FUN FACTS About the Ride for Rehab

By Hibaq Gelle

A behind the scene look at what really happened during the Ride for Rehab across Canada - Alex Holton and Vanessa Parlette’s personal reflection after their 7,260 km cycling journey.

Distances Travelled

  • Overall, a distance of 7,260 km was travelled by Alex and Vanessa. An average of 100km per day.
  • Minimum distance was as low as 70 km in one day, but that was also the day with the biggest climb for Alex and Vanessa.
  • The highest altitude reached was 1600 m. The longest single day climb was approximately 1390 m.
  • Maximum one day distance was 170km.  between Medicine Hat, Alberta and Gull Lake, Saskatchewan.

Weather & Road Conditions

  • Solid rain for the entire week from Quebec City to New Brunswick.
  • Due to tight scheduling they biked on 30 C +. They avoided the heat by cycling earlier in the day.
  • Quebec had the best bike trails and Ontario had the scariest curbs.

Light/Sky Conditions

  • Went through SIX different time zones in total and saw magnificent stars.
  • In Alberta there were sections where there was light from 6:00 am through 11:00 pm.
  • Alex and Vanessa had a touch of rain almost every day.

Wildlife Encountered

  • RUNAWAY BEARS ON SITE!!! Had to hide behind cars to run away from the bears.
  • On their trip they met grizzly bears, black bears, mountain goats, deer and elk.

International Support

  • People from Canada, US, France, Germany, Malaysia, Switzerland, Netherlands, Philippines, Latvia, Thailand, Austria and many more countries read about Alex and Vanessa’s journey across Canada.

Differences between Cardiac Centres

  • In the communities surrounding the Thunder Bay region patients could not attend classes because there were several hundred kilometres between the towns. They held classes in the surrounding areas, but ran portions of them through Tele-Health so they could use less staff in centers that couldn’t support them due to small populations.
  • Largest audiences at Toronto Rehab Institute, Peter Munk Cardiac Centre and Eastern Health Cardiac Rehab Program (80 to 100 people).
  • Smallest audience was in Marathon Ontario with one attendee.  Most people skipped their class that day because of intense fog conditions.
  • Winnipeg was the largest cardiac rehab center visited in Canada.


  • They showered every three days on average.
  • They tried to use washrooms wherever possible, but also made use of wooded areas and shrubs along the way.
  • They did their laundry every two weeks during rest days at hotels/campgrounds.

Food Consumed Over Whole Trip

  • OVER 739 granola bars!!
  • About 23.5 kg of loose granola.
  • Total Granola consumed equalled the BODY WEIGHT of Vanessa.

Sample Daily Menu

Breakfast/Lunch Dinner
  • 6 boiled eggs
  • 12 wraps
  • Peanut Butter, Loose Granola
  • Cheese
  • Water: Used Nuun tabs
  • Shredded Cabbage
  • Large pot of Spaghetti

Back Pack Contents

Clothing Tools Necessities
  • 2 Bike shorts, bike tights, 2 jerseys, 4 pairs of socks, 2 pairs of underwear, one T-shirt, fleece jacket, short/pants convertibles, long underwear toque, fingerless gloves, warm gloves, long sleeve jersey, rain slicker and pants waterproof shoe covers.
  • Extra spokes, extra chain links, tire tubes, pliers, Allan key multi-tool small wrench, pocket knife, duct tape, chain lube, small bike pump, and a tooth brush.
  • 2 Air Mattresses
  • Keyboard for I-Phone
  • Light weight tent
  • Sleeping Bag
  • First Aid Kit
  • 10 x 5 Foot tarp
  • 16G Memory Card
  • 2 Plastic plates.
  • White gas and Camp fuel.

Cell Phone

  • Alex and Vanessa used their iPhone to access Google maps and Google latitude apps to help with navigation but also relied on paper maps where reception was an issue.
  • A full charge would usually be enough for two or three days. When they needed to re-charge their iPhone they would use bathrooms, pump houses or anywhere they could find an outlet to grab a charge.
  • The places where they lost reception were in the BC mountains, southern Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.  Overall, they found that it was surprisingly good.

Quotable Quotes

  • “Someone once told me that rehab isn't about getting your life to exactly where it was before, but finding new ways to do the things you want to do safely.” - Alex Holton
  • “We met and touched the lives of hundreds of people through the rehab centres we visited and our travels across the country.” - Alex Holton and Vanessa Parlette

The articles, on the Cardiac Health Foundation of Canada website, are presented with the understanding that the Foundation is providing information only and not rendering medical advise. Please check with your family physician, specialist or health care professional before implementing any of the ideas expressed in these articles.