Nothing unusual there, except for the mode of transportation that made the trip all that more memorable for Hildebrand, along with her sister Beth Roy and father Eric Roy.
“It was my little sister Beth’s crazy dream,” Hildebrand said.
She, her sister and father, along with other family members left Fort St John, British Columbia and headed to Vancouver. It wasn’t a trip to the airport to hop aboard a plane for a cross-country flight for a Newfoundland family gathering. They decided that Vancouver would be the start of an 11-week journey, the spot where they would dip into the Pacific Ocean. Twillingate was to be the termination of their travels – a 6,900 kilometre trip across the nation on bicycles.
Jenna said a friend who had completed the trip a couple of years ago convinced them they could do it.
“It was a great trip,” Jenna said, but there were moments along the way where the cyclists thought otherwise. “When we were in Saskatchewan we questioned what we were doing. It was very hot and boring.”
They persevered and exactly 11 weeks later they leaped into the Atlantic as family and friends cheered for them at a party in Bayview, Twillingate. The two girls averaged about 100 km per day with seven rest days. Their Dad biked with them, averaging about 50 km per day. They were accompanied by a family support team in a vehicle with trailer.
They went through 17 tire tubes as they traversed the country.
“B.C. was the hardest cycling,” Hildebrand said. “We thought P.E.I. was the most beautiful and Quebec was overall the best province for biking. Quebec is very cyclist friendly with it being a very popular sport. There are lots of bike paths and lanes with lots of people riding their bikes.”
After visiting Twillingate the family will be flying back to B.C. Pat Hildebrand, along with her partner Wayne Greenham, will take their vehicle back to B.C. for them.
A repeat journey wasn’t in the plans, and it seems that they’ve had their fill of cycling for now.
“Once was enough,” she said. “Maybe a trip to Mexico. It’s a lot shorter. I think we’ll just get back home to play hockey and roller derby for now.”
And as for jumping in the Atlantic, “The water was cold!!!”
By Jim Hildebrand
Special to the Pilot