In a world increasingly preoccupied with throwaway materialistic things; where people are constantly busy earning money to pay for those things, or so their children can have those things;
This is the story of my dreams of travelling the world by bicycle. Because it's there. And because I dont want to die without experiencing the truly important things in life .

A sense of wonder and a sense of adventure.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Hooked on Coffee and Bagels.

Day 54.

I’ve had enough fun now, can I go home?

No, O’well , please pass the M & Ms.

 Today started as a relaxing ride further along the coast of Lake Ontario. The day dawned with a clear sky and little wind, the expected storm not materialising last night. One hundred and fifty kilometres of bliss was rudely interrupted at the 70km mark when we went off course in Rochester NY. Rochester looked on paper easy enough to negotiate. The town was about the size of Palmerston North and our route went through the Northern edge.

Having lost our route and ending up in a pretty rough part of town I decided to work on getting through town using the compass. I put my head down and went east. Things continued to look rough enough for me to grade these suburbs as a 6.5/10. I would rate a 1/10 the sort of place where little girls with pig tails are running down the street with their pet puppy and shout hello to you as you sail by. I’ve never encountered anything worse than a 6/10 in New Zealand. And have only ever encounted a 7.5/10 when cycling in Lima Peru. That particular area of Lima I struck on dark, and was so potentially damaging to my health that I decided to stay the night in a hooker’s hotel, before I was mugged on the street. The next morning once I had plucked up the courage to go out it had improved to a 7/10 and I got out alive.

North Rochester continued to look bad, when Adi suggested we stop and check the map! Stop and check the map!!  What’s with that girl? We did have to stop at the odd street light and it was at one of these that a very pretty woman wished me a safe journey. Her actual words were “Go Safely” which was very nice but didn’t ease my mind much.

Anyway the compass never lets me down and we emerged on the other side of town alive and once again wondering how quickly the neighbourhoods can change in some towns.

It was a warm day today and humid. Thirty kilometres from our destination of Woollcott NY we rode straight into a fierce down pour that would have had us running for cover, had it not been getting late. No time for mucking about, no time for jackets. Once again, head down and bum up until we were through it.

Day 55.

I woke up this morning to find that my front low-rider pannier rack had broken. I really have had enough of panniers. They are good to ride with and you can balance the load well with four of them but on the down side they really can’t handle anywhere near the punishment that a BOB trailer can. This tour has been gentle in comparison to some of the journeys I have undertaken and yet both my front and rear racks have failed.  In future I will pay the extra on the plane to bring the BOB and then the worries will be over. In the mean time we have about 1300kms to go and I can fix the rack temporarily with wire from the awesome tool kit I have on board. That is the awesome tool kit that is so comprehensive that it has hastened the demise of the rack supporting it.

Adi awoke to find that she has lost her bike lock. It must have fallen out of her bag along the route yesterday. That’s really not a problem as there are more serious things she could have lost. But it has annoyed her and when she spotted a bike shop at lunch time she went in to buy a new combination lock similar to mine.

A Last Look at Lake Ontario.
It’s now 5pm and we sit outside an ice-cream shop trying to pick the combination on Adi’s new lock. Like a couple of beginners we have managed to lock her new combo lock without first noting the combination!  I take 70% of the blame for this. Well ok maybe 90%. She was having trouble with it so I did the male thing and grabbed it off her, since I assumed it would work just like mine. Well it looks a bit like mine but it doesn’t work like mine. I think she needs to accept some blame as she managed on opening the packet to obliterate the only English section on the extensive instructions. The bit that describes how to reset from the manufacturers no.

A wasted middle age around bike shops has taught me how to pick Chinese combination locks and within 15minutes I had it open, only to lock it again without first noting what hidden number some Chinese factory worker had set it too.

Getting better with the practise, the next time I had it open in 10minutes and had finally identified what the little scoundrel opened on. Nothing like what the French instructions said that it should open on. And for the life of me I couldn’t work out how to reset it.

At this point Adi rightfully grabbed it off me and said she’d use it on the number that Ying Shu Ping the 4th had set it to.

Day 56.


I have found myself in a Subway for lunch. Having fielded a couple of “Where ya going, Where ya cum froms? at the door and one Asian man with his family asking me directions to something. I now have to take a deep breath before I go through the hundred question ritual that Subway insists on in order to get my sandwich.

I only had one question to ask the Asian man outside Subway. And that was, “what on earth makes you think that I could anyway be a local dressed as I am in New Zealand cycling clothes and pushing a fully loaded touring bike onto the pavement?”

Once I’d run the gauntlet at the Subway counter and received my sandwich the counter man said that he could tell I was an Aussie by my accent and that he used to be in the navy on submarines. He had visited many countries including Aussie and NZ. Somehow I think it unlikely that he had visited NZ on a Sub but there you go. He certainly seemed to know all there was to know about Subs of one form or another.

I still rate Subway only slightly higher up the ladder than Pizza Hut. This was confirmed when he told me that they had run out of coffee for the day. (What sort of an establishment runs out of coffee in the US?!)  I have become quite addicted to coffee over here as it’s as cheap as chips and unlike soda pop I can limit the amount of sugar I put in it.

It is good to know that once the armed forces personnel have got sick of whatever they do that there are useful jobs available to them.

Day 57.

Leaving Tupper Lake, NY I was saddened to see that a lot of average country people have ride on mowers parked outside their homes. These mowers quite honestly look more valuable than the dwellings that these people live in. And I think I can safely say that if you see someone mowing their lawn in the US with a push rotary mower, then they must really be on the bones of their ass financially. Cycling by we saw one couple virtually in tears because their ride on mower had broken down, and I think from the look of their house they won’t be able to re finance to get another one. Just as they were contemplating how they were going to survive without a ride on mower a monstrous army helicopter zoomed over the house while on manoeuvres in the area. An army helicopter, that if sold on eBay, would probably get 1000 people off the poverty line. Friday seems to be ride on mower day, and you see amply cushioned men and women out all over the place mowing grass. Sit on Mowing seems to carry on throughout the weekend and I really think it must rate as a no.1. National pass time. It doesn’t seem that great for the waist line but it certainly keeps people focused.

Day 58.                    Burlington, Vermont.

One hour on the toll ferry and we were across Champain Lake and into Vermont. Burlington is our last largish town before Halifax, Nova Scotia. So we have taken a day off here for rest and relaxation. A visit downtown to look around and do a little shopping was relaxing for me but certainly not for the locals while I was there. Minding my own business while pushing my bike through the boutique area I was surprised when the couple pushing their racing cycles behind me had a mishap when one of their high pressure bike tyres exploded.

Well! What a bang. It must have been pumped to 160psi. What a pop!

The result in the built up street was priceless. While ‘Niel the Wheel’ is thinking W the F, the locals are in near panic mode. Mothers grabbing kids, others shout to friends to just keep walking quickly. Fortunately for me the shop I wanted to go into, busy a minute before, emptied quickly and I cruised in once locking M.U.M to a post outside. The whole trip has been very convenient like that, and what weekend warriors need with ultra-high pressure tubulars anyway is beyond me.

The First Signs of Autumn Colours
Tomorrow, and the last push towards the Atlantic and then up the coast of Nova Scotia to Halifax.

1 comment:

  1. I like the Lake Ontario. It really very beautiful. I hope you enjoy it very much.

    Kopi Luwak