On Tuesday, August 29, 78 cyclists, 14 volunteers, and 3 staff will arrive on the shores of the Atlantic in Halifax. For just over 50 riders this is the end of a 10 week, 72 day, 1728 hour bicycle ride that began in Vancouver on June 26.
Their mission: to raise awareness and funds to fight poverty through ride co-hosts Partners Worldwide and World Renew.
Cyclists as young as 12 and as old as 81 are participating in Sea to Sea. Jonathan Sheler of Partners Worldwide, who joined in Newberry, Michigan, and rode to Sault Ste. Marie, blogged: “Throughout the week, I witnessed the impressive camaraderie of the group. When 100 people are together for 10 weeks straight, conflict is bound to arise, but there was no evidence of that in this group. Riders young and old have built strong relationships, forming a tightly-knit community. Even after a grueling day of 100+ miles, an almost unanimous response would be “great ride!”
A day in the life of the Sea to Sea ride includes much more than 70-100 miles cycled in any kind of weather. Each rider is a part of a small group. Each group is in charge of a daily chore: cleaning up breakfast, cooking and serving dinner, loading the gear truck, cleaning up the campgrounds before departure. The small group ends the day with devotions and time to share the highlights and lowlights from the day.
Ida Kaastra Mutoigo, Co-Director of World Renew, who joined the ride for two weeks in July, blogged: “What is most rewarding in the Sea to Sea experience as well as our work in World Renew is having people, whether they are cyclists or volunteers or community members or church members or staff, find the refreshment for the soul that only Christ can give. As Psalm 23:1-3 says, “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pasture, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.” (NIV)
Luke Theule from World Renew’s Donor Relations team joined the ride in August for a week, riding from Quebec to Charlottetown, PEI. One evening he shared with the cyclists how World Renew's community development work is just like Sea to Sea. World Renew takes a community, or a peloton, and takes them from Vancouver to Halifax. World Renew doesn't give people rides, but helps map out the route, offers some water and energy bars, and stays next to them for the entire journey. Sea to Sea has stages because it is a long journey; World Renew has stages such as agriculture, VSL, and health because the road to a sustainable, resilient community takes years. The easiest way to ride and ensure you finish the journey is to ride directly behind someone so they break the wind for you... drafting. Sea to Sea riders are drafting for vulnerable people around the world. And because those vulnerable people travel in their own peleton and will finish their journey, one day they will in turn have the strength and capacity to draft for someone else.
This year the peloton mourned deeply the death of Clarence Doornbos, who was struck by a vehicle while training in preparation for a leg of Sea to Sea. His cycling companion Claire Elgersma also sustained injuries. Clarence’s son Jeffrey Doornbos wrote on July 27: “Today my dad would have joined the Sea to Sea tour in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, for a two and a half week leg. I want to thank all of those who have donated in his name. And thank you to everyone at Sea to Sea and World Renew for your amazing support. It's an amazing cause. He rides along with you all in spirit.”
What is most evident about all who have participated in Sea to Sea is their true dedication to the cause they are rallying behind. Sheler, in his blog post, describes how every rider has taken time away from their families, friends, homes, communities. They have traded their comfortable beds for an air mattress in a tent; they have taken time off from work and school. And now together, they have raised more than $1.6M million to fight global poverty!
Sea to Sea cyclists, volunteers, and supporters: creating hope and opportunity for people facing poverty.
We are forever grateful for you!