Dad’s Inspirational and Slightly Crazy Cycling Journey

He's an old guy with Parkinson's riding his bike across Canada.
He’s an old guy with Parkinson’s riding his bike across Canada.

It’s not a “trip”.  Trips take two weeks, three tops, and often involve buffets and hangovers.  This “journey” is something larger. A human powered zig zag to the farthest reaches of Canada. The most Westerly, Northerly, Southerly and Easterly points of our majestic country. “Why Dad”? He grins and says “Canada is my playground”. My Dad is 81 and has Parkinson’s Disease, arthritis, scoliosis and something weird with his eye. He started cycling somewhere around the age of 40 when running became a little too painful. I remember because I was a little kid and men in tight black shorts and colourful shirts began showing up on our porch.

This 10,000km journey started last spring when Dad was (just) 80 with my sister Janet and dog Mocha as escorts at the Top of the World Highway near the Alaska. Farthest west…tick! Farthest north was tough. He tackled that with my brother Kevin  in September but had to pack it in as the road washed out, the camper got bogged down and  his bike wheels kept getting gooped up with mud.

My husband Cam, daughter Lyla and I joined him in Whitehorse, Yukon to take over support. This included pulling the tent trailer, applying bug spray, minor bike repairs, locating far from fresh food on lonely roads with only trees, bison and grizzly bears, and reminding Dad to hydrate. My husband Cam stayed with Dad for a month until Dad’s brother and sister-in-law Larry and Shirley from Saskatoon came to ride along and help out in many ways. The day came on August 1,2013 near Portage La Prairie Manitoba that Dad decided to stop peddling…for a bit. It wasn’t the Parkinson’s that put on the brakes. His back was too painful from the scoliosis and gruelling riding.

Now it’s 2014 and Dad has a new bike. A fancy recumbent model which should help with the back pain and also double as a nap-mobile on the side of the Trans Canada Highway. People may stop and poke him to see if he’s dead. He’s not. He’s just having a snooze so he can ride some more. Heading east. As far east as you can get.

Dad is trying to raise awareness about Parkinson’s Disease and perhaps help raise some funds for research. Life is a journey, not a trip. Please help if you can. Thanks!

~ tara


  1. Maurice Bonneville

    Herd about your dad on Vinyl Café and found your story simply amazing. I have a cousin by the name of Jacques Séguin who also has Parkinson , simply wish the two of them would meet one day. Like your dad Jacques has done a lot for Parkinson just check his website. Wishing you all but the best. Maurice Bonneville

  2. Andy

    Hi, met Dan on the highway June 2014 we were travelling west , in Ontario I think. We are in our sixties and to meet Dan solo against the tarmac was inspirational. I hope he finished the journey and is planning the next. Rubber to the road.
    Andy- Brit on the road

  3. Tour de France

    Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I’ve truly enjoyed browsing your blog posts. After all I will be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again very soon!

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