Monday, June 15, 2009

Biking every which way through Ontario: Part Two

After checking out pretty much every bike available at Brent Curry's Bicycle Forest, we rode over to Mohrgan's house where we met up with Ted, and all of us boarded another of Brent's creation- the Family Truckster.


It's a four person recumbent bicycle, where the two cyclists in the rear sit back-to-back with the cyclists in front. I sat in one of the back seats, which was a little disorienting as you never knew what was coming next. One second we'd be riding by a field and the next second we'd be crossing a busy intersection. It was a good thing I trusted the guys who were steering the bike We also got a visit from a local police officer, who was interested in the Family Truckster's construction.


We rode the Truckster into St. Jacobs just as the rain started coming down. We took shelter inside some of the shops as it started pouring and had a long lunch hoping to avoid the rain before we continued our journey. Ted, Brent, and Mohrgan were heading back on the Truckster while Evan and I were meeting up with Glen who'd be taking us to Phillipsburg on his horse-pulled carriage. After an hour, the rain turned to a drizzle, and I picked up a bright yellow poncho at the hardware store on our way to the stables.


Evan and I climbed aboard and with Prince (the horse) leading the way we started the 30 km journey. We passed a number of other carriages on the way, as this part of Ontario has a large Mennonite population.


After three hours we arrived at Neil and Laurel's house. The poncho did a good job at keeping me dry, but I was pretty chilled after the ride. Laurel made us some tea and lent me a sweatshirt and we took a short tour around the property, checking out their varied livestock along the way. Brent, Natalie, and Mohrgan arrived shortly thereafter and we all sat down for a great dinner and an impressive dessert made by Laurel's mom.


The next morning we woke up early to start our adventure on CouchBike. The sun was shining as Brent and I got comfortable on the pleather furniture and started pedaling.


Although it may not be the most efficient cycle out there it was really pleasant to ride, especially with the tailwind propelling us slightly. Brent's taken the couchbike on a 500 km journey, so this was nothing. After about two hours we pulled up to Meg's house. She's a friend of Brent's, and she allowed her house to be used for a swap point. She also left out a cooler of snacks!


After refueling, we got a visit from a local paper and from the CBC who interviewed me for the 6 o'clock news.


Apparently, gas prices had just passed $1 per liter, so fuel-free transportation was big news. Though the morning had already been pretty exciting, the largest biking segment was still ahead of us. I hopped on a recumbent with Brent for the 70 km to London, Ontario. Evan hopped in a car this time, as he had to make his flight back to New York, and Mohrgan joined us on another bike.



Brent's a powerful pedaler so I think he was probably doing a lot of the work, but the ride was surprisingly easy. We passed many farms and cows and eventually in three hours we were already riding through the London suburbs. I was sad to say goodbye to Brent and Mohrgan after so many fun biking adventures together, but the Un-Road Trip must go on.

I spent two nights with the Levin family, (relatives of friends from Portland), before getting on another train bound for Toronto. I was originally supposed to re-enter the US through Detroit, but bicycles aren't allowed through the tunnel or over the bridge border crossing, and the river was closed to all crossings due to some air races. Hotel Novotel in Toronto generously put me up for the night, and after a great night's sleep I was boarding another train.

Now I'm in Depew, which is outside Buffalo, NY for a ten hour layover. A little before midnight tonight I'll be boarding a train to Chicago, and after a few hours in Chicago tomorrow I'll be boarding another train to Minneapolis/St. Paul. I'm really looking forward to visiting the twin cities. I'll be checking out some converted electric cars and even visiting the Mall of America. The mall is pumped about the Un-Road Trip and it sounds like there are more modes of transportation in there than you can imagine. Although with the very limited space in my backpack, I don't think I can really do any shopping...

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