Doesn’t your bum hurt?
By Lisa and Kevin Baril
Not only were people curious about the health of our butts, but they also wanted to know where we’d come from, where we were going, our kilometers a day, and how much we were eating.
In fact, it was the people who truly made our 7000+ km trek remarkable. Without fail, people were kind, helpful and curious about our trip. And when we needed it, people were also incredibly supportive and happy to be part of our journey.
From Laurent, the crazy, young Quebec cyclist we met outside of Swift Current to Harriet, an 83-year-old Nova Scotian who shared her story of backpacking around the world in the 60’s, the trip would certainly have not been the same without the people we met along the way. That includes the many cyclists we met, especially other “pannier people.” One of whom was Andrew, who is currently still making his way across the country. Andrew is riding for the mental health of the military—as a former member of the Canadian army, now suffering from PTSD—he shared how cycling and his faith have brought him peace.
Bicycle Mechanics Saving the Day!
And then there were all the stellar bike mechanics across the country; without them, we would not have been able to complete our trip. The cycling community is amazing – all the bike shop staff went above and beyond to make sure our bikes were not only ready for riding, but ready to ride across thousands of kilometres of varied terrain, often in dumping rain while weighted down by four heavy panniers.
Speaking of bike shops, I would be remiss to not to mention TCR Sport Lab’s staff and mechanics and their role in us having a successful trek. Whether it was Selina’s killer expresso classes, the altitude lab and Cory’s training advice, or Dan’s generous sharing of basic bike maintenance and repairs, we are truly thankful for TCR’s support.
That support came in very handy, when my bike pretty much broke down at the Quebec/New Brunswick border. I made it the 20 km to Sugarloaf Provincial Park by coasting, crunching through my pedals on the flats, and walking my heavy bike up 10% grade hills. There was a lot of misdiagnoses about the actual issue, but it turned out to be the free hub – a proprietary part on my Niner. Thanks to Dan and the team for getting the parts to the other side of country, and with the help of an outstanding Velo Fix mechanic in Shediac, I was on the road again and able to complete the trip.
Beautiful Canadian Landscape
Although the people made our trip a truly unique experience, the landscape, food, campsites and beauty of our country amazed us every single day. Quebec was the clear frontrunner, but several other experiences stood out as well, including: camping along Lake Superior, cycling from the BC forest into the Okanagan, spending Canada Day sitting on a wagon driving through the Manitoba Narrows, cycling up to the massive Terry Fox memorial just outside of Thunder Bay, fishing in Nova Scotia on the Atlantic ocean, and celebrating our finish on George Street in St. John’s. It's a journey we will re-live for years to come.