A group of cyclists from the Greater Toronto Area set out from Victoria on what is expected to be a three-month journey riding across Canada to raise awareness and funds for people living with Parkinson’s Disease.
Dubbed the Rigid Riders and their journey the Cross Canada Parkinson’s Spinning Wheel Tour, their mission is to motivate people who are living with Parkinson’s to take charge of managing their symptoms through intense exercise, while also raising funds to support organizations working to improve the lives of people with the disease.
“There are about 100,000 people living with Parkinson’s in Canada and about 80,000 to 90,000 of them are going about life without any sort of participation in life, in particular exercise, and that’s devastating,” said Steven Iseman. “It’s the only thing that we know of right now that has the potential to be disease-modifying, maybe slowing the progression or even arresting it. We think this message isn’t getting out, and we tried different ways to get this message out, but settled on the only way of us getting that message out is to get on our bikes, go community to community, and spread the word.”
Starting their journey by dipping the back wheels of their bikes in the Pacific Ocean on the shores of Clover Point, Iseman said he and teammates Jim Redmond and Mike Loghrin plan on peddling approximately 125 kilometres a day, six days a week, with Darlene Richards-Loghrin providing support from a motorhome which will be following the group. If everything goes to plan, their far from direct route should see them reach the finish line around 9,000 kilometres away in St. John’s Newfoundland sometime in September, where they will be able to dip their front wheels in the Atlantic Ocean.
It’s a journey far beyond what any of them have taken on before, but Iseman said there is a healthy dose of excitement mixed in with the nerves.
“About two months ago, it was nothing but rearing to go excitement, because it was two months away, but now that it is less than two hours away, I’d say it’s both rearing to go but also scared silly,” he said.
Along their journey, the group is encouraging riders of any skill level to come out and join them on a leg, or to follow their progress online. Those living with Parkinson’s are especially encouraged to get in touch with the group to share their stories and experiences to help bring the Parkinson’s community closer together.
To get in touch with the group, make a donation, or simply learn more about their mission, visit spinningwheelstour.ca.