This week was no joke as it was all about cycling and cycling and cycling.
My mission was to ride from Halifax to North Sydney where I’d catch the ferry to Newfoundland.
To do so, I had to cycle 500 km in less than a week.
I was fortunate to have good hosts in Halifax who single handedly got me in touch with people who would host me in the four stops that I would make to Sydney.
So I got onto the ferry from Halifax to Dartmouth and off I went!
My first stop towards Newfoundland was in Truro
Antigonish was next.
After a night in Antigonish, I headed towards Cape Breton, an island that is part of Nova Scotia
In Cape Breton, I stopped in St Peter’s.
That was an interesting ride as out of the blue, heavy fog came out of nowhere and I could not see a metre ahead of me so I was a little bit worried because if I could not see that means that I was invisible to cars too so I did my best to stay as far from the lane divider as possible.
Then an hour later as soon as the fog appeared it vanished. I was told later that the area is known for that phenomenon and there is even a legend about it that I forgot since I was really knackered from that ride.
After a good night’s sleep, I woke up bright and early on a rainy day to ride to Sydney where I would catch the ferry to Newfoundland and out of Nova Scotia.
Let me tell you something: this ride from St Peter’s to Sydney was brutal but the challenge made it memorable in a twisted way.
Let me explain…
First, the weather was terrible. It was drizzling which was annoying but it was also pretty warm which meant that I was wet not from the rain because my waterproof gear did its job but from sweat because that gear is not very breathable so the air was getting trapped.
Secondly, the hills so were steep that I looked for an alternative route that turned the 98km ride into a 130km adventure!
Third, the GPS’ map was not current and some of the roads did not exist anymore or they were dirt and I had to take extra detours and for the next seven hours, I cycled on back roads that were so empty that I saw a car every hour or so. I also lost all phone signal so if something happened to me, it would have been a disaster.
I did not take many photos because I was such in a rush to get out of there that I was pedalling like mad and would just stop for bathroom breaks (in the bushes of course!) and to snack on the food that my hosts had made for me. I was fortunate, I had more than enough water so I never ran out of fuel so to speak.
Eventually I got to Sydney and the temperature had dropped like crazy as it was freezing when I got there but I did not care because after hours in the middle of nowhere I was back into civilisation and had arrived to my destination.
I even had enough strength for a quick smile!
A week or two before, I was fortunate enough to have met a man in Halifax through a friend and he lived in Sydney and he offered to put me up in a hotel as his way of supporting The Big Journey.
He insisted saying that I needed to gather some strength before Newfoundland as it would be a difficult mission and I needed all the rest and sleep I could gather before getting on that ferry that separates mainland Canada to that island-province.
And the hotel room came with quite a view!
Jason MacLean, thank you so much!
A few weeks later while in Newfoundland, I would find out that this good samaritan got elected president of The Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union (NSGEU), the largest union in Nova Scotia with more than 31,000 members.
Next week, I will cross into Newfoundland. I will be packing light and leaving my laptop behind so you won’t hear from me for a few weeks as it’s a big province to cycle.