Tuesday, July 13, 2010

ride for africycle day one (part one)

peterborough to presquille provincial park 110 km (part one)

packing what i need - or think i need - into a tote bin. an interesting process. what do you need for ten days of camping and cycling? how can you know what the weather will be like with any degree of certainty? (that's actually a good play on words isn't it!) how can you know what's necessary?

well the short answer to those questions is you can't. so you think about clothes and objects that can serve several purposes thereby covering your butt - literally - as well as providing warmth, or coolness and chuck the whole "looking good" thing right out the window.

every rider got the use of a tote bin. the idea is to fill it up with your stuff.

here's my tote the night before.

you shouldn't care or really even be interested and i probably shouldn't waste your time but for real diehards, here's what i stuffed inside my bin that i figured i'd need or want.

inside it you'll find: a sleeping bag, pillow, flashlight, towel, toothpaste, anti-perspirant, shaver, toothbrush, soap/shampoo, sunscreen, insect repellant, cliff blok shots / cliff energy bars / powerbar recovery bar / gum, shorts (2), long sleeved t X1, short sleeved t X2, swim shorts, bike jersey - long sleeved X1 short sleeved X1, rain pants, underwear (3), socks (5), long pants, running shoes, helmet, hat, camera x2, batteries for flashlight/camera, book, notebook, pen, passport, gatorade crystals, sunglasses / rainglasses, and a mini first aid kit.

yes i had to stand on the box to close it!
yes i'd take some different stuff next time.

the tent, self-inflating mattress and a folding camp chair (!) travelled separately.

the big day!!

i couldn't sleep.
i couldn't eat.
i had to go to the washroom a handful of times.
pumped. totally pumped!!
this day represents the beginning of a dream i've held for as long as i can remember to bike a very long distance with other people. see, i usually ride alone. i like it a lot. but i also know that it's not entirely healthy and that there's a world of good in riding with other people.

so a winter's training. a spring's hard riding and here i am.


we met at peterborough city hall at 7:55 a.m. and bit-by-bit, person-by-person
everyone and everything arrived.
some well-wishers came to see us off.
the mayor was supposed to say goodbye but he didn't make it.

here's me and the africycle bus.

behind the smile is a totally stoked, totally dazed and nervous person wondering what he's trying to prove!

here's a picture of the bus.

the bus has nothing to prove.
i learned from it!


  1. Yes,it is a great pleasure to read these lines,I was wandering how much you will be nervous(I know how much I would be in your place,that much I think I would never go on the ride) :O))))
    but I see that bus so it is some kind of reassurance,(I think),backing source in which,if needed,you could travel with.I had to laugh when I was reading what you have taken with you in your bag! :O))
    Only on that I would fatally fail,not good with it at all!!
    Thank you for your fine post,now I can pick up the pieces of me and go to the phisyo,im in a body who is protesting loudly,we have a heatwave here in Holland and it is tough to even walk! Waiting for more lively story's about your big adventure!! Greetings to you and yours!!

  2. hi aleks, i was in that sweet spot between deep seated excitement and abject fear when we started out! it turned out to be one of the more amazing experiences of my life - a real life-affirming, life-changing experience. posts will appear every couple of days or so. steven

  3. I am surprised at how nervous you described yourself. You who seem so laid-back in verse. Well, excitement of a new adventure can bring on nervousness. What a wonderful journey you have planned.

  4. lizzy - interesting comment. the placing of my body on the line to propel me eleven hundred kilometres, the not-knowing about the people i was to ride with and even some of the trivial details of day-to-day existence weighed heavily on me in the weeks leading up to the ride. i get like that about all sorts of big commitments! steven