Sunday, September 06, 2009

Shameless Plug for Keenan and Jeff’s - ride for HOPE

I met Keenan in the fall of 2003. We were the two youngest people in our group of exchange students at Uppsala. This meant that we were constantly having our friends buy us alcohol at Systemet. We would put in an order and patiently wait. We bonded over hockey, waiting for alcohol, and the fact that Keenan is probably one of the nicest people I have ever met. It makes it easy to bond with someone when that is the case.

Over the course of the semester in Uppsala we had a lot of fun. We did some stupid things, we did some smart things, and we even did some cultural things. We definitely formed a friendship that has withstood quite a few years and a lot of distance, and the fact that I am very slow in responding to e-mails.

I remember Keenan suffering from some insomnia during our time in Uppsala. Most people did at some point, and I still do. I completely blame the extremes of dark and light. One morning we woke up to hear a fantastic story from Keenan. He couldn’t sleep, which came as no surprise. What did come as a surprise was his bike ride. Keenan had ridden his bike from the Flogsta student housing in Uppsala to Gävle. If you were to take E4, the main highway, it’s about 110 km and would take you just over an hour to drive there. Keenan rode that stretch on a bike, in the middle of the night.

That ride was a harbinger of things to come. A couple years later Keenan came to visit a group of us living in Oregon. He was trying to recruit people for a crazy idea, a bike ride from Canada to Argentina. He even came bearing a CD trying to convince me to ride along with them. While flattered, my body is not made for riding a bike over two continents. Plus, I’ll be honest, I was skeptical of the ride actually happening. Apparently, I had forgotten a couple of things, specifically the kind of person Keenan is, and the fact that he rode his bike from Uppsala to Gävle in the middle of the night because he couldn’t sleep. As a general rule, never write anyone off who has done something like that.

Just over a year ago, Keenan left his hometown in Canada and headed off with his brother Jeff. They had put together a website, a plan to raise money for a charity, and a couple of bikes. Over 18,000 kilometers later and just a few days ago, Keenan and Jeff crossed the Argentinean border. I am left shaking my head at their adventures in bewilderment. I have gone on for nearly two years on this blog about my adventures in Sweden. An adventure that has taken place in one country where I already speak the language and have citizenship. I suppose adventure is always relative, but what these two guys have done is a true adventure. The kind of thing that makes me proud of my amazing friends, of the kindness of their hearts, and of the strength of their characters, as well as their legs at this point.

If you haven’t already, please head over to their blog ride for HOPE - canada to argentina by bicycle and leave them a comment, or join their Facebook group at Keenan and Jeff’s - ride for HOPE. If you’re really feeling engaged, donate a little bit of money, even if it is just a Loonie. See what I did there?

Welcome to Argentina guys.


  1. Ok I joined their group. That is pretty damn cool. I bet they really are intersting people. I guess you must be pretty damn cool yourself to be good friends with such rock stars, right?

  2. I joined too. I generally try to avoid joining groups on facebook, but it wasn't even painful this time.

  3. @m8 - you're right. their coolness rubs off. its a good thing, because I need as much as I can get,

    @E - if it makes you feel any better I also avoid groups, but a few catch my eye.

  4. You really have no shame! Using your personal blog as a way of gaining attention for charity! Could you sink any lower?

    Seriously, though, seems really cool and those guys are definitely made of something else than me... ANd most other guys, I guess...

  5. Yes, everybody, donate a loonie! Or even a toonie! Shameless plugs are a good way of making beautiful things happen.

    Also, a minor correction- I believe that you were the third youngest person in Uppsala. Not to make you sound any less cool, just keeping your blog legit.

    Much love, from the second youngest.

  6. I have to say, I agree that this is a beautiful shameless plug. I think I started to blush while reading this. and @Robban - we're really not made of anything special at all. It's just riding a bike...
    @m8surf - well yes, we pretty much are rockstars. As is our Hairy Swedish friend.

  7. No, me taking the bike from home to work is just riding a bike. Riding a bike from Canada to South America in the name of charity is... I don't know what that is. Seriously, count on money from me :)

  8. @Robban – its true. Very selfish of me. And I agree. They have done things I can only imagine.

    @Katherine – Ooh good call. And well done on keeping me on my toes.

    @Keenan – aww shucks...

    @Robban – agreed. Again

  9. I like the Canadian twist at the end, nice one! :)

  10. I do what I can. It's the culturally sensitive part of me.

  11. oh awesome, they're from the same province as me!! :) they make us proud!