charity · cycling · fitness

The year the bike rally went virtual and Sam and Sarah rode 600 km mostly on the trainer

The Friends for Life Bike Rally is a very big thing around the blog. Lots of us have done it in one version or another! Me, frequent guest Sarah, sometimes blogger Joh, Susan, Cate, Catherine, Natalie…

For me it all began in 2014 when I rode the 600 + km to Montreal with David (and a few hundred other riders.) You can read an accounting of the rally over the years here.

But this year? The bike rally, like lots of other charity rides, was forced to move to a virtual format. It’s not just a ride of course. It’s first and foremost a fundraising event for a very important cause. Here’s their description, “The Rally is the only volunteer-led, week-long ride that brings people together for an inclusive, supportive, and life-changing challenge that inspires much-needed help for people living with HIV/AIDS in Toronto, Kingston and Montréal.”

According to this CBC story charities that rely on sporting activities stand to raise a lot less money.

What it was: 6 day, 660 km ride from Toronto to Montreal (with 1 day and 3 day options)

What is now? 90 day challenge to ride for either 600 minutes or 600 kms.

I did it mostly indoors on my trainer. And while I love Zwift, indoor riding just didn’t compare to the comradery that is the bike rally. We used an app that tracked our miles. I’m the pink unicorn below. Go me!

How to sponsor me: Here!

Sarah got home from our canoe camping trip last night only to notice it was the last of the 90 days and she was a few kilometers short of the goal. A lesser person would have done it in the morning but not Sarah.

She posted to Facebook, “Okay friends. I just got back from 6 days canoe camping in Algonquin Park. When I got back, before I even showered, I set up my bike on the trainer and rode the remaining 2.8 km of the 600.3 km Friends for Life Bike rally as today was the last day to complete the virtual version.

Here’s a link to my fundraising page if you’d like to send a few bucks my way in support of the wonderful work of Toronto PWA :

http://pwaevents.org/SarahRides

charity · cycling

Sam and Sarah’s first metric century of the summer on the 1 day version of the Friends for Life Bike Rally: We made it to Port Hope!

It was actually a metric century (100 km) and change: 117 km in total. And we were so happy we did it. Neither of us had trained much this summer what with new job, moving, knee injury, sailboat racing, etc. Now I often say that after years of cycling I feel like I have 100 km in the bank. I feel like I could go out and ride 100 km on the first day of the spring cycling season. It wouldn’t be pretty and I might suffer the next day but I could do it. I’m not actually sure if that’s true but it’s how I feel.

The problem is that day 1 of the bike rally isn’t any old 100 km. It’s often extremely hot. There’s a lot of fuss and bother and stopping and starting getting out of Toronto. The rally always reminds me what a big city it is. The getting out of the city is followed by long sections on speed limited multi use pathways complete with dogs, children playing, roller bladers, long boarders. The view of the lake is gorgeous and it’s nice to be out of traffic but again there’s lots of slowing and speeding up, cheerfully calling out out “on your left” and telling people how many bikes are on the rally and what we’re raising money for. I’m very conscious of representing a group and a cause and I’m on my very best riding behavior. I love the last 20 km of countryrods and rolling hills. They’re exhausting but beautiful and each year I promise myself that I’ll go back and ride just that section fresh, not at the end of a long day on the bike.

There were lots of smiles that day in our small group of two. First, it wasn’t hot. There was a forecast high of 24 and low humidity. Perfect! Second, we paced ourselves and rested lots and really enjoyed the ride. I’m faster than Sarah uphills but even then I managed to slow down, spin, and not get too far ahead. How? See Sam’s bad knee cures Sam of a bad bike habit  She holds her own on the flats and downhill. Third, my knee was fine. I thought it would be but even so I worried about that much time on the bike. Fourth, Sarah was happy to discover that addressing an iron deficiency has helped her aerobic capacity and fitness.

We had a lovely evening at the camp with other 1 day riders and the 6 day riders who were camping in Port Hope and pushing on the next day. Truth be told, I was sad leaving and  I wished I was along for the full ride. But this year, this was the right choice. I was able to maintain my connection with this important cause and this wonderful community. It was my 5th year and my first time not doing the full thing. My social media newsfeed is full of past rallies. Don’t worry friends, I’ll be back!

Want to make me feel better about not doing the whole thing? You can still sponsor me, by the way!

PLEASE SPONSOR Samantha Brennan

charity · cycling

Tomorrow we ride! #f4lbr

It’s year 5 for me and the Friends for Life Bike Rally which is the main fund raiser for the Toronto People With AIDS society. It’s a great cause, a wonderful generous loving community, and a fun ride.

This year Sarah and I are doing the one day ride, not the full six days to Montreal. It’s 110 km from Toronto to Port Hope. We’ll ride our bikes, go for a swim, have some dinner, catch up with friends, tear up a little that we’re not sticking around for the beautiful roads on the route, sigh with relief a little that we’re not riding into Montreal en masse on the bike path, and get taken back to Toronto by bus at the end of the evening. Yawn.

This morning we drove into the city and dropped off our bags that will meet us in Port Hope. Bathing suits, towels, flip flops, and non cycling clothes. Also, for me, a hat, because helmet hair. It was fun to meet up with the bike rally community, get all the hugs, and try on this year’s jersey. Photos tomorrow, I promise.

Given my big new job and moving and all the life events going on around here the one day ride will be enough of a challenge. Wish us luck. And it’s not too late to sponsor me.

clothing

Let there be fitisafeministissue.com merchandise! And for a good cause

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Exciting new blog development!  We have some very cool merchandise and if you buy it, you’ll be supporting our fitisafeministissue team in the Friends for Life Bike Rally this summer in support of People with AIDS (PWA) Toronto.

To get your t-shirt and/or mug, check out our Shopify site.

Huge thanks to Jenn Lion, who got the site going, to Pam Sloan for her terrific design, and to Susan Tarshis, team lead with Sam, for helping to get the idea off the ground.

You can also donate directly to the cause.

 

cycling

50th Birthday Challenge: Friends for Life Bike Rally

Last June I wrote about the MS Bike Tour, MS Bike Tour and Pride London: Conflict resolved! and said “I only do 1 charity ride a year though the Friends for Life Rally is on my bucket list. It’s 600 km Toronto to Montreal, to raise money to support people living with HIV/AIDS. (The Friends For Life Bike Rally is the sustaining fundraiser of the Toronto People With AIDS Foundation.)”

Well, this year I’m doing it! It’s a much bigger distance and a much bigger fundraising goal ($2500) but I figure my fiftieth birthday summer is the year to do it.

On July 27, 2014, more than 400 people will embark on a six-day, 600 km journey from Toronto to Montreal. Riders of all ages and levels of experience and crew supporting a variety of activities along the route unite in their passion to support people living with HIV/AIDS. The Friends For Life Bike Rally is the sustaining fundraiser of the Toronto People With AIDS Foundation.

Read more about the ride here.

I’m looking forward to Day 3.

Day 3 marks the halfway point of Bike Rally and is known as Red Dress Day. It is the shortest day with a 51 km ride to Queen’s University.

Today, you ride along the edge of Lake Ontario and the Bay of Quinte as you approach the historic town of Kingston. You make it to Kingston in time for an amazing lunch at Queen’s University. No camping tonight, you sleep in the dorms at Queen’s and have a chance to catch up on some laundry.

I already have my red dress picked out!

I’m hoping that between the blog’s generous community of guest posters, readers, and commentators, I can reach my fundraising goal. I’m also forgoing all birthday gifts and instead asking friends and family to donate to the ride.

I’ve got to say this is an impressive charity event. It’s run almost entirely by volunteers and a huge crew of people help out, far beyond the people doing the ride. (Read about evaluating the charities we run and ride for here: Philanthropy and fitness.)

Please consider sponsoring me. You can do that here.