Monday, June 28, 2010

How To Raise Money For Charity

This is a very good question and one that I have been pondering for some time. As I have mentioned earlier, I have been looking for corporate sponsors to help fund Samuel’s awareness efforts. I got so excited after receiving the $25 dollar gift card from Staples but then … Nothing! I canvassed and called and emailed to no avail. I have come to the conclusion that nobody is just going to give me money.

When I asked one store (Peavey Mart) for money, they said no to the money, but they could donate an item for a charity auction. Well this certainly got the gears grinding in my head. I pondered it for a few weeks and then decided to give it a try. I do not have the funds or manpower to hold a live, in person auction, so I thought I would try an online auction instead.

I went back to Peavey Mart and they gave me my first donation, a toaster oven.

I had more shopping to do so everywhere I went I hit up the manager for a donation. By the end of the day I had a digital picture frame from Canadian Tire and a couple of nice western shirts from the Hitching Post.

I started thinking that this could really work. I decided to really put the idea to the test. I spent one whole day canvassing 5 blocks of stores in downtown Yorkton. I came away with almost $1300 worth of donations as shown in the picture up top. I also have more promised and a lot of follow up calls to make.

This could actually work as long as I can get the traffic to the auction. Once I get the auction online, I will put up links here on the blog and on Arctic Toboggan. So please tell all of your friends to come and bid and support a good cause.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


The Kidney Foundation held a Fun Run & Walk

Some of the participants walking across the bridge in the Ravine Ecological Preserve in Yorkton, Saskatchewan.

After the walk, the we gathered to fellowship and listen to a live band at the Royal Canadian Legion on Broadway.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

River Paddle

The paddle on the left is the paddle that I made for my canoe trip on the river. It is compared against a store bought 60" paddle. I have always hated the fact that I have a fairly wide wing span, but the paddle selection in stores is very limited. The overall length of this river paddle is 208cm. The blade is 52cm to the shoulder, then a 26cm long taper (throat) to the shaft. I put on a flat grip to provide enough leverage to manipulate the large blade surface. I will be posting a thorough review of the paddle performance after my trip.

My next project will be to make my main paddle, which will be a little shorter than this river paddle.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

New Canoe

A picture of my new canoe for my cross Saskatchewan canoe trip.

Currently, my plan is to canoe the South Saskatchewan River from the Alberta border to the Manitoba border. I am building a toboggan at the moment and will not be leaving on this canoe trip until after the toboggan is completed.

I am also in the process of building a couple of paddles for the trip. I find that large river canoeing is fairly easy going and commercial paddles are often too small, so I will build a couple of different larger paddles for river travel.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Lessons Learned - Part III

Now that my cross Saskatchewan trip is done, I have a severe farmer’s tan. In fact I began peeling on my nose and one of my calves. I should have figured out some sort of visor to wear under my helmet, or perhaps used sunscreen. It is a good thing that it was cloudy most of the trip, I hate to think of what I would have looked like, had it actually been sunny.

Not to give any product a bad name, but I did try a common sport’s drink and it made me sick. It was like drinking way too much cold water on a hot day. My stomach felt upset all the time while drinking it. As soon as I switched to natural fruit juice, my upset stomach went away and no more nausea.

During my ride, I drank 3-4 times more than my normal daily fluid intake. I found myself consuming approximately 5-6 litres a day. It seemed like a lot to me, but I had no cramps and I was able to cover so much more ground than I ever could before. (Prior to this cross Saskatchewan cycling trip, during my training rides, I often got cramps in my feet and legs.) As a direct result of the constant hydration, my energy levels and drive remained high all day.

I read a lot of advice in the magazines, recommending that long distance athletes listen to music as a way of keeping their minds off the task at hand, or to help them keep pace, etc. Yet, I found that there was very few times that I even thought about the need for such a distraction. I enjoyed the peace and quiet of the ride. The last thing I would want on a long bike trip would be to have some annoying chorus repeating through my head over and over again, driving me insane. Though if I did have my choice of something to alleviate occasional boredom, I believe I would prefer an audio book to listen to.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Lessons Learned - Part II

Stretching and Massage
300 kilometres in a day is a long ride, and I tensed up fast. During my stop breaks, I continually stretched my legs in several different directions. Then worked my knuckles into the muscles to loosen them and get rid of all the lactic acid and increase blood flow. This definitely helped with muscle recovery and kept me going strong for 700km.

Sore Wrists
A sore spot that I found happened daily was that my wrists got sore. I had to keep moving them around to facilitate good blood flow and to keep my little fingers from falling asleep. I did find that keeping my wrists straight helped a great deal. The next time I am going to look for different grips that might provide more support. And perhaps I can find those handlebars that allow the rider to shift the weight on the forearms as well.

Enjoying The Ride
Every once in a while I felt it necessary to give myself a very small break from the monotonous pedaling, and would speed down a hill, or more usually draft off a passing transport truck. At first, I thought that it was more polite for the truck drivers to move over a bit, if possible, but then after a while, I found that it was nicer if they just stayed in their own lane and cut the wind for me. When a fast transport would pass, I would cut in behind and being drawn along by his draft, I would enjoy a boost of speed. When several transports would pass close together, my speed would increase so much, that I could easily go from the humdrum of 25km/hr to 40+ km/hr.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Lessons Learned - Part I

Pacing and GPS
An important first lesson was to learn to pace myself. At first I would go as fast as I could early in the morning, but then I soon found myself tired out, making slow progress. I would pedal full speed down hills or with a gust of wind, then pedal extra slow going up hill or into the wind. It did not take me long to realize that this pattern was very draining on my physically as well as psychologically.

It was a mistake to go too fast when the terrain was easy. When I kept the pace steady on the down hills, I had more strength and endurance to climb the inevitable hill.

After revamping my strategy, I found that if I kept the GPS spedometre between 24-26km/hr I could maintain more consistent energy levels, and my motivation levels would also stabilize. During a cross wind, I would set my speed a little slower, but still maintain a two kilometre per hour range. I never got too fast, or too slow. The strategy worked great.

Taking Breaks

I had set a demanding pace for myself (I realize that this pace is nothing compared to seasoned athletes, but for me it was a challenge.) and it was hard on my knees and muscles. Initially, every hour or so I would get off my bicycle and walk for a few minutes. This gave my legs (and seat) time to recover and change up the muscle usage, preventing repetitive muscle damage. It worked better than just sitting by the side of the road waiting for my muscles to recover. The problem was that my moving speed suffered drastically every time I walked. So the second day I began to try a different approach to my rest. I put the bicycle in it’s highest gear and stood up, pedaling once every ten seconds or so, alternating standing on one foot for ten seconds then the other. My moving speed reduced to 10-12km/hr, but it was still faster than walking. This rest system worked well. I was able to change the muscle memory and stress on my legs sufficiently that, after a few minutes, I could go back to my set pace.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Day 3

Springside is only about 16km down the road from Theodore. It was an easy ride, except for the fact that I was getting a little saddle sore. My choice of shorts the day before was not a good choice. I learned that it is best to wear shorts with less seams.

By the time I arrived at Yorkton the wind had picked up and was coming from a southerly direction.

Even though Rokeby is a small village, their efforts to welcome visitors is certainly appreciated. So many of the towns along the Yellowhead would not even put up a sign.

There were two young Belgian stallions on the way to Saltcoats.

A new picture of the Saltcoats sign. I was reminded of when I did my first 100km ride, and how far I have progressed in my health.

Saltcoats to Bredenbury was a challenge. The highway turned quite southerly and I was pushing into a headwind. This stretch certainly slowed my speed and drastically affected my moving average.

After Churchbridge the highway turned southeast again, which meant I was able to pick up the pace, considering there was only a cross wind.

I almost missed the Langenburg sign. It was located in the centre of town and on the north side of the road.

Right beside the sign was a tourist rest area where there is a children's play area, and a giant swing called Goliath.

PJ joined me for the last 15km, and picked me up at the border. A few kilometres outside of Langenburg I ran into a torrential rain cloud. Just before the rain the wind changed to a strong east direction and almost brought me to a walking pace. The rain fell hard, but it felt great to cool down.

It took me just over six hours, traveling at a pace around 20km/hr, to make the last 123km. Altogether my GPS said the trip covered a total of 705.38 kilometres. Not bad for a guy who a couple of months ago was often ill and could hardly get out of bed.

I have to give a huge thanks to my sponsors. Without them I could not have done any of this. So please take a few moments to click over to their sites and say thanks.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Day 2

Colonsay is not on the highway, but the town has put a lot of work into their Welcome Sign and centre piece that I took a picture of it anyway. It was the most picturesque setting that I had seen on my cross Saskatchewan ride. The town is about 53km eastward of Saskatoon, just south of the Yellowhead.

Not much happened on the road to Lanigan. I just kept pedaling and pedaling. It started to get very boring.

From Lanigan to Wynyard the road just kept rolling. Long hills and a south cross wind, made the trip long and tedious. Dayfoe is a small town located about halfway between Lanigan and Wynyard. The shoulder of the road from Dayfoe to Wynyard is in terrible condition, and there was a great deal of transport truck traffic.

Foam Lake was a nice clean looking town.

An hour or so past Foam Lake and I stopped in to visit Anka who was staying with PJ during my cycling trip. I missed my little puppy!

Another hour down the road and I made it to Theodore. Total distance covered this day was 267 kilometres. I traveled less distance than the first day, but also rode for 2.5hrs less today.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Day 1 - Part III

A picture of the old, and new, Borden Bridge. The bridge is a ways out of Borden, but it seemed to be a popular weekend spot with the locals. The southern sky reveals the weather I was headed toward. So far, the wind had been a kind traveling companion, but soon it would turn against me and I would be struggling to keep a decent pace.

Here is the nice sunny weather that I was leaving behind.

A view of the river from the old Borden Bridge. There were several people around, enjoying the weekend. Children running around, people fishing, etc. It was a nice spot to stop and spend the day, but I was on a mission.

After crossing back over to the south side of the North Saskatchewan River, there were a few nice views of the river valley.

A European style cottage down by the river.

It is not very often that I see the old rural mailboxes. A nice piece of history that is fading away.

The old rural mailboxes are being replaced by the new more efficient design.

Finally, at almost 300km later, I reached Saskatoon. Cycling through Saskatoon was a bit of a challenge. There are certain roads that bicycling is not permitted on and I had to wiggle my way through the city. The next time, I may contact the Saskatoon cycling club to find out if they have maps of bicycle routes through the city. One challenge was to find a bridge where cyclists were allowed to cross. Finally I asked a group of children and one of them told me where to find the old Victoria Bridge. Once across the South Saskatchewan River I made my way back to the Yellowhead and headed out of the city. It was getting late but I wanted to make up for getting turned around in the city. I did not stay on the road for long, as the sunlight quickly faded and a drunk driver was swerving all over the road and swerved way too close for comfort. I stopped in a little town called Clavett.

The first day my GPS recorded that I had covered only 315.81 km. I had a moving average of 22.7 km, and was moving for almost 14 hours, though I had stopped several times to stretch, walk a bit, and eat, etc.

Day 1 - Part II

There are several small towns, which dot highway 16, but only a few of them put out welcome signs.

A visitor's map of the Battlefords and area. The problem with cycling through the Battlefords is that there was a sign on the bridge over the North Saskatchewan River that said no bicycles. Then there is a steep climb on the north side of the river.

It had started to sprinkle by the time I hit Radison.

This is a signpost outside of the Radisson picnic area. I was ready for a break, so I pulled in to have some lunch and take the town up on the offer to taste their water. And for a Prairie town, their water tasted good.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Day 1

Lloydminster is a town right on the border of Alberta and Saskatchewan, and would be where I would start my trip. I arrived Friday evening (June 4th) and began looking for a motel to spend the night. The Good Knight Inn was the first motel that I stopped at, but they would not let me stay unless I gave them a description of my car and the license plate. I told them that I was traveling by bicycle, but they just looked incredulously at me. The motel staff was giving me such a hassle that I decided to go somewhere else (though they thought that no other motel would let me stay either). Since they were giving me such a difficult time, I was worried that they would also take my personal contact and payment information and use it mischieviously. I had quite a time getting my information back. From now on I will avoid the Good Knight Inn.

Just down the road was the BCMI. They did not seem to mind that I was traveling by bicycle. They treated me just fine. I had a good night's rest and was ready to go early in the morning.

This is the Border sign in the middle of down town Lloydminster. There is not much traffic at 5:30 am.

A couple of blocks down is the Saskatchewan Visitor Information building. The flags reveal that there is a gentle westerly breeze to get me started this morning.

The road out of town.

I didn't know how the law would react to me using my cell phone on my bicycle, so most of the time I just stopped when using it.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Samuel Is Finished!!!!!

Samuel finished his cross Saskatchewan trip today! Yay!! I am so excited!!

He will post some pictures from his trip tomorrow.

Another 267 km Behind Him!

Yesterday, Samuel travelled another 267 kilometetres. He only has 122 more kilometres to go. He is going to try and make it today, but the wind has decided to change directions and blow in his face, so he will not be able to keep the same speeds as the last two days. Samuel has been pushing himself very hard, but that is the kind of man he is. Way to go Samuel!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

315 Kilometres in One Day!!!!

Yes! I said 315 km in only one day. Samuel started early yesterday morning in Lloydminster and just kept going until he got to the small town of Clavet, 18 km past Saskatoon! Stay tuned to see how far he gets today! Don't forget to click on the map to see where he is now.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Samuel Is On His Way!

Samuel left Lloydminster early this morning and is well on his way. Click on the map on the right to see where Samuel is now. I will be updating the map often to show his progress across the province. So far, everything is going well.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Departure Date

Samuel is ready and it is almost time to go on his cross Saskatchewan cycling trip. He has tentatively set his departure date for Monday, June 7th, give or take a day or two. I am so excited!