posted by alex on May 10
Wow, one more sleep and it’s go time. I spent the last 3 days frantically getting things done for the trip. I luckily or unluckily received my trekking bars yesterday afternoon. That gave me only a few hours to finish working on the bike. Much appreciation to the crew and Kent at Phatmoose cycles for helping me out last night and early this morning. We ended up working on the bike till 1:30am this morning!! Here she is.. isn’t she pretty?
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that the tradition with cyclist is to name their rides. I never got around to naming my bike but now since it is worthy of an inspirational name, I’ve decided to call it Carmen!
Tomorrow afternoon I will be in Hawkesbury, Ontario to meet up with my grandparents. It shouldn’t be a difficult ride, mostly flat rural roads for about 100km. I’ll let you know how it went.
It’s go Time!
posted by alex on May 6
Well it looks like I am going to bite the bullet thanks to Canada post. I was supposed to receive some parts for my bike last week but it seems like there’s a problem at Customs in Montreal. I feel like going over there and doing a little bit of rioting myself, haha. On a positive note, all of my camping gear is in. All I have to do now is put it in order and start packing. Next friday I will be heading over to the bike shop to work all night on my bike to finish it (with or without the new parts).
In other news, last sunday my good friend dave hosted a going away party for me. I am sure that all the sentimental gifts that were given to me will help with the stress and the long days. Thank you to everyone who came, it was very special for me to see you guys. In a way, I am very anxious to leave but then again I am not looking forward to look back at everyone as I peddle away.
The twitter account is now working. This means I will be able to send text messages directly to this website! The messages won’t be that long since I am not really good at typping things on my cell phone but atleast they will be frequent. The messages will be posted directly on the Daily updates from the road section of this website.
posted by alex on Apr 22
sorry about not posting anything for a bit now. I’ve been quite busy with exams and well the weather has been great! Unfortunatly, my bike has been at the shop now for over a week and I’ve not had the chance to ride it. I’m in the process of overhauling it at Phatmoose Cycles in ottawa (basically everything will be new on it except for the frame, fork and saddle) and it takes a while to receive all the parts I ordered. I’ve also done quite a bit of shopping lately, mostly at Mountain Equipment Coop. I tested my new 1 man tent the other night . It works great! I love the fact that I have enough room to lay down in this one and not feel claustrophobic. It took me about an hour in the store to find a 1 man tent that I like.
I’m often asked how I’ll be updating the blog on the road and quite frankly it’ll be a challenge. I’ll mostly be relying on libraries, schools and my hosts along the way. However, a friend of mine told me about this great website called twitter that offers webspace to post cell phone text messages online. I haven’t set up an account with that website yet since I still haven’t activated my cell (I’ll keep you guys posted when it’s up and running). I plan on sending a text message to twitter every night on the road to give a mini rundown of where I am and how I felt that day.
posted by alex on Mar 30
The other day in the bus I was reading up the latest celebrity gossip in a free newspaper. I then took a glance at the horoscope section, no harm done right. Interestingly enough, my horoscope was relevant this time (well the first bit of it) and I would like to share it with you. I’ve yet to find out who the companion is and I suspect it has to do with me observing silence lately.
Anyhow, here it is
posted by alex on Mar 26
Now that the school year is winding down, I am entering a new phase of planning. I call it the OMG, I’m leaving soon phase! So far I’ve figured out the itinerary for the route between Ottawa and Halifax which I will take between the 11th of may through the beginning of June. The western part, more specifically the Route in British Columbia has changed and needs more planning. A friend of mine recommended that I do not take highway 5 between Hope and Merritt since it is a heavy traffic toll route. Instead, I’ll go through the Okanagan valley on highway 3. This will surely take me through the biggest climbs of the trip and some of the peaks can reach well over 2000feet. BC will be my greatest trial as a cycle tourist because of the serious elevations and the wilderness of the interior. I touched on the wilderness issue in one of my last posts. However, this time I would like to be a bit more serious about it since I do not feel that bears are godless killing machines just like I don’t listen to NSYNC (in case you’re wondering ) BC boasts a great diversity of dangerous wildlife (black bears, brown bears, bobcats, wolves) and all of these species should be treated with respect and be given their space. This is why I will try my best to not do any free camping along the highways in BC and camp only at provincial parks. In case you have a few bears hanging around in your neighbourhood and would like to know how to deal with them. Visit : http://www.lwwf.org/avoiding_conflicts_with_bears.htm
posted by alex on Mar 19
By virtue of being human beings, I think we all go through periods of self-doubt. For me, there is no greater challenge in this undertaking than pushing aside my doubtful thoughts. The fear of not knowing what I will encounter, worrying about the logistics and doubting my ability as a cyclist are the greatest obstacles I face. Understandably,
this is why we often hear marathon runners describing the mental aspect of their sport during and before the race itself.
A few days ago, I had a chat on doubt with my friend Brendan who is planning on biking from Ottawa to Vancouver sometime this summer and is looking for someone to join him. (if you’re interested his website/blog is http://www3.sympatico.ca/gadds/cycling/ ) I told him how music and
, strangely enough, liberal thought has helped me repulse self-doubt which can easily overwhelm us if we don’t fight it. Utilitarianism, a branch of liberal thought, reassures me that what I am doing is as much for myself as for something greater than me. Deep down, we both know that we can do this. After all, you have to be pretty much obsessed with the idea to take up the challenge.
Meanwhile, I’ve rediscovered music. Besides helping with the training, the music I listen to (Neil Young, Eddie Vedder, Nsync) brings me further from the now and closer to Go time!
MUSIC IS MY AEROPLANE!
posted by alex on Mar 11
There’s a special reason why I chose the 11th of may as my departure date. If you haven’t noticed yet, I’m leaving on mother’s day. This holiday is our way of thanking our mothers for everything they bring in our lives. Mothers reassure and provide for their children when they are in need without ever asking any recognition. I would like to share a story about one such woman. A few months ago, I learned that my childhood friend Max’s mother had been diagnosed with cancer. This year has especially been difficult on Max’s family and I can’t imagine what they are all going through. Today, I am officially dedicating this journey to Carmen who is already undergoing chemo treatments and will still be for the duration of my trip. Carmen, we are all pulling for you and your journey is an inspiration to us all.
Gift Donations to the Canadian Cancer society in Carmen’s name are welcomed.
To do so click here
posted by alex on Mar 8
It’s hard to believe after looking outside that in 2 months I’ll be hitting the road(the 11th of may is my scheduled departure). Ottawa has received something like 350+ cm of snow this year, that’s plenty more than usual. Last year I kept biking during the winter which was relatively warmer than usual (and so was that summer). I’m not an expert on global warming but there’s definitely something wrong in the atmosphere! I just hope that come the 11th of may the weather will be more like spring and less like fall. I froze on some nights last august when I was on a bike trip to NYC from Ottawa. Anyone who has gone camping knows that sleeping bags are never as warm as indicated. We all had polyester sleeping bags rated at 0*Celsius. Yet while I froze, they were sleeping peacefully to the extent that not even the rumblings of a train passing 20 meters from the tent could wake them up! This time around, I’ll bring my toque, long johns and a new sleeping bag.
posted by alex on Mar 4
I think it’s time I address this topic since it’s often the question I get the most from people.
My biggest fear by far when touring aren’t cars, most drivers are fairly predictable on long stretches of open road. I also pay extra attention in the morning since that’s when drunks are on their way back home. Since purchasing a bike mirror I’ve developed the habit of obsessively checking it to see how close and fast cars are coming so I could always pull off the road if need be. Trucks on the other hand can effect the handling of the bike when they overtake it and can suck it toward them so to speak. Again, the mirror comes in handy in those types of situations. Road debris is also another problem, what I’ve notice is that it’s always more of a problem in urban areas. Mechanical problems happen but they can often be dealt on the road. Since I’m operating on a shoe string budget I’ll be camping along the way. Half of the time I’ll be camping in the backyard’s of my new best friends and then the other half of the time I’ll be doing some guerilla/free camping on the side of road. This brings me to the greatest danger of all that I must share with anyone who will ever attempt this sort of thing.
Bears! Nature’s Godless Killing machines http://godlesskillingmachines.org/
posted by alex on Mar 3
Let me welcome you to my first attempt at blogging! I’ll do my best to populate this site with some interesting content before and after the trip. Once on the road, I will no longer have regular access to the Internets so please be patient between posts. When I will have access I’ll post the entries that I will write in my journal and I’ll also upload some pictures. My inner geek also compels me to utilize the google maps website to give everyone a better idea of where I am. As of now, I’m still very much in the planning phase of the trip. I find it difficult to manage school, work and training (more is needed!). I often find myself day dreaming about the trip and can’t wait to spend all of my time making this dream become a reality. To learn more about the trip please visit the “about the trip” section of the website.