Here’s what happened over the course of 4177km:
- Number of flat tires: 0
- Number of tires replaced: 1
- Number of chains: 2
- Number of broken chains: 0
- Number of nights indoors: 16 (8 in motels)
- Number of times I was asked if I was retired: too many.
- Number of people who saw my bike and asked me if I was selling stuff: 1
- Number of people who offered me money because they thought I was a vagrant: 1
- Number of times motorists yelled at me: 2
- Number of close calls: 1
- Relatedly: number of skunks that almost got me killed: 1
- Ratio of electrical tape to bar tape: greater than 1.
- Number of tornados/tornado warnings on the prairies: 0/0
- Number of tornados/tornado warnings in northwestern Ontario: 1/3 (it might have just been a plough wind though.)
- Number of times the OPP went looking for me: 1
- Percentage of Bell payphones I tried but didn’t work: 100%
- Number of litres of water I started with each day: 6
- Number of days I ran out of water: 1…because I shared.
- Number of times I saw a bobcat: 0
- Number of times a bobcat saw me: no idea. (Coco had a bobcat walk through his campsite one evening while he was wild camping. So what’s the guy do? He pulls out his phone and video records it. I guess if you’re going to be eaten by a bobcat, you might as well let others know what got you! Coco is fine, by the way.)
- Number of times I was chased by dogs: 1…miserable creatures.
- Number of times I used my bear spray: 0
- Number of times I had to pedal downhill because of headwinds: too many!
- The top speed I hit climbing a hill (in northern Ontario) because of a ridiculous tailwind: I topped out at 24kph near the top. And it was a respectable roller, too. (When I stopped to switch out water bottles, I had to brace myself against the wind…it was pushing me around.)
- Number of nights I heard trains: 30 nights (every night from Saskatoon, SK to Spanish, ON. I hadn’t really thought about it before…the major train routes follow the major highways.)
- Number of times I got a lift: 4
- Weight lost: lots!
- Number of times I cursed climbing up steep mountains and hills: uncountably infinite.
- Number of times I was ready to give up: let’s just leave this blank.
I have no regrets ending my trip where I did. On my original plan, I was only going to get to Halifax (you know, time and budget). But now I can plan a proper tour of the maritimes when I complete my cross Canada journey. I’m not sure when that will be…but I’m excited about it!
Days on tour: 59 Days
Days off: 9 Days
KM Pedalled: 4,177.20 KM
Time in Saddle: 257h 46m 6s
Average speed: 16.2 kph
Total Metres Climbed: 26,423 metres
Metres Climbed in BC: 9,866 metres
Metres Climbed in ON: 1,1103 metres
||June 5: Hope, B.C.
||5h 11m 8s
||June 6: Mission, B.C.
||4h 59m 47s
||June 7: Sunshine Valley RV Resort & Cabins, B.C.
||2h 48m 33s
||June 8: Manning Provincial Park, B.C.
||5h 3m 39s
||June 9: Princeton, B.C.
||4h 37m 43s
||June 9: to campground
||June 10: Keremeous, B.C.
||3h 42m 47s
||June 11: Penticton, B.C.
||3h 19m 16s
||June 12: Kelowna, B.C.
||5h 24m 58s
||June 13: Whispering Pines Tent and RV, B.C.
||6h 52m 55s
||June 14: Revelstoke, B.C.
||6h 22m 59s
||July 15: In Revelstoke
||June 16: Stealth Camping
||6h 1m 25s
||June 17: Golden, B.C.
||5h 56m 35s
||June 18: Field, B.C.
||4h 58m 49s
||June 18 from restaurant to campground
||June 19: Lake Louise, AB
||2h 39m 53s
||June 20: Exshaw, AB
||5h 52m 34s
||June 22: Drumheller, AB
||6h 26m 7s
||June 23: Youngstown, AB
||8h 2m 37s
||June 24: Eatonia, SK
||6h 51m 44s
||June 26: Rosetown, SK
||4h 50m 9s
||June 27: Saskatoon, SK
||7h 37m 38s
||July 2: In Saskatoon
||July 2: Painted Rock Campground, SK
||2h 41m 38s
||July 3: Wynyard, SK
||6h 58m 47s
||July 4: Theodore, SK
||5h 16m 57s
||July 5: Churchbridge, SK
||5h 33m 52s
||July 6: Russell, MB
||3h 13m 17s
||July 7: Shoal Lake, MB
||5h 15m 22s
||July 8: Minnedosa, MB
||3h 54m 54s
||July 9: Neepawa, MB
||2h 1m 15s
||July 10: Portage la Prairie, MB
||5h 22m 1s
||July 11: Winnipeg, MB
||5h 39m 8s
||July 11: To campground
||July 13: Prawda, MB
||4h 34m 49s
||July 14: Kenora, ON
||6h 15m 2s
||July 15: Redden’s Store
||July 15: Rushing River Provincial Park
||July 16: Wild Camping!
||6h 24m 48s
||July 17: Emo, ON
||2h 41m 10s
||July 17: Fort Frances, ON
||1h 58m 4s
||July 18: Atikokan, ON
||8h 28m 4s
||July 19: Quetico Provincial Park, ON
||2h 39m 36s
||July 19: to Campsite
||July 20: Shabaqua, ON
||5h 32m 5s
||July 21: East of Thunder Bay
||4h 30m 21s
||July 22: Nipigon, ON
||5h 43m 49s
||July 23: Rainbow Falls Provincial Park, ON
||5h 40m 6s
||July 24: Terrace Bay, ON
||2h 11m 51s
||July 26: Marathon, ON
||6h 1m 1s
||July 27: Esso on #17
||July 27: White Lake Provincial Park, ON
||3h 45m 6s
||July 28: Wawa, ON
||8h 9m 3s
||July 29: Bruce Mine, ON
||3h 31m 59s
||July 30: Spanish, ON
||6h 59m 16s
||July 31: Batman’s Cottages and Campground
||7h 17m 25s
||August 1: Tobermory, ON
||3h 7m 19s
||August 1: Ferry to Campground
||August 2: Wiarton, ON
||4h 19m 53s
Bingo word: Soooo much rain!
Okay let me start with some stats for today:
Distance: 153 km
Average speed: 18 kph
Metres climbed: 925
I am super happy with my day, even though I didn’t quite make it to 100 miles. I could have ridden loops around the campground…but I didn’t have the will to do it. Besides, another nasty storm was coming up hard. Fortunately I was able to set up before it hit…and when it did, the heavens unleashed another deluge. There was soooo much rain! I escaped pretty well, but Coco got a lot of water in his tent.
We dragged a picnic table into the men’s washroom so we could cook dinner while we waited for the storm to finish hating on us. There are only 2 other campers here…in RVs…so we figured we wouldn’t be inconveniencing anyone.
Not sure what tomorrow will look like. We’re still 200km from Thunder Bay…and there isn’t much by way of stores or campgrounds along the way. As in…there is one store and one campground between here and Thunder Bay. And they are 40km from here. I suspect I’ll be getting my century ride soon enough.
Sunday, June 9 was a brutal day. I climbed over two summits. The second one crushed my spirits. But once the terrifying descent off that second summit was done (a couple of km at a 8% grade) I coasted into Princeton and filled my belly and then found a campground. Finding campsites as a cyclist is really easy so far. I don’t get a site per se…but I do always get a patch of grass somewhere.
Today (June 10) was going to be my first scheduled day off. But I decided to push on to Keremeous.
Local: Which way you headed?
Local: You won’t want to take the highway.
Local: Nah. Take the old Hedley road. It’s up in the mountains. Lots of ups and downs. And the scenic views are breathtaking. *pauses* Though you’re not on a mountain bike, so it might be a little more difficult. *pauses again* Nah…don’t take the highway. It just follows the river downhill.
Me: *takes the highway *
I’m glad I did. The ride was absolutely glorious. It was pretty much all downhill. There were a few short climbs…but I handled them with ease. I can tell I’m getting my cycling legs.
My goal tomorrow is Penticton. I’m 48km behind my planned schedule.
I don’t like conflict. I really don’t. I need to stop avoiding it. When an asshole racist starts being an asshole racist…I need to just call them on it. Boldly and with confidence. Instead, today, I just blinked stupidly in disbelief at what I heard.
I hired a local service to drive me to the airport this morning. The conversation was going fine…until we were pulling up to the airport. That’s when the asshole racist—who was also my driver—said some incredibly vile things about refugees fleeing war. I kinda want to report what he said, because I want everyone to know what a horrible person he is. But even reports of racism can harm. So I won’t. But let me just say, fuck that guy.
As I was standing outside Terminal 3 watching the Airways Transit van drive away, I was kicking myself for not having said anything…for not telling him to his face that his racism is unacceptable in a civil society.
Later, as I sat waiting to board my flight, I wrote a terse email to the company and described in detail what the driver had said. I also said that I would be sharing my experience with my friends and colleagues. I know that sending an email does not amend for my cowardice…but I want to believe it counts for something.
To the company’s credit, they replied to my email within minutes, profusely apologizing and assuring me that corrective action would be taken. I hope they are good for their word.
I teach business ethics, and in class we talk a lot about how important it is for a company to have a code of ethics that is enforced. A loose-lipped employee who publicly unleashes a racist rant can do incredible harm to the company real quick. I hope Airways Transit has that figured out.
Thanks to everyone who came to Arabella Park Beer Bar and made my send-off an amazing thing! There was much laughter and imbibification. There was also a raffle for prizes, which raised $365…with all the proceeds going to GiveWell! Amazing!
Thank you everyone for enabling my folly!
My cycling buddy and my former professor
My WatPD peeps!
Showing off my spreadsheet of awesomeness!
Philosophers being philosophers
Raffling off the prizes
Better looking people there are not
What if I just give up?
What if I quit in the mountains? I climb Allison Pass on day three. I’m only riding 70km that day…but it is a whole day of climbing. There is nothing like that in southwestern Ontario and at best I can train by riding into a stiff headwind. I feel completely ill prepared for the mountains. Or what if I get to my mom’s in Saskatchewan and decide after a week off the bike that I’d rather spend the rest of my summer on the beaches of Lake Huron?
I’m not one to give up easily. My last Ironman 70.3 race was in 2015. I couldn’t really train because my IT band was giving me so much grief. I did the race anyways and ended up walking 19km because I couldn’t run. The pain was intense, but I wasn’t about to give up…I really wanted that finisher’s hat!
Am I the only one that finds it hard to detach ego from a bucket list item?
What if I need to end my trip early?
A lot of things can bring a tour to a quick end: a major mechanical failure, being hit by a car, injury, my rig is stolen. The list goes on.
There is only so much that I can do to avoid such contingencies. I can wear high visibility kit. I can put flashing lights on my bike. I can lock my bike. I can vigilantly maintain my bike. And so on. But there is nothing I can do if a motorist decides it is more important to send a text than it is to not hit me. And if someone really wants my rig, no lock is going to stop them.
What if I get stuck in snow on a mountain?
Snow in June (it’s a great album, am I right!) is a thing. And if it’s true for Saskatchewan…surely it’s true on top of a mountain.
I have no problem with hitchhiking off a snowy mountain. Doing so will not detract from my claim that I cycled coast to coast.
What if I’m attacked by a bear?
Bears gotta eat too, I guess. But I sure hope my aim with the bear spray is good!
What if I am killed in an accident?
I find it is really helpful to deny my mortality and simply refuse to think about it.
Keanu Reeves said it best recently when he responded to the question of what happens to us when we die:
“I know that the ones who love us will miss us.”
So many what-ifs.