When you set off on a 67-day adventure through three provinces, on a bike, with two teenagers and a slew of weather conditions, you need to plan for everything. Peter and I spent a good two months stocking up on necessary supplies, researching the right gear, and loading the RV to the gills once we took off. We had everything from glue guns to garbage bags, to extra bike tires and a mega pack of toilet paper. We tried to plan for everything. We told ourselves we didn’t need to take as much as we did last year, yet, it seemed the InstaPot, the down comforter, and the yoga mat still made it into the trailer.
Around 670 kilometers into our trip the chain on our bike broke! But who remembered to pack an extra chain? This happened just outside Dawson Creek, BC; population 12,178. Bike shop; one. Closed Sundays. Peter and I spent over an hour on the side of the road using scissors as makeshift pliers and tweezers to help feed the loose sprocket into the tiny link to no avail. After a lot of explicits and a ton of laughing at our constant dropping of the chain link in the dirt, we finally broke the tool we had to fix it… foiled!
Since it was 6 PM on a Sunday, we had to rack the bike and drive onward, taking a risk and hoping that the next town, Fort St. John, would have a bike shop. At 8 AM the next morning we were parked outside the one sports shop, in the parking lot waiting for it to open. As the front store clerk unlocked the security doors, Peter and I immediately walked in with our 8-foot tandem bike and asked for the repair counter.
That was when we met Shawn, a super guy, amazing bike mechanic, and an avid cycler himself. Due to COVID-19, Shawn didn’t have a new chain available on the shelf to do the repair, so he began doing what all great mechanics do… improvise and create a makeshift solution. Over the next half hour, we watched Shawn dig in the bottom of his toolbox, shuffle through old boxes and containers, look at the top shelves, and tear apart some old parts that were lying around. After a faithful lesson on chain repair and a free tool as a gift to replace the one we broke, Shawn had us on our way.
We had a blast meeting him, talking about the roads ahead, the best spots, the hills, the speed, and the things we needed to know to make the next 1,000 kilometers that much better. Shawn even walked outside and left the shop to come to check out our motor home and see our traveling digs. One of the highlights of our trip has been meeting him, and he gave us his direct number in case we needed anything else so he would ship it to wherever we were. Now that’s service, that’s Canadians, and he didn’t charge us a thing as we shook hands, hugged, and went on our way with a new friend and a great memory.
You think you can plan for everything but you can’t. Instead, plan to meet the right and perfect people that will help you get to the next step. Plan to find a solution despite all the limitations. Plan to fix whatever is broken by being creative and using your ingenuity. Plan to make friends and build connections with people who want you to succeed. Plan to receive. Plan to have people give you what you need from the goodness of their hearts. Plan to shift. You don’t know what is going to happen every minute. You don’t know when you are going to need someone else’s help, so plan to be open, receiving, and learning every day. This is the best planning you can do.