The following post contains all updates from the inception of my journey to August 2013

Planning

Planning began with the decision to turn the Idea into reality. What needed to be done first, was to get ready physically to be able to cycle approx. 100km per day. This required a more formalized training schedule with the help of a professional who set up the appropriate plan and follow up procedure.

Preparation

Preparation is in this case an ongoing task. As the training is progressing and things are moving forward, preparations need to be made to get all the gear for bike safety and maintenance; food to take along where local restaurants and food stores can not accommodate my raw and vegetarian diet.

Time schedule

I determined my 2nd alternative Sept. 12 /13 for the first section, depending onreadiness of my physical fitness.

Starting in Aurora, ON, cycling via Owen Sound, Tobermory, Manitoulin Island, Espanola to SueSalt Marie to Thunder Bay and perhaps Kenora. Returning via puplic transport to Aurora.

I’m contemplating to reverse this by starting in Kenora and cycle to Aurora for my first section.

August 19 2010 revision:

Because the need to be present for some preparation of my upcoming 70th birthday party, I have determined to take the train to Kenora on Sept. 14, arriving  in Redditt, the train stop for Kenora ca. 30 km north on Sept. 16 at 3:30 AM.

I’ll begin to cycle back from there, lets see how long it will take to reach Thunder Bay Ont.?

The second phase will not be started until the early part of 2011 (approx. June 1) Starting from Vancouver and traveling west

Logistics

I need to do work in this area soon, getting more detailed info on route planning, stopovers, location of towns and villages for overnight staying. See Aug. 19 2010 revision

Training requirements

Weight training and bike road training as laid out by Mark Berger my trainer at the Aurora fitness Centre. This is progressing well with six days alternatively biking and weight training. I’m up to 80 km of bike riding in one stretch.

August 19 2010 revision:

Training is progressing well, I’m up to 104 km in 4hrs 45min twice this past week.

Equipment needs

The bike,

After sufficient research I decided to purchase a touring bike made by Surley. The model is called Long-Houle Trucker, Ordered July 5, quoted delivery 5 to 8 days. Actual delivery: July 22

Essential Accessories

Special carriers to hold the pannier bags, I choose Tubus,

I selected Arkel panniers for the back and Ortlieb panniers for the front wheel.

August 19 2010 revision: I’m still trying to find the right saddle, the one that came with the bike is not supporting where it needs to. To increase road safety, I have purchased two flashing LED lights to be seen better by motorists. I need to find appropriate bike ride closing for colder weather, i-e, arm & leg warmers, warmer jacket, booties, lobster gloves etc. Aug. 27 revision: A 5 hr comprehensive bike fit session at ‘FITT1ST’ by Scott Judges, a certified professional fit specialist appears to have paid off. This should prevent unnecessary injury due to in-proper fit, accessory selection, settings and cycling technique.

Fundraising effort

With the Newspaper article the fundraising started officially, but word of mouth with friends, neighbours and acquaintances has already shown some remarkable results on the pledge sheet that I have developed. I hope the website will allow me to advertise more aggressively and bring greater results.

Aug. 27 revision: A second write up appeared in the German / Canadian newspaper ‘Deutsche Presse’ on Aug. 25 2010 about my bike trip. Puran and I have been working on a flyer which is almost ready for printing.

August 19 2010 revision: Donations have come in from Kurt Berger and Daliah and Brian Chapnik and a new Sponsorship of one child for 3 years by Diana, Austin and Mohamad Hassani.

August 30 2010 revision: received a cheque for $300.- from Leslie Atkinson with a beautiful note, here is what she writes: ”It makes my heart sing when I see people take action to make the world a better place. Yours humbly, Leslie”

August 30 / 31 revision: received a cheque for $200.- from Horst Grosser and a pledge for $0.10 / km for 2011 & cheque for $350.- as partial advance in 2010 from Kimberley P Mihalcheon.

September 1st revision: in my birthday card from my wife I found a cheque for $200.- as her personal contribution to the school, thanks so much, Sandra & Rino added a cheque for $250 to their contribution

Sept. 09 revision: Sandra Montemarano donated $250.- Irina Todd donated $150.- and Lynn Jankowsky made an On-line donation for $50.-

Sept. 28 revision: It has been a real challenge to keep apdating my website on the account of availability and access to the internet. So I’ll try to catch up a little now:

Jan Stahmer made donation, Francesca Gibon donated $ 50,- Sandra Van der Vlag donated $100,- Gerry Merkley donated $ 25,-

In Kenora, a gentleman, I beleive his name is Tim, going into the town offices handed me $5.-

In Siox Narrows on HWY 71 Carole & Norval Cambell invited me to share their rented cottage and shared their dinner with me,

Dorothy Friesen offered me a free stay in her home in Fort Francis and shared a wonderful dinner with me, and also made the connection and introduced me to

Janet Loney who gave a donation of $ 50.-

Janet Niro made a donation of $5,- and arranged for me to sleep in Quetico Provinceal Park in a Yurt for free, Rod Reilly, the Park Superintendent approved the free stay in the Park for a donation to the Park. Sandra made a donation

Mark Moran and Jamie Du Four, visitors to the Park donated $ 20,- each,

In Nipigon, Livina Collins, Paricia Dellaceca and Tasha Sutton, the owners of Skandia House Bed & Breakfast in Nipigon donated a free stay in their lovely B&B what a plesant and inspiring stay. You need to visit this lovely little town and enjoy the hospitality in the Skandia House B&B

Sept. 30 revision: Gisela Curwen made a generous donation to my ride, Gerry Merkley donated $25,

Adele De Rango made a generous donation on line.

The OPP Contabble from the Schreiber Satelite Detachment Bob Twardzik transported my Paniers for the last 22km to the Motel for me to lighten my load and when I reached to motel I was told the Room had been payed for. He also checked at the office earlier in the morning to see if I was ok. This is indicative of our police force here up north.

Oct. 18 revision:

Rose and Dan Hickey made a generous donation of 100$ and committed to donate the same amount for the next 6 month to complete $700

Ted Baron donated $100, Lionel Devin donated $20, Roger and Ellie donated $20, Marjory Tompkins doated $5, Monique Blais donated $5, Frances Gibson donated $50,

Oct. 23 revision:

Natashia Hanna donated $20, Brian & Andrea made a generous donation, Tania Guzziardi made an online doantion of $200,

And please read the beautiful passage Brian and Andre included in their card:

The Road Not Taken,

…..I shall be telling this with a sigh somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in the woods, and I –

I took the road less travelled by,

And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

How thoughtful, thanks Andrea, Brian and Victoria

Nov. 09 revision:

Elain Osin made a generous, Ellen & Siegesmund Sturm made a generous donation,

Nov. 25 revision:

Joann & Jack Hunt donated $50, Magna International Inc. made a generous donation of $500,

The generosity and support I’m experiencing on this bike ride is simply overwhelming and heart warming. Thank you all so very much. This is prove to me that the world is becoming a better place.

Thank you all for your generosity and commitment to improve the lives of our children at JHS Angkor Peak Sneng, Cambodia.

Communication with home base

August 19 2010 revision: I’m looking into renting a GPS tracking and emergency alert device capable of sending satellite based communications to home base.

August 28 revision: ’Spectrum Communications’ has offered to supply a “Spot” Satellite GPS Messenger

Website up dates

Leana, my oldest Granddaughter is now my co administrator for the website. We just finished our first introductory training with Puran today, Aug. 14 2010

Emergency preparedness

August 19 2010 revision: See note on “Communication with home base”

There are lots of good, helpful suggestions in the book I’m presently reading “Bike for Life”

Accommodation

To be started together with the logistics heading. For the occasions when no suitable accommodation is available, I have researched and invested in a Hennessy Hammock. This is completely waterproof, bug proof and much lighter than a tent. All it needs is two trees of posts approx. 20 to 30 feet apart

Food requirements

I have a plan in my mind but need to get it a bit more structured by getting it on paper and start to collect the items

Health issues

So far no issues to be concerned about

Safety

Ongoing

Conclusion

Celebration

Milestones 2

Updates will come soon

Aug. 27 revision: A second write up appeared in the German / Canadian newspaper ‘Deutsche Presse’ on Aug. 25 2010 about my bike trip. Puran and I have been working on a flyer which is almost ready for printing.

August 19 2010 revision: Donations have come in from Kurt Berger and Daliah and Brian Chapnik and a new Sponsorship of one child for 3 years by Diana, Austin and Mohamad Hassani.

August 30 2010 revision: received a cheque for $300.- from Leslie Atkinson with a beautiful note, here is what she writes: “It makes my heart sing when I see people take action to make the world a better place. Yours humbly, Leslie”

August 30 / 31 revision: received a cheque for $200.- from Horst Grosser and a pledge for $0.10 / km for 2011 & cheque for $350.- as partial advance in 2010 from Kimberley P Mihalcheon.

September 1st revision: in my birthday card from my wife I found a cheque for $200.- as her personal contribution to the school, thanks so much, Sandra & Rino added a cheque for $250 to their contribution

Sept. 09 revision: Sandra Montemarano donated $250.- Irina Todd donated $150.- and Lynn Jankowsky made an On-line donation for $50.-

Sept. 28 revision: It has been a real challenge to keep apdating my website on the account of availability and access to the internet. So I’ll try to catch up a little now:

Jan Stahmer made donation, Francesca Gibson donated $ 50,- Sandra Van der Vlag donated $100,- Gerry Merkley made a generous donation.-

In Kenora, a gentleman, I beleive his name is Tim, going into the town offices handed me $5.-

In Siox Narrows on HWY 71 Carole & Norval Cambell invited me to share their rented cottage and shared their dinner with me,

Dorothy Friesen offered me a free stay in her home in Fort Francis and shared a wonderful dinner with me, and also made the connection and introduced me to

Janet Loney who gave a donation of $ 50.-

Janet Niro made a donation of $5,- and arranged for me to sleep in Quetico Provinceal Park in a Yurt for free, Rod Reilly, the Park Superintendent approved the free stay in the Park for a donation to the Park. Sandra made a donation

Mark Moran and Jamie Du Four, visitors to the Park donated $ 20,- each,

In  Nipigon, Livina Collins, Paricia Dellaceca and Tasha Sutton, the owners of Skandia House Bed & Breakfast in Nipigon donated a free stay in their lovely B&B what a plesant and inspiring stay. You need to visit this lovely little town and enjoy the hospitality in the Skandia House B&B

Sept. 30 revision: Gisela Curwen made a generous donation to my ride,

Adele De Rango made a generous donation on line.

The OPP Contabble from the Schreiber Satelite Detachment Bob Twardzik transported my Paniers for the last 22km to the Motel for me to lighten my load and when I reached to motel I was told the Room had been payed for. He also checked at the office earlier in the morning to see if I was ok. This is indicative of our police force here up north.

The generosity and support I’m experiencing on this bike ride is simply overwhelming and heart warming. Thank you all so very much. This is prove to me that the world is becoming a better place.

Thank you all for your generosity and commitment to improve the lives of our children at JHS Angkor Peak Sneng, Cambodia.

Communication with home base

August 19 2010 revision: I’m looking into renting a GPS tracking and emergency alert device capable of sending satellite based communications to home base.

August 28 revision: ‘Spectrum Communications’ has offered to supply a “Spot” Satellite GPS Messenger

Leana, my oldest Granddaughter is now my co administrator for the website. We just finished our first introductory training with Puran today, Aug. 14 2010

Milestones 3

Updates to come soon

Emergency preparedness

August 19 2010 revision: See note on “Communication with home base”

There are lots of good, helpful suggestions in the book I’m presently reading “Bike for Life”

Accommodation

To be started together with the logistics heading. For the occasions when no suitable accommodation is available, I have researched and invested in a Hennessy Hammock. This is completely waterproof, bug proof and much lighter than a tent. All it needs is two trees of osts approx. 20 to 30 feet apart

Food requirements

I have a plan in my mind but need to get it a bit more structured by getting it on paper and start to collect the items

Health issues

So far no issues to be concerned about

Safety

Ongoing

Conclusion

October 26 2010

Dear Sponsors, Supporters, Friends and Family,

The first leg of my X-Canada bike ride, which I started on Sept. 17 in Kenora is now completed.

Many of you welcomed me home to Aurora, when I rode in on my bike on Sunday afternoon, Oct. 17 accompanied by my trainer and friend Mark Berger.

What an exiting welcome it was, being greeted by friends, neighbors and family members. I was so happy to break the finish line tape that stretched across the street.

The total distance of my entire trip was 2107 Km.

In the first week, I limited my daily distance to max. 70 km, knowing I could sabotage the rest of my journey inviting injury and burnout without this initial discipline.

Traveling south on Hwy. 71 along Lake of the Woods was very pretty, reminding me much of Muskoka, the cottage country 150km north of Toronto. In Kenora where I started my bike trip,  nighttime temperatures dipped down close to the freezing mark, uninviting to camping out.

On the third day  I reached Emo on the Trans-Canada Hwy.17 just west of Fort Francis. Along the way I’ve met some wonderful people offering to share their cottage or home and even feeding me a tasty dinner.

Was it just coincidence that I kept bumping into friendly people during my four weeks on the road? I quickly became aware of the human values we share with so many wonderful Canadian people.

Some days, I felt  the weather had it in for me. How many different conditions could it throw at me to challenge my plans? How about a cold and nasty headwind leaving Fort Francis or an uncomfortable drizzle and fog departing from Atikokan staying with me for the whole day and changing to driving rain after Nipigon and even some light morning snow flakes at – 8 deg. C at White River on the way to Wawa. This was to be repeated riding south on the Bruce peninsula after leaving Brendan’s Cottage.

Fortunately this was all reduced to “minor inconvenience” because of the support, compassion and friendliness the locals made me feel. I was invited to stay either for free or deeply discounted in motels or in the Lodge in Shabaqua Corners, Schreiber, Marathon, Batchawana Bay, B&B in Nipigon, Wawa, and Blind River.

What do you think about the caring OPP officer, who stopped me on the highway in the course of his duties, and then transported my packs in his cruiser for the last 22 km? He even payed for my motel room in Schreiber at the end of my long cycling day in the rain! This happened just after surviving the most frightening experience of the entire trip, courtesy of a couple of uncaring, ignorant transport truck drivers.

Many more acts of kindness included someone merely offering to guard my heavily loaded bike so I could go into the mall or grocery store and handing me a $20.- bill upon my return, saying “my contribution to your cause” and free stay’s at  Brendan’s Cottage, Loon Song BD Farm in Manitoulin Island and Sunny Lane Farm in Gray County. I will cherish these wonderful memories for a long time to come.

To the many great people I have not mentioned here who supported me with donations, free meals and just showing an interest and listening to my message: a great, big heart felt Thank You!

You have provided me with the resolve, strength and inspiration to continue next year, starting in Vancouver, traveling eastward to link up with Kenora and eventually Halifax.

Many of you told me how much fun it was following my  every day travels by clicking on the “spot” link from my website www.helpcambodianschool.org

Please continue to spread the word amongst your friends, neighbors, co-workers and families.

Your thoughts and suggestions are always welcome.

I’m confident that the next leg of my tour will be an equally positive experience.

Our Cambodian Schoolchildren really can hope for a better future through education!

Love & Light

Armin

 Cambodia trip February 2011

February 09 2011

My first impressions about Laos are rather astounding, somewhat different from the expectation created in my mind from the various descriptions of friends having visited Laos earlier.

Amazing how people see things differently, but yet, very normal.

I was taken aback why the visa for Canadians was the most expensive of all at the port of entry. All other western Countries ranged from $25 to max $30, where I had to hand over $42 for the same.

Perhaps Northern Laos presents itself completely differently from he South, I’m suggesting it to be very unlike the Cambodia so familiar to me by now.

The temperatures here are very cool at night and into the morning hours and hot at noon and afternoom

A very rich, colorful cultural and historical background and off course the mountainous terrain create a stark contrast to the lowland of Siem Reap and Phom Penh.

February 06 2011

In Siem Reap. Temp. +28C and sunny.

Long flight with Korean Air excellent, did not appear so long after all. Free hotel stay at the Hyatt near Airport was great, included free lunch, very good.

Upgrade from Seoul to Siem Reap to business class, also an nice gesture from the Airline.

Meeting the group of volunteers working at present for LHA for dinner last night at a local pup was fun but I did not last to the end, still  adjusting to the time change.

German Volunteer Gephart is taking me to visit school with his moto tomorrow morning.

On the following day I’m making good on my plan since 3 years to visit Laos. I’ll be back in Siem Reap on the 17. Feb. when Gerlinde will arrive from Germany.

February 2 2011

It is snowing and snowing since yesterday and one third of the continent is out of business on the account of the snow storm.

Inge opted out to drive me to the airport tonight to catch my flight with Koran Air to Seoul and than onto Siem Reap Cambodia.

So, I’ve hired a Limo to take me there. I’ll see if we will leave on schedule.

Much preparation has gone into this trip.

The best part are the many letters written by our Canadian Sponsor Parents (Godparents) for their children in our school, Angkor Thom Junior High School, that I’m taking along to give to the kinds.

But, not to forget the continuing effort, support, good wishes, coming from all our friend and supporters that have opened their hearts and made pledges and donations that inspired by my bike ride. It is truly overwhelming to see how it is expanding.

My German friends have informed me of the purchase of the adjacent piece of land to the east of the school  to expand the vegetable Garden. We aim, to eventually produce enough food, making the school self-sufficient for its fruit and vegetable needs and even perhaps have some surplus to sell at the local market.

A good part, if not all of the money raised from my X-Canada bike ride will go into this effort to cultivate and plant the respective corps and everything that is connected to accomplish this, following Biodynamic Growing principles.

I’m thinking to spend a few days after my arrival in Siem Reap on Friday, Feb.4 acclimatizing and visiting the school and then take a short trip to Laos before Gerlinde and her daughter Karina arrive on Feb. 17.

After this date we will have a busy schedule meeting with teachers, local officials, trying to establish new and strengthening existing ties that will bring employment opportunities for our students when their formal education comes to an end.

Dear Sponsors, Supporters, Friends and Family,

The first leg of my X-Canada bike ride, which I started on Sept. 17 in Kenora is now completed.

An error occurred.

Try watching this video on www.youtube.com, or enable JavaScript if it is disabled in your browser.

Many of you welcomed me home to Aurora, when I rode in on my bike on Sunday afternoon, Oct. 17 accompanied by my trainer and friend Mark Berger.

What an exiting welcome it was, being greeted by friends, neighbors and family members. I was so happy to break the finish line tape that stretched across the street.

The total distance of my entire trip was 2107 Km.

In the first week, I limited my daily distance to max. 70 km, knowing I could sabotage the rest of my journey inviting injury and burnout without this initial discipline.

Traveling south on Hwy. 71 along Lake of the Woods was very pretty, reminding me much of Muskoka, the cottage country 150km north of Toronto. In Kenora where I started my bike trip,  nighttime temperatures dipped down close to the freezing mark, uninviting to camping out.

On the third day  I reached Emo on the Trans-Canada Hwy.17 just west of Fort Francis. Along the way I’ve met some wonderful people offering to share their cottage or home and even feeding me a tasty dinner.

Was it just coincidence that I kept bumping into friendly people during my four weeks on the road? I quickly became aware of the human values we share with so many wonderful Canadian people.

Some days, I felt  the weather had it in for me. How many different conditions could it throw at me to challenge my plans? How about a cold and nasty headwind leaving Fort Francis or an uncomfortable drizzle and fog departing from Atikokan staying with me for the whole day and changing to driving rain after Nipigon and even some light morning snow flakes at – 8 deg. C at White River on the way to Wawa. This was to be repeated riding south on the Bruce peninsula after leaving Brendan’s Cottage.

Fortunately this was all reduced to “minor inconvenience” because of the support, compassion and friendliness the locals made me feel. I was invited to stay either for free or deeply discounted in motels or in the Lodge in Shabaqua Corners, Schreiber, Marathon, Batchawana Bay, B&B in Nipigon, Wawa, and Blind River.

What do you think about the caring OPP officer, who stopped me on the highway in the course of his duties, and then transported my packs in his cruiser for the last 22 km? He even payed for my motel room in Schreiber at the end of my long cycling day in the rain! This happened just after surviving the most frightening experience of the entire trip, courtesy of a couple of uncaring, ignorant transport truck drivers.

Many more acts of kindness included someone merely offering to guard my heavily loaded bike so I could go into the mall or grocery store and handing me a $20.- bill upon my return, saying “my contribution to your cause” and free stay’s at  Brendan’s Cottage, Loon Song BD Farm in Manitoulin Island and Sunny Lane Farm in Gray County. I will cherish these wonderful memories for a long time to come.

To the many great people I have not mentioned here who supported me with donations, free meals and just showing an interest and listening to my message: a great, big heart felt Thank You!

You have provided me with the resolve, strength and inspiration to continue next year, starting in Vancouver, traveling eastward to link up with Kenora and eventually Halifax.

Many of you told me how much fun it was following my  every day travels by clicking on the “spot” link from my website www.helpcambodianschool.org

Please continue to spread the word amongst your friends, neighbors, co-workers and families.

Your thoughts and suggestions are always welcome.

I’m confident that the next leg of my tour will be an equally positive experience.

Our Cambodian Schoolchildren really can hope for a better future through education!

Love & Light

Armin

(This update was sent to all below)

To my Sponsors, Supporters, Friends and Family:

High time to keep you up to-date.  So many things have happened here, in the School in Cambodia and all over.

Returning from my travels from Cambodia and Laos I ended up driving to Florida to pick up Inge and escape winter in Aurora.  Well, this was much wishful thinking, because the cold temperatures just did not want to go away back at home, causing a setback for me; I came down with a nasty flu, upsetting my bike training schedule for two full weeks.

But good news, last year’s problem with the bike saddle appears to be resolved with the purchase of a “moon saddle.” So far, using it for 1200km without experiencing the pain and agony of last year with the old saddle. Things are looking up.

Luckily the conditioning is progressing well and I have booked my flight to Vancouver for  July 13 to start the second leg of my journey.  Preparations are in full swing and daily progress inches closer to the goal. I have the same GPS tracker “Spot” linked to my website. You can view my daily progress just by clicking on the link on my website:

http://www.helpcambodianschool.org

I cannot believe the wonderful support I have been getting for the fundraising part of my ride. We are up to $18,000 in pledges and donations; “Lakeview Homes” pledged one dollar per km presenting a cheque for $7,000. Thank you so much for your generosity.

Back at the school in Cambodia:

I organized a workshop in Biodynamic Agriculture conducted by Jayakaran Chelladurai, a training expert from India, who visited our school after his training assignment in China and South Korea.  This workshop was well attended by the school and some farmers from the Village, laying to groundwork for future BD training and education also  benefitting farming in the vicinity and perhaps all of Cambodia.

A group of 10 University Students from Leipzig, Germany will conduct a 4 Week workshop on a cultural exchange program at the school in August. Gerlinde is making a special trip to attend this event. This will no doubt be a big boost for the students in practicing English and interacting with young adults of similar age.

The upcoming trip:

I’ll be flying to Vancouver July 13.  After consulting with some local cyclists I decided to take the more northern route, ridinge from Vancouver to Hope, Merritt, Kamloops, Barriere, Clearwater, Valemont, Mt. Robson, Jasper, Hinton, Edson, Edmonton following the Yellowhead Highway 16 all the way to Winnipeg; traveling through North Battleford and Saskatoon on the way.

I’d be very grateful if any of you know somebody living on this route that would be good enough to offer me a warm shower and a place to put my head down for the night.  Unfortunately I cannot give the exact time when I’ll be reaching the various locations as I don’t know myself at this time. There are too many variables to be certain now.  But you can always see where I am at any given day just clicking on the “spot” link on my website.  With the use of Inge’s Ipod I’ll have easier access to e-mail and may write some progress updates on my website. You may also find out my whereabouts through home base from my wife Inge.  I’ll always try to keep in close contact with.

Please get back to me quickly if you know of some overnight opportunities for me and wish me good luck.  Our Cambodian Schoolchildren really can hope for a better future through education!

Love & Light

Armin

To all my Family, Friends, Sponsors and Supporters:

My departure date of Feb 11, 2012 to Cambodia is fast approaching and I want to share some of the information about activities and progress surrounding my bike ride and the school before I leave.

My new helpers have done a lot of work already to organize the media and communication efforts for the next leg of the bike ride.

We have developed a strategy, a timeline and have defined areas to concentrate our efforts over the next few months before the actual start date. Dividing tasks and responsibilities is an important step to accomplish our goal.

Pertaining to my visit to the school in Cambodia, here is an update:

Gerlinde brought letters from our Canadian sponsored children last November to their respective Canadian “Godparents”.

There are now 14 Children sponsored from Canada.

I’m very excited to personally deliver letters, cards, small gifts, photos and a small amount of pocket money from each godparent to our children at Angkor Thom Junior High School in the Village of Peak Sneng.

The yoga group and a X country ski group from Five Winds, who support one student each, have made a wonderful effort with extra letters, cards and pictures for their godchild.

A special Thank You goes to the Canadian Godparents for the extra effort writing letters, making and collecting photos & small gifts. These are the little seeds of kindness that will bear fruit, making our world a better place.

Ms. Safira Lachapelle, from North Battleford, SK is sending a beautiful greeting card and letter, as well as pictures from the Alan Sapp Gallery, for me to take to the children in Cambodia.

I managed to re-engage the teacher from India to conduct a follow-up workshop on Biodynamic Agriculture for our Agri Project at the school. Working with him will be of special interest and significance to me, the school and the village.

During my six week stay, our daughter Sandra, and 13 year old granddaughter Ariana, will visit the school and meet their godchild Deoth. She is also looking forward to visiting the awesome temples of Angkor Wat. This will no doubt be another highlight of my visit.

My good friends Siggi and Gerlinde from Germany will be meeting me at the school and we will work together on many issues, including the badly damaged Primary School, the local High School and the Village.

I know, time will be flying and before I know it I will be on my way back home where my bike will be waiting patiently for me to start training for the last leg of my bike ride.

My facebook page is up and running, and I’ll use it to inform you of what is happening during my Cambodia visit. You can write a comment, letting me know what you think.

On behalf of the children in Cambodia thank you all for your wonderful contributions.

Love & Light,

Armin

Dear Family, Friends, Sponsors and Supporters,

I realize it’s high time I updated you all on the upcoming East Canada leg of my “Cross Canada Bike Ride“.  My planned departure in mid August is approaching and pushing my training program into high gear. It works well when I combine running errands with bike training. I’m happy to have reached the distance of 90km on one of my last training runs. The planning of my route is taking more time because I’m applying previous experience and becoming more detailed and demanding.

In rough terms, my ride will start in Aurora, following less traveled roads, parallel with HWY 7, to Ottawa, on to Montreal, Quebec City, Riviere do Loup, Edmunston NB, Fredericton NB, Moncton NB, Truro NS, Halifax NS.  As much as I would like to ride only on less traveled roads, reliable information about road conditions and connections are not easily available.  Input from anyone with first hand knowledge about road conditions on secondary roads of this route would be much appreciated.  I’d be very grateful to anyone who has friends or know somebody along this route who would like offer me an overnight stay. I would appreciate it, if a connection with a potential host could be arranged. Once in Halifax, my plan is to ride the train back to Oshawa and bike form Oshawa to Toronto.

The media coverage on the Vancouver to Kenora section was great fun and helped considerably with fundraising as well as meeting people along the way. Testimonies are some of the stories you can read in the summary posted on my website. With help from a group of volunteers this will even be better on the upcoming section.  I’m hoping to have the use of the GPS messenger “Spot” from Globalstar Canada again, as I had in my two previous rides. Many of you around the world have commented on the excitement and great fun you had following me on the computer. Needless to say it gave much peace of mind to my wife and family while I was away.

I’m happy and proud to tell you, our Canadian family of godparents for Cambodian children has grown to 17. Welcome Jenny Hare, supporting Vicheata, and Patricia Penty supporting Senghor. It is wonderful for these two girls in seventh grade, to have a godparent in Canada, helping them and their families so they can have an education and a better chance in life.

Many people have asked me, how I can train, riding for hours in this heat. When I’m on the bike I do not find it so hot, there is always a cooling breeze from moving, making it much more pleasant than one would think.

Love & Light

Armin

 

Update: Aurora to Halifax

An error occurred.

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Dear Family, Friends, Sponsors and Supporters:

This third and final leg of my X Canada ride, from Aurora to Halifax, some 2200 km, has been a wonderful experience. The training and preparation efforts have paid off. It was not exactly a walk in the park, however, I feel I was better prepared physically and also felt more confident, largely thanks to the help of my volunteers Pam & Alan H., Pam M. and Irene. Some of you contributed much on a personal level. Thank You. I also thank my wife, whose wonderful support contributed to this life changing experience.Everything went according to plan…most of the time. In the communities I traveled through, without having confirmed accommodations, I was often pleasantly surprised by interesting experiences, which I will recount throughout this summary. I departed Aurora on August 16th, with a “send off” party, attended by many supporters, friends, family members and neighbours. I was accompanied by four eager cyclists Katia, Carlos, Lou and Rod. It was very comforting and proved to be a great start to this trek through the Eastern Provinces of our great Country.

From the first day to the last, at every stop and overnight stay, I met many wonderful people, like Carolyn and Garry, welcoming me at their B&B in Port Perry, Ontario.Meeting Bill Lishmann, our own Canadian Father Goose, who led a flock of geese with his ultra light plane onto a migration route and seeing his home near Peterborough, Ontario was the highlight of that day. (YouTube Video(which video))

James and Nicole and her two sons, a most delightful family, were my “CS” (Couch Surfing) hosts in Peterborough. After a long day peddling the many ups and downs on this stretch towards Ottawa, Barb in Marlbank, Ontario near Tweed, waited for me, offering her home for the night. Here I also met Sheila and Joel, on their way home from canoeing in Algonquin Park. Sheila, an accomplished photographer, took some great photos of me, which I quickly posted on my Facebook page. She also provided me with a CS contact for accommodations in Sussex, New Brunswick later on this trip.

At my next overnight stop at West Port, Ontario, a lovely vacation resort on the headwaters of the Rideau waterway, I was treated to a complimentary stay at the Cove Inn. Meeting Julie, my CS host at Perth, Ontario felt like meeting a friend I had known all my life. What an amazing experience! Sabine, Patrick and son Connor, my long time family friends, welcomed me in Stittsville, Ontario, just outside of Ottawa the next afternoon. Pat, an amazing photographer, is responsible for the artistic photo of the evening sky behind me and my bike. “What a great shot, Pat!”

Leaving Ontario to cross over into Hull, Quebec, I met my next hosts, cyclist members of the “Warm Shower” organization. This group of cyclists provides support and hosting, similar to Couch Surfing. In Andy and Andrea’s home I again experienced the great hospitality I had found so often traveling through this country by bicycle.

I reached Montebello on August 23rd, one week into my ride. I had covered over 560 km, approximately 1/4 of the trip. After some searching, I was offered a complimentary stay at the Motel Domain Montebello, which provided me with a comfortable bed and well deserved rest for the day. What made this day special was the delicious dinner at Andrew and Daniel’s house up on the hill.

On August 24th I was accompanied for a couple of hours by two other cyclists on their way to Montreal. We parted company when I changed directions to take the ferry to the south shore at Currillion, en route to my next CS hosts. Michael, a blacksmith and Alana, a horseback riding instructor, have a beautiful home directly on the Ottawa River, just west of Hudson, Quebec. The next morning, after traveling alone for 30km, I tagged along with a cycling couple who were going my way and after approximately 50 km, we reached St. Mary at the western edge of Montreal. From there it was not too difficult to find my way to my next CS host, Alexandre, and my dinner appointment with Mark and Karen, a young cyclist couple living in Cotes Neiges, some 40 minutes subway ride from my host, Alex. The delicious home cooked meal and wonderful company made for a memorable evening and ending to a great day.

I spent my day of rest in Montreal, going for a neighbourhood ride with Alex and relaxing in the botanical garden just north of the Olympic grounds. To beat the heat and to get a head start before the rush hour traffic, I started riding at 6:00 am, on my way to Trois Rivieres, Quebec. After 145 km I reached my destination and found my CS host Lynne, with whom I had an enjoyable dinner at a local restaurant. I left early the next day, with Lynne accompanying me for the first 50 km, traveling on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River towards Quebec City. I took a lunch break after some 25 km riding alone. Just then, out of nowhere, Nat Watson, an accomplished cyclist friend from Montreal suddenly called my name from the other side of the road. After parking his car and getting his bike ready, he cycled with me some 60 km to my next destination, the home of Rick and Sylvie, my hosts in the capital of Quebec. Having traveled 1000 km from home, by now I estimated to be at the half way point of my journey. My next rest day in this beautiful city took me to a local bike shop to replace the worn out chain and clean the drive gears of my bike. I explored Quebec on my bike and stopped to visit the museum, which featured a traveling exhibit of Japanese history. On August 30th I got up very early to a cool but sunny day and I took the ferry across the St. Lawrence River at 6:20 am. The heavens were on my side this time, propelling me along with a strong west wind for the next two days, making my travel along the south shore “a breeze”. Thanks to a super friendly receptionist at the Auberge Faubourg in St.Jean Port Joli, I was offered complimentary accommodations a little earlier in the day than I’d normally stop but I did not have to look any further.

On August 31st, with the continued tail wind, I reached Riviere Du Loup and my next CS hosts Daniel and Linda. Daniel, the IT Director at a local business, spoke English well in this mainly French-speaking part of Quebec. The lovely care of my hosts made my short stay very pleasant.

September 1st was my birthday!! I got up early to be on the Trans Canada trail for my long ride to Edmundston, New Brunswick. The abandoned railroad track, which had been turned into a walking and cycling trail, is beautiful, peaceful and free of motor traffic. The first 60 km were slightly uphill with somewhat loose gravel changing to a firmer base and level condition. In the end it felt like 180 km instead of the 135 km actual distance! A friendly note at France’s door, my CS host in Edmundston, welcomed me at her home, inviting me to come in and help myself to some tasty food, just what I needed. A “Happy Birthday” greeting beside the placemat topped it off, making me feel really welcome. I had selected Edmundston for a rest day and France took the opportunity to show me around this interesting New Brunswick town, which offers year round recreation opportunities for canoeing, hiking, skiing or just enjoying the many nature trails and rivers in this part of the province.

The road from Edmunston to Perth Andover on September 3rd greeted me with fog, headwinds and more hilly terrain, making me humble and appreciative of the tailwind I had enjoyed along the St. Lawrence. When I asked some locals for directions and the possibility of B&B’s or motels, a friendly gentleman, after asking about my purpose, offered to make inquiries. He came back shortly, saying the “Ford Road Motel” just up the hill was holding a room for me. He offered me $25 towards the price of the $50 room. What an act of generosity and compassion for my cause! Thank you to Rick Beaulieu, owner of the corner French fry Eatery. The next day with good directions from locals, I followed the river on my route to Woodstock where I met Conrad, a like-minded organic gardener / farmer, who is passionate about the environment. He invited me to stay at his home for the night after a visit to the local newspaper office, the “Bugle-Observer” for an interview.

On the morning of September 5th we both left in the rain, riding together for about 20km, until he proceeded on to his farm and I continued on my way to Fredericton to meet my next CS host, Dorothy. Her home is very centrally located close to downtown. I happily accepted an invitation to the evening potluck dinner of her church group at the house of a German couple. The plum cake desert was a treat. I considered it a late birthday gift, since it is my favourite cake! I am sure my wife will bake me another one when I get home. On my day off the next morning, I walked while Dorothy showed me around. At the same time we took my bike to a shop called “Savages” for another chain cleaning, lube service and replacement of a blown inner tube. The shop owner said, “We will look after you, come back in an hour and a half.” At the organic food store, “True Food Organics” I replenished my supply of nuts and seeds, a staple on my trip. After my remark to the store owner at the checkout that “this has to last me to Halifax”, she inquired about my bike ride. It must have impressed her because she asked if I’d take donations. At my affirmative reply, she handed me back the cash receipt and a $100 bank note! I could not hide my surprise and thanked her profoundly. Outside the store another customer who had stood behind me at the cash and overheard part of the conversation, handed me three $5 dollar bills with the words, “this is not much but all I can afford, I’d like to donate to your school in Cambodia”. When I picked up my bike at “Savages” and asked the owner how much I owed for the repair, he answered, “Nothing, did I not tell you, we would look after you”? Perhaps I should have bought a lottery ticket that day!

On my way to Sussex, New Brunswick on September 7th, I stopped in the hamlet of Cody to spend the night in the enchanting Victorian home of Tom, a professor at the University in Fredericton, who teaches and writes about the history of religions. What an interesting subject. Since Tom is also a woodworker like myself, we naturally had a lot of topics to talk about. The following day I reached Sussex just in time before the rain started. My CS hosts Lorraine and Norm live outside of town on a hill overlooking it. At that particular time, Hurricane “Leslie” started to pound the east coast, sending more rain my way. I thought it prudent to wait a day before heading to Moncton. Norm offered to take me to the Flowerpot Rocks in Bay of Fundy National Park. Thank you, Norm! A most beautiful sunset, nature’s gift! I fully enjoyed that evening at their home.

I left the morning of September 10th in full rain gear on the way to Moncton. Instead of rain the sky gradually brightened to full sunshine but dropping temperatures. My CS hosts Robby and Sheri live on the other side of Moncton on the way to Nova Scotia. They are avid travellers themselves, so we had many stories to share. Both live a vegetarian lifestyle and took good care of me. The next day I was privileged to meet Gerald for lunch. He is another CS host who lives not far from Robby and Sheri.

I left Moncton on September 12th at 7:15 am with a cool 4 degree temperature. I reached Sackville, the border town with Nova Scotia, around noon. It was a strange feeling, riding through Amherst, the first town in Nova Scotia, knowing this would be my last province to cross on my long journey. From here my direction took a westerly turn, route 6, the Sunset Trail. As I aimed for Wallace, Nova Scotia, a small vacation community right on edge of the ocean, the charming B&B “Jubilee Cottage” awaited me for a well deserved rest and a wonderful meal. Carol, Herb and their son Greg looked after me like their own son.

The next morning September 13th, greeted me with bright sunshine, setting the stage for a great day of riding. Little did I realize that I had to cross the big mountain range ahead of me to get down to Truro. It reminded me of the long climbs of Lake Superior’s north shore, making me pay for every km I had to conquer. The old saying “When the going gets tough, the tough get going”, gave me the energy I needed for this little obstacle. My reward came when Christine and Brian came to meet me on the road. I had called them earlier in Truro where they were waiting to hear from me. It was just like meeting old friends again. Christine and Brian were my CS hosts last year in Kamloops, British Columbia. They had settled in Truro, Nova Scotia earlier this year. We had a great time together sharing stories and experiences. On her way to town the next morning, Christine dropped me off exactly at the spot where we met the previous afternoon.

My last day of riding to reach Halifax was September 14th. Morning fog and low temperatures made me aware of the swift approach of Fall. For approximately the first 20 km, I rode along Hwy #102, the Trans Canada Highway, but I exited as soon as the secondary Route #2 ran parallel. Gradually the fog lifted to warmer sunshine, making my ride very pleasant. During the previous two weeks or so, I found the most wonderful apples (my favourite local fruit) along the highway, tempting me to carry the extra pounds along. Happily, here in Nova Scotia it was just the same and even better. As I neared Milford, Nova Scotia, I realized I was past half way to my final destination that day, perhaps four more hours and it would be all over! Euphoria and sadness were holding the balance in my heart. Finally, Halifax presented itself with a lot more ups and downs than I had expected.

On my way to the home of my hosts in Halifax, Anna and Mike, on Mountain Rd., a car on the opposite side of the road suddenly honked its horn and the driver shouted “Hey Armin!” John and Judy, my former next door neighbours in Aurora some 12 years ago, had followed my progress that day on the “spot” and finally caught up with me. What a surprise this was! Judy and John in the company of other visitors also from Ontario, led the way to Anna’s home. We took some photos in front of Anna’s house, and after a refreshing shower I followed John and his visitors to a lovely vegetarian restaurant for a delicious meal and great conversation. The next two days passed quickly in the company of Anna and her family, with a visit to the Farmer’s Market Saturday morning, right downtown at the cruise ship pier, a bike ride to the water’s edge for the legendary dipping of the feet into the ocean water, and sightseeing with Anna, Mike and Masahiro, their Japanese live-in student. I had great conversations with Anna’s mom, Margareta. She took time off work and offered to drive me to the train station on Monday.

This effectively ended my X Canada bike ride. It began in April 2010 , with preparations and extensive training for the first leg, 2107 km from Kenora, Ontario to my home in Aurora, Ontario . The second leg, 3056 km , from Vancouver, British Columbia to Kenora, Ontario was completed in July and August of 2011. The final leg from Aurora to Halifax, Nova Scotia, 2194 km is now complete for a grand total of 7357 km. T his number is significant to those of you who have pledged a specific amount per km in support of my ride. When I think of the combined total of 14 weeks, peddling from coast to coast, I can hardly believe that I did it!

What comes next………..?…..Time to reflect. I am working on a slide show and U-tube presentation, and will talk about my experience on Oct. 23, 2012 at Hesperus Village, on the Toronto Waldorf School Campus, organized by Richard Chomko and perhaps other events to follow.

Second Leg: Vancouver to Kenora – 2011

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Update July 06 2012

Dear Family, Friends, Sponsors and Supporters,

I realize it’s high time I updated you all on the upcoming East Canada leg of my “Cross Canada Bike Ride“.  My planned departure in mid August is approaching and pushing my training program into high gear. It works well when I combine running errands with bike training. I’m happy to have reached the distance of 90km on one of my last training runs. The planning of my route is taking more time because I’m applying previous experience and becoming more detailed and demanding.

In rough terms, my ride will start in Aurora, following less traveled roads, parallel with HWY 7, to Ottawa, on to Montreal, Quebec City, Riviere do Loup, Edmunston NB, Fredericton NB, Moncton NB, Truro NS, Halifax NS.  As much as I would like to ride only on less traveled roads, reliable information about road conditions and connections are not easily available.  Input from anyone with first hand knowledge about road conditions on secondary roads of this route would be much appreciated.  I’d be very grateful to anyone who has friends or know somebody along this route who would like offer me an overnight stay. I would appreciate it, if a connection with a potential host could be arranged. Once in Halifax, my plan is to ride the train back to Oshawa and bike form Oshawa to Toronto.

The media coverage on the Vancouver to Kenora section was great fun and helped considerably with fundraising as well as meeting people along the way. Testimonies are some of the stories you can read in the summary posted on my website. With help from a group of volunteers this will even be better on the upcoming section.  I’m hoping to have the use of the GPS messenger “Spot” from Globalstar Canada again, as I had in my two previous rides. Many of you around the world have commented on the excitement and great fun you had following me on the computer. Needless to say it gave much peace of mind to my wife and family while I was away.

I’m happy and proud to tell you, our Canadian family of godparents for Cambodian children has grown to 17. Welcome Jenny Hare, supporting Vicheata, and Patricia Penty supporting Senghor. It is wonderful for these two girls in seventh grade, to have a godparent in Canada, helping them and their families so they can have an education and a better chance in life.

Many people have asked me, how I can train, riding for hours in this heat. When I’m on the bike I do not find it so hot, there is always a cooling breeze from moving, making it much more pleasant than one would think.

Love & Light

Armin

Update Aug 1, 2012

Dear Family, Friends, Sponsors and Supporters,

I can taste and smell and sense the fun of riding again already. Riding more often through more populated parts of Canada will be different this time. Iʼm sure, another big difference this time, will make the hard work and effort of my communications and media team, Pam & Pam & Alan & Irene. Also, this time I have already 14 confirmed overnight accommodations throughout the 2000 km journey. Hopefully by the 16th a few more will materialize. Port Perry, Tweed, Godfrey / Glendower in Ontario, La Pocatiere and Riviere du Loup in Quebec, Pertlh Andover, Woodstock and Sussex in New Brunswick and Pugwash / Hanford in Nova Scotia are still open in my list.

Your effort to spread the word about my bike ride has already helped and any future assistance will make a difference. Iʼd be very grateful to anyone who has friends or knows anybody along this route who could offer me an overnight stay. I would appreciate it, if a connection with a potential host could be arranged. My training efforts are going well, having reached the 100 km mark several times in the last week. I even survived a downpour for 2 hours riding up to Barrie on my way to Blue Water beach. At times I wondered if I was cycling or swimming; all part of a good training.

Thank you to all of you who have helped with valuable suggestions for my route planning. Itʼs been helpful and is much appreciated.  As stated last time, Iʼll start my ride in Aurora on August 16, following less traveled roads, passing through Peterborough, Ottawa in Ontario, on to Montreal, Quebec City and Riviere du Loup in Quebec, Edmunston, Fredericton and Moncton in New Brunswick, and Truro, terminating at my destination of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Once in Halifax, my plan is to ride the train back to Oshawa and bike from Oshawa to Toronto. A special thank you goes to my wife who has supported me with understanding, tireless help and assistance in this preparation for my ride.

Thank you Alan & Pam Hare for doing a great job updating my website and face book page. I thank Globalstar who has given me the GPS “Spot” again for this yearʼs ride. I am using it on my last training runs so you can also practice tracking me before the 16th by going to my website and clicking on the “Spot” Iʼm now getting ready to fill my four bike panniers, or better still, not to fill them, I. e reducing the load as much as possible. Hopefully it will be under 80 lb all together when I depart.

You are all invited to see me off or feel free to ride with me for a while on my departure day, August 16 starting at my home at 17 Tilston Grove in Aurora at 9:30 AM. For safety reasons, please let me know via a short email reply if you intend to accompany me so I have an idea how big a group it will be.

Love & Light
Armin