Week 9 Update

Week 9 started in Nova Scotia, my third province on this road trop.

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The ride started at the ferry station. The ferry runs from Saint John in New Brunswick to Digby in Nova Scotia.

IMG_1729IMG_1735Digby is a small coastal town that I was able to cross in less than three minutes.

On my way out of the city, I made a stop at a police station run by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (Canada’s federal police) to sign my witness statement, a document that tells Guinness World Records that I did pass through the town as I claim.

IMG_1740I also used that opportunity to ask constable Colin Helm about the rules and regulations of cycling in Nova Scotia since it was my first time riding in this great Canadian province.

My 150 km ride to Wolfville was full of foul weather and I got rained on, snowed on and frozen rained on.

Right away, I notice that Nova Scotia provincial roads don’t have shoulders and so I had to share the road with cars. But I don’t think that many people know the rules of passing a bicycle and so some were passing so close that I feared that I’d get knocked down.

I did not even get to enjoy much of the beautiful scenery as I was too focused on not getting run over.

IMG_1745I even cycled past a helipad. I have never seen one in my life so I found that pretty amazing. I just realised that I have never been in a helicopter as a matter of fact!

IMG_1752I even rode through a town called Paradise. I found that very interesting as I can now tell people that I have been to paradise 🙂

IMG_1753Almost every single place of worship has a eye-catching sign. This is the one that really appealed to me as a chocolate lover!

IMG_1773As you can see here, the roads don’t have much shoulders and I had to share them with cars zooming past at 100 km/h!

The ride was long and I got into Wolfville late after sunset. I don’t like riding at night but I had no choice as the distance was just too great

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The next morning after a night’s rest, I had to ride 100 km from Wolfville to Halifax.

But first, a big breakfast to get me ready for the road

IMG_1778I am lucky to be one of those people who can have such a big meal and not feel sick when doing some exercise.

I forgot to mention that Wolfville is known for Acadia University, “one of Canada’s oldest and most respected liberal arts universities” to quote their website.

IMG_1775I love universities and would have paid it a visit but I had a long road ahead of me.

And this was a tough road. I had been warned by Internet users that the climbs were killer and they were 100% correct. I usually whine at hills but I climb them nevertheless.

This time, they were just too steep and I could not climb them and my chain was starting to act up as I was putting too much pressure on it. I did not want to break it again so I just would walk.

I was also tired from the ride the day before so in hindsight, I should have a taken a day break before heading to Halifax.

It was a beautiful ride though. I took backroads into woods and forests and   I felt alive being this alone.

At one stage, in the middle of nowhere I ran out water but I rode past a lady that was gardening and she invited me in for to refill my water backpack and offered me some snacks.

I am grateful to her and her son for the hospitality and I was rather amused at the sign in her house and I took a photo…

IMG_1783Eventually I did hit the provincial highway again and the nightmare of sharing the road with traffic started again but luckily I got into the Halifax metropolitan area and I saw my first bicycle lane.

IMG_1785I almost cried of joy. I could at last enjoy the scenery and not wonder if someone was going to ram into me.

There was a serious downhill that I was on and I lifted my head and said to myself: “Wow, the ocean!”

Yes after three months of cycling like a mad man in Canada’s brutal winter, I had reached the Atlantic Ocean. I felt so happy and proud and even if it’s nothing compared to The Big Journey overall, it is a big milestone for me!

IMG_1786So there I was, in Halifax!

IMG_1789I was lucky to reconnect with a childhood friend of mine who happens to live in Halifax. We grew up in Kenya together as pupils of the French School of Nairobi.

His wife suggested that we go for a massage since my body was so beat! The massage place asked us if we wanted separate rooms and we declined. We had a lot to catch up on 🙂

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Look at my big happy smile 🙂

And I was spoilt with my banane chocolate chip muffins!

IMG_1801Out of the blue, a CBC news reporter got in touch to discuss my experiences on Nova Scotia roads.

Screen Shot 2016-04-02 at 1.59.03 PMClick on the above photo or here for the full article.

Once the article was published, it did not take me long to realise that it was an existing issue in the province as lots of people had strong opinions about my comments.

I feel like the article focused too much on my experiences on the roads but left out at how much Nova Scotians have been to me and how beautiful this province is.

I do understand however that controversy sells and that strong opinions generate strong reactions.

A friend of mine privately wrote to me:

“Don’t complain too much while you are still there; they will run right over you hahaha”

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I hope they don’t. If anything, I hope that the federal and provincial governments start listening to cyclists and make life easier for us.

More Nova Scotia adventures coming up! Stay tuned.

2 Replies to “Week 9 Update”

  1. Cher JaBig,
    Je commençais Ă  me faire beaucoup de tracas pour toi, car j’avais beau scruter ton site, mais tu es restĂ© longtemps sans nous donner de tes nouvelles … !
    Bravo, tu as traversé avec succès les moments les plus difficiles, les plus éprouvants et je te félicite.
    Je n’en reviens pas, Ă  vrai dire : tu es un fameux mĂ©lange de tĂ©mĂ©ritĂ© folle, de courage, de tĂ©nacitĂ©, d’optimisme, voire de joyeuse”d’inconscience” qui me coupe littĂ©ralement le souffle.
    Mais un “phĂ©nomène” comme toi est tellement rĂ©jouissant … !
    N’empĂŞche, tu es drĂ´lement courageux … !
    J’ai beaucoup pensĂ© Ă  toi et l’idĂ©e que tu avais de grosses difficultĂ©s et des problèmes m’a souvent traversĂ© l’esprit.
    Cela m’a souvent fait frĂ©mir et inquiĂ©tĂ©e.
    Maintenant tu devrais moins souffrir du froid, car le printemps commence Ă  percer.
    Tu aura certainement envie de “mettre la gomme”, dès que possible, mais vas-y doucement, car tu es encore très Ă©prouvĂ© par ces premiers mois très intenses.
    Reprends de la vitesse, mais progressivement, car tu risques très vite l’Ă©puisement, si tu n’as pas complètement effacĂ© la grosse fatigue du dĂ©but.
    Tu te gères bien : avec beaucoup d’intelligence, d’humour et de joie de vivre.
    Et puis tu as le “CHOCOLAT” comme alliĂ© et un “Joli coup de fourchette”.
    Tu fais envie, tu sais : on imagine que ce n’est pas “donnĂ©” et que tu souffre beaucoup, mais, n’empĂŞche c’est “beau Ă  voir” … !
    Tous mes voeux, bon courage et n’oublie pas que nous pensons très, très, très fort Ă  toi.
    Gros Bisous. Michèle.

  2. Cher JaBig,
    Je commençais à me faire beaucoup de tracas pour toi, car j’avais beau scruter ton site, mais tu es resté longtemps sans nous donner de tes nouvelles … !
    Bravo, tu as traversé avec succès les moments les plus difficiles, les plus éprouvants et je te félicite.
    Je n’en reviens pas, à vrai dire : tu es un fameux mélange de témérité folle, de courage, de ténacité, d’optimisme, voire de joyeuse « inconscience » qui me coupe littéralement le souffle.
    Mais un “phénomène” comme toi est tellement réjouissant … !
    N’empêche, tu es drôlement courageux … !
    J’ai beaucoup pensé à toi et l’idée que tu avais de grosses difficultés et des problèmes m’a souvent traversé l’esprit.
    Cela m’a souvent fait frémir et inquiétée.
    Maintenant tu devrais moins souffrir du froid, car le printemps commence Ă  percer.
    Tu auras certainement envie de “mettre la gomme”, dès que possible, mais vas-y doucement, car tu es encore très éprouvé par ces premiers mois très intenses.
    Reprends de la vitesse, mais progressivement, car tu risques très vite l’épuisement, si tu n’as pas complètement effacé la grosse fatigue du début.
    Tu te gères bien : avec beaucoup d’intelligence, d’humour et de joie de vivre.
    Et puis tu as le “CHOCOLAT” comme allié et un “Joli coup de fourchette”.
    Tu fais envie, tu sais : on imagine que ce n’est pas “donné” et que tu souffres beaucoup, mais, n’empêche c’est “beau à voir” … !
    Tous mes voeux, bon courage et n’oublie pas que nous pensons très, très, très fort à toi.
    Gros Bisous. Michèle.

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