Make your own fun

When I was a kid my mum used to do this thing called Find Your Own Food Fridays. From the time that we were old enough to scrounge leftovers or make a peanut butter sandwich, on Fridays – we were completely on our own.  This was coupled with other parenting gems like pointing out that there were four of us and only one of her, and so it was our job to know where she was, not the other way around. When I became a mum that one started to make a lot of sense, and I also I kept Find Your Own Food Fridays, but one upped my mum by inventing Make Your Own Fun Mondays, in which I didn’t come up with any activities or plans for the girls, and they had to come up with their own fun that didn’t require parental support of any kind.  You want a drive? Sorry kiddo, it’s Monday. Want me to make playdough? I’m happy to direct you to the recipe.  Find your dollie? Set up a fort? Read my lips. MONDAY. My mum loved it.

I’ve been thinking a lot about that over the last few weeks, as the time when we would normally be leaving for the Bike Rally loomed, and Team Knit prepared to have a proper pout about it.  One that was rather serious in nature, because we’re not just bummed that we don’t get to have a Rally, we’re really rather more upset that The Rally (not really being a Rally this year) hasn’t been able to fund the agency the way that they usually do – which makes total sense but is still upsetting. It’s been very difficult to get a sense of momentum for an event that can’t happen, and it’s sad  that things can’t happen and…. Stupid virus. Here we are trying to deal with the fallout of the last great pandemic (that would be HIV/AIDS) and the current pandemic is preventing that.

More than that – as someone who’s been on the inside for the last several years, I know how this is working.  The Bike Rally (thanks to awesome people like you) has been very successful the last few years, and that means that there is cash around, and that’s enabled PWA to do some amazing things during this crisis – like that they’re the only ASO (Aids Service Organization) who’s been able to stay open to provide food hampers and financial supports to clients (many of whom are women, mothers, and newcomers to Canada.) To be clear, that money is going to run out – the crisis is not over, and the Rally isn’t raising as much this year as last. Increasingly PWA is going to be asked to do more with less, and that’s hard to see coming.

Team Knit has been trying to figure out how to fix it – or what we can do, or how it is even remotely possible to make some lemonade here, but absolutely everything has proved impossible, and Ken put it best a few weeks ago after a meeting when he said “I feel like all we do is talk about what we can’t do.” That stuck with us. What could we do? What if we flipped it, and asked not what’s restricted or impossible or hopeless…but what’s possible?

We asked ourselves what was possible- what challenges we had and what we could do about them, and what could we do to drive donations and give PWA the biggest rescue we could. We can’t go to Montreal, there aren’t really places to stay on the way and without the rustlers we can’t really move our stuff, and even if we could figure that out the camping was a problem, and without food crew we can’t feed ourselves – and restaurants are still out. (Some are open, but Team Knit is sadly not in a bubble together – so we must remain 2m from each other at all times and that means we can’t sit at a restaurant table together – if we were going to, which we are not.)  There still aren’t any bathrooms open to the public really, and as the only member of Team Knit who can’t pee standing up (or at least really shouldn’t) that’s a strain too. Also, Covid-19 ate Pato’s vacation days so he can only go away for a weekend, and me and Ken and Cam have work too and… well, we got creative. We problem solved. We put on our cheerfulpants and asked ourselves what we could do, and now … we have a plan.

Gentle knitters, Team Knit leaves in the morning for a mighty and triumphant MINI RALLY.

Today we called it “packing day” and I drove around and collected everyone’s stuff, and drove it out to our overnight location. That’s Sam’s house – she lives about 80km away.  While I share a bubble with Sam and her husband Mike (and Mike’s awesome mum Marilyn) the rest of Team Knit does not – so while Sam and Mike have graciously agreed to let Team Knit use the bathroom there – we’ve got tents to put up in their backyard.  (Four – one each.) I solved the lunch problem creatively, you’ll see how tomorrow – I don’t want to spoil it for the rest of Team Knit, and we’ll be able to BBQ once we’re there, and we’ll ride home the next day.

It’s imperfect. Like everything during this lockdown and pandemic, it isn’t what we want. (For starters, even though it’s only 80km (50 miles) away – it is uphill the whole way.) It’s not the Rally, it’s not easy, and there have been moments during the planning that we’ve wondered how much fun it’s going to be, but that’s never been the point anyway.  What’s been the point is all of us pulling together for one goal, for celebrating friendship and taking care of people, and trying to be the change we want to see in the world, and putting our time and efforts where our mouths are.

So, we’re leaving.  I’ll try to post to instagram as we go along over the next two days, and show you what we managed to make work. We’re all turning on the “dings” on our phones, and considering the temperatures tomorrow (scorching) and the distance (far) and the grade (uphill the whole way, into the goddamn wind) and the fact that there haven’t been any training rides this year and we’ve all been on our own… we’d love it if you used it. I will let you know, but anticipate needing a serious boost at around 11am.)

There will only be four of us, instead of a few hundred, and we have to stay 2 metres away from each other the whole time – but we’ll be together. Sort of. Mostly. Making a big push for PWA, and trying to inspire you to inspire us so we can help them, and trying to make our own fun – or fundraiser, as the case may be. It’s not perfect, and it’s not the Rally, but it’s the best we can do. It’s what we can have.

Team Knit remains:





We love you. (And we all packed our knitting.)

(PS I have been knitting a lot of socks I will show you soon.)

54 thoughts on “Make your own fun

  1. I hope it is hard enough to feel really good. It already makes me feel good thinking of Team Knit on the road together.

  2. Go Team Knit! Hydrate, pedal, stretch, hydrate, fuel up, laugh, rest, pedal, hydrate, and have ALL THE FUN! Our love rides with you!

  3. Did you pack the red dresses??????
    Very much looking forward to the MYOF photos. Go Team Knit!!! ❤️

  4. The link to Pato’s page doesn’t work, can you fix it? All the others are okay. Thanks. Good riding to you all.

  5. Thank you for sharing Find your own food Friday and Make your own fun Monday. Great ideas to give the kiddos an opportunity to learn important life skills 🙂

    Go Team Knit!

  6. You are an inspiration! Thank you for keeping the spirit of the Rally alive and remembering that while this pandemic is affecting all of us, there are many who were already dealing with great challenges that have not gone away. Good luck and remember to hydrate!

  7. Yea – so glad you figured out a way to help deal with this! My husband is on the committee, here in NY, for the Ride for Missing Children – usually several 1-day, 100-mile rides to raise funds for NCMEC. This year, they decided that instead of holding one-day rides, they would open up the ride for one month as a virtual ride. So, we have the month of September to ride 100 miles (I think I can do that!) Just another attempt at figuring out how to make it through this whole mess.

    Re: Riding up hill all the way – just think about the down-hill ride all the way home! So happy you were able to find a creative way to do this thing. Will be thinking of you and sending good thoughts!

  8. Team Knit is amazing – hope you all can enjoy the sense of community as you ride. And hey, at least it will be all downhill tomorrow! Smooth tailwinds to all of you.

  9. BRILLIANT!! Each and every one if you is precious. GO Team Knit, into the wind and up the hill, and any other metaphor that gets you through it!

  10. I have chosen to donate 30 dollars a paycheck to non profit/charity organizations supporting social justice, disaster relief (Beirut) and with my paycheck this week. PWA–Team Knit. Way to put yourselves out there and make it work when so many things aren’t working right now. Go Team Knit!!!

  11. Doing what I can this year. Have been doing a lot of Gofundme for everything from a teen dying of cancer and not wanting to burden her mother with burial costs to my friend having to drive 4 hours each way for radiation treatment for cancer to someone who can’t afford meds (I know that’s not an issue in Canada). It’s been such a sucky year… Food baskets and a safe place sounds like a good thing. Blessings on all of you…

  12. btw. I’m betting Cameron deliberately took the world’s worst picture of himself as it looks like there is a lighthouse growing out of his head

  13. I’m spool-knitting cords for winter hats that I knit. First, I lost the little purple stick thing with which I was supposed to make the stitches. Then I lost the little crochet hook that also worked. In desperation, I picked up the dental floss thing I was intending to use on my teeth. Hey, it worked! The best tool I have yet found for spool knitting. But they are not all alike, the one I use has a curving end, and if it wears out quickly, I have plenty more. Good pedaling on the mini-rally.

  14. At my house, Thursday is “No Cook Night”. They can scrounge in the refrigerator for leftovers, or make a pb&j sandwich, or have “chocolate milk and bananas” (in the blender). Glad to see you’re riding, happy to support you.

  15. You and your mum are brilliant! Now I have a name for what we have been doing on Sunday. Wishing y’all a smooth ride!
    PS There are several devices that will allow a woman to pee standing up. She-wee is one of them.

    • Yup. I used to do geological field exploration in the bush, and when I worked in the mountains on Vancouver Island, I got tired of balancing on 60° slopes on the balls of my day. I bought a Whiz Freedom thing and it is THE BEST Ever. No need to pull pants all the way back, no pee all over your pants, and as long as you’re careful, no splashback on your shoes.

      • Here in Oz we can get a ‘Go Girl’ from an outdoors shop called BCF (Boating Camping Fishing). My friend goes hiking a lot, so I got her one.
        I think she was a bit to shy to use it, tho, or she might be worried about splashback.
        I told her to practice in the shower. 😉
        Hope Team Knit had a great ride!!

  16. I hope you found some enjoyment in the mini-rally (despite the 2m distancing, scorching temperature. and all those hills).

    We have a version of Find Your Own Food Friday. It’s called “Find Your Own Supper” and it happens randomly and usually at the last minute, whenever I’ve had a day that leaves me completely unmotivated to arrange food for two people. The teen is not terribly creative, but they haven’t starved yet either.

  17. I was thinking you would tell us there was no bike rally but would we please donate anyway! Hope you all had a safe and joyous rally

  18. I just found your blog last fall and have just recently caught up with the present. 16 years worth! I really enjoyed it. Now I have signed up for your patreon site and am enjoying that as well. And I have read all your books that my library has. You should mention the patreon on your blog as I only ran across it while listening to you talking with Patty Lyons.
    I am super impressed with your commitment to this charity and wish you all the best. You go girl!

    • I second that: don’t be shy, put a little ad/button for your Patreon site on this blog so people can easily find you if they missed the initial discussion!! =)

  19. Doctors without borders was one of my mother’s favorite charities. She also taught me to knit. For her, and for you, I have decided to donate $15 (US) per month to Doctors without Borders. Thank you for all you do.


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  21. Thursday was “forage night” for my kids, which got rid of most of the leftovers from the week, followed by “carry out night” kids should know how to feed themselves!

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