Dennis Duemeier, left, and Jane Henderson with their bikes outside their Summerside home. The husband and wife duo recently completed a 10-week cycling trip across most of Canada.
©MILLICENT MCKAY/JOURNAL PIONEER
SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. - It’s been Dennis Duemeier’s dream since he was a little boy.
Now 58, Duemeier has cycled across the country finally realizing his dream, sharing the experience with his wife Jane Henderson, 57.
We cycled about 3,000 kilometres to prepare. We thought we were prepared when we left. But we weren’t as ready as we could have been
“You know how people say they want to do something and you think they’re kidding?” asked Henderson.
“That’s what I thought about cycling across Canada until Dennis asked me if I bought the plane tickets to Vancouver,” said Henderson.
To prepare for the trip they spent January and February in Florida, cycling every day.
“We cycled about 3,000 kilometres to prepare. We thought we were prepared when we left. But we weren’t as ready as we could have been,” said Duemeier.
On June 3, the pair packed their essentials into six bags and set off on their 10-week journey.
“We packed our bicycles into boxes. Sent them on the plane and reassembled them in Vancouver,” said Duemeier.
Their first uphill climb (literally), were the mountain passes in the Rockies.
“We had to walk up it. I’d look up and think oh man, this is awful,” said Henderson.
She added, “But fourth day into the trip, which was when we were coming down those hills, were probably some of the most fun.”
They returned to the Island 62 days later, bypassing the territories, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador.
“If we had gone from east to west, it would have been a lot harder. Coming this way there was incentive because you just wanted to get home. There’s no incentive to get us to Vancouver,” said Henderson.
Their days would begin around 5 a.m. and after a cup of coffee and a hearty breakfast, the duo would pack up and hit the toad by 7 a.m.
Next would come about 30 to 40 km of riding and then a mid-morning snack.
Then there was another 20 to 25 kilometres before lunch. On average, they cycled about 100 km a day.
“After lunch we would want to stop more often. But we would power through and keep going stopping for snacks along the way.”
At least the sights were never boring, said Duemeier.
Henderson added, “We met so many other cyclists. It really helped us keep going and get over the hurdle of the mental side of this trip. Knowing they were going through the same thing we were, was a comfort.”
When the couple hit the Ontario leg of the trip, the end was in sight.
“Although there was still a lot left, it’s like we could see the finish line,” he said.
Looking back, Henderson is impressed that she completed the trip.
“I knew Dennis was. I learned quickly that he never gives up. But I didn’t think I had the stamina to do it. It was harder than I thought and it was a very rugged trip.”
“It proved to be a challenge. I thought we were in better shape. It was harder than anything I’ve ever done.”
Henderson added, “But anyone can do it at any age. If you want to get out there and try something. Go and try it.”
To learn more about their journey go to https://splitcrow.ca/2017/05/19/van-2-pei-our-cycling-trip-across-canada/.