Just you and me, Olive

Published June 10, 2010

Suzanne Rumsey
Photo: Art Babych

See video interview at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xr-BRn9JGDk

It takes guts to ride a bike these days. But 100 kilometers a day for 18 days? On unfamiliar roads from Halifax to Montreal? By yourself? Now that takes chutzpah.

The daughter of a retired Anglican priest and the mother of six-year-old Robin, Suzanne Rumsey will ride 1,300 kilometers on the bicycle she named Olive after her dear, departed grandmother. Le Tour de PWRDF, as she is calling her 18t-day odyssey, will raise awareness and funds for the international relief and development agency of the Anglican Church of Canada. Rumsey’s goal is substantial: $130,000.

It is 8:30 on Wednesday morning as Rumsey prepares to depart. She admits to a few butterflies. Mercifully, after days of fog, rain and bone-chilling damp at General Synod 2010 in Halifax, the sun is shining. A cool breeze fans about 25 people, including Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, who have gathered to see Rumsey off and wish her well. As she stands in her helmet, bike gear and cleats, her route out of Halifax in hand, Rumsey cracks, “Somebody tell a joke!”

Sooriyakumary Sinnathamby, a PWRDF partner who works with Tamil refugees in India, puts her hand on Rumsey’s helmet and says a prayer. Then Adele Finney, interim director of PWRDF, gathers the crowd into a circle, says another prayer for Rumsey and asks us to “in faith, join hands and inspire hope”-the PWRDF motto.

Susan Winn and Ann Cumyn from the diocese of Montreal are also there to give their blessings. Winn and Cumyn will be waiting for Rumsey at the end of her ride, with a huge victory celebration at Saint-Anne de Bellevue.

Rumsey looks confident and strong as she heads out of the parking lot at Saint Mary’s University. She waves without looking back. The crowd claps and shouts encouragement.

Later in the day, PWRDF confirms that Rumsey has arrived safely in Truro, N.S., 95 miles away. Only 1,205 kilometres to go.


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