Wednesday, July 30, 2008

New video on Vimeo...

This is Day 5 of our ride, leaving Golden Hill St. Park, heading towards Niagara Falls. This was shot at a 1 second time lapse, so it's a bit smoother. For example, when the riders ahead of me moon the camera it lasts for a couple of frames, not just one.

We were in good spirits during this part of the ride. The film ends when we stopped for ice cream. The previous day was our longest day, at 169km, and this was to be a shorter day. We still ran into some challenges though, like rain, getting separated in the rain (the lead two turned, the lagging 5 went straight), trying to figure out where to cross the border, trying to find a bicycle shop that was still in business. Ultimately, we succeeded. It was such a lift being on home soil again. I think it had something to do with the sun shining on us as well. The day ended with a fast descent down the Niagara Escarpment, and a quick left hand turn past a grumpy pickup truck driving anti-cyclist, into camp. It wasn't the best place we stayed all trip, but we made the most of it. Instead of showering (they cost $1 per 5 minutes) we 'swam' in the giant football field sized wading pool. We built a campfire with some wood that we 'found' on our campsite. Stories. Lots of em.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Back Home

After 9 days, and a little over 1000km’s, we rode our bicycles into Peterborough late yesterday afternoon, around 5:30 PM. Our final day consisted once again of lots of rain, shelter from the thunder storms, blueberry pie, coffee, and two additional riders, a Rotarian, and Tedd Webb, founder of Africycle.

To complete our trip around Lake Ontario, we stopped for lunch in Port Hope at the park that we set out from a little over a week ago. I must admit, the reality of what we had just accomplished didn’t really hit me there. I was more focussed on getting food, and fueling up for the climb back to Peterborough that we still had to accomplish. After lunch we set out on the long climb home, enduring yet another thunderstorm along the way. The sun eventually came out, as it always does, and provided a warm welcome back home.

All told, the only luggage that we never had to unpack from the van was the first aid kit. We had a few close calls along the way, a bunch of flats (17?), some minor bike repairs, but nothing more than a scrape or bruise. Thanks for your prayers for safety.

It was an awesome trip that I’m sure we all would do again in a heartbeat. It felt weird to wake up this morning in my own bed and not suit up in spandex and go riding down unfamiliar roads. I look forward to the next adventure.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


I'm sitting in Hamilton, at the Freeway Cafe, clean, showered, well fed and satisfied. We've completed 7 of 9 days of the tour so far, and the longest most difficult days are behind us. It's been a great ride so far, with each day being defined by something new. Michael has written a good summary on, so check that out.
I got my first flat tire on Day 5, the big day. We were riding on hwy 104 (I think), which is a highway along the south shore of the Lake, west of Rochester. Picture the 401 with no traffic (one car whizzing by every few minutes). It was surreal. Anyway, I ran over something which caused a slow leak in my front tire. We quickly replaced the tube and were on our way, a few kilometers left in our 169km day.
There's a new video uploaded to our Africycle Vimeo page, so check that out. The original file is 165MB, so we had to degrade the video quality to upload it. It still gives a pretty good idea of a typical ride. It's of the first part of our Day 4 ride, from Selkirk Shores to Sodus Point. I eventually had to put the camera away due to rain. It has rained a lot on tour, which is fine. It's been dry setting up camp each night and taking down each morning, which has been great. I'd rather have the rain while riding, not at camp. This morning though the rain was a bit too much. See the summary on the ride for africycle site...

More to follow. Two days left. Tomorrow, from Hamilton to Whitby, and then the last day from Whitby to Port Hope continuing on to Peterborough.

I'll see you at the Silver Bean Cafe at 7PM on Saturday night.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

So, we leave tomorrow morning at 9 AM, from Port Hope. We have a press conference set up for 8AM, with the mayor of Port Hope and the mayor of Peterborough in attendance. I'm just anxious to get on my bike and go.
I've never done a trip like this before. I'm not sure what to expect.
It looks like we'll probably get rained on a couple of times in the first few days, but that's ok.
I doubt I'll be posting anything here until I get back. However, we may be updating along the way.
This is going to be a blast.
A few months ago I decided I wanted to somehow mount a camera to my bicycle, and record some of our trip, either in video, or stills. After doing some digging on the internet, I found a really affordable, cheap design, which makes use of an old bicycle tube, a pipe clamp, a screw, and some washers. It's quite simple. I built it last night, and did a quick 5 minute trip around the block to test it out. Here's how it looked:

This was shot at one image every second, at 640x480 resolution. Blogger doesn't quite allow it to be viewed like that. I think for a longer ride (5 hours, not 5 minutes), I'll set it for a shot every two seconds. I'm quite please with the final product. There were some pretty serious bumps on the side roads that I took around the block. The smooth parts, like along Charlotte street should be typical of most roads on our trip.

Update: Try this, for a High Res version.

Monday, July 14, 2008

4 more sleeps

I just finished the last of my training rides. It's amazing how much training actually works. We climbed a decent sized hill (from Cavan to Ida, for those familiar with the area), and it actually didn't really faze me too much. I was breathing a bit heavy at the top, but had lots left in the tank. I remember climbing that hill a couple of months ago. The first half wasn't too bad, but towards the summit of the climb, every pedal stroke was near agony. My muscles ached. My lungs burned. My heart felt like it was about to explode.
I've done somewhere between 1200 and 1300 km in training, and I'm just itching to get going on the real trip. It's been so much fun preparing. I didn't think I'd enjoy riding as much as I do. It's one of the dominating thoughts in my day these days - riding and biketour.
I'm nearly my personal sponsorship goal ($2500), which is also awesome. To those who have sponsored me and the ride, thanks so much for your generosity! For those who still want to, you can do that in one of three ways: 1 - online at (and follow the links. put my name in the memo as well, if you don't mind), 2 - a cheque made out to Africycle, or 3 - cold hard cash.
As always, Africyle is a registered Canadian charity, and tax receipts will be issued accordingly.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008



I surpassed the 1100 km mark yesterday on a Canada Day ride - a 54km loop through Cavan, Millbrook, and Wallace Point Road. The entire ride from Millbrook to Peterborough, all I could think about was the awesome Poutine that I would enjoy at the Hippy Chippy Chip Truck upon my return to Peterborough. Sadly, they had just run out of cheese curds, so I had to settle for one large order of Poutine, hold the cheese.

I'm not sure how I feel about the fact that it has taken me around 8 weeks to ride a distance that I'll soon be covering in 9 days. Mixed. That's how I feel.

Dave, Michael and I had breakfast this morning with the Northumberland Rotary Club, preaching the good news of Africycle. They received us warmly and enthusiastically. One of their members may be joining us along part of the first leg of our ride, and raising money as well. There was talk by the local members there of hosting a bike collection drive, which would be fantastic.

I finally have a fundraising form of my own, so if you want to sponsor us on this trip, you can contact me and I'll write you in. As always, you can donate through the website.