Our riders, Mel, Lindsay, Ben and Tracey started out bright and early from where the chip wagon isn't on the beach at Holyrood. Tracey guided us on the Admiral's coast route into Bowring Park in St. John's where we were greeted by a small but enthusiastic group. Then we headed down to the harbour for the traditional wheel dipping. Harder than you might think. There isn't any easy access to the water - no beach anyway - in the downtown area. We ended up at a dock at Harbourside Park by the War Memorial. Mel showed off his mountain climbing skills by clambouring down the rocks with his bike. No easy feat with biking shoes. The good news is that only the bike got dipped.
In the last week our schedule was lighter on the riding than in past weeks and months. So it seemed we were cooling our jets a lot waiting for the ferry and on the crossing. It's nice to be finished the ride. There's a tremendous sense of accomplishment and we've had a great time here in St. John's - very relaxing - met some terrific people.
It's pretty easy to measure the success of a cross-Canada bike ride - there's the number of days on the road, number of kilometers ridden, bottles of Gatorade consumed. There's a clear beginning and an clear ending.
It's a different story to evaluate our goal of raising awareness about mental illness. There is no baseline and no way to measure progress, and there is no research ongoing that we are aware of. I know hundreds of people have come out to the events across the country, and many thousands more people have visited the website and the blog, viewed the TV interviews and read the many newspaper articles that have been written along the way. But are we being clear with the message? Are we having an impact on stigma? We just have to hope and believe that this is more than a long, a very long, cycling tour and family vacation.