Track Michael’s Progress…

Download Michael’s Progress Sheet

June 18 – Week 1 Progress

Total Distance          847     km
Average Speed         29.2    kph
Top Speed                 79.5    kph

Week 1 was always expected to be a tough week, simply because it was the week I’d need to adapt to riding a bicycle roughly 150 km per day, but also because it was the week I’d spend traversing the Rocky Mountains…and it was definitely tough.

For those unfamiliar with the route, there’s a high mountain pass called “Kicking Horse Pass” which includes several severe climbs, including ones of 800 or more meters vertical. I’ve now re-named this “Kicked My Ass Pass”.
Eish!
Even on an e-bike that bit of riding was brutal, partly because of the cold, rainy and windy conditions I had to endure. 

That having been said, all’s still good thus far.
I haven’t had a single muscle cramp or injury, and aside from feeling a bit flu-ish by the time I reached Calgary – likely because of spending 3 days riding in the rain at temperatures well below 10 degrees (4 degrees at one point) – I’m still feeling confident that I can pedal my way across this continent.

If you’re interested, my progress tracking sheet has been updated with where I got to each day (see link on this page).

With respect to fundraising, well…
Things aren’t exactly going to plan.
Apparently, my goals were rather ambitious, so at the recommendation of a friend, I’ve dialled back my goal to try to raise R300 000 to hire a proper Maths teacher for my kids for the remainder of 2018 and all of 2019.
It’s not what I believe the kids need…or deserve…but it’ll at least help. 

One week down…five to go!

June 11 – Ride Day 1

Total Distance                 175.2 km
Average Speed               29.7 kph
Top Speed                        67.3 kph

So…after a fantastic couple of days rekindling a great relationship with Kobus and Adele, two of my “I am a S’African” friends who now live in Canada (since 2009)…I departed Mile Zero of the TransCanada Highway in Victoria shortly after 07h30.
After a nearly 2 hour break while taking the ferry across to the mainland…a nearly 2.5 hour break while sorting out a total tyre blowout…and a 90-minute break towards the end of the day to recharge my literal and figurative batteries…I reached Chilliwack BC at about 20h00.
All’s good thus far.
The body’s holding up…which I’ve chalked up to years of preparative carbo loading…and I’m now heading up into the mountains for what should be a beautiful yet painful next few days.

All eyes forward…as I’ve got about another 41 days of cycling to go.

June 04 – 8-Hour Challenge

Well, Saturday’s 8-Hour Challenge at Nelson Mandela Square went off with only one major hitch: the team was over an hour late!
I managed to spin for the entire 8 hours, with only one 4-minute ‘nature break’, and didn’t suffer any significant pain or strain.
My neck was a bit sore, but nothing really to worry about.
The kids performed for their 8 hours, with a 30 minute lunch break, and nobody was any worse for the wear. A couple of blisters, but nobody dropped out.
So…
Today’s the day I leave for Canada…and one week before I set out from Victoria, British Columbia at 07h00 on Monday the 11th.
Nerves are starting to get a bit rattled!
So far…no new funds raised, but a couple of promises have been made.
We’re currently sitting on R16 100, or 0.62% of the total goal.

About Michaels Cross-Canada Challenge

To reinforce SMYLe’s message regarding the importance of setting ambitious goals, communicating those goals with others so they can hold you accountable for those goals, and then to work hard to reach those goals, Michael has decided to cycle roughly 7 200 kilometres across Canada: from Victoria, British Columbia (west coast), to Halifax, Nova Scotia (east coast). This is essentially the same distance as from Cape Town to Cairo, and Michael expects to spend between 42 and 49 days cycling an average of 175 kms per ‘cycling day’ to achieve this goal (wimping out on the rainiest of days).

When asked, “Why such an ambitious goal?”, Michael replied with the following: After retiring from teaching at Glenview Park Secondary School in Cambridge, Ontario, my former gym teacher and gymnastics coach attended the Vancouver wedding of one of his daughters. Setting aside the fact that he was in his 60’s, and had never attempted such a challenge, Mr Rope turned to his wife at the end of the wedding and said something to the effect of, “You go ahead and fly back to Cambridge. I’m gonna buy a bike and cycle home.”

The trip was roughly 5 400 km long, and Mr Rope pulled off the stunt with relative ease, encouraging me to create a new section on the resume I constructed shortly after my 25th birthday: “Things to do before I’m 40!”

Among “the things” was “get my pilot’s license” and “visit all continents while spelling STRAWBERRY FIELDS” (with the first letters of the countries I visit), as well as “Cycle Across Canada!”

While I finally got my pilot’s license at 31, and while I’ve almost visited enough continents and countries to spell out STRAWBERRY FIELDS (still needing to visit Antarctica and get one last R and a W), I have yet to tick off the cycling challenge…and I’m now setting out at 48, with an expected finish in the days leading up to my 49th birthday (27 July).

What better way to encourage the kids of SMYLe to set ambitious goals than by finally attempting to tick “Cycle Across Canada” from my “Things to do” list?

The primary goal of the trip is to survive the entire 7 200 km…with the quasi-cheater support of a brand new daily range extending e-bike…while the secondary goal is to try to raise a minimum of R300 000 ($30 000 Canadian) to be able to hire a full-time Supplemental Math Teacher as early as 01 September 2018 (latest by 10 January 2019, when the next academic year begins). The ultimate goal is to raise R2.598 million ($259 800) to construct a ‘SMYLe Centre’ to house all of our music and Mathematics programmes properly.

Regardless of how much (or little) money is raised by the trip, the entire journey will be a non-stop conversation with the kids of SMYLe.

Daily social media posts, as well as a weekly blog update, will be used to keep the kids informed of Michael’s progress, and to encourage the kids to step out of their own comfort zones on a daily basis for the entire two months between when Michael leaves Johannesburg on the 4th of June and returns of the 4th of August. If the challenge only manages to impact one of the kids, then the trip will have at least achieved a measure of success that wouldn’t have occurred if the ride never occurred at all.

As I constantly remind SMYLe’s supporters, the goal should never be to attempt to “change the world”, but rather to “change one person’s world”. If we do that, then we’ve done our bit!

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Get in Touch

To partner with SMYLe to fund our Maths programme, or to fund the construction of our SMYLe Centre…

To offer a more modest donation and/or volunteer support…

To hire a band to perform at a corporate event…

To offer a venue for SMYLe to busk on alternate weekends (when not at Nelson Mandela Square)…

To organise a trip to another country for SMYLe to showcase one of the many treasures of South Africa…

…contact us via email at smyle@iras.co.za

Thanks in advance!

Want to Support SMYLe Financially?

To ask about our current funding requirements, please email michael@iras.co.za
To donate via EFT, please use the following banking details:

Bank:
Standard Bank
Branch:
Rosebank
Branch Code:
004305
Branch Code for Electronic Payments:
051001
Swift Code:
SBZA ZA JJ
Name of Account Holder:
SMYLe
Account Type:
Business Cheque
Account Number:
10104841743

To ask about our current funding requirements, please email michael@iras.co.za
To donate via EFT, please use the following banking details:

Bank:
Branch:
Branch Code:
Branch Code for Electronic Payments:
Swift Code:
Name of Account Holder:
Account Type:
Account Number
:

Standard Bank
Rosebank
004305
051001
SBZA ZA JJ
SMYLe
Business Cheque
10104841743