P.E.I. Pedalling Parkies ride is underway

Nine cyclists set out from Tignish; others to join along the way

Published on June 6, 2017

Natasha McCarthy, front row from left, Paul Bernard and Dan Steele, three Islanders with Parkinson’s Disease, are accompanied by Roberta MacQueen, Gaylene Nicholson, Loretta Dixon-Steele and, back row form left, Shawn Alexander, Blair Steele and Karen Vincent on the first leg of their P.E.I. Pedalling Parkies bike ride. Accompanying the cyclists is their driver, Dennis Dunn. The cyclists set out from Tignish Tuesday morning on the first leg of a Confederation Trail ride. They expect to arrive at the other end of the trail, in Elmira, on Saturday.

©Eric McCarthy/Journal Pioneer

TIGNISH -- For Dan Steele who completed a coast-to-coast bike ride seven years ago and who once completed Prince Edward Island’s portion of the Confederation Trail in 16 hours, the ride he and eight other cyclists set out on from Tignish this morning will be more leisurely.

it’s just a sense of well-being

Dan Steele

Steele and two of the other cyclists who left from Tignish have Parkinson’s Disease. All of the cyclists are doing the Pedalling Parkies ride as an awareness event for young onset Parkinson’s Disease and as a fundraiser for programs and services for people in P.E.I. with Parkinson’s Disease.

“It’s great to see so many people coming out to ride along with us. We’re going to be picking up people along the way, as well,” said Steele as he prepared for the start of the first leg.

Paul Bernard watches as fellow cyclist Natasha McCarthy arranges her electronic gadgets prior to the start of the P.E.I. Pedalling Parkies’ bike ride Tuesday.
Eric McCarthy/Journal PIoneer

During his seven-week cross Canada cycling event Steele logged at least 10 hours of cycling time a day and covered as many as 270 kilometers in a single day with a full load of gear. He estimates he biked the Island’s Confederation Trail at least a dozen times before Parkinson’s set in.

“I’m never going to be the cyclist I was before. Those days are gone, unless they find a cure,” Steele acknowledged. “At least I can recapture a little bit of it.”

The event was Natasha McCarthy’s idea, to encourage Steele to get back to a fitness routine.

Dan Steele adjusts the strap of his helmet as he prepares for the first leg of the P’E’I Pedalling Parkies cycling event Tuesday in Tignish.

©Eric McCarthy/Journal Pioneer

“You feel like you have more energy; you feel like you have a life other than just sitting in front of the TV, that’s for sure; it’s just a sense of well-being,” Steele said in describing the benefits of exercise.