Re­al­iz­ing a dream

Summerside cou­ple com­pletes bi­cy­cle trip across most of Canada

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE ISLAND - BY MIL­LI­CENT MCKAY Mil­li­cent.mckay@jour­nal­pi­

It’s been Dennis Due­meier’s dream since he was a young boy.

Now 58, Due­meier has cy­cled across the coun­try and fi­nally re­al­ized his dream, shar­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence with his wife, Jane Hen­der­son, 57.

“You know how peo­ple say they want to do some­thing and you think they’re kid­ding?” asked Hen­der­son. The cou­ple lives in Summerside.

“That’s what I thought about cy­cling across Canada un­til Dennis asked me if I bought the plane tick­ets to Van­cou­ver,” said Hen­der­son.

To pre­pare for the trip they spent Jan­uary and Fe­bru­ary in Florida, cy­cling ev­ery day.

“We cy­cled about 3,000 kilo­me­tres to pre­pare. We thought we were pre­pared when we left. But we weren’t as ready as we could have been,” said Due­meier.

On June 3, the pair packed their es­sen­tials into six bags and set off on their 10-week jour­ney.

“We packed our bi­cy­cles into boxes. Sent them on the plane and re­assem­bled them in Van­cou­ver,” said Due­meier.

Their first up­hill climb (lit­er­ally), were the moun­tain passes in the Rock­ies.

“We had to walk up it. I’d look up and think oh man, this is aw­ful,” said Hen­der­son.

She added, “But fourth day into the trip, which was when we were com­ing down those hills, were prob­a­bly some of the most fun.”

They re­turned to the Is­land 62 days later, by­pass­ing the ter­ri­to­ries, Nova Sco­tia and New­found­land and Labrador.

“If we had gone from east to west, it would have been a lot harder. Com­ing this way there was in­cen­tive be­cause you just wanted to get home. There’s no in­cen­tive to get us to Van­cou­ver,” said Hen­der­son.

Their days would be­gin around 5 a.m. and after a cup of cof­fee and a hearty break­fast, the duo would pack up and hit the toad by 7 a.m.

Next would come about 30 to 40 km of rid­ing and then a mid­morn­ing snack.

Then there was an­other 20 to 25 kilo­me­tres be­fore lunch. On av­er­age, they cy­cled about 100 km a day.

“After lunch we would want to stop more of­ten. But we would power through and keep going, stop­ping for snacks along the way.”

At least the sights were never bor­ing, said Due­meier.

Hen­der­son added, “We met so many other cy­clists. It re­ally helped us keep going and get over the hur­dle of the men­tal side of this trip. Know­ing they were going through the same thing we were, was a com­fort.”

When the cou­ple hit the On­tario leg of the trip, the end was in sight.

“Al­though there was still a lot left, it’s like we could see the finish line,” he said.

Look­ing back, Hen­der­son is im­pressed that she com­pleted the trip.

“I knew Dennis was. I learned quickly that he never gives up. But I didn’t think I had the stamina to do it. It was harder than I thought and it was a very rugged trip.” Due­meier agreed.

“It proved to be a chal­lenge. I thought we were in bet­ter shape. It was harder than any­thing I’ve ever done.”

Hen­der­son added, “But any­one can do it at any age. If you want to get out there and try some­thing. Go and try it.”

To learn more about their jour­ney go to https://splitcrow. ca/2017/05/19/van-2-pei-our­cy­cling-trip-across-canada/.


Dennis Due­meier, left, and Jane Hen­der­son with their bikes out­side their Summerside home. The hus­band and wife duo re­cently com­pleted a 10-week cy­cling trip across most of Canada.

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