Reflections

June 23rd, 2008 by scott

(format cribbed from Brian Huntley)

Statistics

Distance bicycled: 1204 km (753 miles).
Distance in truck due to shifter breakdown: 30 km (19 miles).
Time Bicycling: 77 hours, 37 minutes.
Riding days: 16
Non-riding days: 3
Average speed: 15.6 km/hr
Average day distance: 75.25 km
Average ride time in a day: 4 hours 51 minutes
Flat tires: None.
Nights camping in campgrounds or camping areas (locks,bridges): 5
Nights camping in people’s backyards: 3
Nights in motels: 7
Nights in people’s homes: 3
Average cost per day: $100 CAD

Things that surprised me:

  • How polite drivers were when passing us.
  • Coming back into Ottawa discovering just how impatient and bike-unfriendly drivers are here compared to everywhere else we cycled.
  • How friendly and curious people were about us and our weird bikes.

Becky says:

  • The lack of response when we waved or said hello to people on the Niagara-on-the-Lake bike path felt unfriendly – especially compared to the smiles and waves we always got in New York State.
  • How few places there were to get food / provisions along the route – especially the lack of places to get ice cream :( There were always places to get things, I just expected to have more choice about where to get lunch or groceries.

Things I’m glad I did:

  • The trip!
  • Took day 2 as a rest day. Even though it put us behind schedule, it was really necessary.

Becky says:

  • Re-adjusted the weight such that Scott was carrying more of the load after day 1.
  • Took lots of pictures from the bike while riding.
  • Blogged as we went.

Things I’d do differently:

  • Take more pictures of the people we met and the places we stopped.
  • Stuffing my camera in a pannier meant that I took very few pictures. I need to find another way to carry a camera so it’s easy to get at while on the bike for quick pictures.
  • Don’t use Arkel RT-40 panniers on the underseat rack of a StreetMachine. They’re fine for normal riding, but will drag around turns, and catch. (Although Becky’s idea of putting a strap around each bag worked well once she thought of it around day 14). They aren’t really intended for this, although Arkel is planning to add a plastic stiffener to the bottom of the bags.
  • P6170664

  • Make sure there’s enough time to take rest days when needed, especially early in the trip. There’s a great article in Adventure Cyclist this month called Liftoff, talking about the pull of gravity keeping you at home while you do the last few things getting ready for a trip. We were running like mad trying to get ready before leaving on this trip, and I’m sure it will be the same for the next one. Having a planned rest day on Day 2 or Day 3 allows us to get away and then decompress a bit.

Becky says:

  • Carry less food. We ended up returning home with most of the provisions we carried. Our riding diets are influenced by our needs and desires for a given day, so it is better to not carry so much and just adapt to circumstances (when communities and food are readily available – for Labrador, we will need to carry 2-3 days worth of food when we ride to Cartwright).
  • Not make coffee while camping. I’ll change my morning routine to involve a cup of tea rather than coffee and save coffee for when we eat out. Coffee while camping is messy and requires special equipment that just isn’t worth it.
  • Find some bike shorts. I rode most of this trip with capri pants, which are nice for casual rides but have chafing issues for long rides. I need to find some good biking shorts that don’t feel like diapers!
  • Not use the cell phone in the US. The cost of roaming is $1 per minute plus long distance. We’ll need to get setup on Skype.
  • Add sugar to the food list. We carry a non-sweetened sports drink powder which works well when added to Orange Juice; however, when OJ is not available and you need the hydration some sugar makes the drink more palatable and effective.

People we’d like to thank:

  • All the people who let us stay with them: Frank & Nancy, Sharon & Mike, Tim & Heidi, Judy & Jim, Johnny & Tina
  • Eric and Tracey for rescuing us when Becky’s shifter failed completely and it was getting dark
  • Mom & Dad Drennan for a joining us for wonderful picnic in Burlington (and bringing lots of food!)
  • Mike & Kathleen Hogue for taking us out to dinner in Oakville
  • Grandma Hogue and Tony for taking us out to dinner in Port Colburne

One Response to “Reflections”

  1. Martin Hicks Says:

    Ahhh! Coffee is easy.

    Boil water in a pot. Add coffee grounds. Stir. Stick on the lid.
    Wait a few minutes and then encourage the floating grounds to
    sink with a spoon. Wait a few more minutes and then pour into
    your cup. There will be some grounds in the bottom and maybe
    a few floaty ones, but its still delicious!

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