BICYCLE BUILT FOR TWO: Suzanne Rumsey, who will cycle up to 100 km per day to raise awareness and funds for PWRDF, shares her love of fitness with son Robin, 6.
It was a gem of an idea that took Suzanne Rumsey back to the mid-70s, when she was around 11 or 12 years old. For two or three years, she had participated in a bike-a-thon organized by the parish of Christ Church, Cranbrook, B.C., for the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF).
“My dad was the parish priest and so of course, my family ‘went along for the ride,’ ” says Rumsey, who is public engagement co-ordinator for PWRDF, the relief and development agency of the Anglican Church of Canada.
Today, more than three decades later, Rumsey is embarking on “Le Tour de PWRDF,” an awareness and fundraising bike ride that will see her traveling a 1,300-kilometer distance from Halifax to Ste. Anne de Bellevue, Que. for 18 days.
She will ride 80 to 100 km per day and plans to spread the good news about PWRDF in 10 to 12 Anglican parishes along the way.
The route Rumsey has chosen is a journey back into PWRDF’s history. Her June 9 departure from Halifax, site of this year’s General Synod, will mark the official end of PWRDF’s 50th anniversary celebrations. From there she will ride to Springhill, N.S., where the tragic 1958 mining disaster gave rise to the idea of PWRDF. The tour ends at Ste. Anne de Bellevue, on the west island of Montreal, where the 1959 General Synod officially created PWRDF.
Rumsey will also pass through the New Brunswick cities of Moncton, Fredericton, and Edmunston before riding to Riviere-du-Loup on the St. Lawrence, west to Quebec City. From there she heads to Montreal.
Rumsey is hoping for company on part or all of the trip. “We are also hoping that if people can’t bike they might simply come along for a day as my ‘sag wagon,’ feeding me lunch and picking me up on the road if I wipe out,” she said.
She also hopes her efforts will prompt other Anglicans across Canada “to raise funds where they are, for PWRDF, for our partners, and for our planet.”
Rumsey, who’s had “a long-held desire to experience what it would be like to undertake a long distance bike trip,” is more than up to the physical challenges the bike-a-thon will present. She already trains and competes in triathlons, a popular sport involving swimming, cycling and running.
Sadly, her six-year-old son Robin won’t be biking with her. “He’s a bit too small for such an adventure, has to complete the ‘academic’ year of senior kindergarten, as well as look after his dad,” said Rumsey.
But she trusts that her bike, which she calls Olive – after her grandmother who was “a woman whose wisdom and strength I really valued” – will “support me with her wisdom and strength, too.”