20 km around St. John’s
We had a delightful stay with Fraser and Judy. We spent several evenings enjoying wine and talking about various aspects of life. It was wonderful to have the chance to get to know them better and also nice to have “home” for the four days we were in St. John’s.
We didn’t spend as much time as we’d planned doing tourist things or visiting people. This seems to be a bit of a trend (both here and in Goose Bay). After many days riding, we need some downtime to recharge, clean and dry equipment and run errands. For future stops, we’ll need to leave more time if we want to do more tourist stuff.
Sunday: We attended the Sunday service at the Avalon Fellowship. It was nice to renew some connections and visit with fellow Unitarians.
Monday: We took our bikes out to run a variety of chores included buying new cups. We had a couple of melamine cups purchased at Bushtukah (they were about $3 each). On the ferry from Goose Bay to Lewisporte one of them cracked when Becky added boiling water. A few days later the second cracked when Becky added warm water. We were quite surprised as other melamine we’ve owned has lasted forever! We’ve replaced them and our bowls with “squishy bowls” (silicone bowls and cups).
We went up to Earle Industries (a bike shop) to check the status of our chains. It is owned by Harold Earle, and seems to be the high-end bike shop for St. John’s. If you’re looking for bike repairs or purchases in St. John’s, we can highly recommend Harold and his shop. He spent more than an hour going over our bikes with us and looking at various options for some of the issues which have developed.
After 4000 km, our chains have stretched too much and worn our rear sprocket. Scott was expecting the chains to last better than this, since there’s so much more chain on our bikes (about 2.5 standard chains). Had we checked it in Rimouski, we probably would have discovered the chain wear before it damaged the sprocket. Oh well – a lesson for next time. The Rohloff sprocket is reversible, so if we could reverse it we could replace the chain, but we haven’t bought the Rohloff sprocket tool yet. Harold and Scott looked at improvising something, but decided it wasn’t worth the risk.
Harold also pointed out that the stock chains on our bikes are SRAM 830 – the lowest grade of SRAM 8-speed chain. Had HP-Velotechnik provided a better chain (SRAM 870, 890, Rohloff Revolver) it likely would have lasted much longer.
We have ordered the sprocket tool from Rohloff (as well as some other spare parts), and we’re planning to replace both chains (and flip the cogs) when we get to Fredericton.
Tuesday: We went out for a hike with Tammy, a friend from the Avalon Fellowship to Black Head. From the point there is an incredible view of both Cape Spear and Signal Hill, as well as lots of blueberries. We had a delightful hike, and it was great to get to know her a bit better. She had just received news of a placement as a kindergarten teacher this year, so she was walking on air.
We also went up Signal Hill at night with Fraser and Judy, and got to see St. John’s at night. It’s a beautiful view, and it was a warm night, so lots of other people were up there, some “watching the submarine races” and fogging up the windows of their cars.
Wednesday: We spent the early part of the day cleaning up and packing up. It took longer than expected to be ready to go, but that worked out OK.
Vyda, another friend from the Avalon Fellowship picked us up at Judy and Fraser’s and after a wonderful dinner at “Blue on Water” in downtown St. John’s she gave us a ride out to the Argentia ferry terminal.
We had heard from other cyclists that you can sleep in the Argentia terminal. Upon arrival, we found a nice quiet spot in the terminal out of the way of traffic (under some stairs), where we pulled out our thermarests and sleeping bags and spent a comfortable night. Earplugs and eyeshades again came in handy though – there were two other Ottawa cyclists in the terminal with us, and they didn’t sleep nearly so well.