Posted by Editoress on 08/11/05
Sea to Sea Bike Tour Reaches Halfway Point
Dave Raakman, Sea to Sea Communications
Church's cross-Canada cyclists reflect at tour's midpoint in Thunder Bay
Halfway toward the completion of a large goal is usually a good time to reflect and take stock of the journey so far. That's just what a large group of cyclists riding across the country was able to do when "Sea to Sea with the CRC"-the largest cross-Canada bike tour ever held-reached its midpoint.
Ninety-four of the 157 riders are cycling all the way from Vancouver to Halifax this summer and marked the tour's halfway point with a gathering of reflection at the Terry Fox monument in Thunder Bay earlier this week.
What? Sea to Sea with the CRC is a cross-Canada bike tour. Where? Vancouver, BC to Halifax, NS 7,125 kms.
When? June 25 Sept. 3, 2005.
Who? 157 cyclists, mostly from the Christian Reformed Church.
Why? Celebrate 100 years in Canada, foster unity, and raise funds to develop new churches.The folks who make up this massive peloton are Christians representing some of the 240 congregations of the Christian Reformed Church (CRC) in Canada. The tour comes to the Toronto-area in mid-August.
The "Sea to Sea with the CRC" bike tour is a celebration of the church's 100th anniversary in Canada and serves as a great way to bring congregations and people together. Funds raised prior to the start of the tour will support the development of new churches that will have a positive impact in communities across Canada.
"We're looking forward to meeting up with all sorts of people from Canada," said John Van Sloten, a minister from Calgary, Alta., who is one of the cross-Canada cyclists. "But we're not going across the country with a collection plate. What we really want is to draw attention to the Make Poverty History campaign and call Canadians to action on this important issue."
The bike tour started June 25 from Vancouver and is expected to conclude 10 weeks later on Sept. 3 in Halifax. Ninety-four of the cyclists are riding the full 7,125-kilometre distance while the rest are participating for at least a 4-week section. There are currently 107 riders on the middle leg of the tour; the peloton swells to 132 cyclists for the last section from Guelph, Ont. to Halifax.
So far, there have been many moments to celebrate and also some to grieve on this tour.
The day before the tour started, a family member to two of the riders passed away suddenly;
The first celebration in Abbotsford, B.C., was an energetic start to the tour and the church's summer of celebration, marking 100 years of the CRC in Canada;
One week into the journey, a rider from Brighton, Ont., suffered a fractured elbow and returned home sore and disappointed;
At many places along the route, supporters and congregations opened their hearts and homes to welcome the riders, often providing wonderful meals in the process;
Another rider lost his mother and left the tour for a few days to attend the funeral;
More than 1,600 people celebrated with the tour in Cochrane, Alta., the site of one of the CRC's newest churches;
The tour's oldest rider, a 75-year-old from Wingham, Ont., returned home after a fall in Saskatchewan in which he broke bones in his face;
The cyclists enjoyed two weeks of exceptional weather conditions for the most part across the prairies, a rarity for this part of the country;
The tour received news that a cyclist from the Kingston, Ont., area set to join the tour in Ontario was hit by a truck while training and suffered a severed spine causing paralysis;
The Wingham, Ont., cyclist returned to the tour much earlier than anticipated, an inspiration to the tour;
The cyclists have collectively faced more than 250 flat tires.
"Cycling and this bike tour are metaphors for life," said Van Sloten. "There are ups and downs, joys and struggles, and we've faced them on this journey too, individually and as a community."
The tour makes it way across the north part of Toronto on Monday, Aug. 15, staying overnight in Woodbridge at Toronto District Christian High on Woodbridge Ave.
More information on the tour is available at www.SeatoSea.org.
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