One year later – reflections and gratitude

As we just finished celebrating Canada’s 147th birthday, and as the 1 year anniversary of the completion of our trip across this amazing country draws near (Sunday, July 13) I think it’s a good time to say thank you and to reflect on the last year.
So, thank you to all of you. Those that have been keeping in touch through emails, blogs, texts and tweets, those that came out to all of the events across the country, those that shared their homes, the road, their stories, their laughter and their tears, those that worked tireless hours organizing and preparing. And a huge THANK YOU to the members of the team, the board, the steering committee, Terry, Al, Sue and Patrick and our families who made such sacrifices for the effort.

We covered almost 6900 km over the 10 weeks. There were flat tires, breakdowns (both mechanical and human), storms, heat waves, mosquitoes, black flies, long days, sleepless nights, headwinds, aches and pains and lots of hills. There were also tail winds, down hills, incredible vistas, wildlife, sunrises and sunsets, clean laundry days, great food, great company, amazing music and wonderful new friends.

Because of what you contributed and because of the love you shared, we reached hundreds, maybe thousands of people and offered hope, love, understanding, a voice and an ear to all of them. I also want you to know that after expenses, we were able to share over $48,000.00 with local mental health charities in every province across Canada.

Over the past year, I have tried to keep our mission in my sites. It’s been hard, as life seems to push and pull in every direction at the same time, business, grandparenting, home renos, etc. But we keep telling Hillary’s story and encouraging people to keep the conversation going. I was honoured to be the keynote speaker at the fundraising breakfast for The Support Network in Edmonton in September. I also got to speak to a class of grade 5/6 students at our daughter Katie’s school, Delton Elementary, about the journey, the country and the stigma. And we were thrilled to work on “Clara’s Big Ride” with The Canadian Mental Health Association and The Support Network in Edmonton.
We are not sure what’s next on Hillary’s Ride agenda but we know that we will be working on new projects as time moves forward. We have made some wonderful friends through this process and know that with your help we can make a difference.
I’m pretty certain Hillary would be proud of all of us.
“love is all you need”

A year after the start of the ride; 11 years since losing Hillary

A message from Hillary’s dad…

1 year ago I was in Victoria with my family and a few friends about to embark on our cross Canada bike trip.

Today marks 11 years since we lost Hillary.

Betty jo and I went down to visit her tree last night and noticed how the the little scar that the deer chewed into the trunk several years ago has developed into a big hole in the bark exposing the inside of the tree. I think that somehow reflects how the scar that Hillary’s death left on us has somehow exposed our insides as well and like the tree, we have somehow found a way to grow.

I am so proud of how we as a family and a community have moved forward and, in Hillary’s name, done some thing to help make a difference. People talk now more openly about mental health and the stigma is starting to go away. With efforts like Clara Hughes’ and many others moving into the future, I know that together we can make a difference.

As usual friends, I ask you to keep Hillary in your thoughts today and do something nice for a stranger.

“Love is all you need”

Bill, Betty jo and the rest of Hillary’s family
Much Love

Suicide Awareness Week: Crisis Support Centre, Alberta Primetime, Avenue Edmonton, 630CHED

Lift The Silence: Suicide Awareness Week

This week is the 12th annual Lift The Silence: Suicide Awareness Week, organised by Edmonton’s Crisis Support Centre and the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Edmonton Region.

As part of the week, on Tuesday 10 September (tomorrow) – World Suicide Prevention Day, Bill will be talking about the ride at the Crisis Support Centre’s annual fundraising breakfast. Tickets are still available, and will go to fund the great work the Crisis Support Centre does in our region.

The host of the event is Jennifer Martin, co-host of Alberta Primetime, seen on CTV Two. Ahead of the event, Bill was invited to talk about Hillary’s Ride, sucide prevention, and the need to reduce the stigma around mental health issues on last Friday’s Alberta Primetime (Sep 6).

Watch the interview on CTV Two’s Alberta Primetime

This month (September) an article about the ride was also published in Avenue Magazine (Edmonton). If you’re not able to pick up a copy, you can read it online, or dive to page 74 on this online version.

Bill was also interviewed on World Suicide Prevention Day on Edmonton’s 630CHED Afternoon News radio show. You can listen back to that interview by:


Missing BC Days 0 to 10

The team reach Swartz Bay to cross to the mainland. Sue Sohnle, Patrick Houston, Terry Fannon and Bill Werthmann Follow the links below for more photos from the early days

The team reach the ferry terminal at Swartz Bay to cross to the mainland on day 1.
l-r: Sue Sohnle, Patrick Houston, Terry Fannon and Bill Werthmann
Follow the links below for more photos from the early days

Days 0, 1 & 2: Victoria to Aldergrove to Hop – Click here

We had a terrific sendoff in Victoria. The concert was fantastic, the breakfast with alll the family and friends was great and the weather was perfect. And we made the early ferry!

Read Sue’s update from the first few days

Days 3&4 – Hope to Princeton to Oliver (Kelowna) – Click here

The Hope to Princeton leg had 2 big climbs, and then a windy road (no opportunity for pictures). The next day was a rush to get to Osoyoos, then up to Oliver to stay, and on to Kelowna. The event was great and perfect for the theme of the ride. Too bad there was no TV crew to reach a wider audience.

Read Sue’s update from day 3 & 4

Days 5&6 – Osoyoos to Midway to Castlegar – Click here

A big climb out of Osoyoos, way to go Bill. Spot directed new friends Neil and Cathy to our campground in Midway, with an invitation to dinner the next evening in Castlegar.

Read Sue’s update from day 5 & 6

Day 7 – Castlegar to Creston – Click here

We heeded warnings about the Salmo Creston (Kootenay) Skyway, and opted for an extra 20km through Nelson. It was not an easy day, what with rushing to the catch the only one ferry running, and all those darn hills. But extremely beautiful.

Read Terry’s update from day 7

Day 8 – Creston to Cranbrook – Click here

First order of the day was to ride the 22 km back into Creston. I knew it was beautiful, and Patrick got some great shots so that I could enjoy it too. While driving the RV I only got glimpses of the sights.

Read Terry’s update from day 8

Day 9 was a well deserved rest day in Cranbrook.

The day was cloudy so I missed some great shots I should have taken when we arrived.

Read Sue’s update from day 9

Day 10 – Cranbrook to Fernie – Click here

We are in the beautiful mountains here. Fernie is nestled in with snow capped mountains on all sides.

Read Sue’s update from day 10

I have dreams of creating a few summary posts to pick various highlights from our 67 day adventure, so stay tuned.



Pictures for Day 62 to 67 thru Atlantic Canada part 2

The team arrives at Cape Spear Follow the links below for more images from the final days

The team arrives at Cape Spear
Follow the links below for more images from the final days

Day 62 – Halifax concert – click here

A terrific concert that ended too quickly.

Read Sue’s update from day 62

Day 63 – Halifax to Whycocomagh (Cape Breton) – click here

We shuttled from Halifax, so I had to drive 2 1/2 hr today. Then they cycled 62 Km to Cape Beton, where we were treated to a free lunch.

Read Sue’s update from day 63

Day 64 – Whycocomagh to North Sydney – click here

Our last day in the RV. Thanks Michael so much for driving it back to Halifax, and returning it all cleaned up.

Read Sue’s update from day 64

This night we sailed from North Sydney NS to Argentia NL, 17 hours. We slept in a state room with two bunk beds, the four of us together for the last night.

Day 65 – Argentia NL to St. John’s – click here

Read Sue’s update from day 65

Day 66 – St. John’s (rest & concert) – click here

After doing a big day yesterday, we got to wander around the beautiful city of St. John’s. That evening we enjoyed a fantastic concert featuring some great talented local musicians.

Read Sue’s update from day 66

Day 67 – Cape Spear (the end) – click here

Day 67, the end of a fantastic journey across our wonderful Canada. Thank you to everyone who is a part of Hillary’s Ride for Mental Health: family, old friends, new friends who we met and talked with along the way, supporters, and the board who worked so hard to make this dream a reality.

Read Sue’s update from day 67

WOW, we did it – across Canada from tip to tip – Mile 0 in Victoria to Cape Spear near St.Johns’s. Over 6,700 km in 67 days. I consider myself to be so lucky, and so proud to be part of Hillary’s Ride for Mental Health. Being with Bill, Sue and Terry every day I know how hard a job it was to cycle across the country. In the past few years I had a thought in my head that I might want to try it, but no way now. I am happy I was able to be able to share our trip in pictures with those of you who followed us along the way. Thanks for your comments.