All Posts Filed in ‘Cycling

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Marathon, Ontario

Sitting in the tent waiting for the rain to stop. Not sure what time it is. Not sure how long I’ve been sitting here.

Can hear crows crowing. The rain doesn’t sound as heavy as before. I’m beneath trees so even when it’s stopped raining rain will drip from the leaves making it sound like it’s still raining.

Nature plays tricks on you.

So do road signs. The signs to this town didn’t say it was 4km off the highway down a steep hill which, when I finally get back on the bike, I’ll have to go up.

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Lake Superior Provincial Park, Ontario

Camped by the road. Hungry.

Met a guy today also cycling across Canada with a video camera – see http://mikebeauchamp.com/crosscanada – though doing it West to East. He has a very ingenious set up for his camera. The camera itself is in the back panier but a lens, or some kind of small surveillance camera, is on a gantry mounted just behind his handlebars. With that he can film the road in front of him just by flicking a switch on the bike, and he can turn the camera around and film himself cycling along.

I wish I’d prepared more for this trip.

He showed me some of the video he’d shot and it looked very steady – far more so than my handheld stuff.

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North Bay, Ontario

I’m now cycling on the Trans-Canada Highway, which here is Highway 17. Several cars have hooted me, and not in a “get off the road” kind of way (since they’ve been on the other side of the road, but in a “yeah, go for it!” kind of way. Though there are the trucks which come up behind me and when they hoot it does mean “get the fuck out of my way”. One yesterday was towing a house. Lucky I did pull off the road when it hooted or I would’ve ended up in the toilet.

I’ve also met a couple of people cycling in the opposite direction, West to East – so they’re almost finished. Phil from Australia has a site at http://spaces.msn.com/members/crazyphill/ and Greg from London has a site at http://www.transcanada.com

I had an encounter with what I thought was a bear the other night. About 3am, lying in my tent I could hear something outside tugging at a bag – my bag of food. I’d saved some ham, chicken, a couple of slices of bread and some cream cheese for breakfast. At first I thought it was a person, and I shouted, but hearing the thing run away and then come back realized it was an animal of some sort. The way it was grunting it didn’t sound like a small animal. I tried to make some noise, which at first seemed to scare it off but it kept coming back. Then, hearing it snorting and breathing I started to think maybe it’s a bear. Perhaps I’ll just let it have my breakfast, rather than getting into a fight over it. So that’s what happened. I lay there and listened to it tear through the bags and then eat, very noisily.

I took out my penknife and opened it, just in case it decided that when it had finished my food it might come into the tent after some more. I wondered if I smelt like food. I made an effort not to fart since I thought then I really might smell like the ham, chicken and cream cheese I had been eating (that’s what I’ve been eating for the past four or five days).

It didn’t come into the tent though. It sounded quite satisfied.

In the morning I was chatting with a guy on the campsite who looked a bit like the old guy out of Grizzly Adams, Denver Pyle I think was the actor’s name (I’ve always thought that was a great name and wished I’d been given a name like that – I guess I could always change my name)- he was also in the Dukes of Hazzard – so I thought he probably knew what he was talking about when it came to bears and he told me that wasn’t a bear that was a raccoon. If it had been a bear it wouldn’t have taken the food away from the tent, it would’ve just eaten it where it found it, and bears smell bad. If it had been a bear you would have smelled it.

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Ottawa, Ontario

All I have to say about Ottawa is you can’t get free wireless internet access here (at least I can’t find a place where you can) so I’m now being charged by the minute.

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Ottawa, Ontario

Now in Ottawa. I had a slight misunderstanding with a kerb here last night and came off the bike again, though this time it was more embarrassing than painful. I thought the kerb, which was painted yellow, was going to be a nice smooth ramp but the kerb had already decided it was a kerb, something the bike didn’t appreciate much. Luckily my elbow broke our fall and we’re both okay – me and the bike.

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Montreal, Quebec

Suddenly and quite unexpectedly the cashpoint gives me money and I can return to the surface and breathe again like a normal human being. Don’t know how the money got into my account but thanks if someone paid something in, and as soon as my debtors pay me I’ll pay you back.

Now about to leave Montreal, though it’s pretty late now so I won’t get far.

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Montreal, Quebec

Back from the hospital (after coming off the bike here in Montreal, just cycling in to town and hitting a pot hole) with 3 stitches in my chin, a few cuts and grazes, but OK, and the bike’s OK too, and the laptop which was on my back at the time survived since I’m using it now. Just spent my last couple of dollars on a baguette and then had to pay for a glass of water in order to use this internet cafe – they wouldn’t let me sit here and use their internet connection without spending money.

I’ve just uploaded some more video – still way behind on that though. Didn’t get a chance to do as much as I would have liked here in Montreal. Too many distractions. But the videos are from what I’ve called Day 6 and Day 7, which dates back to 17th and 18th July when I was cycling across New Brunswick, heading for the Maine, USA border.

Day 6 video (5.4 MB Mpeg-4 video)

Day 7 video (5.6 MB Mpeg-4 video)

For the other videos see my LegJoints page.

Will hopefully be heading off towoards Gattineau/Ottawa tomorrow. Need to properly check over the bike first, but I’ve been in Montreal for almost a week now and time is passing. It’s already tomorrow back in Britain and will soon be the middle of August everywhere, and after that comes the end of August, and then September, but the further West I go the earlier it gets.

Now I need to eat. I’ve just bought a baguette and have some paté, salami, tomatoes (quite a luxury out here at $1.69 per pound) and cheese in the fridge in my room so I’ll be having a late night feast. I also have a large box of peanuts and some fruit. Unfortunately I finished off the last of the chocolate croissants this morning.

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Royal Victoria Hospital, Montreal, Quebec

I’m sitting in the waiting room of the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal after coming off the bike. I was cycling into town and must have hit a pothole or something in the road cos I just felt myself going over the handlebars and then sliding along the road on my chin. I eventually found my way to the hospital but was told I’d have to pay $459, which I don’t have. I was heading into town to see if I could get any money out – I haven’t been able to for the last two days. The guy said there was a cheaper place I could go to where they’d only charge $40, but I only have $2.79. So I said well, I can’t do it. I think I’m OK so I’ll just go. A few cuts and grazes and a bit of pain in my jaw, but nothing serious.

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Montreal, Quebec

Still in Montreal. Just discovered the Trans Canada Highway website. For the next bit of the trip I plan to follow this highway, more or less. There’s a Route Verte (cycle route) within Quebec from here to Gattineau, which is just across a river from Ottawa. From there it’s Highway 17 heading across Ontario, which looks like it might be a bit hilly, but it’s supposed to be very beautiful. Was talking to someone the other day and he said Ontario has what’s called the Canadian Shield, which is where the earth’s crust comes to the surface (I think).

Looking at the maps I think it’s about 1700km to the Thunder Bay on the far side of Lake Superior. If I can do that by the end of this month – which will mean me upping my daily rate by quite a bit – then I’ll have a chance of getting to the Rockies before they become too cold to cross. I reckon Thunder Bay is more or less the half way point. At the moment, if I take into account all these rest days I’m having, I’ve only been averaging 50km a day. But I’d always planned on spending some time in Montreal and Quebec City, and the route so far has been quite up and down and left and right and teething problems with the bike – now sorted out I think. The gears weren’t adjusted properly and the chain kept coming off, but got a guy in Maison des Cyclistes here to see to that and he showed mr how he did it so hopefully that problem won’t recur, though there’s sure to be others.

One of them is that the areas I’m heading into are quite barren so I’ll need to plan where I’m going to stop for the night – because I’m shooting video I need electricity to charge up the batteries, plus I need water and food for myself, so can’t just camp by the side of the road. Moose could also be a problem, especially in the rutting season (but I think that’s spring so I should be OK).

Some advice about bears – when you see raccoons you don’t need to worry about bears, since they’re never in the same place at the same time (like Clark Kent and Superman). Trouble is, I’m not sure what a raccoon looks like. Time for Google Image Search.

Montreal is a good city. I got lost on the Mont Royal the other night (the mountain in the middle of the city) trying to find a short cut into town, and had to navigate in the pitch dark down wooded paths, heading for the lights. I’ve been walking a lot here.

It was a mistake going into the downtown area at night since it was full of loud yobbish Americans saying “Hey dude, is there a Burger King around here?” and then they start shouting “America, America” just in case you anyone hadn’t guessed where they were from.

A better part of town is the Plateau area, which is where I am now. It’s called the plateau because it’s flat, which makes it good for cycling around. Montreal is generally good for cyclists.