Week 3 Update

My last update ended on a sad note as I had to cancel one ride due to terrible weather that made road conditions very dangerous.

Week 3 was spent mostly indoors as I waited for the situation to improve as there was a combination of freezing rain, heavy snow, high winds, and very low temperatures (-30 C, -22F).

I don’t mind extreme temperatures but high winds and freezing rain make cycling a hazard and like I said, this is an adventure not a suicide mission ūüôā

By the way, if you enjoy what my adventures as I cycle across Canada and would like to support my Guinness World Record attempt, please make a donation by clicking here? You may even donate as little as $1 as everything counts to keep me warm and safe. You may also send any amount of your choosing by Paypal to jabig@jabig.com Thank you!

Towards the end of week 3, out of the blue, everything improved and I could get back in the saddle again.

IMG_0624So I left from Québec City where I had been stranded for almost a week.

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But first and foremost, I need to thank Collège Notre Dame du St Laurent for allowing me to keep my car there while I rode towards Rivière-du-Loup (eventually, Mr Martineau one of the people in charge drove my car all the way there which was meaningful gesture!)

Qu√©bec City to Rivi√®re-du-Loup is a 200 km ride along Route 132 (the longest highway in Qu√©bec that runs South of the Saint-Laurent river) and there is no way I could ride that great distance in one day as I would have been caught in the dark and all of you fans and friends forbid me to ride after sunset ūüôā

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So, I stopped halfway for the night in a municipality called Saint-Roch-des-Aulnaies with a population just under 1000 people!

IMG_0620The best feeling in the world after a long freezing ride is no longer a very hot shower but to sit in front of a fireplace that warms up the mind, body and soul.

I decided that night that when I buy a house, a fireplace will be a MUST!

Also, my host’s flatmate played me a tune on his guitar and there we were in the middle of rural Canada on a cold night listening to the sounds of Bossa Nova.

How epic is that?

The next morning I got back on the bike but first, I needed to take care of some serious business an hour into the remaining journey to Rivière-du-Loup

IMG_0628I am not a big eater but I had no choice. I had almost 100km to ride and I did not know if I would come across decent places to eat and so at the first restaurant, I had what for me is a mega breakfast!

There was a groupe of senior citizens that were on their monthly brunch meetup and they were fascinated by the fact that I was crossing Canada by bicycle in the middle of winter. They asked me millions of questions and they were particularly amazed by my heated soles that prevent my toes from freezing.

And then I hit the road.

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IMG_0639The sun was out but so was the wind. The temperatures were so cold that I had to stop every hour and seek shelter in any sort of business if I was lucky to come across one to give myself 3 minutes to warm up again because it was just that cold.

The route was a climb all the way to Rivière-du-Loup. I am in fixed gear (one gear) and it was slightly challenging but a piece of cake compared to what awaited me a few days later as you will read soon.

So that made the journey tiring and long but it’s what The Big Journey is all about, right? But I still enjoyed myself and the scenery as you saw from previous pictures.

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At long last, I arrived at Rivière-du-Lup just as the sun set. It was so cold that everyone who venture outside was running to get from one building to the next or to a car or bus.

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I was welcomed by Aurore (right) and Laura (centre) who kindly let me stay with them for two nights. It was supposed to be one but the weather got so bad that I had to stay in an extra day.

But no matter the bad weather, I had the time to tour the small city (population 10 000).

IMG_0750IMG_0746IMG_0747I also had my bicycle looked at by Cyclo Expert, a local shop and they gave me a new chain as the new one that I had was already worn from all the salt and dirt which makes me understand why few people cycle in winter and why the few that do ride bikes that are easily replaceable!

IMG_0697IMG_0701Thank you Serge! ūüôā

IMG_0681My Rivi√®re-du-Loup hosts were amused at how I washed dishes in my cycling clothes. It’s a personal principle for me to wash dishes when someone offers me food. That is my contribution. It does not matter if I am some famous DJ, it’s just good manners!

IMG_0889I even got a private concert from one of my hosts but she will kill me if I post the video so you’ll have to do with the photograph. She sang me her own rendition of “Stand By Me” ūüôā

On Sunday February 21st at 7:20am on a grey day with rain and snow, I left Rivière-du-Loup towards Edmundston.

IMG_7895(Aurore took the above photo as I was leaving. She was amused by how I had a banana in my back pocket)

That was to be a long epic ride, the longest daily distance so far. 160 km (100 miles).

Well, let me tell you something. This ride was not a Sunday pleasurable outing.

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It had rain, slight freezing rain and NEVER-ENDING hills. It was the first time in my riding life climbing for almost two hours straight.

The hills were not that steep except at the end but since the roads were slippery and I am in fixed gear, my back tires kept spinning when I stood to pedal and I could not remain seated because I did not have enough power and I want to spare my knees.

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I will even complain about the temperatures. They were mild at 0 C which honestly feels like summer. But I was overdressed so I was sweating and when I started going downhill all that moisture froze and I got so cold LOL

BUT!!!

It was the most beautiful ride so far. It was challenging but the sights were so breath-taking that I was in awe with God’s creation. I did not take many photos because while climbing, I could not afford to stop as I would lose my momentum and while going downhill I could not stop either because I was going so fast to catch up on lost time during the ascent.

But then one peculiar part of this ride caught my eye and I slammed on the brakes, pulled a u-turn and had to go closer to inspect what in the world was going on and try and make sense of it all.

IMG_0772From the corner of my eye, I saw the flags of Canada, Québec and USA on a bridge.

I thought to myself “That would be a weird border”

And then I stopped because I realised that it was INDEED a border!

There sits this bridge in the middle of nowhere. It’s less than 100 m and on one end is Canada where I stood and on the other was the United States!

The border is unattended although I was told that there were multiple cameras there so any attempt to cross would send the American border agents and I did not want to get shot so I politely stayed in Canada.

As you will read later though, I would get myself in trouble LOL

If you look at the route, you’ll notice that all along, I kept riding along rivers that separate both countries. It’s no big deal to many but to me it was awesome!

IMG_0819In a deli along the way in a town called Pohénégamook, after I ate lunch I wanted something sweet and I stumbled across a M&M chocolate bar. I did not not know that they now made them and I had to find out about it in the middle of nowhere!

Naturally, I was too curious and got one and it was delicious!

IMG_0788Eventually, I crossed into New Brunswick the ONLY Canadian province that is bilingual. What is also cool is that I entered a different time zone and my phone adjusted automatically.

IMG_0775You’ll notice that this photo is taken from the wrong side of the road. Sometimes, I do that since it’s better for me to see what’s coming in front of me than what’s coming behind me. I do that especially in the wind since I can’t hear anything.

Perhaps I should invest in an uncool rearview mirror for bicycles!

Then I got myself into real trouble…

IMG_0789As I rolled into Edmundston, I saw another bridge. I could not believe that the border was right in the middle of a city!

So I rode close to the bridge to take this photo but what I did not know was that I had just left Canada and was in the “no man’s land” and so when I tried to get back on the road, I came across the Canadian border and I did not think much of it and kept pedalling.

Then I had a scream of someone telling me to stop. I did and I went towards him and he asked me why I was trying to come into Canada without showing my papers.

I replied that I actually came from Rivière-du-Loup and was taking some photos. He did not seem to understand how I was from Montréal and was in Rivière-du-Loup and yet had just came from the USA.

By the way, if you enjoy what my adventures as I cycle across Canada and would like to support my Guinness World Record attempt, please make a donation by clicking here? You may even donate as little as $1 as everything counts to keep me warm and safe.You may also send any amount of your choosing by Paypal to jabig@jabig.com Thank you! 

I told him that I had just stopped to take a photo and that was it and I did not even have a passport. He thought that I was trying to come in and dodge customs because I did not have valid papers.

My selfies¬†saved me… I told him that I could show him my photos of how I rode all the 160 km and so it was impossible for me to come from the USA. I also advised him to check his security cameras that surrounded the building as they’d show that 3 minutes before I came in, took a photo and that was it.

He let me go and that was the welcome that I got as I got into Edmundston LOL

IMG_0813Tired, hungry and amused by the border incident. I had made it to Edmundston 160 km (100 miles) later.

It was the most tiring ride of the journey so far and after leaving the province of Québec into New Brunswick, I am now comfortable to say that I am able to get The Big Journey done until the end.

Stay tuned for the next update as I met the mayor and so many prominent local citizens that make this small city so vibrant!

By the way, if you enjoy what my adventures as I cycle across Canada and would like to support my Guinness World Record attempt, please make a donation by clicking here? You may even donate as little as $1 as everything counts to keep me warm and safe. You may also send any amount of your choosing by Paypal to jabig@jabig.com Thank you!

7 thoughts on “Week 3 Update”

  1. You get major respect from me riding in the elements like you are! Continued success and I look forward to upcoming #BeatsbyBike!

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