursday August 9th. Rivieres-Du-Loup to Grand Falls New Brunswick today. 191 kms. It was another good day for cycling with a nice tailwind. However there were lots of hills also and the promise of more tomorrow as I head for Fredericton. Beautiful pastoral countryside with gently rolling hills. Great roads in NB with wide smooth cycling shoulders. These past 2 days the cycling has been made easy for me with the assistance from my wife Mary to carry my panniers and take care of my nutrition needs and also for her moral support in assisting the completion of this cross Canada bicycle odyssey.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wednesday August 8th. Left Quebec city today heading for Rivieres du Loup. Caught the ferry across the St Lawrence to the South Shore. There was a beautiful view of the Chateau Frontenac from the ferry. By the time we got across it was late morning and Rivière du Loup was 190 kms away. Some beautiful cycle paths out of the city that got us onto route 132 East. It was a great day riding as we had a tail wind to our backs. We stopped at Montmagny for lunch and this is where I said goodbye to my friend Peter from Laval whom I have been riding with for the past few days. It was a beautiful countryside to ride through along the South shore of the St Lawrence. Finally arrived at 7 pm after another long day on the road.
Tuesday August 7. It was a good day for riding.  I did 125 km.  Beautiful views along the St Lawrence. Pleasant biking today, fairly flat and a few rolling hills.

Made it to Quebec City and will meet my wife Mary tonight.  She is flying in to support me for the last leg of the journey to Halifax.  She will carry my bags and drive a car along side of me through the Maritimes.

Still cycling with the Frenchman I met.  We don't have a lot of words between us as he doesn't speak English and I don't speak French, but it is great to share the road with him. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Monday August 6th. Sean was able to recover on Sunday from his gruelling Saturday ride from Ottawa that took 11 hours in high heat, humidity and with a strong headwind. After supper and a shower, he rallied Saturday evening to enjoy meeting Mary, Nancy Graham and Nancy Schmidt, Paul & Susan and Susan Czarnocki and Lois. He was very grateful for the maps provided by John Schmidt and the good advice of Paul and Susan as he planned his route across Montreal Island and on to Trois Rivières. 

Sean and Paul Sullivan
He decided to remain here for Sunday, which was a rainy day in Montreal, but we went to the service at the Unitarian Church of Montreal in the morning and he met many people who know and support Child Haven, and another avid cyclist too! We also toured the city - so he could see some of its many attractions before cycling out of town. 
Lunch was poutine in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, and supper was in a pub in Pointe Claire Village - all of which he enjoyed and devoured! Paul Sullivan arrived at 6:15 am. today and accompanied Sean through the bike paths to the Old Port. I have a photo of them ready to leave.

Sean phoned me this evening to say he arrived safely and in good shape in Trois Rivières, biking 185kms. He had another cycling partner too - a man who is cycling from Montreal to Rimouski. They were challenged in that Sean doesn't speak French and the other man doesn't speak English, but they were happy to ride together and are even staying in the same motel tonight. Bikes are their common language!


Sunday, August 5, 2012

Saturday August 4th.
Speaking with Sean by phone Saturday evening ...Sean biked 11hr in very hot weather, fighting strong headwinds making it to his destination, Pointe-Claire Montreal around 6 p.m.

He's in great spirits.

Sean, Fred, Beth and Kerry at Maxville
We sure enjoyed Sean's company at our home the past few days. He's a great guy!

Taking a well deserved rest day on Sunday, Sean will be heading off for Trois-Rivières Monday.


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Saturday August 04. It's early morning and I'm leaving Ottawa, off to Montreal. It's going be a hot one, 35 celcius

Thursday, Friday August 2 & 3 Thursday morning I headed out to Maxville to meet Fred Cappuccino at his home.

I met a few of the office staff and had an interview for the Glengarry Newspaper. In the evening I met a group of Child Haven supporters who plan the Ottawa dinners. We had a lovely Pot Luck dinner and lots of time to socialize. Friday morning I was interviewed on Rogers Cable 22, a local TV station. Then Kerry and I went downtown and toured the Parliament Buildings and the Chateau Laurier Hotel. I also had my first smoke meat sandwich at Nate's, a famous local restaurant in Ottawa.
House of Commons Official Opposition Sean Collins

Chateau Laurier Hotel

After a 2 day "rest", I am anxious to be on the road again, to complete the last 1/3 of the trip. I will be meeting folks in Montreal that are Child Haven supporters and staying with Sheila overnight.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Wednesday August 1st. Biked from Cobden to Ottawa 125kms. Had to take Old Highway 17 at Arnprior as cycling is not allowed on the 417 which is partially a gravel road:-( I went through a town called Carp where I lost my bearings. Fortunately I met another cyclist, Dena, who helped me get back on track by using Google Maps. A short time later I was at the outskirts of Ottawa. Arrived at Beth and Kerry's home in Ottawa early in the afternoon where I was welcomed, made feel at home, and treated royally. After supper we did the tourist thing driving around downtown Ottawa, sight seeing. We saw the Parliment buildings, Prime Ministers residence, Rideau Canal and many other places of interest. Tomorrow I will be going to Fred and Bonnie Cappuccino's home, founders of Child Haven International, near Maxville.
Tuesday July 31:  Went form Mattawa to Cobden today 182 kms.  There were lots of hill in the first part of the day and lots of rain in the second part! I passed through Chalk River, Petawawa. I met an American cyclist going the opposite direction.  He said he was heading to Denver.  Pulled into Cobden thoroughly soaked and I managed to get the last hotel room in the city. (There is just one hotel)  On to Ottawa tomorrow for a few days rest and to meet Fred Cappuccino.  Bonnie is in India for now so I won't be able to meet with her.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Monday July 30. Had an interesting day today. Left Sudbury at 6 AM and cycled for 3 hrs. Took a break and noticed one of my bike bags was missing.... Met a lovely lady named Kathy Smith who owns a gas station in Sturgeon Falls who very kindly offered to drive me back to look for it. Found it. Thank you so much Kathy. This set me back 2 hrs, so it was late when I arrived in Mattawa 195 kms later. Checked into a lovely motel called Valois which I got for free. Very nice of them.
Sunday July 29  Made it 170 km from Blind River to Sudbury. There was a good tailwind and although it was a hot day again, the ride went very well.  The scenery is beautiful along the North Channel of Lake Huron. Passed through Algoma Mills, Spragge, and Serpent River before finishing the day in Sudbury. Monday hoping to be in Mattawa at the end of the day.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Saturday July 28th. - after a nice days rest yesterday I cycled 145 kms to a town called Blind River which is on Lake Huron. Very pretty. A good day and weather was really nice.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Thursday. July 26th. Didn't have much energy today after yesterday. Made it to Sault Ste Marie which was a mere 65 kms. Finished around noon and decided to take a rest. Will also make tomorrow a rest day. I am now 2/3 of the way in my journey across this wonderful country. 

I think 14 more days of cycling should do it. Woohoo.....

Wednesday July 25th. This was a very long tough day. Had to cycle 255 kms before I could find a place to stay for the night. Cycled for 14 hrs and 10 of those hrs it rained. On the bright side I met another cyclist Dave who is also cycling across Canada. He is only 22 and doing it for Cystic Fibrosis. Nice to have a bit of company along the way.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tuesday July 24th. Cycled 184 kms today to another small town in Ontario called White River. Should make Sault St Marie by Thursday night. Going to take a day or two off here. So far I have cycled 3,450 kms since I left Vancouver.
Monday July 23rd. Arrived in a small town called Schreiber in Ontario. Cycled 204 kms - lots of hills but beautiful scenery. Have to stress here again that the truck drivers are great. They give me lots of room.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

July 21. Today was a great biking day.  I made it 218 kms from Dryden to Upsala, Ontario.That's 60 kms more than I had planned on for the day. I had a good tailwind and was able to cover a lot of ground. The day started off with a flat tire and so delayed my 6:00 am start until 7:30.  After getting on the road things went quite well.  It was 28 degrees and a lot less humid. Just a lovely day.  I met a man who was walking across Canada pushing his belongings in a 3 wheel stroller.  Sunday I will bike the 145 km to Thunderbay and then call it a day.  I need to get a new tire for the bike.
July 20th. Went 145 kms from Kenora to Dryden

Thursday, July 19, 2012

July 19. Left Winnipeg 6am and arrived at Kenora, Ontario at 4pm, 210 kms. Stiff South wind with 28°C temp. The landscape is beautiful. Lots of lakes and hills.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sunday July 15th. Well, you won't believe it, but Sean made it to Winnipeg this afternoon and this makes him 3 days ahead of schedule. He cycled, since he left Calgary, 1,330 kms in 7 days straight. This completes the second leg of his journey. He is thrilled to be in Winnipeg and is having 3 days rest with his cousin Gearoid. Soooo proud of him.

Saturday July 14th. Sean cycled 235 kms today and made it to a small town called Carbery. It was a fairly rough ride with headwinds. He cycled for 13 hours. Met a guy from Quebec who was walking from Victoria to Newfoundland..... Thought Sean was a bit crazy!!!!!!


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Friday July 13th. Sean is still going strong. Did 174 kms today to a small town called Whitewood Saskatchewan. He was saying that all the truck drivers along the way are very courteous, driving out into the next lane to pass him. He passed a guy today who was dressed up as a knight riding a horse... He heard that he is going all the way to Victoria... Apart from him sweating profusely, not fair on the poor horse. Mary

Friday, July 13, 2012

July 12th. Sean made it to Regina today and this makes him 2 days ahead of schedule. He hopes to be in Winnipeg next Monday where he will rest for three days with his cousin. Sweltering heat through the prairies..... Stayed in a hostel where he met 3 guys traveling from Ireland. Won't get too much sleep tonight!!!! Mary

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Sean made it to a Small town in saskatchewan called Chaplin today - 226 kms. He just kept on going as it was too early to stop in Swift Current...... Hope he doesn't get burnt out. If he makes it to Regina tomorrow he will be two days ahead of schedule. He just can't wait to get this trip done.....

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

July 10th Sean had an early start again this morning 5.40AM and biked 210 kms from Brooks Alberta to Maple Creek Saskatchewan. This was supposed to be the finish for his third day and he made it in 2 . Feeling okay considering it is 34 degrees there. Tomorrow will be a shorter ride, only 140kms..........

July 9th. Sean left Calgary at 5.40am en-route to his next leg of his journey across Canada. He cycled to Brooks Alberta which is 190 kms in extreme heat but made it on schedule. Met another cyclist named Simon and spent some time traveling with him. Good company for each other.
He was sad leaving his family behind and a bit nervous about taking on the rest of the journey alone.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

July 3rd   Leaving Sicamous BC heading for the Rogers Pass.   I started cycling in the rain and finished in the rain at the top of The Rogers Pass - Elevation  1330 meters.  Overall it was a good day for cycling except for the last hour when it deluged.  I was cold, wet and hungry at the end of this 140 Km segment.  Fortunately, my wife had a nice hotel booked right at the top of the Pass and a warm bath/shower set me straight in no time and got me ready for the next day.

July 4th.  Left the Rogers Pass and it was still raining lightly.  However, when I got down the other side the weather started to brighten up and the sun came out. I cycled to Lake Louise  180 kms approximately 8 hours on the road. It was at this point my wife drove on home to Calgary and I stayed at a beautiful hostel in Lake Louise.  During my stay I ran into a Dutch Gentleman who is cycling from the tip of Alaska to the tip of South America. A distance of approx 30,000 kms.  He is taking 18 months to complete this trip.  Makes my journey seem miniscule......

July 5th.  Left Lake Louise at 6.45 AM.  The temperature was barely above zero.  I was pretty cold and thought my fingers would freeze.  However, when I got to Banff I was starting to warm up.  I rushed through Banff at the thought of getting a hot Double Double at Tim Hortons in Canmore, where I had my first break after 75 kms.  I would have made better progress but ran into some east wind which is unusual as the prevailing winds go from west to east.  This put me back a half hour getting into Calgary where I arrived in at 3.30 PM and 180 kms later.

Friday July 6th - Yahoo time in Calgary for the 100th celebration of the Calgary Stampede.  I am taking a short break with my family until Monday to rest up before heading into the Prairies.  From here on I will not have the support from my Long Suffering Wife Mary.  I am hoping to cycle early in the mornings to avoid what is expected to be extreme heat in the prairies.  It is imperative that I drink lots of liquids during this leg of the journey.  No wine or beer for me.......

Monday, July 2, 2012

Saturday June 30th.  Cycled from Princeton to Penticton - 135 kms.  Ran into some thunder showers . Cycled part of the way with other cyclists training for the Penticton Ironman.
Otherwise everything went well.  Getting s bit closer to Calgary every day.

Sunday July 1st.  Took the day off to celebrate Canada Day and stayed with good friends in Penticton. 

Monday July 2nd.  Left Penticton at 7.30 and cycled 197 kms to Sicamous.  A very good day for cycling because the weather was perfect. Not too warm, sunny or windy. Around 22 degrees.
However, there was a lot of holiday traffic on the road because of the long weekend.

Hope to go over the Rogers Pass tomorrow, one of the highest points on the Trans Canada Highway. 


Friday, June 29, 2012

I began my bike journey from the beautiful Stanley Park Vancouver. It was a challenge getting out of the city. I had problem with my bike before I started . I went into the Spokes Bike Rental Shop and a lovely gentleman named Geoff made the quick minor repair free of charge.

Bicycles are not permitted on the no. 1 hwy out of Vancouver because of heavy traffic therefore I had to take an alternate route which is hwy 7 to Hope BC. I cycled 168 kms to Hope at the end of the Fraser Valley. By the time I got to the hotel to meet my Long Suffering Wife I was totally bushed after 8 hrs cycling.

The first leg of many legs is done......


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

My wife Mary and I drive today to Vancouver with my bicycle. to begin my long bicycle trip of approximately 6,100km from Vancouver to Halifax. I am torn between many diverse feeling such as: I can't wait to get on the road; have I bitten off more than I can chew? Am I being naive or perhaps downright stupid to even think of taking on something of this magnitude at my age? However I read an article recently that was based on the premise that sixty is now the new forty.
I said yes! yes! yes! This was exactly what I wanted to hear, because this is the way I feel. Age is only a number and I am 62 years young not old. I feel like a young thoroughbred ready to burst forth from the starting gates and get the job done. By getting the job done I also want to help put some money into the Child haven coffers so that they can continue their award winning work with the needy in India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Tibet.
Sean Collins

Monday, June 25, 2012

I have been preparing for my marathon bicycle trip for the past several months across Canada both mentally and physically. Mentally I have been able to convince myself that I am capable of taking on and completing this self-propelled journey from Vancouver to Halifax. I believe it was Henry Ford who said "If you believe you can or you can't you are correct" Lets hope I am correct. The physical preparation has been a little more arduous. Lots of running and time on the saddle. I did plenty of running in training for the Calgary Marathon which I ran a few weeks ago. Since the marathon I have been focused mainly on the bicycle. I ride back and forth to work every day with longer rides out of the city on the weekends. I have also been focusing on the nutritional aspect and have increased my caloric intake in an effort to put on some extra weight for the journey. I have estimated that I will be burning between five and eight thousand calories a day. It is going to be a real juggling act to keep up the nutrition supply as well as the hydration.
So If you pass me on the hi-way don't forget to throw a bone or some other edible at me. I will eat it unless it bites back.
Sean Collins       

Friday, June 15, 2012

Here's the logo that will be used for this Fundraiser.

Gold coloured jersey with logo front and back.