From Trailway Dreams to Roadway Nightmares
Ottawa, ON. Sunday, August 28, 2016
In 1992, Canada’s 125th anniversary celebrations gave birth to a new National Dream,
the construction of a Trans Canada Trail – a linear park, a cross-country greenway, an active-transportation corridor – that would join
Canadians from coast to coast to coast. Safe and secure and accessible for people of all ages and abilities, including those in wheelchairs,
this extraordinary trailway would be completed – supposedly – by the millennium year 2000.
Ride to Queen's Park, Rally for Safe Trails
Toronto, ON. Sunday, August 7, 2016
My name is Edmund Aunger and, on behalf of my late wife, Elizabeth Sovis, I am appealing
to the Ontario government, the federal government and other provincial governments to intervene in the Trans Canada Trail, and to propose
minimum standards for quality and safety, and most especially to get it off our country’s roads and highways.
The Great Ontario Highway Lottery.
Espanola, ON. Wednesday, July 6, 2016
For a split second, I thought my ticket number had just been drawn.
And I was now the reluctant winner of a free trip to paradise. It wouldn’t have been too surprising. My odds were quite good. Still are.
A Trail of Broken Dreams.
Winnipeg, MB. Sunday, August 31, 2014
We are a country of high hopes and great plans and big dreams.
And, since 1992, we have shared an inspiring “New National Dream,” the construction of a Trans Canada Trail – a linear park,
a cross-country greenway, an active-transportation corridor – that will join Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
Three Bears on Duck Mountain.
Ministik Beach, SK. Sunday, August 10, 2014
During our many backpacking trips in the mountains, Elizabeth
and I have had several unexpected bear encounters, but we were never outnumbered. Just saw one bear at a time. And except
for a curious young cub who wanted to check us out, and see what we were eating for breakfast, they always ran away at high speed.
Saskatchewan Says No. But Keep on Trying.
Yorkton, SK. Wednesday, August 6, 2014
“Unless people demand it, the government’s not going to do it,” he explains.
“People might say they like the idea, but that doesn’t mean they’re ready to pay for it. They want their taxes spent on schools and hospitals.”
Dear Valerie Pringle.
Regina, SK. Thursday, July 31, 2014
"Dear Valerie," I write, "your efforts would be more successful if directed,
not at the municipalities, but at the provincial government.” Valerie Pringle is a distinguished former broadcaster, now co-chair
of the Trans Canada Trail Foundation.
Fool Me Twice, Shame on Me.
Lumsden, SK. Sunday, July 27, 2014
When I finally arrive in Lumsden, it’s almost 10 pm. I’ve travelled
the last few kilometres in the dark. I’m exhausted. And very angry. “What happened?” my friend David asks. “When you phoned at 7 pm,
and said that you were only 10 km from Lumsden, we expected you’d be here in no time.”
Get Off the F-ing Road!
Craik, SK. Thursday, July 24, 2014
Even from 20 metres away, I can hear his shrieking voice: “Get off the
f-ing road! You’re all going to get yourselves f-ing killed!” He’s a slightly-built man with a fair-coloured goatee, leaning out
from his truck, the driver’s door swung open. He’s screaming directly at Colette, my daughter-in-law, while Margaret and David look on.
Kill the Cyclist. It's the Smart Thing.
Frenchman Butte, SK. Tuesday, July 8, 2014
“I couldn’t stop in time,” the distraught truck driver will probably
tell the police investigator. “And I couldn’t pass him. There was nowhere to go. I didn’t see him at first. Who expects to
see a cyclist riding out here on the highway?"
Canada Day, 2014.
Edmonton, AB. Tuesday, July 1, 2014
The nausea comes first. Seeping up from my stomach. Maybe I’ll vomit.
The numbness comes next. Coursing along through my veins. Maybe I’ll faint. I know what’s happening. It’s the first morning
of my 2014 cycling trip and my brain is doing inventory of available physical resources. And it’s not finding very many.
Police Report on Elizabeth’s Death.
Edmonton, AB. Tuesday, January 21, 2014
This morning, under the caption “Why separated cycling infrastructure
is so important,” Kay Teschke tweeted yet another macabre news report on a safety-conscious cyclist – wearing a helmet and
a reflective vest – who was struck and killed by a truck. Teschke is a professor of public health at the University of British
Columbia and her research convincingly demonstrates that separated bicycle lanes are nine times safer than fourteen other route
types. No further evidence is necessary but – for the public record – here’s the police report, entitled “Fatal Motor Vehicle
versus Cyclist Collision,” that describes the death of my wife, Elizabeth Sovis.
Dishonest. Disrespectful. Despicable.
Edmonton, AB. Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Mr Arnold Moase pled guilty to the charge that “he did, while
operating a motor vehicle, cause an accident resulting in the death of Elizabeth Sovis.” On December 4, 2012, the Supreme
Court of Prince Edward Island noted that in spite of “near perfect conditions Moase made no effort to brake nor to steer so
as to avoid striking Ms. Sovis,” and it sentenced him to six years in prison. Last week, however, Mr Moase’s automobile
insurer declared that “Elizabeth Sovis may have caused or contributed to her own injuries and/or death through failure
to exercise reasonable skill and care for her own safety.” RSA (Royal & Sun Alliance) Insurance Group boasts “strong,
profitable performance, even in the most challenging market conditions.” In 2012 its net written premiums were £8.4 billion
($13.8 billion). May it rot in hell.
Rally at the Alberta Legislature.
Edmonton, AB. Sunday, August 25, 2013
I am proud and privileged to say that I was married to Elizabeth Sovis
for almost 34 years. Elizabeth was a strong advocate of the Trans Canada Trail and, as an Albertan, she was very disappointed
that Alberta – and Saskatchewan – had the worst records of any Canadian province for building this trail.
Don't Ever Give Up.
Duncan, BC. Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Shy and silent. That’s me. Or so I used to think – when
I was an adolescent. But now, as an adult, I seem awfully talkative. Last night, in the emergency ward, I was
keen to chat with everyone. As I sat waiting for my x-ray, I spoke with a sweet ten-year-old girl who had broken
her arm on the first day of summer camp.
Like a Tumbling Tumbleweed.
Shawnigan Lake, BC. Tuesday, July 2, 2013
When I take cycling trips, I make notes. Very utilitarian notes.
I record routes and distances travelled. But also social and economic conditions observed. A loose-leaf notebook is in my handlebar bag, a current page is in my pocket, and every time Elizabeth stops to take
a photo or consult a map, I pull out my pen and paper and hurriedly jot down a few details.
Canada Day Kickoff.
Victoria, BC. Monday, July 1, 2013
Finally, after months of preparation
and anticipation, it’s “D Day.” At 8:50 am, I give a 10-minute phone interview from my hotel room,
carried live on CFAX radio. I describe the reasons for my cross-country ride and what I hope to accomplish,
and then I encourage listeners to check out my website www.ridethetrail.ca.
I also invite them to meet me at the BC Legislature at 10 am and to come for a ride.
Edmund A. Aunger