They expect to make it to O’Leary later today and to be in Elmira, the trail’s eastern tip, 273 kilometers away, by Saturday.
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.
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.
“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.