Each year during the Canadian winter my family embarks on a big cycling challenge. To date we have cycled Canada from coast to coast, Cairo to Cape Town, around Australia (including Tasmania), and this year we are cycling South America from top to tip…sort of. As much as we would all love to actually complete these rides in person, we do it virtually.
Staying motivated throughout the long Canadian winter is an uphill battle. Add an indoor trainer and snowy weather to already busy lives and training can take a back seat. To stay motivated, every year we decide on a new virtual cycling tour to complete as a family. We plot a course from city to city, Google map the kilometres and start training. We all contribute milage, mostly by cycling but we also include gym work, walking, swimming, yoga, and, of course, shovelling snow to make sure everyone can participate.
Before the challenge starts, we also nominate a mascot to help track our progress. Usually a representative animal of our chosen tour, over the years we’ve had Bruce the Moose (Canada), Carl the Camel (Cairo to Cape Town), Danni the Dingo (Australia) and this year it’s Pedro the Capybara. Each week my mum tallies our mileage and we all receive a “postcard” from our mascot, updating us on how far we have travelled, what he has seen along the way, and what city we have reached.
While it started with just my parents, my sister and I, we’ve inspired others to join in over the years and for the South America challenge that includes my 80+ year old grandmother and my partner (a.k.a. our secret mileage weapon) Edward Greene who is a bit braver than others.
Our South America Challenge this year spans from Caracas, Venezuela to Ushuaia, Argentina and will be approximately 10,000km. Although for the first time I’m actually in sunny South Africa instead of snowy Canada, our winter training tour is still keeping me motivated during my tedious bout of rehab. Since we started mid-January, we have covered 7,011km which has moved Pedro the Capybara through Venezuela, Brazil, Paraguay and part of Argentina. Currently, we are in the city of Rosario, Argentina so we still have 3,000km to go before our deadline of Easter weekend.
With over 30,000km covered in the past few years and another 10,000km about to be added to our grand total, we are getting more and more ambitious with our challenges. Next up we might cross Russia or tour the European capitals and maybe one day we will run out of land to cycle but then I guess there are the oceans!