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Kindness personified

therecord.com /news-story/4143766--kindness-personif ied-/

Bike journey
Philip Walker,Reco rd staff

Cameron Heights teacher Scott Kemp cycled across Canada this summer.
Waterlo o Regio n Reco rd

KIT CHENER T here were 13 f lat tires, a broken rim and a f ew of his toes are still numb af ter being cramped in riding shoes that may have been too small. It's expected that a 6,754-kilometre trip f rom Vancouver, B.C. to St. John's, N.L. on a bicycle over 44 days would have any one of us question our intent. Like the time, he rode 14 kilometres uphill in the scenic Rocky Mountains or the gusty winds and chilly temperatures in Northern Ontario, or the time he was so hungry at lunch af ter riding 80 kilometres that he wanted to give up. But what surprised Scott Kemp was what kept him going when he thought he could pedal no longer. T he kids who stuck their heads out of the bus and cheered him on, the tourists along the way who wanted a photo with him and the woman in Trois-Rivieres, Que. who drove by and suggested he stay at her home because a thunderstorm was on the horizon. "It was kindness personif ied everywhere I went," said the 32-year-old Cameron Heights Collegiate English teacher. "T he kindness people showed me was incredible," said Kemp, who rides his bike to school every day. T his past summer, Kemp took to the road f or seven weeks on his bike, crossing Canada as a personal challenge. He wasn't raising money f or charity, but instead trying to show his students that living your passion a tattoo he has on inside of his wrist should be more than words. "I'm telling kids to push themselves out of their comf ort zones. I wanted to live it because I would f eel like a f ake," said Kemp, who coaches hockey, cross country and ultimate Frisbee at Cameron. Kemp said strangers of f ered him support, like the campground managers who gave him a discount on his campsite and the cycle shop owner who drove out to meet him and repaired his tire rim, charging him only f or the wheel and not his work or mileage. "T hose single acts of kindness blow you away," said Kemp. "It f elt like every day, I was illuminated by someone of something." Kemp spent about six and a half hours a day on the road, averaging about 150 kilometres each day and losing 15 pounds f rom start to f inish. He spent most of the time alone except f or when he was joined by two uncles who cycled with him

He spent most of the time alone except f or when he was joined by two uncles who cycled with him through the Rockies, a f ew visits with his mother who was driving f rom Ontario to British Columbia and the couple of times his wif e met him along the way. "I underestimated how hard it would be to be alone every day," he said. He credits his mobile phone f or allowing him to speak to his wif e, Laura Seaman, daily. "Her support was paramount," he said. He researched his routes and relied on his BlackBerry when he needed direction or the location of the closest campsite. He blogged daily and shared his journey with colleagues and f riends. A year ago he challenged himself with his f irst Ironman race, then the cross-country cycle. So what's on the bucket list f or next year? Kemp is considering swimming the 14-kilometre stretch of the Northumberland Strait between New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. "We determine what we want to get out of lif e. When you walk in my classroom, smile because this is the day you get," he said. "I'm a f irm believer that you f ind something epic in whatever you do," he said. Check out Kemp's blog at http://ridecanada.mrkemp.ca/

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