Go­ing the ex­tra mile

Spe­cial visit with an im­por­tant pur­pose

The Beacon (Gander) - - Editorial - BY JIM HILDEBRAND SPE­CIAL TO THE PI­LOT

TWILLINGATE, NL — Jenna Hildebrand de­cided she wanted to visit her mother-in-law, Pat Hildebrand in Twillingate.

Noth­ing un­usual there, ex­cept for the mode of trans­porta­tion that made the trip all that more mem­o­rable for Hildebrand, along with her sis­ter Beth Roy and fa­ther Eric Roy.

“It was my lit­tle sis­ter Beth’s crazy dream,” Hildebrand said.

She, her sis­ter and fa­ther, along with other fam­ily mem­bers left Fort St John, Bri­tish Columbia and headed to Van­cou­ver. It wasn’t a trip to the air­port to hop aboard a plane for a cross-coun­try flight for a New­found­land fam­ily gath­er­ing. They de­cided that Van­cou­ver would be the start of an 11-week jour­ney, the spot where they would dip into the Pa­cific Ocean. Twillingate was to be the ter­mi­na­tion of their trav­els – a 6,900 kilo­me­tre trip across the na­tion on bi­cy­cles.

Jenna said a friend who had com­pleted the trip a cou­ple of years ago con­vinced them they could do it.

“It was a great trip,” Jenna said, but there were mo­ments along the way where the cy­clists thought oth­er­wise. “When we were in Saskatchewan we ques­tioned what we were do­ing. It was very hot and bor­ing.”

They per­se­vered and ex­actly 11 weeks later they leaped into the At­lantic as fam­ily and friends cheered for them at a party in Bayview, Twillingate. The two girls av­er­aged about 100 km per day with seven rest days. Their Dad biked with them, av­er­ag­ing about 50 km per day. They were ac­com­pa­nied by a fam­ily sup­port team in a ve­hi­cle with trailer.

They went through 17 tire tubes as they tra­versed the coun­try.

“B.C. was the hard­est cy­cling,” Hildebrand said. “We thought P.E.I. was the most beau­ti­ful and Que­bec was over­all the best prov­ince for bik­ing. Que­bec is very cy­clist friendly with it be­ing a very pop­u­lar sport. There are lots of bike paths and lanes with lots of peo­ple rid­ing their bikes.”

Af­ter vis­it­ing Twillingate the fam­ily will be fly­ing back to B.C. Pat Hildebrand, along with her part­ner Wayne Green­ham, will take their ve­hi­cle back to B.C. for them.

A re­peat jour­ney wasn’t in the plans, and it seems that they’ve had their fill of cy­cling for now.

“Once was enough,” she said. “Maybe a trip to Mex­ico. It’s a lot shorter. I think we’ll just get back home to play hockey and roller derby for now.”

And as for jump­ing in the At­lantic, “The water was cold!!!”

Pic­tured (from left) Jenna Hildebrand, 26, with her sis­ter Beth Roy, 24, and their fa­ther Eric Roy, 53, at the fin­ish line of their cross coun­try bi­cy­cle jour­ney in Bayview, Twillingate.

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