How it was conceived? (See details in Newspaper article)
“So, when I was preparing to do this, I thought, ‘Why don’t I turn my bike ride into a bit of a fundraiser and make money for the school?’”
Sitting amongst the lush foliage in the tranquil back yard of his home, Mr. Kluge explains his idea to bike across the country didn’t start off as a philanthropic pursuit.
In between bites of crisp broccoli, a staple of his raw food/vegetarian diet, he describes how he was kayaking in the icy waters near the Arctic Circle when he happened across a fellow kayaker with a very inspiring story, Mr. Kluge said, “Back in 1997, I was off of Ellesmere Island, way up in the Arctic, and I was with this guy who was 74 years old at that time,” he said. “That was pretty impressive to me, and I was 57 then, but he also told me that when he was 70, he rode his bike from Vancouver to Halifax.”
The tale of the epic bike ride remained with Mr. Kluge for the 13 years after that chance encounter. During that time, the story went from a motivational yarn to something Mr. Kluge really wanted to do.“I thought, ‘I’m going to be 70 this year, so I better do it now,’” he said. “If I don’t do it now, I’m probably never going to get a chance to.”
So, since the spring, Mr. Kluge has been cycling dozens of kilometres every day to give him the stamina he’ll need to achieve his aim. When he can cycle 100 km in a single day relatively comfortably, he’ll know he’s ready, he says, adding that kind of a pace will be necessary given the brief cycling window Canada’s climate affords.
As a result, the ride will likely be broken up into sections, Mr. Kluge says, with the journey beginning as early as this fall with a ride from Aurora to the Ontario/Manitoba border. The cycling marathon will also likely be a solo effort, as it’s just generally easier that way, he added.
“Actually, it’s astonishing what one man can do and there’s nothing, well almost nothing, that we cannot do if we’re determined and set our minds to it,” Mr. Kluge said. “We can do so many things if we just put our minds to it. History is made by just one person.”
To further make his point, Mr. Kluge cites numerous examples, ranging from Free the Children’s Craig Kielburger, to Central Asia Institute executive director and author Greg Mortenson.
“While some people say it can’t be done, these people say, ‘This is a challenge. I’ll try it,’” he says. “Even a seemingly impossible task can be done one step at a time.”