Access and Resources
By Elizabeth Godley
In 2001, Sonia Ward made her first major cycling trip, from Kamloops to Lake Louise and back. She was 61. “Something I had always wanted to do was cycle along the Columbia ice field,“ she recalls.
That year, encouraged by friends, she and her husband, Frank, had joined the Cross Canada Cycle Touring Society, a group composed mainly of bike riders over 60. Since then, she has participated in CCCTS tours to Montana, Holland and San Diego. Another tour took her through the Cascade Mountains, and another from Victoria to Port Hardy and then by ferry to Prince Rupert and Prince George. “It was just so perfect. We had only one day of rain until we got to Prince George.”
Their two grandchildren live in the Kootenays with their parents, and Sonia recalls a wonderful ride from Kalso to New Denver that follows an old railway bed.
Last summer, the couple spent three weeks in the Maritimes with the CCCTS, touring Cape Breton and PEI as well as Halifax, and putting up at three different universities, where accommodations are a bargain when the students aren’t there. It was on that trip that she and Frank rode 98 kms in one day, their record so far.
Sonia, 72, and Frank, 80, have always been active. “We were hikers and climbers, but gradually Frank’s knees got bad and it was easier to cycle,” she says.
The couple usually join the CCCTS for regular Sunday rides, starting at 22nd Street SkyTrain station in the morning and going over the Queensborough Bridge and on to Steveston. If the weather is wet, she and Frank will drive from their home in Deep Cove to New Westminster, but otherwise they will cycle all the way, a distance of about 74 kilometres.
Sonia has been riding a bike all her life, first as a child in the UK, and later as a midwife at Kings Hospital in London, before she came to Canada and raised a family. Recently, a bout with cancer slowed her down – but not for long.
This summer, she and Frank are looking at a trip to Croatia.
The couple enjoys cycling with others their own age. “As you grow older, you find you can’t keep up with the younger folks,” she says. “I try to listen to what my body is telling me. Some days you feel like you keep going for miles – other days, maybe not.”
For information about STAR (Seniors Transportation Access and Resources) please contact the BEST office at 604-669-2860; firstname.lastname@example.org.