Canadian bicyclists meet neighbors south of the border

Heather and Chris Hartridge are in the midst of a 4,500-mile cross-continent bicycle tour. They stopped in Thief River Falls earlier this month, staying one night with Warm Showers hosts Glen and Darby Kajewski, and one night at the Thief River Falls Tourist Park..

by April Scheinoha
Reporter

    “The Good Neighbour Tour Part 2” stopped in Thief River Falls on Wednesday, June 7.
    Bicyclists Chris and Heather Hartridge of Quesnel, British Columbia, Canada, are in the midst of a 4,500-mile cross-continent tour. The trip allows them to partake in one of their favorite pastimes.
    “We’re going to meet all our good neighbors on both sides of the border,” Chris said.
    As the name of the tour implies, this is the second part of the trip. The Hartridges began their trip in July 2016 in Haida Gwaii, British Columbia, Canada. Partway through their tour, they learned Chris’ mom, Molly, had become ill. They stopped the tour and went to her bedside. Molly died two weeks later.
    Their tour is dedicated to Molly and also their late friend Murray Boal, who recorded a song titled “Good Neighbours” with friend Bob Campbell.
    Three weeks ago, the Hartridges began the second part of their trip in Alberta, their stopping point last year. They were accompanied by Chris’ mascot/small stuffed animal, Rusty Rabbit, and Heather’s mascot, Teddy Bear.
    Lake Bronson State Park was their first stop in this neck of the woods. After staying in Thief River Falls for two nights, they planned to bike to Erskine. Their final destination is Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. They hope to arrive there in the beginning of October.
    “Every day is wonderful. I think both of us like adventure,” said Heather. “If we didn’t, we’d stay home.”
    For about 11 years, the couple has been bicycling long distances. “I guess we’re basically addicted to it because when we stop, we feel awful,” Chris said.
    Their addiction began after they took circle tours in British Columbia and into Washington and Idaho. The circles continued to get bigger. Before long, they found themselves bicycling south across the United States. During one particular trip, they planned to bicycle from British Columbia to Panama. That was until their trip was derailed by a dog. Heather said her calf looked lovely to the dog, which decided to chomp on it in Loreto, Baja California Sur, Mexico.
    Aggressive dogs aside, the Hartridges enjoy traveling by bike. “Every day is different, and you get really excited about it,” Chris said.
    That’s not to say their bodies don’t feel the effects of traveling long distances on an object propelled by their legs. They consider traveling 50 miles to be a good day. “My body was talking to me,” Heather said about the 55-mile trek from Lake Bronson to Thief River Falls.
    It’s all worth it though because they get to meet some amazing people or good neighbors along the way.
    The Hartridges’ blog is available at www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/quesnelbikers2017.
  

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