Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Day 77-78: Arrival Home

I was hoping to cover art least 150km from Lion's Head yesterday, leaving only 100-or-so kilometers to get home today. Unfortunately the rain put a damper on things and I was only able to make it about 75km to Chatsworth.

Fortunately today was a great day for a 175km ride to finish up the trip. After climbing up rolling hills for the first 100km, the route was mostly downhill once I crossed over the Niagara Escarpment. Cool, overcast conditions made way for sunshine and gentle tailwind as I entered the GTA.

Stats for the trip:
87 days (including flight layover, and days off for weather and rest)
67 riding days
Total distance cycled - 7988km
Daily riding average - 119.22km
Maximum daily distance: 213km
Maximum speed: 68km/hr

Arrival home today

Rainy start for my ride out of Lion's Head yesterday

Getting an early start on the ride to Toronto

Prophetic intersection in Markdale

About to enter Niagara Escarpment where I set a new speed record for the trip

Sexy buildings in Mississauga

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Day 75-76: Blind River to Espanola to Lions Head

Heading out of Blind River yesterday, I knew there wasn't any chance of covering the 220km to South Baymouth in time for the ferry, so I settled for splitting it up over two days.

There isn't anything significant to note for the rides leading to South Baymouth. The road was in good condition, the hills were frequent but manageable, and the wind was present but sporadic.

After waiting three hours in South Baymouth for the ferry, and sitting for an hour and a half through the ferry ride, I was eager to get some miles under my belt when we landed rather than find a place in Tobermory for the night.

That decision almost burned me as I found myself 50km out of the city with the sun already set behind me and no sign of a motel. I was five minutes away from tenting in a farmer's field when I finally came across a motel in Lions Head.

*Note- I'm posting this a day late due to wifi issues. This morning looks like a full day of rain ahead of me. I'm currently in Wiarton, hoping to get in another 100km for the day.

Leaving Blind River

Serpent River

Leaving Tobermory on the Chi-Cheemaun

Glorious sea gull soaring majestically over ferry-goers, waiting for scraps and garbage

Starting to regret my decision not to stay in Tobermory for the night

In the nick of time

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Day 74: Rocky road to Blind River

For today's 134km ride from Sault Ste Marie to Blind River I enjoyed great weather, but did hit 20km of atrocious road conditions that put a lot of stress on Gracie and had my joints barking. I've ridden over pre-repaved asphalt on this trip already, but never over such a long continuous distance. 

With cheese grater road surface and loose gravel shoulder,  I picked the lesser of two evils and rode in the traffic lane, darting over onto the shoulder when vehicles squeezed me over.

Whenever I have to ride in the traffic lane because of a loose shoulder, I constantly check my rear view mirror to see if cars are getting ready to move over to accommodate me. If I can't see them moving over well in advance,  I don't wait to make sure,  I just move onto the shoulder and try not to fishtail into the ditch until the vehicle passes. It makes for slow riding, and today was even more of a challenge with both the shoulder and the road surface being so poor for a long stretch.

However,  aside from the aforementioned 20km stretch,  I had a good rhythm for today's ride. I didn't have the cold breeze off Lake Superior, and the terrain started to flatten out and become less rocky. On the whole,  a good day on the road.

Bumpy ride

On the road from the Soo

Kickin' it, old school

Road into Blind River

Day 73: Sault Ste Marie

If you're cycling through Sault Ste Marie,  make sure you stop at VĂ©lorution Bike & Ski shop. They use their back lot as a campground for touring cyclists which is free to use. They have 24hr washroom facilities and free wifi, and are also conveniently located right on the Trans-Canada. Great little oasis.

Weird story that happened but sounds totally made up:
I was looking for a bar to catch the end of the Jays game yesterday and walked into the only one I could find with the game on. The bartender said they don't allow backpacks in the bar (I resisted the urge to tell her it was a pannier). I said okay,  do you want me to put it behind the bar or something?  She said no,  you just can't have it in here. Although offended at this stupid policy, the Jays game was going into extra innings and I wanted to watch it. So I went outside and put the pannier back on my bike,  removed all the contents, went back inside, put all my crap on the bar and ordered a beer. The bartender then asked for my ID. This was getting irritating, but I gave her my drivers license which she studied intently, then went to confer with the other server,  came back and said it doesn't look like me. I showed her my health card for good measure and explained that the beard's new but I'm clearly the dude in both pictures. She reluctantly conceded and asked me what I was doing in the Soo,  as she gave me my beer. I told her I was biking across Canada. I mentioned something about having trouble finding places to grab a drink in some of the places I've passed through,  noting that the last bar I passed by was almost 350km back in White River.  She squinted her eyes at me,  and asked me what I ordered there. Odd question,  but I told her I was drinking Kokanee. She said,  I thought so,  I was your server. I work here on weekends and White River during the week.

Sunset over Lake Superior

Agawa Bay Campground

Best bike shop ever

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Day 71-72: 281km from Marathon to Agawa Bay Campground

I was remarking recently that rain has been the norm for this trip,  forcing me to ride through it or wait it out on more days than not. Well, yesterday and today have made me eat my words. Easily the best two days of weather since getting to Ontario, with sunshine, cool breeze (tailwind! ), and gorgeous scenery spoiling me for the last 48 hours. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Tonight I'm camping at Agawa Bay Campground in Lake Superior Provincial Park,  tomorrow I should be hitting Sault Ste Marie.

Leaving Marathon

White River's claim to fame

I was greeted with incredibly thick fog this morning, but it dissipated quickly

Today's ride from White River to Agawa Bay

Riding down to Agawa Bay