Opinion

Paterson: Couple's bike trek across country admirable for several reasons

Daman Milsom and Kibby Evans will roll into West Kelowna this week as the couple enters the final leg of their cross-country bike trek.

The purpose of their trip is to encourage Canadians to register as organ donors and to raise money for transplant research.

It's an admirable way for the couple to spend their summer.

But it's not only admirable because their actions will benefit BC Transplant.

It is equally impressive Daman and Kibby began the ride as a couple and, if all goes according to plan, will complete the journey as a couple.

Two years ago, my English girlfriend and I thought it would be a good idea to bike along England's Trans Pennine Trail while raising money for SOS Children's Villages in Concepcion, Chile.

Neither she nor I were experienced cyclists. I had sat on a bicycle once in the decade prior to the trip for a two-hour leisurely pedal through Stanley Park.

Admittedly, I didn't even understand the importance of switching gears.

Yet she was convinced—and managed to convince me—we could complete the 200-plus mile trek in four days.

The Trans Pennine Trail runs coast-to-coast through England's north. We began our journey in the west-coast town of Ainsdale; we aimed to complete the trip in Hull 96 hours later.

If the situation wasn't difficult enough already, we also neglected to buy the £6 Trans Pennine Trail map because "it was a bit pricey" and we were sure the signage wouldn't let us down.

In hindsight, that £6 investment would have been well worth it.

The signs were often misleading and in one instance we travelled in the wrong direction for several hours.

We also spent precious time trying to deal with basic mechanical problems such as fixing fallen bike chains.

The trek hit a low on our final day.

We had to be in Hull to catch a train back home at 4 p.m. The clock was ticking, we were still several miles from our destination and it appeared we were lost. Voices were raised; honest, uncensored feelings were shared.

I hit my boiling point as I picked up the rented bicycle I was using and contemplated throwing it in a canal that flowed alongside the road.

In short, the trip tested our relationship.

Looking back, I see the positives: We raised £570 for a worthy cause, we conquered a challenge—albeit kicking and screaming—and, in the long-term, our relationship probably became stronger.

Do I regret taking part in our bike trip for charity? No.

Will I bike across any country in the near future? No.

When I spoke to Daman Tuesday, he mentioned several people have asked him how he and Kibby have managed to pedal so many kilometres without suffering permanent damage to their relationship.

"For us it's been an incredible experience; each day has been better than the last," he said.

Good for you, Daman and Kibby.

My experience was slightly different.

wpaterson@kelownacapnews.com

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