PICTOU – Carl Henderson will remember 2013 as the year he biked across Canada.
© SUEANN MUSICK – THE NEWS
Carl Henderson cycles beside a Canadian map that marks his virtual trek across the country. The 70-year-old Shiretown Nursing Home resident followed a similar route as the Craig Gives Back tour.
The 70-year-old resident of the Shiretown Nursing Home in Pictou decided in July that he was going to follow a similar path as Lloyd McLean and Craig Aucoin in their cross-country trek across Canada – using a stationary bike.
McLean, Aucoin and Bob MacDonald cycled for 85 days, 8,200 kilometres, across Canada to raise funds and awareness for three charities. McLean and Aucoin started the journey in Newfoundland, but MacDonald filled in for Aucoin for a large part of the trek after he became injured early on. The three men and their families toured in British Columbia in mid-October.
On Monday, Henderson presented Shiretown Nursing Homes Recreational Director Kelly MacDonald with his final log entry showing he had reached his final destination in Victoria.
“We looked at their schedule online and followed a similar route,” said MacDonald. “He started out biking 20 miles three times a day, but near the end of the journey he was up to 25 miles a day.”
She said when he first started cycling he would only get in five minutes before he had to stop, but later could go for much longer periods. It usually takes him about two hours to complete the 20 miles in a day.
Every time he would reach a new province, MacDonald would show Henderson some photos of the province and the type of terrain McLean, MacDonald and Aucoin were cycling over.
Henderson, a former Toney River resident and fisherman, said he enjoyed the journey and although he never saw as much of the countryside as McLean, Aucoin and Bob MacDonald, he was never bored.
“I loved it. It was something to do,” he said. “If I couldn’t sleep, I would get up and bike for a bit.”
MacDonald moved the stationary bicycle into his room so he could watch some television or listen to the radio while pedalling. He also kept track of his miles in a log book and marked off his journey on a map.
“Ontario was the hardest,” he said. “It’s so big.”
Not only was the trek good for him mentally, it also improved his physical health. He lost a significant amount of weight and his breathing has improved.
Henderson is also an inspiration to others in the home who are now talking about walking the distance to other provinces that hold a special significance to them. For example, one resident wants to walk to her old homestead in Ontario while another wants to walk to her daughter’s home in Calgary.
Henderson isn’t done touring the country either. He plans on cycling up to the Yukon next then back to Ontario. He also wants to cross Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island.