How long does it take to cycle to Quebec City? That depends who you ask.
For Tim Taylor, who just virtually pedalled the 1,000-kilometre journey, it was about 20 days.
Taylor biked every day, about 50 kilometres daily, as part of the Healing Cycle ride to raise funds for palliative care services in Niagara-on-the-Lake. He finished his figurative trip to Quebec City on Monday.
For those who aren't good with calculating distances, that's like travelling to Fort Erie from Niagara-on-the-Lake every day.
Taylor, who has been participating in the fundraiser for nine years, said it was actually nice to be able to do something a little different. While normally the ride is a one-day event, it was opened up for people to ride all through the month of September at their own pace.
“Frankly, I was getting a little bored with just simply going out and riding around in the same circles that I do all the time so I decided to set myself a goal, and I looked around and I decided that I would virtually ride to Quebec City,” Taylor says from his home, still dressed in his red biking outfit and shirt that says “Santa for Palliative Care.”
He mapped out the distance using bike trails on Google.
“It's mostly off-road, not that I've ever seen any of it,” he jokes. “But it's a little farther than it would be if you were driving a car.”
“For all intents and purposes, I arrived at the Plains of Abraham this afternoon, or this morning I guess about 10 o'clock.”
Taylor, 72, said it wasn't the 50 kilometres that was the hard but, doing it every day. “Particularly for an old codger like me. The recovery doesn't happen quite so quickly.”
For Taylor, palliative care is a service that is close to his heart, both personally and semi-professionally. His mother Mary Taylor died in 2011 and relied on the Niagara-on-the-Lake Community Palliative Care Service.
“The doctor helped not only my mother through that period, but helped the rest of us through that period, which is important.”
His sister Terry Mactaggart was also the head of the service 10 years ago when he started participating in the ride.
“She said, 'Hey, try to get a little bit of a peloton of people around,' and I got involved and every year sort of got a little more involved, a little more involved. But then, when my mother passed away at Upper Canada Lodge, we had a lot of palliative care, and I saw how important it is for people in end-of-life circumstances to get a good quality of life, not just not just sort of go away.”
This year the NOTL team – the Pedal Pushers – will raise about $20,000 for the NOTL organization, he said. Taylor raised about $6,500 of that total.
“It feels good. Aside from anything else, we can actually make a difference,” he says.
Taylor, who is already a fan of cycling, says, “Who could ask for more?”
“It was fun. September was largely a good weather month — a few terrible headwinds and a little bit of rain — but it was a good month to ride. It wasn't as hot as August was.”
Taylor dresses in full red when he rides for the Pedal Pushers, an occasion he said happens twice a year — once for the ride, and again in the winter, when he dons his Santa outfit to once again raise funds for NOTL palliative care.
“Many years ago I started, because of my natural attributes,” says the white-bearded gent. “I started being asked to act as Santa Claus, and I used to do it for office parties and things like that in Toronto.”
When he moved to NOTL, he realized he wanted to keep the jolly red character alive and began doing it to support palliative care services. This will be his seventh year as Santa.
“I can't think of a better organization to do it for,” he says.
You can read Taylor's blog about his journey at https://santaforpalliative.care/home/