Lynne Harley is biking from Saskatchewan to Sudbury and passed through Portage Monday. She's an author who just wrote a book that helps youth cope with life's struggles and avoid the tragedy of tragedies, youth suicide.
"I'm on a tour on my bicycle which is really out of my comfort zone," says Harley. "I've never done anything like this before and the tour is called 'What if you could?' after the book that I've got coming out, hopefully, by next week. It's in the process of being published through Regina. It's a children's story about a little caterpillar who can think. As he wants more for his life, of course, he's hearing from two voices. The one that goes, 'Well, who do you think you are flying drinking nectar?' I mean, he's a caterpillar. And then, of course, there's the other voice that says, 'Well, what if you could?"
Harley is a life coach and she coaches clients through these sorts of struggles, and this is the children's version of the concept.
"I'm doing this on behalf and in celebration of my brother," continues Harley. "Five years ago, on Father's Day when I was taking my kayak out of Pike Lake Provincial Park, I lived in Saskatoon at the time. I got the news that my brother had been found dead and he had struggled his whole life with mental health and wellness. As I move forward with my life and had this vision for a book, I actually looked into organizations across Canada that supported mental health and wellness, and wanted to make some kind of a donation on behalf of my brother."
She notes she came across jack.org, and explains what it's about.
"It is an organization that was started by Eric Windler and his wife Sandra Hanington," explains Harley. "Their son Jack, when he was 19, committed suicide and he was in his first year at Queens University. They said that they had no idea that he was struggling, and for whatever reason, he never felt like he could talk about. I think that was their motivation to open those avenues to dissolve the barriers to really make it okay for kids to be able to say, 'Hey, I'm having some trouble here and I need help.' And I love what they're doing."
She notes the cycling aspect was born out of time.
"I coached people to live into what they love," adds Harley. "I moved to Camrose, AB, a couple of years ago and joined a cycling club in Millet. And then, of course, with COVID. nothing ever happened until this spring. So, I went for my very first ride on May 1st. Up until that ride, my biking career had been going out for 20 kilometres, going out with a group of friends -- just day trips. On this trip in Bentley, Alberta, I met two women who did cycling touring, and one girl had been right across Canada."
She says she's at 750 kilometres so far when she reached Portage, and riding a loaded bicycle was something she didn't realize would be so hard.
"Today was for the first time I got on the Trans-Canada Highway, because I've been on the Yellowhead 16," notes Harley. "We've got great shoulders, but it's a whole different story. It's noisy. The speed limits are 110. Who goes 110? People are going 120 usually, and at one point, I had the train on one side of the ditch and semis going by me. I thought, just the noise is stressful. Yesterday, I got off at Gladstone and I got onto the 34, and it was just this idyllic ride."
She says her book is soon to be available.
"I'm posting every day on Facebook, but the links are there for people to order the book through Shadowpaw Press and, hopefully, it'll be out next week," adds Harley. "The publisher said maybe just a few extra days for the hardcover, if people want a hard copy for a gift. But all the information is there if they go to Shadowpaw Press through my website or directly to Shadowpaw Press in Regina."
Her website is www.lynneharley.com
And you can reach her by email or phone: (306) 270-3800 -- firstname.lastname@example.org