A Travellerspoint blog

Summary entry

Numbers and reflections

This morning, Bryan was wondering if he could start riding back west again. He says that is just doesn't feel right that he didn't end in St John's but he really has no regrets. On the ferry back to North Sydney today, we had time to calculate the stats, and reflect on the whole adventure. Here is what we discussed.

Distances: 6902 total kilometres (we found an error)
39 total days/ 37combined days of riding (the goal was to do it in 40)
- 3 partial days: 93 out of Vancouver, 50km to Moose Jaw, and 50 into Quebec City (1 total ride day)
-1 day touring the Cabot Trail
-11 days of over 200 km per day, overall average of 180km/day
-average of 9 hours of riding per day
-average speed 20km/hr
-week 1: 1145 km -week 2: 1295 km -week 3: 1176 km
-week 4: 1439 km -week 5: 1086 km -week 6: 516 km
*Bryan calculated that he turned 83-86 cranks per minute one day.

Days of riding in each province (approximate):
BC.......7 AB......2 1/2 SK......3 1/2 MN.......3 ON.....11
QUE....3 NB......2 1/2 PEI.....1/2 NS........3 NF......1

-5 ferry rides, 2 short and 3 long ones
-rode through 5 time zones
-hardest climbs: Osoyoos with 17 1/2 km at 9-14% grade
Hope Pass and Emerson Pass: climbed 4000 metres over 10 km
-9 nights of camping, 3 in the homes of friends, 27 in motels
-it's easier to get up to ride after a soak in a tub, a bed to sleep in and all the continental breakfast
you can eat (at least half a loaf of toast, cereal, and whatever else is offered!)

Weather: -Usually an East or North East wind, not the usual westerlies.
-very few favorable winds, a few in the Maritimes
-14 days of rain, most of them all day and sometimes very heavy
- 2 days of snow/rain/hail in BC (6 inches in one day)
-coldest day: June 7 into Sparwood -warmest: June 4 into Osoyoos

Mechanics: - the Cannondale T1 bike proved itself as up to the task (Thanks for the advice, Bike Doctor!)
- 2 flat tires, 1 tire replaced (Marathon)
-one poor lube job that created some problems but the chain held up well all trip
-1 new battery for the bike computer

Blessings: -answered prayers for safety and health (Thanks for praying for Bryan.)
-a helmet from Roland Stevenson when Bryan lost his near Nelson, BC
-meeting the target of June 29 in Quebec when we had no idea how long it would take
-having a wife and a support vehicle to get rid of the paniers and add in so many other ways
-daily goals met and perfect timing in meeting each other at just the right places
-cell phones that kept us connected and WiFi connections in motels to keep us all together
-support in so many ways
-phone calls, e-mail messages, words of encouragement
-visits in homes and on the phone as Bryan passed through (sometimes it worked out)
-friendly interest from perfect strangers who were also encouraging
-people all across the country in coffee shops, restaurants, tourist offices and by the side of the road
who make up the community that is Canada
-Kevin Berg who filled in at work for Bryan and made it possible to be worry free the whole time
-the fact that there were very few mosquitoes (just bad black flies around Lake Superior)
-legs that were ready to go every day!

Reflections: -Rural connections made all the difference. They came to see the spandex man and stayed to chat.
-There is no boring landscape at bike level. It's all in the details and appreciation.
-Covering the cost of a trip like this is easier at our age. That's one advantage of being over 50!
-the money was well spent, with no regrets
-so many have asked if Bryan was raising money for a charity
*If you want to donate to your favorite charity in honour of this great country and generosity of the
people in it, go ahead.

-Take secondary highways if you really want to see the people and not just cover miles
-bypassing rural communities hurts them financially and we miss what they can offer
-there's less traffic too!
-Although the goal of this trip was to cross Canada, not to tour sites, it whetted our appetite to
return. There's so much to do and see in each part. A week, not a day would be a start.
-A biker can never eat enough to keep going. Bryan learned a lot about when and what he needed to
eat to stay on the road. You can't ignore good nutrition.
-Bryan didn't see as much live wildlife as he expected but saw and smelled more roadkill than he liked.
-he also saw enough hubcaps, gloves, tarp straps and small tools to stock a store
-Ontario is HUGE but they have some of the worst roads and best scenery. (outside BC!)
-If you have a dream, make it happen. Eat the elephant one bite at a time.

THANK YOU for following the blog. Your comments have been encouraging but so have the numbers of hits on this site. It is good to share this dream with all of you. Who knows what will be next? Everest? :)

Posted by Janet Akre 17:49 Comments (5)

The Finale in Newfoundland

It is fitting that Bryan started his final day of riding with a tough headwind out of Port-aux-Basques for the first 18 km. That changed quickly however when he got further inland. The evergreens, bent and gnarled, show the strain of the prevailing winds. Bryan, on the other hand, looks and feels great. By 5:00 pm, he had completed 150km just outside of Stephenville.

Meanwhile, I had gone into Corner Brook to pick up a shipping box for his faithful Cannondale. When we met up, we loaded the bike and continued into Stephenville for the ceremonial dipping of the tire into the ocean.
With 6657 kilometres completed, this cross-Canada bike tour is officially ended. A bitter-sweet moment to be sure. We celebrated with supper and a walk along the ocean.

We also talked to a clerk who had worked at that store for 40 years, including when Stephenville was a US air base. In the heyday, 34 employees worked where now only 4 are at that store. It was also fitting that the trip should end by sharing stories, small town style. She sent us on our way with the familiar good wishes and a thanks for stopping by.

The bike packed, we catch the ferry again for North Sydney tomorrow and head for home. One more entry to write...this trip by the numbers.

Posted by Janet Akre 17:58 Comments (5)

To North Sydney and a Ferry

Newfoundland here we come!

The ride from Baddeck to North Sydney was lots of fun for Bryan. The long climbs reinforced the fact for him that he is in the best shape of his life. He could not have made those uphills so easily even 3 weeks ago. Then, on the downhills, he had fun passing semis who were carefully negotiating the hairpin turn. The view was spectacular as well.

By 11:30am, Bryan easily covered the 61km to North Sydney. The sun was shining and it was very calm, the first time since LaChute, Quebec. A great ride topping off the total 6423 km on mainland Canada.

We spent the afternoon in the Louisburg area. We really didn't have enough time to tour the national park at Fort Louisburg but we can see that this would be a great place to spend the whole day. However, we needed to return to catch the ferry to Port-aux-Basques from North Sydney. We were able to find a bike store in Sydney en route, talk to the owner about an upcoming Cape Breton race and buy a jersey advertising Jittery Joes Coffee Shop. Perfect, eh? Bryan would have liked to continue biking on such a beautiful day but we enjoyed the 5 hour sail and a full moon.

At midnight, we pulled into a very hospitable hotel near the water. Bryan heads for Corner Brook on Wednesday. He would like to cover 131km which is the distance that he would have covered into St John's if the original plan had been possible.

Posted by Janet Akre 04:25 Comments (1)

A Day Off the Bike

Driving the Cabot Trail

The only action the bike saw today was when we returned to the motel in Baddeck and Bryan cleaned the chain. We spent the day on the Cabot Trail, stopping at Ingonish to see Jim and Sharon Gunn, longtime friends of Jan and Gord Webster. We were just in time to see a very exciting finish to the fourth stage of the Tour de France. Jim and Sharon's son-in-law, Levi Leipheimer, rides with Lance Armstrong for the Astana team. What a race!

After that warm encounter, we continued on the Cabot Trail, stopping several places along the way to enjoy short hikes and the scenery. It is a spectacular combination of woodland and ocean vistas along a winding road. A very definite bonus was the sunshine that we enjoyed all day long. Bryan noted that he had ridden in rain from Thunder Bay, Ontario and on. Today, a day without the bike, the sun came out! The finale was a tasty supper at an Acadian restaurant at Cheticamp some 4 hours later. Bryan is always hungry so anytime is a good time to eat. I hope that changes when we settle into life at home!

Tomorrow, Bryan will bike the 56 km or so to North Sydney where we will catch the ferry to Port-aux-Basques, Newfoundland at 6:30pm. We'll have some time to tour the area before we leave.

Posted by Janet Akre 16:30 Comments (0)

Into Cape Breton

Neither rain, nor wind, nor threat of snow....

Bryan made good time this morning with a nice tailwind despite the the constant drizzle. He left the motel at 9:00am, covering 93 km by the time I finally caught up to him at 1:30. Continuing on, I waited for him at the tourism centre at Port Hasting, just across the Canso Causeway. By then there were showers interspersed with sunny moments. He arrived at 3:00 to recharge for the next leg into Baddeck. I had booked a lovely motel set back from the highway a long ways, overlooking the Bras d'Or Lake and settled in to wait for him. He arrived at 7:00, having completed a total of 230 km in buffeting winds and dropping temperatures. (only 10 degrees here tonight) However, we had set this as a goal and Bryan came through.

Again, we have been impressed by the way people open their homes to strangers, even though tourism is a cottage industry. These past two nights, we have stayed with people who had added on to their home to create a motel. We've seen this often. Perhaps some of these stately homes were just too big for the average family. We both appreciate the architecture, almost as much as the scenery.

Tomorrow, we will drive up to the Cabot Trail for a day of touring and hiking together. I've seen the sights but Bryan has missed the tours I've enjoyed. It's time we did something together!

Total this week: 1281 km

Posted by Janet Akre 17:29 Comments (0)

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