June 13th & 14th: Great weather, great people
Another magnificent success in Fredericton! The morning of my presentation brought sunshine and warm weather so the school decided to hold the festivities outside! A fantastic group of students, teachers, and parents greeted me with singing and dancing and offered me an excited and attentive audience. I have said time and time again that the wonderful people I have met have made this trip the fantastic success it has become and Fredericton was no exception.
After the presentation I took a much-needed day off after my eight-day stretch on the bike. My mom and I took the opportunity to walk around the wonderful walking trails and the downtown core of the city. Neither my mom nor I had been to the city so it was a great chance for us both to experience a new part of the country together.
I must say that I was very impressed my Fredericton in my brief exposure. The downtown core is filled with a fantastic array of shops and outdoor restaurants for people to enjoy the summer weather. Running around an through the city is a network of scenic walking and biking trails surrounded by green space and picnic areas. I was both pleased and disappointed to find out we had stumbled into to town on the government “sneaker day,” a lunch time walking event put on for all the government employees. I was pleased because it is fantastic to see the government getting behind the need to be active and trying to make a difference in the health of its employees, but I was disappointed to find out it was only for one day of the year. In a city with walking trails as great as Fredericton (at least during the summer) why not have organized walks once a week, or everyday?
One thing I have not been disappointed with is the legendary hospitality of the Maritimes. Everyone we have met so far in New Brunswick has been wonderful. Even without knowing what I am doing everyone is nice and helpful. If they learn who I am and what I am doing then support and encouragement is soon to follow.
After my day off it was time to hit the road again. As close as I am I still have a long way to go so I can’t lie around forever; wouldn’t want to get lazy! One of the hardest parts about scheduling the tour has been arriving in towns on weekdays, when school is in session. With that in mind I have the whole weekend to reach St. John and only 150 km to go. With a relaxed couple of days ahead of me I got off to a slow start in the morning. We took advantage of being in Fredericton on Saturday morning and stopped by the farmers market to stock up of fresh veggies (Fiddle Heads!) and yummy baking.
The days ride started off well but I soon had the closest thing to a serious accident that I have had yet. Somehow when I reached down for my water bottle my hand got caught between the tire and the frame. Luckily I was wearing my gloves so it didn’t tear my hand to shreds, but it did jam my hand against the frame, nearly breaking my hand and lacking my tire to the point that I laid a 50 ft strip of rubber and wore a hole straight through my tire. End result is I will be finishing the trip with a swollen hand and I am out of spare tires, but otherwise I managed to avoid what could have been a much worse situation.
The next bit of trouble happened after I had repaired the damage to the bike and in my haste to get back on the road took off with the keys to the van in my back pocket. My mom and I do have cell phones but I don’t always have mine on because I am usually the on that needs to call to check in or get help. This being the case it was not until about 15 km and a half hour later that I began to wonder why the van had not passed me and checked my phone to find a message from my mom telling my she wasn’t going anywhere. Luckily that famous maritime hospitality came through again, and I was saved the ride back by Jim and Linda of Lincoln who kindly offered to drive my mom to get the key from me. So, a big thanks goes out to them!
Despite near disaster and plain stupidity trying to keep me from my goal today, I made it in to Oak Point and safe haven for the night with only minimal damage to bike, body, and pride. Let us hope that today has fulfilled the near miss quota for the next little while and I have an uneventful couple of weeks!
Activity tip: When setting out for the day make sure you always take an emergency kit with you. Whether it is extra water, food, spare tubes, bandages…whatever, just make sure you have two of what ever you need to get home safe!