Thank you

Here I am. In less than 12 hours I’ll be awake, and getting ready to ride my bike down to Allen Gardens (That’s where our departure is from) and meeting up with a couple hundred other cyclists, and then at 9am, that’s it. At 9am we get on our bikes, and with a whoop and cry that sounds like fear and excitement all together, off we go.  More than a hundred kilometres later, we stop, put up our tents and camp for the first night.  We’ll be strangers, mostly, that first night. Jen and I have tried to get to know our team ahead of time, but there’s many people we’ll really get to know tomorrow, and by the end of the week, we’ll be a little travelling family.  It always happens, and it’s one of the greatest rewards the rally has to offer.

It’s excellent that the rally has rewards like that,  because it offers up plenty of challenges. I’m sure many of you have imagined what it might be like to do something like this.  It’s staggering.  The sweat, the tears, the exhaustion – camping in the rain, riding 660km, bathing in the lake… it is all  balanced in the end with love, and generosity, and kindness.

In these hours before we leave, it’s that love, and generosity and kindness that I want to write about.  I know I’ve said it before, and I really mean this: Riding your bike to Montreal does nothing to help sick people. Nothing.  You could do it a hundred times, and without the support of people like all of you who donated, it wouldn’t change one little thing about the world, or the way it can be for people who are suffering.  It is what all of you have done  – your generosity, that turns the action we’re all undertaking into real change. Real kindness. Real love.  So here’s what we’d all like to say to you.

stephthanks2 2014-07-26

samthanks 2014-07-26

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Jenthanksblog 2014-07-26

A little note about Sam, before we ride off into this adventure. We’re all heartbroken, and none of us more so than Sam, that she won’t be with us when we leave tomorrow. She’s been ill, and we were hoping that what ails her would clear up in time for her to join us, but in the last 24 hours we’ve realized it’s just not going to happen, and there’s just no way that you can do this if you’re not healthy. A sadder girl cannot be found, and we’ll miss her desperately. She’s very grateful to everyone who pledged to her, and please know the money still goes right to the people who need it. We’ve all told her that she tried, and that’s what counts. I know you’ll agree.

I guess this is it. My yarn containment system is strapped to the bike, more knitting got packed today into the bins we’ll meet up with every night, and I’ll do my best to stay in touch as we go along. I don’t know if I’ll be able to post here, but you can always follow me on Instagram, and Twitter – and it’s fast and easy to post there, as long as my batteries last!

We’re all happy, and scared… and ready.  We’ll see you soon. You can keep making donations as much as it suits you – and I’ve got a boatload of gifts to give away when I get back.  You can give to anyone on our team here, and I hope we inspire you. (I’m still aiming to meet last years goal of $50 000, and a few people down at the bottom haven’t made their minimum of $2500,  I don’t think they know many knitters.)

Thanks for everything. You’re all fantastic, and you never, ever cease to amaze me.

I think I love you.

PS, I totally finished the socks.

socksdone 2014-07-26

99 thoughts on “Thank you

  1. Pingback: Thank you | Yarn Buyer

  2. I can’t believe I could be first. Safe travels to you all . It is truly generous what you are all doing. Xxxxx

  3. Much love to Sam — we’ll be riding virtually right beside your virtual bike.

    Also a tip of the hat to Ken, whose thank-you sign has the Greek front and center. (Yes, I’ll bring enough spanakopita to fill your freezer too, next time I’m in town. See how easy?)

    May the wind be ever at your back, and may all the hills be down.

  4. Poor Sam, but I am sure you will all do her proud, good luck and enjoy, I will be following on twitter

  5. Thanks to all of YOU for raising this money for such an important cause. Be safe and have another epic ride because that’s how you do it!

  6. Dear Sam,
    After reading 10 years of posts about ALL of your family, let me take the liberty of saying I ‘know’ you, and that I ‘know’ you must have been, and are, REALLY sick to be missing out on the Rally. But you trained your heart out, and have more than earned the pledges you raised. Your indomitable spirit and generous heart ride the distance, regardless! (An extra little pledge going to you as a ‘Get Well Soon’!!)

  7. As much as I love your posts about knitting, your family and the humor of everyday life, it is your posts about generosity and gratefulness that are my favorite. You are a leader of an invisible but real community here- and that community is more loving and generous because of you. May you encounter few hills and have a not-so-sore ass at the end of your days.

  8. I’m picturing you riding at top speed, fleet as the wind . . . with no hands on the handle bars; rather, you’re knitting as fleetly as you ride . . . inspiring!

  9. Good luck! I hope you have good weather for your ride, and that the air mattress stays inflated this year. 🙂 I hope Sam feels better soon, too. That sucks that she can’t ride this year.

  10. Stephanie —

    “We” (Emmeline, Frederica, Genevieve, Honoria, Illumina, Leonardo & Sofia, and I, that is!) wish you all the best as you start off on the Friends for Life Bike Rally of the Toronto People with AIDS Foundation. I admire what you do, both as a knitter and charitably.

    Thank you for the opportunity to share in the warm glow of doing something positive …

    Best regards,
    Mary Burwell
    ReadyToKnit (Patterns) by Mary Burwell

  11. As others have said before me, ride like the wind. Safe travels to all the riders. And Sam, we hope you feel better soon. Thank you ALL for what you’re doing, and letting us be a part of it. The Blog (and I) are SO proud of you all.

  12. Bless you Sam! Hope you are better soon! Steph, hope your team reaches its goal. Ride safe! Ride hard! Love from America!

  13. Safe travels to everyone riding and to your team!! Knitters are the best!

    And Sam – I am so sorry the icky bug got you and you don’t get to ride but you are still contributing – we donated, you trained, you’ve ridden in the past – you are truly generous and kind! I hope you feel much better very soon!

  14. OMG Those socks are to die for. How you are gonna hide them in shoes, I don’t know.
    Sending you love and strength for your ride. And hugs to Sam.

    See ya on the other side.

    • ‘How you are gonna hide them in shoes, I don’t know.’
      those socks look warm enough to be worn with birkenstocks. i wear all my ‘special’ socks with my birks.

  15. Wo Hoo! Go team ! Good riding to you all! Pato, I donated to support you a while back so I’m especially rooting for you. Go Harlot! Go Go Go! Will check in to see when you will be passing by across from my side of the St.L river and I’ll come wave. Such a great cause!

  16. Aw, such fabulous photos, they made me tear up.
    Sorry to hear about Sam, but she’s raised a fabulous amount of money for a great cause. The last I looked your team was up to $139,000+! That is just frickin AMAZING!
    I’ll be keeping up to date on your ride. I wish someone would film a documentary of this annual charity, as well as those globally, that would be incredible. Of course, the cause is the important message, but I have to sheepishly admit, it would appeal to me as an armchair traveler, I bet the sights, especially sunrises and sunsets are amazing. Hugs to all your team! Go Psyclopaths!

  17. I know you will rock on the ride. You are the ones doing all the work and it is not that hard for us to support you. So sorry about Sam and hope she is well soon. Ride on for a great cause!

  18. I have tears in my eyes after reading your heartfelt thanks to all of us. I’m sure I speak for the knitters when I say we’re SO proud of you and the fact that you do this ride again and again in spite of the pain. Thank YOU for your continued support and hard work for such a great cause. Ride like the wind, but most of all ride safe. We love you

  19. Hey Sam. Whatever you have that would keep you from riding must be downright awful. Please take care and get well soon.

    Hey Harlot. Anyone who can knit those socks shouldn’t be troubled by a “little” ride. Those socks are wonderful.

    Hey Team: Safe travels and rest well every night. You are doing something truly inspiring.

  20. Congratulations to everyone on the team! Sam, there will be other years, but you have to take care of yourself. (Can you tell I’m a nurse?) be safe, have fun and may your buttocks not be numb at the end. Stephanie, you are inspirational.


    Major sympathy and wishes to get well soon to Sam – what a bummer! But how fantastic that you have raised all that money.

    Ride well and safely, and I’m looking forward to reading all about your adventures when it’s over!!

  22. Just to say:people appreciate help they receive as a result of this amazing physical effort — touched by the mix of ‘just regular folks’ banding together to work for a worthy, necessary cause. It’s not *just* about the money raised, though that’s impressive; it’s also about realizing we’re all members of a community that gives the opportunity for warm-hearted people who can, to make their own personal contribution to help others in need: the vulnerable, the disabled, the injured — all too easily, in short, the overlooked.

  23. Just another voice in the chorus: Go, Steph! Go, team!

    Sam: get well fast. It has to be tough having to stay home this time, but there’s always next year , so take good care of yourself!

  24. Tears are in my eyes. I am humbled to be a part of this. I feel like I know your family, so get well Sam. Thank you for raising awareness. Thank you for riding. Thank you and your whole team for being an inspiration. The socks are awesome.

  25. Feel comfortable soon Sam, get well! I’m humbled to part of this, even though I can’ imagne riding a bike that far. Thank you Steph for creating and being part of really so many Big Things – that draw people together and change lives. I hope the miles fly by with a minimum of spills, aches and pains for your team.

  26. To Steph, Ride On with Joy. To Sam, I hope you get better soon. To everybody else, how about a challenge to get the bottom two people over the $2500 hump? And I’d love to see us get Steph over $50,000 again.

  27. Love all the thank you photos – especially technie Ken’s, but all of them, they are a reflection of who you all are as individuals. Ride well, and I wish you every success in the adventure.

  28. Godspeed to you and all the riders. You make us all proud, and even though I only donated, I feel a part of this as well. Good luck, and best wishes for a SAFE a ride.

  29. Get well Sam! Don’t fret, you made the adult choice and there is always next year. To Stephanie, if your shoes are soaked, stuff with newspaper, repeat until shoes are about dry. It really works. Having done many rides where it rained all day, we now use bicycle sandals (with clip ins) and they dry in no time. Also, I love the wiggle room for the toes. Have a great ride!

  30. Good luck and good ride and good knitting at night! I signed up for Sam because I’m a knitter and I have a dotter and Sam’s a knitter’s dotter as well. I am sorry to hear she’s feeling poorly but I can’t think of anything worse for her health than riding anyway. She can cheer you all on from home. Hugs to y’all from Texas!

  31. Ride on, Stephanie, with confidence!!!! Please let Sam know we at the Blog understand, and wouldn’t want her to ride when ill and become VERY ill. Get well soon, Sam. The sock toes are amazing! You did a fine job on those, Harlot! Ride and knit, and camp and enjoy and meet your little riding family. We’ll all be here rooting for you! 🙂

  32. Best of luck on the ride, may the weather be kind and may the wind be at your back the whole way. Hugs to Sam. So sorry to hear that she’s not well enough to do the ride. I hope she feels better soon. And those socks! I just finished the first one of a pair for a friend, and all I had to do was knit around and around a million times. (and do the heel and gusset). And that was enough work for me. Yours are beautiful. I think they’re too lovely to hide inside shoes. I don’t know if the fashion police would approve, but could you wear them with Birkenstocks? You have to show them off!

    • I am new to this blog but I’m really enjoying it so far. Does anyone know if that sick pattern is available somewhere. They are beautiful!

  33. Bon Voyage to all of you. Sam, sorry you are ill, and can’t make the ride. You’ll be with your team in spirit. See you all on the other side of this ride. You ROCK!

  34. Hey, folks? Take a look at Stephanie’s twitter feed– first night and they’re already expecting a huge storm. Camping outside. After rather a long bike ride.

    I think that, if anyone hasn’t already donated, this should provide the impetus to do so!

    Stephanie? Our hearts are with you. I hope you’re dry and not twitching too much from the “no dpns in the tent” rule.

  35. When you hear that little voice that says, “I can’t go another mile.” Don’t listen. Remember all of us at home are cheering you on!!! We’re with you every mile, giving you strength.
    Also reminding you, there’s knitting to be done at the end of the road.
    I for one am proud of you and the whole team. Everyone of you are so admired for what you’re doing.
    Three cheers!!! Hip, Hip, Hooray!! Hip, Hip, Hooray!! Hip, Hip, Hooray!!

  36. Oh, Sam I know you’re feeling bad in more ways then just one. You’re a great kid and don’t you forget it! There’s always next year. (((Hugs)))

  37. Just donated to Paco. First time commenting and donating, hope to be first of many as I’ve loved you and the blog for years.

  38. Yay! I was hoping you’d go with stripey toes. I think the underside/toe combination makes them look like mini blue whales. Happy riding! May the road rise up to meet you and the wind be ever at your back.

  39. Thinking of you all and rooting you on from Colorado. An amazing thing you all do and thank you for letting us be a part of it. Sam, you have more than earned the amount you raised, the training alone is heroic in my book. So very sorry you’re missing the ride and hope you feel better soon!

  40. Mae’n fendigedig bod rhywun yn cynnwys “diolch!” You have no idea what my iPad’s autocorrect does to Welsh. It’s like spontaneous beat poetry.

  41. Tornado?! Tell me your team packed their sparkly red magic bike shoes! There’s no place like home…there’s no place like home…
    by wool steph…what your team and others are enduring will fortify those using the funds for medical treatment.
    You gave birth and raised teenage girls and lived to tell the tale…weather has got NOTHING on you!!

  42. Tell Sam that poop like that happens. My friend diligently prepared and prepared and prepared for his ride. (Similar to yours but in California). About a week before, he managed to tip over (while standing still) and whack his head on a wall. The doc would not let him ride in case of concussion. All those months, then he had to sit it out. So disappointing. Hope Sam is feeling better. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  43. Those socks are awesome!
    Poor Sam for not being able to join in – get well soon!
    Good luck on the bike ride – you’ve got plenty of knitterly power cheering you on! 🙂

  44. Hoping the ride is going well so far. Just donated for you. You are truly amazing. And totally love those socks. As a knitter, I have yet to make socks but those are awfully tempting…

  45. I know I don’t really know you in real life, but I’m so proud of and inspired by this thing you are doing, Steph. I have donated already, as I have (in a small way) every year that you’ve ridden, but thinking about you out there in the rain and storms (keep safe!) has inspired me to dig deep and pony up another few bucks to the cause. It isn’t much, but I hope that knowing that these dollars are directly inspired by your misery makes the misery a little more bearable.

    Ride on, and goodspeed to Montreal!

  46. In the words of an old Paul Simon song – “I’m with you on your journey” (never could say goodbye).

    Great instagrams and tweets help. Congratulations on enduring all that the journey gives.

  47. Hang in there! I bet you got whomped this morning by the same line of t’storms that caught me by surprise on my morning ride. We’d be across the St Lawrence River from each other. I took shelter under a line of trees and realized hypothermia might become a problem…. was “rescued” by a border patrol officer in an unmarked truck who kindly gave me a lift 3 miles to home. Yes, well, only three miles, but it’s a whole other perspective to be drenched in t-shirt and shorts with lightening and thunder intensifying. The weather website said no storms until 11. Guess I should know better. I checked out the website showing your route for the trip. Very very impressive. Hope you all are having a good time despite the weather challenges!

  48. What a fantastic effort by the whole team – well done and enjoy basking in the knowledge that it is over…..for another year!

  49. Just so you know…your team raised so very much money that the rally team page cannot display the amount properly. w00t! They may need to look at that for next year. You and your team are inspirations…in so many ways.
    (I can’t insert the screen shot in the comments, but it is pretty awesome.)

  50. Hope the ride went well Stephanie and co!
    I am waiting as patiently as I can for the next blog post that is sure to enlighten us all…
    Hope you and the rest of the team is resting well after the long days past and are recovering as quickly as possible.

  51. Pingback: How was it? Could I do it? Reflections on the bike rally | Fit Is a Feminist Issue

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