Saturday, 28 July 2012

Epic Bike Trip Around the Maritimes, Step 11: Meet crazy Bikers

The family across the way at the campground in Coy Lake invited me to dinner. The father had done a cross-Canada bike adventure when he was 20, Toronto to Vancouver.He said the hardest part was the hills of northern Ontario. He was there in May, none of the campgrounds were open yet and he got hit by a snow storm. The family was on their way to PEI for a bike trip. They did 50km/day, although their stuff followed them in a pick up and a camper. Last summer, they'd biked Toronto to Manitoulin Island. The girl was in grade 8, and the boy was two years younger.

The two cyclists at the St. John - Digby ferry had huge saddlebags and a dry sack for their tent. They were three days away from completing Vancouver to Halifax at a rate of 130km/day, one rest day a week, one cinnamon bun a day, because you've got to get across the country somehow. The hardest part physically was the Rockies, but mentally, New Brunswick because who knew? it isn't flat. They'd left in May, they'd seen tons of bears, and they were tired of bad local directions, the phrase "Better you than me!", and the two-girls-crossing-the-country-on-bikes conversation, which inevitably turned into a discussion of weight (as in, "Well that's why you look like that and I look like this!" or "That's a good way to shed a few pounds!" Yes, that is exactly the reason why I decided to do this.).

The guy buying lobsters off the boat in Digby had biked across Canada for his sixtieth birthday. He'd also pedaled the east coast of Australia (poisonous snakes, spiders and all), and he'd done New Zealand with a girl, but really, the best way to go was solo.

The English motorcycle dude on the eight minute ferry across the LaHave River had done some bicycle touring in Europe. The best advice he'd ever heard was "Take care of your ass. You bump your head, you sprain your arm, you can keep biking. But if you don't take care of your ass..." He recommended baby bottom cream over vaseline.

The four cyclists came into the Kiwi Cafe dripping wet with that dazed look which comes from cycling a long distance and then stopping in an unfamiliar place. I overheard they'd cycled from Montreal, but I didn't talk with them though. I thought maybe they were tired of being asked.


  1. I never thought you'd meet so many hard-core cyclists on your journey. Must be interesting!

    1. Yeah! They're crazy!! There is a whole subculture of people for whom biking across Canada is a bit passé. It's interesting to discover.