Yellowknife couple looks back on global cycling journey

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Relaxing inside their home Edith and Norman Mair reminisce about the good times they shared together cycling a combined 27,484 kilometres over 30 years.

They started cycling together in their 50’s as a way to stay active. With four children grown up Edith said her and Norm were up for any challenge.

“They knew we were tough,” she said. “We started by travelling to Great Britain, we enjoyed it so much that we just kept making plans to do it again.”

Norman Mair, left and Edith Mair are photographed in 2006 following their trip from Yellowknife to St. Albert, AB. This was the final cycling journey they took.
photo courtesy : Edith Mair

Edith, born and raised in Aberdeen Nova Scotia moved to the west coast with her Norman at the age of 22 that’s when she said their life together, began.

“We started with $100 and a young child,” she said. “Norm worked on the Cruise Princess ship in B.C. But we would always find a way to stay active.”

The passion for fitness was a staple for both who wanted to leave a lasting impression on their children, Edith said when they initially thought of the idea of travelling they were very optimistic.

“People would always ask ‘how do you get in shape for an excursion like this?’” recalls Edith. “We just ride our bikes… we rode sometimes around Yellowknife, but each trip was training for our next one.”

The couple of 63 years (64 on Feb. 6) rode from tip-to-tip of each country they visited including New Zealand, Ireland, Australia and France. A trip across Canada was also completed during the years of riding by splitting the country up into three sections, Eastern, Western and Prairie.

Although each new country travelled brought joy to the two, both Norm and Edith agreed at 80-years-old it was time to hang-up their helmets.

Norm was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease after their international trek. Today he currently lives with dementia and spends a limited amount of time per-day with Edith at their home in the core of downtown Yellowknife.

“I’ve read studies that say people who are active are less likely to get Alzheimer’s,” said Edith. “Most say that the brain can’t last more than 7 years… he’s going on 15 now but I know his favourite part of the cycling was when we reached the last stop on our last trip to Edmonton, he was happy with the accomplishment.”

Now, while Norm is being tended to in Aven’s manor nursing home, Edith can be seen staying active and walking their dog, Molly by Niven Lake. When it’s warmer she does the whole trail and when it’s cold she walks half-way, but in her mind she’s always back in another country taking a trip with her husband, cherishing every memory.