While you were sitting on the couch, watching True Blood, Geoff was busting his ass. Cycling across the country—from Vancouver, BC, to St. John’s, Newfoundland—he covered a total of 8,400 kilometers, over 81 days. He also took a few (85) stops, all while celebrating his 50th year on the planet.
Eric: So, you’re on the road right now. Tell me where you are, and what you’re doing.
Geoff: We have been slowly making our way back to Vancouver. We are currently in Niagara Falls. VanGo, our 1984 VW camper van, decided to entertain Canada Customs with a steam and antifreeze show as we crossed the border. So we are “camping” in the Canadian Tire parking lot hoping that they can fix a blown radiator hose tomorrow, a Sunday. I think that this is VanGo’s sixth visit to the mechanics along the route.
Geoff: We bought VanGo shortly before starting this trip. The form factor worked well for us but it turned out that this one was not so good. We have stayed in a lot of campgrounds over the summer and have looked at and discussed the pros and cons of various vehicles that we have seen. Aside from a more reliable RV, we think that a slightly larger one would have worked better. Our current thinking is that something based on the Daimler-Chrysler Sprinter would be a better fit for us for long-term touring.
Eric: This comes after a trip you took on your bike. Can you tell me a little about your journey?
Geoff: Starting on May 20, I rode for 81 days, 16 weeks of elapsed time, and a total of 8400 km from Vancouver, BC to St. John’s, NL. My wife Rochelle drove VanGo as a support vehicle. The route took as many back roads as possible and often zigzagged as we tried to visit as many friends and relatives as possible along the way.
Eric: What compels someone to do such a thing?
Geoff: It was really a number of things that came together at the right time. The initial spark came from Rochelle who wanted to do something special for me for my 50th birthday although she had some other ideas, including driving Formula 1 cars in England. I have often admired stories of others that have done cross Canada bicycle trips but never thought of it as something that I could do. Last fall, I came across a blog post by Brek Boughton, who was attempting to ride to the Arctic Ocean and back from Vancouver in the winter! While that just seemed suicidal to me, he had mentioned riding across Canada a couple of years ago. This fit perfectly into the hole of “what to do for my 50th”. It also reminded me of my cousin, Tim, who did the ride 5 years ago before succumbing to cancer. I just had to do it.