A ride to remember

Beaumont resident Bruce Morrison decided to undertake a bike ride from Beaumont to Prince Edward Island this past summer. He says it was an experience he’ll never forget. (Submitted)

Beaumont resident Bruce Morrison decided to undertake a bike ride from Beaumont to Prince Edward Island this past summer. He says it was an experience he’ll never forget. (Submitted)

On his 5,250 kilometre bike ride from Beaumont to Prince Edward Island, local resident Bruce Morrison managed to lose 25 pounds.

But he also gained an experience he’ll never forget.
“It was a lot more fun than I could have imagined,” Morrison said. “It was a really invigorating experience.”
Morrison decided he want to embark on his cross-country bike ride before he turned 60. He left on May 13 and returned on June 28, for a total of 48 days biking, with four days of rest. “I’d always kind of thought about it,” Morrison said. “And I don’t bike much, but really I just wanted to see if I could do it.”
It turns out he could.
On his first day, Morrison managed to bike a whopping 180 kilometres, but started having severe cramps. He learned that he was not drinking enough fluids, and upped his liquid consumption to about 10 litres a day.
Upon leaving Alberta, Morrison biked through Saskatchewan, before entering the United States to travel through North Dakota and Minnesota. Some of his most memorable experiences were the people he met throughout his journey.
“Everyone underneath the sun would come talk to me … and not just normal people, but odd people,” Morrison recalled. “Motorcycle gangs, they love ya. They really identify with someone doing something a little bit odd.”
Morrison fondly remembers bumping into a large Aboriginal man in Minnesota in a service station, and then proceeding to talk with him for an hour and a half.
The man later told Morrison he was an elder with a local Ojibwe tribe, and would pray that Morrison made the trip.
“His prayers must have been good as he made it with no problems,” said Morrison’s wife Sandra with a chuckle.
Morrison re-entered Canada via Sault Ste. Marie in Michigan, but soon found that the Trans-Canada Highway in Ontario was too dangerous.
“The shoulder of that highway was completely broken,” Morrison said. “I just about got hit, so turned around and got off.” He decided to take a detour through Manitoulin Island, and had to take his bike on a ferry before reaching the east coast.
Most days, Morrison was primarily concerned with what direction the wind was coming from and where he would stop for lunch.  “Life becomes pretty simple,” he said. “It’s therapeutic for you.”
Maybe for Morrison. For his wife, the experience was anything but therapeutic.
Serving as his pit crew along with Morrison’s sister, Sandra frequently faced challenges in ensuring that Morrison had a place to sleep and that his bike was in safe condition.
“Trying to find hotels and bike shops in little towns like Beaumont is next to impossible, so that was the biggest challenge,” she said. “And worrying about him, of course.”
Morrison’s journey also taught him some about the country he thought he knew so well. For example, it turns out Saskatchewan is not as flat as one may think.
A 66-kilometre trip from Davidson, Saskatchewan to Moose Jaw took 11 hours due to southeast winds.
“You don’t know what Canada’s topography is like until you go experience it on a bike,” he said.
Morrison said he’s not sure if he would undertake the bike ride again, but he’s glad he did.
And he has some words of advice for Beaumont residents.
“If you’ve ever thought of doing something like this, do it, because it’s a lot more fun than you can imagine … And it’s a lot easier than you think,” he said.
As for the 25 pounds he lost?
“It looks like I’ve gained it all back now,” he said with a snicker.
This story originally appeared in La Nouvelle Beaumont News.

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