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SV father and son duo bike across Canada

Kip and John Deely with their bikes. – Submited photo

By Jaymie White Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

WEST COAST – Father and son duo, John and Kip Deeley, originally from Stephenville, recently returned home from their coast-to-coast bicycling trip, a cross-Canada adventure that took them from Vancouver, B.C. to Newfoundland and Labrador, in only months. “My dad was going to do it. It was his idea to start it, and so we started together. It was actually his idea to do it, and I just jumped in on it,” said Kip. “For him, it’s always been a lifelong goal of doing it, and for me, it honestly just seemed like an absurd challenge to do it, almost impossible. But honestly, I don’t really have a very good answer as to why we did it. It’s just the challenge of doing it was more of a motivator.” Just planning the trip took a couple of months. “Since last December we were kind of working on this, to do this trip. I knew I was going to get a layoff for the summer from my job, so I knew I was going to have the time off. It was the perfect time to do it,” said Kip. “I didn’t know if I was going to ever have a chance to do this again. So roughly, we were planning three or four months out.” The preparations weren’t as extensive as one might expect. “We definitely needed to get our bikes set up. I had to actually find myself a bike that would make the journey,” said Kip. “So a lot of that, finding what we were going to eat, how we could package it as lightly as possible, but other than that, not a whole lot of planning went into it. We were looking for stops and friends along the way that we could stay with, but it wasn’t as crazy of an amount of planning, as you’d think that would go into it.” Their journey began on the West coast of Canada and ended back home on the East coast. “We started in Vancouver, British Columbia, so we dipped our rear wheels of our bikes into the Pacific at Stanley Park and then once we got to North Sydney, we dipped our front wheels,” said Kip. “It took roughly two and a half months.” The further into their journey they got, the longer the duo were able to bike each day, decreasing the length of time they’d take to get back home. “When we first started, we weren’t in the same shape as we were once we got really into it. So when we were in B.C., we were getting crushed by the mountains. So we were usually doing anywhere from 70 to 90 kilometres a day, but once we got into the Prairies and into a bit better shape, we’re usually doing anywhere from 140 to, I’d say, 170 kilometres a day,” said Kip. “It’s easier to go that distance when you don’t have mountain passes to climb up.” Not only was their journey designed to allow them to visit areas in Canada they may not have seen before, it was also an opportunity for the two to reconnect and bond. “I hadn’t really seen him in the past two and a half years because I was working up in Ontario, so we definitely got a lot of time to catch up,” said Kip. There were some highlights as they made their way through the provinces. “I really did like the Fraser Valley River, just right by Abbotsford, B.C.. That was a really beautiful spot, and we also stopped into the Terrell Museum, the dinosaur museum in the Badlands there in Alberta, so that was really cool,” said Kip. “It’s a super random place, just kind of dips down into a canyon. You’ve got prairies, and then it just dips. So it was pretty cool.” They were able to save money by skipping out on hotels and opting for more affordable sleeping arrangements instead. “Apart from staying at friends places, we did do a lot of camping, free camping as well where kind of just hitch a tent anywhere for free, just off the beaten path off of the Trans Canada Highway,” said Kip. “We had water filters and all that and food packed with us that would save a little bit of money along the trip. We also had an app. It’s called Warm Showers where other cyclists have done this type of thing where you just contact them through the app and they’ll let you stay at their place for free. That’s another great way to meet people along the way.” They also weren’t the only cyclists making long journeys. “We must have met probably around, ten plus people doing it. I can’t remember them all now because it’s all kind of a blur, but there were quite a few people doing it too,” said Kip. “Not everyone was doing the coast to coast. Some people started in Montreal and were heading west. Some people were doing the exact same thing as us.” While they took more time on the west coast, the closer they got to home, the faster they traveled. “I’ve grown up on the East Coast my entire life, so I’ve already seen New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, so we really were hammering down to get this done,” said Kip. “I’d say we’re both in the best shape that we’ve ever been in now. We haven’t been on the bike in the past couple of days, taking a break from the bike saddle for a little bit, but yeah, I don’t think I’ve ever been in this good of shape in my life.” Shorter bike trips in the future are something the two are still considering. “I’d say in the future I’d do something small term like maybe two or three week excursions, but nothing more than a month,” said Kip. “ Even though the journey was bucket list worthy, Kip is happy to be back at home. “Feels pretty good to be done. I’m happy to wake up every morning and not have to bike 170 kilometres a day,” said Kip. “I’m happy I did it, but I’m also happy it’s done.”

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