Don Kennedy’s goal for 2020 was to bike 10,000 kilometres, which would’ve taken him from the North Pole to the equator.
He beat his goal, biking most of the earth’s diameter in about 10 months.
“I’ve always been active,” the athlete said. “As you get older, your joints don’t like the running and that kind of stuff. I cycle in nice weather just to keep fit.”
Kennedy has always had a love for cycling; enjoying long-distance biking is relatively new since he retired from the construction industry and a brief stint as a skydiving instructor with more than 1,000 tandem jumps under his belt. Kennedy participated in two triathlons (his first being at the age of 55) and the half Ironman in Oliver.
“Since that time, I have enjoyed swimming, cycling and running,” Kennedy said. “Cycling is now my main fun fitness sport.”
Kennedy is no stranger to setting fitness challenges for himself, but he’d never before attempted something quite as long before.
“This year I decided, ‘you know, it’s time to see how many kilometres you can do,” he said. “Then COVID hit, and that actually helped. We weren’t traveling as much, and I finished up earlier than expected.”
Kennedy said he averaged about 1,000 kilometres a month, expecting to slow down as winter crept in.
“On a small ride, I would go about 30 kilometres; the largest ride of the year was 245 kilometres in one day,” Kennedy said. “That was from Agassiz to Kamloops, about a 10 and a half hour ride – 12 hours with stops.”
Those interested in cycling or any new hobby should get the best equipment they can comfortably afford, Kennedy said.
“You will always enjoy the sport way better,” he added.
From there, it’s just a matter of getting to work.
“You gotta get out there and just start,” Kennedy said. “Just get out and enjoy it. Pretty soon, your speeds will pick up, distances will pick up naturally. You might only go a half an hour but find you’vetraveled a lot farther. You’ll get more comfortable sitting and not getting sore.”
“The biggest thing is to get out there and enjoy it,” he added. “You can see things you’ve never seen before. You can travel that same chunk of road you’ve always travelled by car and never see what you see on a bike.”
Kennedy stressed the need for self love and support.
“Believe in yourself and your potential, not only in sports but all your endeavours in life,” he said.
What’s next for Kennedy?
“I might set a goal next year for another 10K or 11K,; we’ll see how it plays out this year,” he said.
He’s not a lone rider by any means, always welcoming others to join him on his latest journey.
“If people are interested in riding in the local area, don’t be afraid to look me up,” Kennedy said. “I’m more than willing to ride with people, and group rides are fun!”
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