An evening with Bernd

You all know how long it takes for my blog posts to go from draft to published… and for the couple dozen that you have never seen you really dont know but today I am going to publish a post right after starting it.

I used to call myself a “student of human nature” because it was what I liked to do most in the world.  I love to meet new people.  Unlike my wife who won’t even talk to a new person unless I drag her to them… and even then, if she hasn’t had a glass or two of wine to loosen up I will be sleeping on the couch after a stunt like that.  It bothers my wife that I will just start random conversations with strangers.

Tonight I was riding to Regina and stopped in at a rest area by Gull Lake, SK and there I saw a guy reading a book at a picnic table.  I was after 8pm and there was no other vehicle in the rest area except my motorcycle.  As I drove by him I noticed a tent and a mountain bike.  For those that aren’t sure where Gull Lake is, we are talking about the middle of nowhere, 40Km West of Swift Current, SK.

Biking from Halifax to Vancouver is a lofty goal

Biking from Halifax to Vancouver is a lofty goal

I introduced myself and asked if he minded company for a few minutes and he seemed eager in broken English.  I find it hard to call it broken English because if we tried to converse in German he would have quickly found out that my German (3 words) is infinitely worse that his English.  So after a few minutes of chatting with this amazing man I am reinvigorated with a sense of adventure.

Tonight I met Bernd, a German bus driver who flew to Halifax in May and is currently pedaling his way across Canada.  Yes, from Halifax to Vancouver.  Tomorrow he says he hits his 5000 Km mark.  I am nothing but impressed.  This man dropped everything in his life, said goodbye to his daughter and grandson and boarded a plane for Canada.  That is a kind of brave that I have only dreamt of.

So I asked a couple questions because I was beside myself with envy at what he was doing… and more than a little perplexed as to how he was doing it.  He paid about $1000 CA to fly himself, a mountain bike and about 50 Kg of gear including a rather nice little tent.  He figures on food costing less than $800 on his entire cross country trip, which in itself is amazing.  I asked if he was in great shape when he started the journey and his response was that he figures he has lost at least 10 Kg since starting.  That is a couple pounds a week.  Nice.

He arrived in Canada on May 20, 2015 and left Halifax on May 27.  On August 2 he will enter Alberta, the second last province on his journey.  His goal is to hit Vancouver, the end of his journey, on September 1, 2015.  That gives him less than 5 weeks to complete what is unquestionably, the most intense part of the ride.

this graphic shows the vertical route as well as the total distance Bernd will pedal

this graphic shows the vertical route as well as the total distance Bernd will pedal

Thus far, Bernd’s journey has taken him from sea level at the Atlantic ocean to 766m in elevation.  That doesn’t seem overly crazy does it?  It is more interesting when you consider that to get to 766m, he has traveled over 15 Km up and 14.5 Km down.  In order to get to Vancouver, he will add another 10 Km in uphill biking over the next 30 days.  Bernd is going to be losing a lot more weight I think and do more walking than riding some days.  *smile*

We talked a bit about family because I was shocked that he could just pick up and travel around the world to spend four months biking across a strange land.  His daughter Joanna (sp) is only 22 but has blessed Bernd with a great looking Grandson, Jonathon (sp).  The proud grandfather doesn’t have a whole lot of earthly possessions with him, but he proudly shows off a picture of his grandson holding a pair of bears that I thought were raccoons.

Before I continued on my journey I asked him if he needed anything and he smiled and spoke in perhaps his clearest English yet, ” a cold beer”.

By the time I get back this way, he will already be past Lethbridge as he is biking between 85 and 130 Km per day.  Once he hits Alberta he will notice that there are more liquor stores than people.  Hopefully he finds a tall cold one before he hits the Crowsnest Pass…

Bernd is likely not as happy to talk to me as I am to him... and he probably thinks i am a little nuts.

Bernd is likely not as happy to talk to me as I am to him… and he probably thinks i am a little nuts.

Wir wünschen eine gute Reise!

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