MEDA followed up with Bike to GROW to find out how they’re fairing at the end of the Prairies– Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. This time, Mary shares her insights…How did biking in the Prairies compare to biking in the Rockies? It was wonderful. I finally feel I have a rhythm. I get into my cadence and I can just cruise and let my mind wander. I now feel at peace enough that my bike is going to hold together and I can enjoy the beauty of the fields around me.
How well has your body and mind adjusted to this daily physical endurance? My body has been feel great, a few sore knees and a few scrapes but nothing to complain about. My mind is loving it. The prairies may get boring in a car but on a bike, each new field is a new excitement and the sky is forever changing and shaping in different ways.
What has it been like spending every day for almost two months with Sarah? Amazing. I don’t know that there is anyone else I could do this ride with. We don’t get along and agree with each other every step of the way, but we work through and communicate about everything. We are aware of each other’s moods and are learning what we both need in different situations. For instance, I know that Sarah’s mood is directly correlated to the speed she is biking: When she is in a good mood, I can never catch her, but when she is tired or hungry or frustrated, I am able to stick with her or even worse… pass her.
How has it been connecting with MEDA supporters and introducing others to MEDA? I don’t know what we’re going to do after this trip because no one will be asking what we are doing and why. I love when I get to share the work of MEDA and my personal experience as a previous intern. It is so easy to share our goal and look to get others involved because I am so passionate and confident that the money is going to improve so many women’s lives.
How is cooking for yourselves on the road? This is interesting. We are very different eaters. So far, there has been many small towns that we can usually plan lunch around but come Northern Ontario, we will be doing much more of the cooking ourselves. I am sure we will have many conversations about what we both need to function in the best possible way. We will both compromise so that each of us has the fuel we need to get through the next day. Then, when we see a restaurant, we’ll indulge.
Is it hard biking carrying all of your own gear and belongings? At the beginning, I couldn’t believe how heavy it was but now, I feel empty without it! It has become so natural that I don’t even notice it anymore, unless I pack up to quickly – in which case I am usually heavily left or right sided, and I notice that almost immediately. How often do you stop for breaks during the day? We try to stop every hour just to stand up, maybe eat a snack and make a little pit stop on the side of the highway. So in the Prairies, it has been every 25km.
What do you do when you don’t have a pre-arranged place to stay? We would camp but more often then not, we have met people along the way that have offered us a place to stay or to connect us with someone in a future town. We are incredibly lucky and supported! What do you do on your days off? Laundry and rest. We are usually pretty exhausted on our days off that we don’t have much time for other activities but we did get to a Rodeo in Regina that was amazing!
What is one new thing you’ve learned about yourself? I have learned that my mood is determined based on my electrolyte level. As I become dehydrated, I find myself getting upset at things that are really not an issue. As soon as I am able to get some electrolytes back in my body, those same issues no longer frustrate me. I am sure Sarah has learned this about me far quicker then I did but we both have an understanding. There is “hangry” and there is “angry” – both are valid emotions.