At The End Of The Line

The 17th Annual Bike Rally from Toronto to Montreal in support of the Toronto People With AIDS Foundation rolled into downtown Montreal late on Friday afternoon after 6 hot and humid days on the road.

There are so many stories that have happened during the past week that have left a lasting impression on me.  I’m not sure I could ever do justice to the experience by trying to write about it.

It was humbling to be embraced by my son and his friends in a cause that is meaningful to them.  They shared their campsite with me each night, and looked after me when they weren’t cycling, always to ensure I was ok and enjoying myself … which is rather ironic, considering my role as part of the crew was to ensure they were well supported.

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My son Jordan – 2nd from right – with friends Dan, Andrew, Dempsey, Trevor, and Jazz.

With over 300 of us – riders and crew – on this journey, I was overwhelmed by the friendliness of complete strangers.  By Day 2, it no longer felt odd to be hugged by the most casual of acquaintenances for the smallest of reasons … or just because.

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The much-asked-for picture of me on Red Dress Day … without the feather boa.

Not all experiences were positive ones.  There were the occasional encounters with mean-spirited people, torrential rain one morning, accidents occurred, riders and crew suffered from heat enhaustion, and inevitably tempers would flair … but overwhelmingly, the energy was positive.

People who were strangers to me a week ago, are now *family* … Bike Rally Family.

Bike Rally

Over the course of the week, there were many speeches and stories eloquently told … emotionally touching.   One comment that will forever stay with me was that they “will continue to ride {for HIV/AIDS awareness} until there is no longer a reason to”.

Just as I was starting to get used to the rhythm of tent city each night, followed by a day on the road, it has now come to an end … but this experience has touched my heart.  The memories will last a lifetime.

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About Joanne Sisco

Retired but not idle. Life is an adventure - I plan to continue to embrace it.
This entry was posted in 52 New Things, Active Lifestyle, Adventure, Outdoor Stuff and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

60 Responses to At The End Of The Line

  1. Pingback: 52 New Things – Been There. Done That. | My Life Lived Full

  2. You were so clearly, deeply moved by this experience and I can understand why. What a wonderful week to share with your son, his friends and other committed volunteers – bravo to you all! The red dress photo is amazing.

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      Thanks … I am so grateful that I had this opportunity. So often in the past, “Old Joanne” would have turned this type of thing down as too outside my comfort zone.
      “New Joanne” is wiser 🙂

      Like

  3. Mrs. P says:

    What an adventure! It’s so awesome that you rallied behind your son’s cause with his friends. I’m sure it will make your bond with him even closer. Plus you have a fabulous collection of memories to go along with it. Hugs and the capacity to listen can be quite powerful healers.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. treerabold says:

    What a wonderful experience it must’ve been. I admire your willingness to get out there and support the riders…and this cause. So many young LGBTQ people struggle to be loved and accepted by their families….you are a beautiful example of what true parental (human) love is all about!!

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      Thanks Tree. Feeling stigmatized and rejected is not easy at any age.
      As a driver on the Wellness Team, I often felt useless without any medical background. I resorted to doing the only thing I knew how – listening – and sometimes listening and holding a hand. It’s amazing the fears and anxieties people will let go of when there is a sympathetic ear listening.

      Liked by 1 person

      • treerabold says:

        So true and I have no doubt you were a blessing to many of those young people.
        I’m sure many of them would love to have a mom like you!!
        Acceptance is all many in the LGBTQ community need and want.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. LB says:

    Without saying much, you have said it all.
    What a powerful post, Joanne. So glad you were able to share this experience

    Like

  6. Love the red dress photo. Sounds like it was a wonderful experience, it’s been lovely to read about it and sort of share in it all this way x

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      Thanks Annie. You mentioned that you thought you would hate running. Well, I thought I would hate this experience … driving all day as support crew, camping every night. Turns out I was wrong too 🙂
      i learn so much from my children. I believe they make me a better person 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Such amazing photos, thank you for sharing this experience and for being a part of a worthy cause that touches many lives. You are an inspiration, as is everyone who took part in the rally. Huge congrats to all.

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      Thanks Michelle. I usually shy away from experiences like this one … large groups of people, “chaos” … but I discovered it felt really good to be part of a great cause. The energy, enthusiasm, and kindness of this group of people has been contagious 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Such a beautiful and hugely important event to be a part of, Joanne. And if I remember correctly, didn’t your son and his clan participate in this last year as well? I think it’s a marvelous adventure and one I admire them all for tremendously.
    Truly, the gathering of like-minded people to do something so worthy is as moving an activity as one can ever hope to be party to.
    Congratulations all around!
    (You should be one proud mama!)

    Like

  9. You guys had very challenging weather, but it looks like y’all survived it – actually,perhaps are the better for it. Now for Sweden?

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      I had a lot of fun … in spite of the heat and humidity 🙂
      … yes, now I’m trying to find inertia to get ready to leave for Sweden on Monday. Quite frankly, I really don’t want to do much of anything right now.

      Like

  10. bikerchick57 says:

    I see you found the words to express your adventure. Excellent post about a bike ride for a meaningful cause! Love the last lines and photo of the sunset over tent city.

    Like

  11. Heyjude says:

    Superstars!!! ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ is right. Well done ALL of you and what a fab photo of you and your boys in red 🙂 Time for a rest and a BIG glass of wine.

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      I’m so lucky that my boys like doing stuff with us and we have so much fun 🙂 Red Dress Day is certainly one for the books 😉
      I came home last night and had a martini. It was really, really good! …. and sleeping in my own bed was wonderful!!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Love the red dress photo! 👘👠 What a great cause to be associated with. Looked like lots of fun also!

    Like

  13. Sue Slaght says:

    Joanne what a beautiful post. I have goosebumps as I write your week has touched me so. I am so sorry to hear of the mean spirited people. Really are we not past that yet? So glad to hear it was such a bonding experience with your young team. I loved that they took care of you!

    Like

  14. lovetotrav says:

    Volunteering and working towards a goal makes life worthwhile and much brighter. Thank you for sharing in what was a momentous and meaningful experience for all involved… and for us, who got to read and share along with you. Take care and enjoy your inside living for awhile. Congrats to your boys for continuing to bring awareness of issues that need to be well-lit and remembered.

    Like

  15. NotAPunkRocker says:

    What a beautiful experience and thank you for sharing this with us. I am glad for those who can and will ride until there is a reason not to. ❤

    Like

  16. Wow. You did it justice and then some. What a great experience to be embraced not only by your son and his friends but by strangers who became new friends through a shared cause. Joanne, you really are quite something! (p.s. red dress pic is a classic and one that will bring it back in a glance down the line…..love it!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • joannesisco says:

      It was a very positive and memorable experience. This was a highly collaborative environment where everyone was ready to greet you with a smile and hug. As one guy said in his recap of the event (paraphrasing) … one week is too short to spend in such a magical environment.

      Liked by 2 people

  17. NancyTex says:

    It’s so awesome that you did this! I know camping and not taking proper showers, etc., isn’t really your thing. 🙂 Looks like it was a rewarding and beautiful experience. Well done, you!

    Like

  18. Lynn says:

    Joanne, I am certain this experience with remain in your heart for years to come. I thought about you often this past week, with the heat rising to unbearable temperatures. Kudos to all of you for participating in this ride & contributing to such an important cause. High fives all around!

    P.S. The Red Dress pic slays me! It is a framer for sure!

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      The heat and humidity was really tough for me … especially at night. This break in the temperature is a welcome relief.
      Generally, the cyclists were happier for the heat than they were of last year’s monsoon weather 🙂

      Red Dress Day is definitely a highlight of the week, but I discovered that the Road Support team have costumes all week. They were hilarious! They had a tough job but had a lot of fun doing it 🙂

      Like

      • Lynn says:

        Yes, riding in monsoon weather would be painful! Love that the Road Support have costumes all week. Something to aspire to for next year?

        Like

        • joannesisco says:

          LOL!! … well, on the medical team, my Bike Rally experience was a bit different from most. Dressed in fun costumes while sitting in Emergency after an accident would look a bit odd 😉
          Unfortunately I had to do that more times than I would like.

          Like

  19. Everybody’s still smiling! That’s a good sign. 🙂

    Congratulations and well done to all concerned – riders and support crew alike – for your fantastic effort and inspiring dedication to such a worthy cause.

    These communal endurance events really do create the most amazing temporary community. Watch out for the post-event blues. 😉

    Superstars!!! ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      You are so right. Experiences shared are amplified and on Saturday afternoon over drinks in Montreal, we were already talking about the post-Rally blues. Now that I’m home, it’s already starting to feel a bit surreal.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. It seems like it was a really beautiful experience Joanne. Actually tearing up a little over here.

    Like

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