The first kilometers

First of all, thanks a lot for all your messages and I’m sorry for the late replies. I read everything and it gives me a lot of energy!

Ready? Set? Go! An hour after I woke up, I was ready to go. I bought some kerosene at the local gas station and started cycling. The hills were much tougher than expected. I did a test ride with all my baggage in the Netherlands, which went pretty well. However, I didn’t take into account that the Netherlands is pretty unique with the flatness. I found it difficult to maintain a good body temperature with -7. When I was cycling uphill, I started sweating within minutes, but cooled down immediately when cycling downhill. I cycled really slow and took many breaks. After passing Christmas Island and Iona, I decided it was enough for today. It was impossible to camp in the wild, because of the unevenness of the ground. The only option was to camp in someone’s backyard. A women said that it was fine to sleep in her backyard. When I took my bike to move it to the backyard, she suggested that I could sleep in the garage as well. What a great idea! I put my bike in the garage, which was warm as there was a stove inside, I’m such a lucky bastard!

Efficient use of warmth 🙂
 Marguerite, Adrian en the unforgettable dog Shadow

The next morning, I could join for breakfast. It is some kind of English breakfast, with sausages and bacon. Normally, I wouldn’t like such a breakfast as it’s really heavy, but I’d figured that I could use the energy! After I thanked them for everything (amazing people), I left. I told them that I was planning to go to Port Hawkesbury. They recommended me to take the highway, but that would mean that I would cycle along the highway the entire day. I decided to take another route, via the Marble Mountain road and along the lake. It was like 30 kilometres further. With my slow pace, that meant I had to make an extra stop. I didn’t care, as it was so much more beautiful than the highway. See the pictures as evidence:

Ice fishers on a sunny holiday (Family Day)
Beautiful view over Bras d’Or Lake

Again, it was impossible to camp in the wild. This time, I slept in my tent. I could’ve slept in the garage again, but I thought it would be a good idea to get some routine with setting up the tent. I needed a hammer to get my tent pegs in the frozen ground.

After a 12-hours night, I rose with a little bit of reluctance. The sleeping bag was just too comfortable… Antigonish is my next destination. I have already arranged an address to sleep. The highway was the only way to get there, so I didn’t really have a choice. The picture below gives an impression of how that looks like:

I didn’t feel unsafe, but it’s just not really comfortable. In Antigonish, I cycled straight to the bike shop where I needed to go. I sleep in the house of the bike shop owner, Mattiheu Fraser. He was impressed by my bicycle and checked it immediately and refilled the lost spikes with new ones. They wear out pretty quickly if there’s no snow or ice. When I arrived at his house, I met his wife Ray and his adorable daughter, Claire. I’ve never seen a baby that smiles so often.

Jack, Matthieu, Ray en the coolest baby ever, Claire (sorry about the haziness)

I started cycling at noon the next day. I arranged an airbnb, just before New Glasgow. It would be more adventurous if I didn’t know where I was going to sleep, but I did a lot of research, as I didn’t want to take any risks in the Canadian winter. Speaking of which, it’s warmer than ever! It’s kind of ironic to cycle with studded tires in 14 degrees Celsius. At half past 5, I arrived at Don Klein’s house, I turned out to be the first ever guest in their new Airbnb location, he put it on internet 10 days ago. I’m sleeping in some kind of cabin outside the house with everything in it, it is really comfortable!

Cosy airbnb cabin
(…?, I forgot, sorry), Enzo, Karen and Don. And 4 the dogs with a bar in the living room!

People told me before that the East side of Canada is not used to cyclists and that the people are not really friendly. Well, my experience is completely different! Car’s and trucks slow down for me and keep as much distance as possible, even on the highways. In the cabin, I finally found some time to update my blog.

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