European Tour of Southwestern Ontario
While a bit overdue I wanted to take some time to write out a blog post covering the end of the KidsAbility Superhero Challenge.
Plots twists made for some adjustments to the latest chapter of the fundraiser. The adventure begins on Saturday, June 10th. I had made an appointment at Wolf Motorcycles in London because my anti-lock brake system (ABS) light had come on a few weeks prior to our scheduled ride. The brakes were working fine but ahead of our big ride I wanted to be sure. The next available appointment was Saturday June 10th, the day before our ride. We were also watching the weather closely as rain was in the forecast. I arrived in London at 11 and the bike went in for service. A couple hours later there was bad news. The front brake was no longer working ... to the point where they seriously questioned how I had brakes on the drive here. Scary!! I was discouraged from riding the bike back to Waterloo and told I definitely should not drive the bike in its current state for the Superhero Challenge. The brake hose was leaking and there was no brake fluid left. The hose would need to be replaced and they didn’t have any in stock.
Uh oh. "I have a fundraising ride scheduled for tomorrow and I need a bike." I then asked the owner Mark Minnie about buying a bike. Mark saved the day by suggesting I take a BMW 2014 R1200RT home for the weekend and use it for the ride. A very generous offer and I thanked him profusely.
As I drove the newer bike home (I ride a 2000 R1100RT) it was incredible how BMW had fixed so many of my little annoyances with my bike in the newer version. I love my bike but didn’t realize I could love a new bike even more!
The big day
Natalie and I left very early in the morning as rain was in the forecast and we were trying to get ahead of it. We pulled out of the driveway at 5:45am and headed to KidsAbility for a quick photo shoot. Sunday morning driving with no traffic was ideal and we made very good time. We made it through Paris, Vienna, and Copenhagen before we started to see many cars on the road. The new bike felt great and we took the opportunity to use some of the features which were introduced since my bike was manufactured. We were rained on several times but nothing heavy thankfully. We pulled into London for a much needed coffee break (Natalie, "coffee is life"), gas top up, and snack before continuing on our trek.
The late morning saw us go through Zurich, Brussels, and Dublin before we turned back towards Stratford. Stratford made a great place for another break. The bike performed incredibly well. Both Natalie and I commented on how great our bodies felt as the improved suspension clearly made a big difference. As we left Stratford we decided to add another stop - Lisbon - as it was near Heidelberg which was our last planned stop.
By the end of the trip we covered 477 km in about 6.5 hours of moving time and a total elapsed time of 8 hours. Getting off the bike at the end felt good but nothing compared to the feeling of taking our helmets off!
A celebratory beer (Mike, "beer is life.") afterwards for a very successful ride.
Fast forward to Saturday, June 17th and it was finally Super Hero Day. I was on site volunteering to help with the day and it was an incredible success. Hundreds of people showed up. It was a great way to give back to the community and the weather was absolutely perfect. The best part for me personally was being able to play with a fire hose for the first time!
In the end, my friends, family and colleagues helped me raise $3,295! A huge thank you to everyone who contributed. You gave to a very good cause and it will pay it forward for many children in need.