Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Epic Bike Trip Around the Maritimes, Step 10: Meet a bear

Or, how I pedaled across Nova Scotia in one day

The bear was in the ditch on the other side of the road, thank goodness, enjoying the blueberries. He was not big, a pre-teen bear, Justin Bieber fan aged. Not that I really know anything about bears, or about Justin! Mr. Bear looked at me a moment and then scampered up the hill into the woods behind him. The trouble with little bears, of course, is that there could be a bigger bear somewhere close by, feeling protective.  I rang my bell ferociously - watch out mama! I've got shrill, noisemaking devices to protect me!

I'd left from Bear River that morning, and I was zipping along the 8. And I mean zipping, zooming, speeding, sailing - it was amazing how fast I was going! Nova Scotia is flat! I don't mean pancake flat, of course, but there sure are't any mountains!

New Brunswick, on the other hand, should take more pride in its elevation. On their provincial flag, behind the ship, they should add some peaks. Cycling through the Saint John river valley, I spent at least a third of the distance and two thirds of the time in my very lowest gear, chugging up hill at 8 kilometers per hour, if that!  Who's ever heard of a river valley with mountains?

It was good training, I suppose, though. I reached my planned night rest stop before noon, and I just kept on going. It helped, of course, that there was absolutely nothing to see, and I had the added encouragement of some cyclists I'd met on the ferry from Saint John. They were moving faster than me, but I kept up enough that if they stopped for ice cream, I'd see their bikes and stop too.

By the end of the day, I'd made it to Bridgewater. I was fantastically exhausted, and it took me two days to recover, but I'd just covered 115km and pedaled across Nova Scotia in one day.  I felt like I'd earned a break.

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