Sunday, 17 September 2017

Connection issues / delay in updates

Just to let you all know that I am still on my bicycle and am still making good progress across Canada.
A distinct lack of internet availability has delayed my posts somewhat, but I will be posting some updates in the next few days.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Day 105: Edmunston to Perth-Andover

Moving on.

It was a cold night last night, colder than other nights I have had, there was even a touch of frost on my panniers. A sign that summer is nearly over.

When we eventually moved out from Walmart, I was agitated and wanted to ride hard. We had a tailwind and I wanted to take full advantage, getting as far down the road as possible today.
As a result, I cycled off the front of the group, and when I turned to see where they were, they were not in sight. I decided to keep going as I felt strong, and not long later Aaron joined me, puffing.

Stephen and Aaron had ridden off the front as well, Matt and Amy not up to the pace today, possibly tired from the past few days? Aaron had decided to join me while Stephen went back to Matt and Amy and rode with them.
Unfortunately that was to be the last time we rode together.

Aaron and I made epic headway, taking turns on the front and resting and recovering while at the back. It was a flat day and we cruised. We stopped at Saint Leonard for a bite to eat and a water bottle refill (it was a hot day) then headed for Grand Falls. We were on the 144, and the US was just over the river from us all day.

From Grand Falls we got back onto the 'cycle path' and proceeded to batter and bash and skid our bikes along the path, in the shade thankfully, but at the mercy of the dodgy surface. We were both feeling really strong and before long wound our way into Perth-Andover and found the food van.

Here we discovered the tastiest onion rings in the world. They looked like donuts and tasted like donuts, but were filled with onion! Mmm.
And if there is one thing that needs to follow an onion ring, it's a pint , or 2, of local beer. We parked up outside the Railcar Brewery and went in, increasing the number of people in the building from 2 to 4, and sat down. The other 2 people were the owners.

We got chatting and sank a few local beers. Mitch, the owner, was telling us about the history of the building and the company, and before long had ordered us chicken wings for dinner, on the house! Top man!

Camping was at the Baird's Memorial Campground, open but not. Mitch had said that the owners wouldn't be in until at least 2pm the following day, but the site was open and available.
Yet another free camp and lovely local knowledge. I am loving the small town feeling.
Unexpected delights
Distance: 110 km
Time: 5:11:14
Height gained/lost: 753m /-825m

Calories: 3526

Sun setting on an amazing day

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Day 104: Cabano to Edmunston

I woke to the patter of feet going past the tent this morning.
Runner's feet.

Caught in the act.
I got up and packed the tent and had a breakfast of tea and cereal, and leftover pizza. It was touch and go for a moment as I caught Webber going in for the last slice!

Stephen and Aaron headed off early to find a Timmies for the usual coffee fix, so Matt, Amy and I took a relaxed ride through and met them a little later.
We were back on the trail today, riding along the lake. Fall is now in full swing, so the maple trees are turning an amazing shade of orange then red. It is beautiful, like nothing I have ever seen before.

Amy, Matt and Stephen
We crossed the border into New Brunswick at lunchtime, so stopped for a bite to eat in the shade of a Lancaster. For some reason we were all tired again today, so the afternoon session took a little while to get underway.

We rolled into Edmunston in the late afternoon, and stocked up on food at the Atlantic Superstore. Due to a communication error, I bought food to cook while the others bought ready-made meals, and ate at the store.
Lancaster at New Brunswick border

I packed the food into my bags and headed down the road to the Walmart where we would be camping for the night.
A few RV's were already there when I arrived, so I didn't feel too bad unpacking and setting up my stove. I must admit I may have looked a little out of place, sitting on the sidewalk, barefoot, beer in hand, cooking rice and not a care in the world.

Le Petit Sault beers
I also needed some time to myself after riding in a group for the last few days. I seem to have lost the adventurous spirit as I was just following and not thinking for myself. Maybe it was time for me to move on, alone.

Camping, or glamping, at the Walmart's has been easy. Each store has Wifi, washrooms inside and a huge patch of grass outside. It's as though it was meant for camping!

Distance: 69 km
Time: 3:48:49
Height gained/lost: 574m /-608m

Calories: 2117

Glamping at Walmart

Monday, 11 September 2017

Day 103: Riviere-du-Loup to Cabano

Today would be all about the rail trail, but first, a coffee.

Having given Matt tea yesterday morning, he returned the favour today, giving me an EXTRA LARGE  DOUBLE DOUBLE! Basically heaps of milk and sugar with a hint of coffee thrown in.

Leading from Riviere-du-Loup to Fredericton is a disused railway line, now converted into a cycling/ATV/walking path. The surface is loose gravel and is quite nice to ride on.

Getting away from the traffic is a relief, and we wound through forests and lakes all day, climbing steadily. Where the stations used to be are campsite, working on an honesty system. Some have running water, but generally they're pretty basic, but lovely.

Amy punctured late in the day, and while Stephen and Aaron found us camping options, Matt repaired the wheel.

It was now starting to get dark so all eyes were peeled to find a suitable camping spot, and somewhere to eat.
We rolled through Cabano, and at the original station site was a perfect place to camp. It even had a sign welcoming cyclists!

We made a mental note to come back here and setup, but first we needed food. Hot food! It was now getting quite cold outside, so we ducked into Le Pub du Lac and had a smashing dinner. The biggest pizza's were ordered, and devoured, and once again Matt had us in stitches with his comedy.
This time impersonating a drunk driver/ police officer.

Fed and watered, we went back to the 'station' and setup. Sleep soon followed.

Distance: 76.8 km
Time: 4:35:24
Height gained/lost: 1064m /-929m

Calories: 2554

Beaver lodge

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Day 102: Saint-Jean-Port-Joli to Riviere-du-Loup

Tents were down and packed early in case anyone came by and told us to move.
It was a cool and cloudy start to the day, but the tailwind was put to good use and by lunch we had done 70km. It was very flat with lots of wheat fields and dairy farms, but the hills were coming.

Stephen at breakfast
This part of the St. Lawrence was scoured out by glaciers millions of years ago, and as a result the hills run in parallel to the river, with the occasional massive boulder parked in the middle of a field.
The St. Lawrence is now salty at this point too.

Webber, the furry platypus Matt carries on his bike, turned DJ this afternoon and played us some banging tunes from his decks. That lifted the spirits a bit and got the pace going again.

Flat. Very flat
We arrived in Riviere-du-Loup, stopped at the usual Tim Horton's for the usual coffee and wifi fix, then went shopping for dinner supplies. Aaron phoned ahead to the campsite and reserved a site for us, and due to a clerical 'error' were only charged $5 each!

Laundry was done as a priority, then dinner.

It was another great day on the bike, but Matt is not happy with his. He needs to find a bike store tomorrow to get some more grease for his front hub.

My question is whether or not I should buy a new front tyre? Some say I should, others say not.

Distance: 99.2 km
Time: 4:48:28
Height gained/lost: 429m /-404m

Calories: 2885

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Day 101: Levis to Saint-Jean-Port-Joli

Stealth camping continues

We were up and out of the fort pretty smartly this morning, then battled a light headwind all day. I tried to get the group working in rotation in order to give everyone a break from the wind at the front. It didn't last long.

We met up with Aaron, last seen in Quebec City, at McDonald's in Cap-Saint-Ignace and had lunch.
With 5 of us now riding, the pace quickened in the afternoon. I felt strong on the bike again, but the others were taking a bit of strain.

To break up the afternoon, we stopped at the Maritime Museum in L'Islet-sur-Mer and had a look at the various boats on display. 
Matt amused us with his various Monty Python sketches, all bellowed at us through a huge megaphone. We were crying with laughter when he recited the French Taunting scene, his accent spot on.

Our destination for the day arrived and we hit the supermarket for dinner supplies. Stephen found us a lovely park, filled with artistic sculptures, on the waterfront, where we watched the sunset. It was also the same park being used for a wedding reception. Oops.
We cooked dinner in the little gazebo as the party built up steam, all the while keeping an eye out for a camping spot once it got dark.

Behind the park was an Alpaca farm, so we wheeled our bikes into a grassy patch and setup camp, completely hidden from sight. We drifted off to sleep with the wedding dance music as background noise.

Distance: 86.1 km
Time: 4:29:21
Height gained/lost: 353m /-454m

Calories: 2348

Friday, 8 September 2017

Day 100: Quebec city (rest day)

I had seen an article in the local papers about some cycling taking place in Quebec City this weekend. I think it was meant to be that we were in town on the same day that this event took place.
And it wasn't just some cycling event, it was the Grand Prix de Quebec, a UCI event for the world's best cyclists!
Even the world champion was here!

We took the bus to the ferry port, took the ferry over the river and saw the cyclist zoom past on the very first lap of the race.
Sixteen laps of a 12.6km course meant 200km of racing, so we took our time and walked the course, stopping every 15-20 minutes to watch the cyclists whizz past.

Matt and Amy spent the day doing art and coffee while Stephen and I walked the course, went to the fan village, entered every competition we could, sampled new Clif bar flavours and wound up at the finish line watching Peter Sagan, the world champion, win.

We headed back to the ferry terminal after the race and met up with Matt and Amy. Once off the ferry and bus and back at camp, we moved our tents and bikes to the park next door to the campsite. We had checked it out earlier in the day and decided it was perfect for a sport of free camping.
It was an old fort and was well looked after, so we pitched our tents out of sight of everybody and had a great night.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Stats: Week 13

Flat days along the St Lawrence river have made for amazing rides. There is so much history along this stretch of the river, and seeing all the little towns and huge churches makes for an interesting and educational ride as well.

Total Distance: 6320.64 km
Total Time: 302:09:02

Total Height gained/lost: 41070m /-42334m

Total Calories: 195956

Day 99: Levis to Levis

All night long.

No biking today, we were planning on going into Quebec City and have a look around, but the rain kept us in the tents and indoors for most of the day.

Rain over Levis
We hit McDonald's for breakfast and then headed over the road to Cafe Depot for morning tea/hot chocolate.
We ended up staying there for ages and the rain had set in.

By 4pm the rain had cleared to we packed up the tents and headed down the road to Place-Martiniere, where there was a campsite.
This was closer to the ferry that would take us over the river to Quebec as well, which we had decided we would visit tomorrow.

Distance: 22.5 km
Time: 1:09:10
Height gained/lost: 150m /-125m

Calories: 677

It's called camp (L-R: Suderman, McDonald, Ashcroft)

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Day 98: Ste.-Anne-de-la-Perade - Levis

We were up and out of camp pretty smartly this morning, hoping to get out of the woods before any dog-walkers or joggers discovered us.

It was a cool day on the bike with scattered rain showers throughout, and a gentle headwind.
Small towns, once again, dot the route and the silent river is river far from us.

Railway trestles
Today we are aiming at Levis (Levi, like the jeans) and are hoping to camp on the lawn outside the Walmart.

Before we get to Walmart, we need to cross the Quebec Bridge, celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. It is a pretty impressive bridge, with some intricate ironwork all along it.
We dismount and walk our way across this bridge, traffic zooming past us and making the bridge vibrate madly.

Once across, tempers are fraying as hunger and coldness sets in, so we hurry to Walmart and duck inside to get dinner supplies.
We cooked up a pretty tasty meal on the park bench outside the store, attracting a few stares from passing shoppers.

We setup the tents at around 7 and were in bed pretty soon afterwards.

Distance: 89.8 km
Time: 4:48:02
Height gained/lost: 564m /-553m

Calories: 2713

Stealth at Walmart, shhh