Final Thoughts from Alf

(This is a guest post from Alf Todd)

It is nearly two months since the fourteen cyclists that made up the 2017 Parky’s Pedalers, rode into Centennial Park in Saanichton B.C. to the welcome of nearly 150 cheering supporters.

Many have asked if “Shakin’ the Rock” was a worthwhile project.  If we were expecting  to find a cure for Parkinson’s, NO.  If we were hoping for international notoriety, NO.  The total amount of money raised by the project was a mere $27,526; a “drop in the bucket” when it comes to medical research.  However, since “every drop counts”, eventually the “bucket will be full and we will find a cure. Success cannot be measured by monetary figures.  What has encouraged me the most is the awareness and unity that was brought to the Parkinson’s groups on Vancouver Island.  The way each support group from Port Hardy to Victoria joined together in providing meals, support and encouragement .

Was “Shakin the Rock” a success?  Absolutely!!!  Words cannot express my personal gratitude to each and every one who worked side by side, who gave financially, and most of all to those who reached out their loving arms and embraced  us.  If I were to start naming names, I’d surely miss some;  so please allow me to say from the depths of my heart “Thank you” to all.

Until we ride again,

Alf Todd

Where’s Alf?

(This is a guest post by Alf Todd)

“Why have ‘t we heard from Alf?”, you ask; oh, you didn’t ask!  Well, here I am; I’m breaking my silence.  Actually, I haven’t posted anything because I’m embarrassed about how technologically challenged I am.

I just want to thank all of you for your support and encouragement.  From the 14 incredible  riders to the awesome support team to the amazing groups and individuals to the shops and stores (who blessed us with amazing meals and snacks).  Again I say THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU.

When I first got the vision for “shakin’ the rock”,  I had no idea how far reaching it would be.   We were hoping to raise upwards of $30,000 to go towards research and support.  As of today (June 28) we have raised  well over $22,000.  A “let down”?; not at all.  Look at the bigger picture.  The unity that  has come as a result of support groups working together has been so very rewarding.  To my knowledge, the Island has never seen such support for Parkinson’s.  It has been a real privilege to have been a part of this project.

If I were to start individually naming names, I’d surely miss some one.  However, those of you who know me would be disappointed  if I didn’t say “THANKS”   to God for his help, love and support.  Will we see “shakin’ the rock” again?  I’ll keep you in suspense.

Have a great summer and God bless you.

— Alf Todd

Fundraising Ends on June 30

Fundraising for the Shakin’ the Rock ride closes at the end of the month. June 30 is the last day to donate to Parkinson Society BC or Headway in support of the Shakin’ the Rock event. Of course you can still donate to either charity at any time. Better still, consider becoming a member — check out the following links for details:

Membership page for Parkinson Society BC

Membership page for Headway.

We would like to re-iterate our thanks to everyone who has donated funds or have otherwise help to make the ride a success.


Just like that, it was Day 5 of our 5-day ride.  I started seeing this image of a little green creature with red horns crying “Mommy, It’s Over!” Indeed, our trip from Port Hardy to Victoria was just about over…

Okay, before I go on, I have something to confess that’s been bugging me. I need to let everyone in on our not very well kept dirty little secret.

We weren’t ever going to Victoria!

That feels better. The guilt from that little lie was getting to me — and no, you can’t have your donation back. Our voyage was to end at the Centennial Park in Saanichton where the final bash, hosted by Headway, was set to start at 3:00 pm and our grand arrival of the Parky’s Pedalers was scheduled for just before 4:00 pm.

But first, back to the beginning of the day.

I woke up just after 6 am and looked outside. Clearing skies and no evidence of gale force winds was a welcome change to the previous day’s deluge. It was promising to be a nice ride to our destination with planned stops for coffee and lunch. In a few more hours with our sore butts on our hard saddles the ride would be done and it would be back to our normal lives.

We made the required stop at the Old Town Bakery for sticky buns and coffee and got on our metal steeds. Our first goal was to get to the Aquatic Centre in Duncan where Experience Cycle, who provided our cycling jerseys, hosted a 10 am coffee stop. This required a relatively short  run of just under 30 kilometres. We had a small snafu with a bicycle chain — nothing that a half-dozen cyclists, a wrench and a can of penetrating oil couldn’t fix. Teamwork!

Around 11 am we left the Aquatic Centre for the Shawnigan Lake School. It became apparent fairly quickly that there were some serious hills that weren’t mentioned in the trip brochure. Luckily we had allotted an hour for the ride and everyone arrived more or less on time at the school — a private school with more than a little resemblance to Hogwarts. The buildings and the campus were gorgeous.

Lunch was excellent though we got pulled out part way through to present ourselves in front of the entire school during their lunch break in a collective moment of appreciation for our ride. It was humbling.

As lunch was finishing up, news came in of an accident on the Malahat that we feared might affect traffic on the Mill Bay ferry. We needed to be on the 3:00 pm crossing in order to make our 4:00 pm appointment with the crowds in Centennial Park. The ride to Mill Bay was energetic though, mercifully, it was shorter than the ride up to the school and mostly downhill. We arrived in time to catch the earlier 1:50 pm ferry, killed the better part of an hour to avoid being too early at the BBQ and, when we finally set off, paraded the final few kilometres to Centennial Park where we arrived shortly before 4:00 pm.

Friends and family were waiting, food was cooking and that green creature was playing in my head again.

Mission Accomplished

The goals of our ride was was to promote awareness of Parkinson’s Disease and to raise funds for 2 Parkinson’s charities. I feel comfortable in saying that I think we had accomplished both goals, not in an earth shaking way, but in a way that may make a small difference in people’s lives. Maybe the little bit of money (somewhere around $20,000 at the moment) would help lead to a cure. Maybe the message about how lifestyle can give us parkies back a little bit of control over our disease and its progression would improve the day-to-day well being of a few of our fellow parkies who have been following our ride.

For some of us there was another goal associated with the ride, a personal parky-goal that David Peters touched on with his post I’m in Awe… and that Wendy’s Sister touched on with her post Treat me Like ‘Normal’. Despite our disease, we parkies want to be recognized as part of the team. We weren’t there to win, place or show but just to finish the ride like our parky-muggle colleagues. The Pedalers were a determined dozen not a pair of competing six-packs.

Despite missing the first day to illness and a section of the ride on day 4 to caution I am satisfied with my accomplishments. There was nothing in our goals requiring me to ride the entire 500 km.

Would I do it again? Well, I’ll leave that for another post. Stay tuned…



Day 4 is a Wrap

Lunch at the Church

So, after our coffee stop we all saddled up and went to the Nanaimo Alliance Church where members of the Nanaimo PD Support Group were amassed to serve us lunch. Here are some arrival pictures taken by Ken Meisner, our resident Parky photographer:

Campbell Clan Arriving at Church

A wet Campbell clan arriving at the church for lunch.

More Pedalers Arrive at Church

Damp Pedalers David, Terry, Wendy’s Sister, Bruce and Wendy arriving at the church for lunch.

Wendy and Sister at Church

Wendy and Sister looking cheerful despite the wetness.

For many, the first item on the agenda was how to get dry (or, more precisely, less wet). I called the Island Optimal gym where I go to stay fit and which is only about a kilometre away and got permission to bring a pile of soaking clothing to throw into the dryer that they use for doing loads of towels (run-on sentence — yah, I know). Thanks Pat and Kate!

Lunch was entered around something that I worked with Rawmbas to put together which we called the Pedaler’s Wrap. It’s based on their vegetarian wrap with some avocado and other stuff added to give a boost to long distance cyclists needing lasting energy. Being quite a large wrap it comes in two halves so that less hungry people can share. With the drinks and fruit and desserts, including the must-have Nanaimo Bars, it was an excellent meal. Thanks to Susan, Sandy, Ken, John, Don, Karin, Dick, and all the people  whose names are slipping my mind who helped with the lunch event.

On to Ladysmith

The Pedalers split into two groups. One bee-lined it up to Northfield Road to the Parkway that they followed all the way to Ladysmith. I led the second group through Nanaimo on a less busy and less hilly path that got us onto Cedar Road which we then followed to its end at the Inland Parkway a couple of kilometres before Ladysmith.

Eventually we all ended up at the Holiday House Motel. Everyone was on their own for supper. Most of the Pedalers ended up at the Fox and Hound English-style Pub. A few went next door to the Spice Hut for Indian Cuisine.


Disclaimer: This is a shameless plug for one of my favourite snack stops and a part of my own personal awareness message.

If you’re in North Nanaimo and feeling hungry, check out Rawmbas. Try asking for a Pedaler’s Wrap which I think will be available on a trial basis. Two less-hungry people can easily share one — ask for it to be split in two. It’s not cheap as some of the fast-food “equivalents” (“counterparts” is probably a better word) but in light of research showing the possible benefits of diet to parkies to manage symptoms and even slow disease progression, it’s an important message that I want to share. See my post on Lifestyle and Parkinson’s.

Oh, and Rawmbas makes great smoothies too!