the true meaning of a dirtroad – canadian edition

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Halifax airport (blurry cellphone photo)

To bike or not to bike? Tuesday, 9pm, Halifax airport. I had just picked up my bicycle at the drop-off after going through immigration for my work visa. Everything went smooth, no fuss, with the visa in my passport my Canadian year had just been officially launched. Yeah! So I guess I was in a bit of an euphoric mood when I decided to ride my bicycle to Dartmouth even though it was raining and getting dark. I had just been told that taking a taxi van would cost me $70. Call me a scrooge, but me and my bicycle had just flown into Canda from the other side of the world for 360. Compared to that the price of the taxi just didn’t sound right to me. For the first time ever I have a reflective vest with me while touring, so here was my chance to use it. Optimistic thought is what it’s all about at moments like this.

Unpacking and assembling the bike didn’t take too long since I had an enormous box. Off I went for the first 35 km of my trip! I was prepared for this. I had a Google Maps route loaded into my Garmin gps. And that’s where it went wrong. At first it was all ok. I was just cruising through the pitch dark in the pouring rain. But when my gps directed me into a gravel road I should have turned around right away. Obviously I didn’t and what started as a gravel road soon became a bumpy rocky road and ended up to be a muddy road full of puddles. When I finally got back on the main road my morale was down and the jet lag started to kick in. After twenty more tiring kilometers I finally arrived at my Warmshowers host. My bicycle and my panniers looked horrible. But Jenna and Dale were really welcoming and soon I was settled down and everything was more or less forgotten.

It turned out that there was another touring cyclist staying at the house. James had flown from Scotland to Halifax over Reykjavik. What?! Yes, he was on the same flight as me and had arrived by taxi two hours earlier! If only I hadn’t been the last one to leave the baggage drop-off, we could have shared that taxi! Just like me, James has the plan to ride his bicycle all the way to Vancouver. After a good night’s rest we both went down to the water to perform his official wheel dip in the Atlantic Ocean.

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wheel dip: James from Scotland with his bicycle in the Atlantic

He wants to be at the Pacific in about two months and left this morning. Hopefully we’ll meet again at some point. I’m eager to start cycling as well, but I’m staying two more days in Halifax to explore the city and get some administration done. And maybe deep clean my bicycle :).

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James on his first meters to Vancouver!

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eager to bike

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