Its the eve of the final day. I can’t wait for the festivities of tomorrow but at the same time I don’t want tomorrow to come, because it means this journey will be over.
Its been a long day of riding so I better give a quick synopsis or the day before my eyelids droop shut. The day started with a grand send off from 40 people waving and snapping photos as we rolled out from my boyfriends family gathering in Bracebridge. Then it was straight to the bike shop to fix Nellie’s broken spoke and on to the grocery store for our daily provisions. Then, time to ride!
We tried to make a direct secondary route north but found ourselves frustrated with having to stop and check the map every 15 minutes and still making a few wrong turns.
Just as we thought the hills and navigation was enough, we found ourselves surrounded by poorly signposted gravel roads. Great. 175km of this would be impossible before dark. It was time to reassess our route. We decided to hit the highway and aim for Powassan instead of Nipissing Village. The shoulder of the highway was wide, smooth and flat (I am so glad they did that excessive rock blasting to prevent the highway from constantly rolling with the hills, they must have planned it with cyclists in mind). At one point we even had a tail wind and were coasting 40km/h on an incline! Our new route was slightly shorter than our projected route, but we still broke record distance.
We were hoping to tent on the lawn at the Sparrow’s Nest B&B but instead we have been spoiled! A long bubble bath,
followed by visiting over a mug of hot tea has been nothing short of amazing after a cold and rainy day of pedaling.
My eyes are shutting, time to enjoy the bed before a final ride into North Bay!
Yesterday morning’s ride out of Toronto was cold and wet. Plus the navigating was tricky and traffic lights are timed for cars not bikes. It took us 1h30min to ride our first 15km. So slow! Then just as we were getting towards the outskirts of the city Nellie got a flat. We fixed it and continued object our way.
Later on the bike path we saw four deer! Then another three! After biking through Newfoundland and New Brunswick its crazy to think the first wildlife we see is in Toronto.
Our bikes got super dirty from the we roads.
We stopped for our lunch break at Tim Hortons and we were glad to be out of the rain a bit.
The afternoon cleared up and we were flying down the road. We even had some extra time to stop and smell the roses.
We are now checked into Comfort Inn. Thank you fairmount hospitality!
Wow so much to say about the last 24hrs, this post might be a bit long. I think my favorite 15km of this entire ride was from Cobourg to Port Hope building site yesterday morning. A group of Habitat volunteers joined us.
It was a ton of fun and I am so thankful to Klaus for organizing and leading the group.
After the ride, we took a tour of the semi that they are in the midst of building.
It was really worth
while to be inside of a Habitat house and see where all my efforts of the last few months are going. What I really noticed about the tour was not so much the building but the people.There are so many involved in the building of a home. The restore volunteers, the committee for choosing a family, the volunteers that work directly on the house, plus the volunteers that keep them organized, fueled and trained. Habitat really has something for everyone. Its great to see that such a group of diverse people are able to contribute to an important cause together and have fun doing it. It really builds not just a home, but a community with a conscience.
I am glad to be involved in pushing for better housing for low income families.
I could have spent all day at the building site, but we had some ground to cover. So we hopped on our bikes and continued along the waterfront trail (a cycling route that runs along Lake Ontario). Thanks to Klaus’ maps we were able to navigate with ease for the first 50km. Once we hit Whitby we thought we would be ok to jump on the secondary highway. Unfortunately, GTA secondary roads are not as glamorous as New Brunswick’s. No shoulder and zooming traffic, we were anxious to find the waterfront trail again. Our rough navigating led us down a few dead ends. At one point found ourselves in a little park with no sign of a path
other than the one a hundreds feet below us.
Later our route led us right into the middle of the greek festival. The street was packed!
Thankfully we met some bikers who pointed us in the right direction. And let us try out their bikes!
After a day full of adventure it was nice to sit down to a massive delicious meal of ethiopian food.
I am not sure if you can see the portion in the picture but its massive. I still can’t get over how hard it is to keep up with a cyclist’s metabolism.
Now for a day off in Toronto before we head north!
I cannot believe that in less than a week we will be riding into lee park. Part of me is ready for the change after cycling all day for the past month. Part of me doesn’t want to stop. I hope the transition isn’t to hard otherwise I might have to bring a stationary bike to class for the first week of school.
Plans for our arrival are going well. Its just a matter of getting the word out. So if you are reading this and know someone who will be in North Bay on Saturday tell them the following.
“URGENT message: get out your calendar and scratch out whatever is marked on Aug 18 to replace it with the following two details
1: at 11:15am group ride from lakeshore Dr/Kate paceway junction (near Sunset Park public school) to lee park (6km), its not a race just come out and pedal with us!
2: BBQ and cornroast at Lee Park 11:30- til we run out of food and/or you get tired of hearing our stories…I am guessing around 2or 3 pm.
All the details are on fb page http://www.facebook.com/ride4home
Ok so back to the ride. Yesterday’s ride passed through many cute little villages along Lake Ontario. In Coulborne all the trees were knitted.
We are currently staying at Margaret and Klaus’ in Cobourg. They are two Habitat volunteers that have been incredibly generous hosts! We had a wonderful evening visiting and exchanging travel stories with them.
This morning a group rides with us to Port Hope. I am sure you will hear all about it soon!
Lastly, I am so pleased to see donations are still coming in. Its inspiring, keep it up!!
This morning we woke up at our nice little camp spot next to the canal locks. It was a nice change to be tenting next to boats instead of rvs.
The morning was rainy. Nellie and I didn’t talk much as we pedalled, squinting through the rain and trying to ignore our soaked jackets sticking to our arms.
The rain started to clear as we hit California so we busted out the sunscreen! Perhaps unnecessarily.
Then we got into Kingston, where the Habitat for Humanity affiliate would be hosting us. Our first stop was their Restore! It was so exciting to see the Habitat symbol somewhere other than my cards for the first time in months.
We stopped and got a photo just outside before heading to the Hotel that the Habitat affiliate had found for us. (Thank you Ambassador Hotel for donating a room!). We were both greatly in need of a shower before dinner with two members of the Habitat board of directors.
Of course when we got in the priority became watching some Olympic games for Nellie
and getting a picture of my largest chain grease tattoo yet!
The amount of time I have spent scrubbing my legs over the course of this trip is just silly.
Dinner was lovely. Nick, David and Margo were all quite excited to hear about our trip and Nellie and I were equally as excited to hear about Habitat’s work in the area.
Fun fact from David: every 24 seconds a new house is built in the world by Habitat. That’s huge.
Its sometimes a little discouraging to think about the immense amount of money and work it takes to build a house. It makes my efforts feel small. I guess that’s the reality of it. I know this trip’s fundraising won’t build much, but atleast its something and more importantly it has challenged hundreds of people to contribute to a cause they might not otherwise think about. People still need housing, so we will keep pedalling.
Nellie and I only had to make it partway to Kingston today, so when we arrived in Smith Falls soaking wet and cold we decided we would call it a day.
We found a cafe downtown and here we sit with bike greased knees happily sipping lattes.
Its good to have some time to catch up on emails with Habitat for Humanity volunteers in Kingston and Cobourg and plan for our final arrival in North Bay. I can’t believe its only 9 days away! In the next few days I am really excited to get the chance to visit the Habitat Restore in Kingston and a build site in Port Hope. It will feel good to really make concrete connection between all this pedaling and Habitat’s work.
We are going out to see a community theatre performance of Anne of Green Gables before we settle into our tent for the night.
Up until Montreal Nellie and I had been extremely fortunate to have had zero bike troubles to date. Perhaps we should have knocked a little harder on wood when we said that. Yesterday was different. A combination of issues led to Nellie having 9 flat tires and going through every spare tube we had un 48h. Thankfully a cyclist diving a car stopped in his car to offer his full size pump which provided enough air for Nellie to ride to Ottawa without further problem where Kunstadt mechanics were waiting for us.
Its been a whirlwind of visiting the past two days. Even managed to squeeze in some yoga in parliament hill with 500 other people.