Surprise, Halifax at last!

Finito!

All it took was a phone call from a very particular person and my whole schedule was changed. I had biked from Ottawa to Trois Rivieres over a period of close to two weeks and the distance between those cities was not two weekes worth. By the morning we were leaving Trois Rivieres, I was going a tad bit stir crazy. While waiting out behind Ciarins Residence for him to have his room checked over to receive his damage deposit I sat anxiously texting a friend back in Halifax. In conversation she mentioned that she was planning to attend my brother Ronnies going away party was to be held in ten days, August 14th, in Halifax. Up until this point I had never really thought about the possibility of getting home ahead of schedule. From texting we switched to a phone call and before you knew it I was figuring out how many KMs it would be from Trois Rivieres to Halifax. The answer: about 1200kms. At this point I had ten days to make it home in time. The thought of surprising my brother before he went away to Toronto for school and biking at that pace, pushing my body to a place I had never taken it before played over in my head like the trailer to a summer box office hit. If that wasn’t enough, the person on the other end of the phone was Heather, the biggest enabler in my life for the past seven years. I figured I had about ten days to cover the distance and planned to separate from the group the following morning from Quebec City while they took a rest day.

The ride to Quebec was entertaining, we got to catch up with Ciarin and found some nice spots for coffee and fries along the way. Cirque Du Soliel was running a free outdoor show that night in Quebec so that was enough motivation for me to get there as fast as possible. We arrived at our hosts home at 8pm and I was back on my bike heading downtown at 8:20pm to catch the 9pm start time for Cirque. Dominique, Courtney and myself were the three interested in seeing the show so we all booked it and made it just in time. I think we missed a few minutes of the start but whatever, not worried. Highly entertained and extremely impressed we headed back and went to sleep for the night. The journey to Halifax begain the very next morning, it was all I could think about.

A photo I took leaving Montreal.

I awoke decently early and was packed and ready to go by about 8:30pm. After a delicious array of goodies provided to us for breakfast I hopped on my bike and headed in what I thought was the right direction to get out of the city. It wasn’t. I went East, then South, then South East and then I asked for directions. After getting directions I went South West. I found the bridge and I was on the South side of the river and heading on the right path towards Riviere Du Loup. Three hours later I took another wrong turn and with a friendly escort from some fellow cyclists ended up on the 138 highway heading once again towards Riviere Du Loup. That day I ended up doing a solid 140kms, more than anything I was just happy to be out of that city. I love cities, they have a lot to offer but I much prefer the solitude of the open road or the comforts of a small town or village.

On that first day, after I left Quebec City I was met with a lot of rain. I waited out the worst of it enjoying the view I had looking across the St. Lawrence river and took the time to make some pasta for lunch. After all the time it took cooking the pasta I spilt half of it on the ground while attempting to drain out the water. I laughed it off and added some tuna to make up for it.

Once I was back on the road I biked for another couple of hours and ended up at a municipal park. Sadly the canteen there only took cash so I had to snack on the random food I had packed away, no fries tonight. The park had a nice gazebo tucked away in the back corner so I hauled my bike underneath it and read my book until the canteen folks headed home for the night. When they left I pulled out my sleeping bag and prepared to go to sleep for the night. It was an uncomfortable sleep the say the least. Sleeping right on the wooden boards since my thermarest does not hold air like it is supposed to. Also, the bugs were bad so I had to sleep with a t shirt pulled over my head and arms so I didn`t get eaten alive. I give the sleep I got that night a 6 out of 10 (this is high), the next morning the strong winds off of the river woke me up and had me on my bike by 6:30am.

A view of Quebec from the other side of the river.

The second day I crossed over into New Brunswick and reached Edmunston by the evening. This night I biked until it was dark, pulled off of the highway and pitched my tent on the edge of a farm. Before going to sleep I whipped up some Mr. Noodles with a can of tuna. Added some hot sauce and she was good to go. Also, before putting the noodles in the boiling water I made a cup of tea. After biking 220kms this day the tea and noodles were a relaxing luxury. This night it did not rain, however in the morning you would have thought it did by the state of my gear. The dew was horrible. Everything was drenched and the fog was so thick that there was no chance of drying any of it out in the sun. I was forced to just pack it wet and move on. This morning may have been the coldest one I have faced yet on the trip. Fog surrounded me like back in Marathon, Ontario, but this time was different, rather than humid and warm this fog felt crisp and cold. I quickly realized I was now closer than ever to the unforgiving Atlantic ocean and this was a bi-product of the waters ahead of me.

Eventually I was able to bike out of the wet blanket and stopped at a Tim Hortons. My new trick was ordering a cup of hot water when I ordered a coffee. The hot water I added quick oats to and enjoyed for a filling breakfast. While I ate and drank my wet tent hung up outside.

I know that some of this stuff was mentioned in my last post but remember, for the past week and a half I have been keeping the secret of my early return home and had to exclude some details, apologies.

Time to get a better sign New Brunswick, come on.

I moved on from the Tim Hortons and was then greeted by one of the hottest afternoons of the trip. I would usually not complain about the weather but this time was bad. I went through several bottles of water and then, about 15kms before reaching Woodstock, NB, I emptied the last bit of water I had. This then lead to the beginning stages of dehydration and heat exhaustion. You can tell very easily when it starts to set in because it effects not only your body but your mind. The only way I can describe my experience with this is my brain felt like it was on drugs. Atleast what I think it would feel like to be on drugs. When I noticed the ability to focus fading away and my energy levels starting to drop I slowed my bike and crawled from the saddle. I leaned my bike against a guard rail and leaned my body against the bike. Shade was not an option, I was on a large embankment and the only shade was that which my bike cast. The asphalt beneath my rear end burned when I first sat on it, the same feeling when entering a bath that is too hot. However this was not followed by the comforting feeling that a bath brings. I reached across my bike and pulled out two apples I had purchased the day before. These were the only items I had that contained any form of water. I must say, those two apples were the best two apples I have ever eaten. They did not restore my energy but they helped in keeping my body from simply shutting down. I sat, leaned up against my bike for close to 45 minutes before finally standing up and pushing on. I still had no water, I had only the hope that the rest I had just taken would provide me with the strength to get to the next water source. To my luck it did, four or five kms down the road I reached a Subway. There was nothing else around, just the subway. The gas station it was attached to was closed for renovations and had made me think at first that the Subway was closed as well. When I realized the Subway was open I gunned it for the door. When I got inside I quickly filled one of my water bottles from the soda machine and chugged a litre of water. I was safe.

After a footlong veggie and several bottles of water I was finally back to full strength. While in the restaurant I had been texting a couple of my friends, no surprise one of them was Heather (the enabler) and came to the realization that my friend Ben was playing a show on the Friday prior to the Tuesday I had originally planned to be home for. Normally I would be alright with missing a show, I have seen his band before and plan to see many shows in the future but this time was different. Not only had it been awhile since last seeing him, but a couple days after the show he was heading across Canada for a month long tour. Just like before, my mind was made up. I would bike home in time for Fridays show and now bike 1100kms in 6 days rather than ten. I blame this, like other possibly ill advised decisions, on Heather, but it`s fine.

I got back on my bike and continued on. I made it to a gas station roughly 40 kms before Fredericton and went inside for a warm drink and a glimpse at some of the olympics. Big gas stations off of the main highway have been a good friend along this journey, carrying many of the things I usually need, being opened 24 hours, having an attached restaurant and being conveniently located all over the place. This particular gas station was all that and more. Before entering I had scoped out a possible place to stealth camp for the night up behind the gas station parking lot. There was a road with a dead end sign and grass growing up through the pavement so I figured no one would bother me if I set up several meters down it. Lucky for me my tent was not needed for tonight’s sleep. After sitting at a table for about ten minutes sipping my french vanilla an older, very soft spoken man working at the gas station came over and started talking to me. He asked the usual questions and then asked about my sleeping arrangements. I told him I was planning to head on down the road a bit and just set up my tent out of the way and go to sleep. He offered me something better, informing me that upstairs there was a loft specially for truckers with comfy chairs and a TV, he went on to tell me that this loft was hardly ever used and he`d be surprised if if anyone ever went up there. He then showed me a spot inside to put my bicycle and told me I was more than welcome to go up and get some sleep. I was quick to accept. For the ten minutes I had been sitting there the majority of it had been spent dreading the sleep to come, cold and probably a morning of wet gear to boot, not to mention taking the time to set up and take down all of my stuff. This random gentleman made my night and will probably never understand how much his small piece of advice helped me out. I got ready for bed, went up, watched a bit more of the olympics and passed out the moment the TV was turned off. A good nights sleep alas.

The next day I had my coffee and oatmeal on a picnic table outside of the gas station and prepared my things for the day ahead, Next stop Moncton, almost 250kms away.

I made it to Moncton, it was a long day but rewarding. I had never biked so long a distance in all my life and it felt great to push my body to its limit. By felt great I mean that it feels great now, while I sit here writing about it from the comforts of my parents home in Nova Scotia. That day was anything but comfortable. By this point my butt was met with a stinging sensation anytime I mounted my saddle and the pain was becoming hard to ignore. When I arrived in Moncton, I was ready to lay down and die. I had again reached the end of my water supply just as I got off of my bike and figured I could hold off until morning and bike to the next available source. At this point I just wanted to lay down and be down moving for the day, water or not. This night was again an interesting sleeping place. I biked off of the highway and the on ramp to get back onto the highway created a triangle of land with a small wooded area on the back half. If positioned correctly in front of this wooded area I would be hidden from the cars preparing to merge with the highway. I did not trust the spot fully and did not like the idea of speaking with a police officer at 2am and possibly having to take down my tent and move on so I again kept the tent packed away in my pannier bag. I guess I also didn`t like the idea of pulling out my tent and setting it up, you could say at this point I did not feel like doing anything more than what was absolutly necessary. So I took the footprint (tarp) for below the tent and put it on the ground and fell on top of it in my sleeping bag. I used the same T-shirt over my head technique to help ward off mosquitos.

After a few hours of sleep I was stirred awake and launched into a sudden craving for water. My body had obviously taken all it could of its lack of water and was now demanding it of me. Without hesitation I rose up, retrieved my bicycle and headed down the road towards the city in hopes of finding a hose on the side of someones house or a tap attached to a random building that I could drink from. Neither of these were available and 13 kms later I finally found a Greco that was in the process of closing but had the back door slightly ajar. I leaned in and asked very politely but desperately for them to fill up three of my water bottles. The weird-o by the door slowly agreed and went on to ask me some questions. I cannot honestly recall what the questions that they asked were but I remember my answer was simply, `Ya, I`m pretty thirsty`

Filled up and back on the road I headed back 13kms and went to sleep, this time sleeping much more soundly than before.

The day I left Moncton was one of the more testing, waking up to find my rear tire was flat foreshadowing the events of the morning to come. Out of Moncton I attempted to take the Trans Canada. This did not work. There was no shoulder and when there was a shoulder it was filled with rumble strips, multiple times I veered off onto the dirt and 3 of 5 times I came away with another flat tire. I had enough, I pulled out my map and figured out a new route to take to get to Sackville, NB and then on to Nova Scotia. After a successful 50km down my new route I encountered another flat tire. I guess some days are just harder than others. Shortly after getting back on the bike I arrived in town and was able to meet up with my old buddy from school and football Quinn.

Being the man as always, he had prepared for me two sandwiches and two granola bars when I met up with him at the sports center. We went to his apartment and caught up for a bit. Later when he had to go to work I got back on the saddle and headed further east.

With all the troubles of the morning I had been feeling a bit down. Seeing Quinn was certainly a motivator and as I pulled out of Sackville it was sinking in that before I went to sleep that night I would be crossing over the border into my home province of Nova Scotia. When this thought entered my head it never left. I wore a smile on my face all the way to Amherst, NS. Everything up until this point no longer mattered, the stress on my body, the heat, exhaustion, my burnt face, all of it was now off of my mind and all I could think of was Halifax. I made it to the Cobequid Pass that night, 50kms before Truro. The shoulder was just rumble strips so I had to bike on the road. When the sun strarted to go down I found a great place to camp just on the side of the road maybe fifteen feet from the highway. I climbed up an embankment and found a perfectly leveled off spot for my tent. I went to bed that night knowing that the following morning I would be entering the city I knew and loved so much. Three and a half months and it was officially over. No matter where I go from here, PEI, NFLD or both since the beginning of this trip my true destination has been home, Halifax.

Of course we have the best welcome sign of all the provinces!

I wake up, pack my tent and all of my things, toss back a couple of bananas and get on my way. I wanted to get an early start in hopes the traffic wouldn’t be so bad. Also the quicker I am on my bike, the quicker I am in Halifax. My hopes were lived up to and I was passed by a handful of vehicles on my way through the toll section. I did not see a sign stating an amount of money for bicycles to pay so I simply zoomed on by the toll booths and kept up the momentum I had gathered. I biked 50 kms straight with out stopping and made it to Truro. After some hashbrowns and hot cakes, plus a brief update phone call to my mom (she was in on the surprise for my dad, my brother and Ben) I was back on my way. No flats so far and I figured the faster I got home the less amount of time for something to go wrong. I was right in doing so because another 50kms later I had biked straight to Elmsdale and now as I sat there chugging back water it was sinking in once again how close to the finish I was. This was a race against myself. A final push to the finish and then a long well deserved rest. I started picturing hugging my family and seeing my friends after such a long time. This was all the motivation it took. I did not stop to eat, I walked outside got back on my bike and did not get off of it until I was in Point Pleasant Park, downtown Halifax looking out over the mouth of the harbour. This was it. That moment. I was done and it felt better than I had ever imagined.

Over those last six days biking from Quebec City to Halifax my bike computer read these stats:

Day 1: 140kms   average speed:      23.5kms/hr

Day 2: 220kms (a personal best)  average speed:  22kms/hr

Day 3: 160 kms    average speed:    23kms/hr

Day 4: 250kms (a new personal best)     average speed: 22kms/hr

Day 5: 150kms    average speed:   20.5kms/hr

Day 6: 150kms   average speed:    25kms/hr

So much has gone into this trip. All winter I worked my ass off to ensure I would have the funds to do such a trip and all winter I pushed myself to achieve happiness in the work I was doing. I brushed off stress and bull shit spit at me by a person I worked for and came out the other end with stronger character and a better sense of who I was. I went into this trip having found myself and unsure what was left to learn. I had no idea what this trip would be and what I could take from it. Thinking about spending that much time on the saddle of a bicycle, I was unsure where my thoughts would go, I was concerned how my body would react. Well my mind went a lot of places, I have thought about every retained memory I have and contemplated and debated over my opinions and feelings for hours straight. I now sit here content. I have made a conclusion from it all. The end result is I am ever-changing, I will always remain the same person but I will also become a completely different person, evolving daily. My thoughts will always change as rapidly as my feelings and like the events in my life and the roads I take things will come fast and require initiative and ambition, just as often as things will come slow and need my patience and self motivation to see them through. So again, I am content. I am content with my thoughts and me as a person. I love myself as I love so many people I have met. I have realized how truly meaningful certain people in my life have been. People who I would never have thought to be in the past. I have such a better appreciation for the things in our day to day lives which bring us pleasure.It could be as simple as having the time to sit down and enjoy a coffee. I appreciate being in the presence of such amazing, positive, happy people, I appreciate all real conversation and the interesting topics discussed. Through my work over the winter and this recent bicycle trip, I appreciate the mystery that is in the unknown and the mystery in what I thought was known but it is not known by me. I appreciate my family and all of my friends, every single person I share a unique relationship with. I now see that all of these things, all of these people and actions are not only what shape us but what shape the world around us. Simply put, you and I and the things we do are the world we live in and it is beautiful, so beautiful.

Now I sit writing this in the living room of my parents home, I arrived here a few days ago and have been resting. My muscles are swollen and sore just as my face and lips are burnt but in time it will heal and I will be back to normal. I will enjoy my time back home, I will do my best to see the people I want to see and hope to see some of the great places this province has to offer because before I know it september will have arrived. I will spend the first two weeks of September organizing, packing and planning and then after a wedding I am sure will be a lot of fun and great way to say good bye once again, I will be back on my bike. This time heading further east. First I’ll go up the coast to enjoy the simple pleasures of PEI and then further still to where I will catch the ferry and venture off over the unforgiving Atlantic ocean where I will land on the rock hardened shores of the tough, majestic Newfoundland.

At this moment I feel full. I have just taken in so much from life and as I sit here tasting how easy life can also be I know that very soon I will be hungry again. I will be hungry just as I was last July when I started organizing the bicycle trip. I will be starving as I was in November when I jumped on a plane and headed out to the Rockies to embark on a world completely unknown to me, the world of dog mushing. I feel full right now, I know that I need the rest and I want to enjoy everyone’s company while I am home. I just understand that soon this feeling will fade and the hunger will be back. I look forward to it because it is what drives me forward and encourages me to take leaps of faith onto steps I can’t see. I think this hunger has been with me my whole life, only recently have I been truly feeding it.

Sincerely,

Coady Lee

Thoughts of Newfoundland…

As I write this I am sitting in a Tim Hortons waiting for my coffee to cool off to the point where I can drink it. My bike leans against the outside of the window in front of me and over to my left hangs my tent fly and footprint drying in the morning sun. I do not think it rained last night, however the fog that I woke to was enough to pass as a light shower. All of my stuff was soaked. It is important for me to stick to routine and not get lazy. As much as I want to keep pushing on and take advantage of the low sun I must first take care of my gear and ensure that it dries out. Mold will start to grow and fast if things are left packed away damp. Mold is not good, I could get very sick from having moldy gear.

It is an interesting feeling to have entered NB yesterday evening. I have felt this province to be so close to my own my whole life and now more than ever it seems as though my house is just around the corner.

I separated from the remainder of the group so that I could sprint ahead to visit my friends and maybe some family in NB. Being alone I was able to cover a lot of ground and fast. The first day I cycled 140kms averaging a speed of 24kms/hours and yesterday I finished the day at 220kms! This is my record for the trip. I am proud to have accomplished it through such a difficult section and to know I sat on that seat for 10 hours is proof of my commitment. That seat is not comfortable and I’m sure if you looked at my ass you’d see the proof is in the pudding.

I am planning to rejoin with the others near the Nova Scotia border and from there we will either go to PEI or bike around the South Shores of Nova Scotia. Either choice will be relaxing and beautiful. I would look forward to visiting PEI as I have not been there in over 5 years. It is incredible how fast time can go by.

At this moment I sit 230kms away from Fredericton. If I can make it there by tonight I will have covered over 590kms in three days. I can feel my legs throbbing after what yesterday brought but I also can’t shake the feeling of having accomplished such a distance. I will sit and drink this coffee a little longer, make some oatmeal and then start biking. If it feels right I’ll gun it for the big city and if it doesn’t then I’ll cycle along at a slower pace, no destination set.

It will be a weird day, the one when this trip comes to an official end. Being in such close proximity to Halifax even though I am not scheduled to arrive until the 21st or 22nd I can’t help but think what will be next. I have been considering taking a couple of weeks to relax in Halifax, attend my cousins wedding and then head out on another adventure, mid way into September.

Two weeks was all it took for me to fall in love with Newfoundland. Two years ago I went over to the island for the first time. I had lived so close to this place but yet I knew absolutely nothing of it. I had been participating in an archery tournament in Cape Breton with my Pup. We were staying at my aunts girlfriends cottage for the weekend and on Friday night we got a little rowdy. Kim, my aunts girlfriend (Fiancée now) is originally from the beautiful island and it takes no time at all to know it. Tough as nails but kind as pie, Kim has always been such a hoot in all the time that I’ve known her. Her and Ann (my aunt) were planning to head over to Newfoundland for a two week trip the following morning. It took a few beers, a couple of strong drinks and dancing several jigs to the point of falling over and I was now removed from the archery tournament and on board for the Newfoundland adventure.

Even at a younger age I liked my decisions to be made last minute.

The next day we drove up the coast to the ferry and boated six hours across the water to Port Aux Basques. That night we stayed at a hotel and the following morning we drove 9 hours straight over to St. John’s. It was one of the most beautiful but least comfortable drives I’ll probably ever have. Three summers later and I still remember the physical feeling of sitting in the back seat of that two door cavalier and the emotional feeling of going on my first major road trip, face glued to the window taking everything outside of it in.

Well we were over there we stayed in St John’s for a week and spent a week in the small port community that Kim grew up in. We were hosted by Kim’s two amazing parents and I was shown my first taste of Newfoundland hospitality. While on the Island I attended George Street Festival, went whale (bird) watching on a chartered tour, was screeched in, visited the old forts, climbed a mountain, ate at a place called Chesters (newfoundland poutine), actually went whale watching by sitting on the shore of a small beach, looked at a big rock and attended a community dance with live music and a BYOB policy. The highlights of the trip took place in the small port.

I have to say that after traveling the country I get a sense that Canada has placed a stereotype over the Island that does not truly suit it. The word Newfy is thrown around so much and is easily interpreted as Goofy to most. I think this is unfair to the people of Newfoundland. I can see how the name came about though. We fear things we do not know. A Newfoundlander for instance; usually loves to have a few drinks and get together as a community, hospitality that knows no end, morals and principals that cannot be broken, an ability to always be there to lend a hand to a neighbor or a stranger, a work ethic you can not match, and an accent that can be difficult to decipher. To the general mass of society and with help through different forms of media we know them as “Newfies”, who talk funny, act different and (to those who do not know morals and proper hospitality to others) naïve.

I went to this foreign place with an open mind and came back with a wealth of knowledge. Taught through experience and people. This was my first taste of alternative learning. In two weeks I was able to form my own opinion about this island and afterward I was driven to research and find out all I could about the history of the people and the hardships they faced. I have read of the troubles brought on by Smallwood and I can appreciate the struggle for a voice over the past 50 years accompanied by the Islands strong sense of independence and community. If I have learned anything in my life it is the importance of community. Looking out for one another, working with and helping out your neighbor and enjoying the time you have well you have it. All of the generations of today and tomorrow speak of needing community and sometimes act as if it has died. It is my opinion that communities still thrive, you just have to skip across the water and go see them.

My most influential teachers through this experience were Kims parents. Showing me the hidden secrets of the cove and reminding me what it means to be kind and be a part of a community. These lessons have been with me ever since and it feels like the right time to go over and get a fresh lesson. I look forward to seeing their faces and I hope to get the chance to help them out in some way, mirroring the endless kindness I was shown three years ago.

Cheers!

Coady

Ottawa to Trois Rivieres

Yo Ya’ll!

I arrived in Trois Rivieres, QC at about 8pm last night. Ciarin has been here for the past 5 weeks participating in a french immersion program which finishes this Thursday. The plan was to be in Montreal until Wednesday or Thursday and then bike here in a day or two however as you can tell it is Tuesday and I am no longer in Montreal. I love Montreal. The city has a lot to offer in terms of activities and culture but for me, this time, it took only a few days and I was starting to get stir crazy. So yesterday morning by about 10am I was on my bike and heading East…ish to Trois Rivieres. I took a slight detour North half way through the day adding on an extra 20kms, it’s fine.

I had bounced around to a couple of my friends places while in the city, staying on couches and guest beds. On the last two nights I had stayed with my friend Pam in Verdun on the west side of the city. After a relaxed night of watching Batman movies I woke up and made a big 4 egg Omelet. I forgot how much I love cooking, having been living off of the bare essentials and cooking over a fire for the past few months it was a nice change to manage more than one burner and become creative with my ingredients and timing. I have had some meals to be proud of on the road but for the most part my meals have been about efficiency rather than creativity.

I’ve been dealing with a head cold since my flight back from Evolve. It is almost gone, just stuck with the sniffles.

The Explore french immersion program seems to be a fun experience. Ciarin has made many friends in his short time here and everyone has no problem switching back and forth from english to french depending on the conversation. I pick up a nice relaxed vibe from everyone here but can see that everyone is very focused when it comes to academics. I walked in on a homework party last night and watched as everyone got up early this morning and headed to straight to class. After hearing everyone talk of Explore and getting to see the program first hand I am confident that I will attempt to participate in it over the next couple of years. For me it is a matter of balancing work, school and Explore. All three have doors already opened to me I just need to do some time management as to when to walk through each one.

The last time I wrote on my blog, I had my bicycle along with all of my belongings stolen from me in Gatineau, QC. I remained calm, focused on the positive and in the end everything worked out fine. It was tough the first day, dealing with losing the sentimental items but by the time I woke up the next morning I had become content with not owning them and was happy to feel as though I was learning so much from this experience. Had this not happened to me I would not have had the honor of meeting so many great people around Gatineau and Ottawa. I got to go out to lunch and sit down to coffee with complete strangers just to share stories of the road and what was to come. Everyday I had emails from people offering whatever they could in order to help. In the first two days I had gathered up everything I needed in order to continue on other than a bike. I was a little nervous over that weekend wondering what I would do for a bike, unsure if I’d be able to get one off of Kijiji or if I would have to spend all my money and buy one new.
That weekend was Evolve Weekend. Evolve is a music festival in Antigonish, NS that I had gone to for the first time last year. So many great people and so much good music over the course of three days. Back in late April when I was in Tofino I had been talking with my friends back home Sean and Scott and decided(after a lot of convincing on Sean and Scotts part) that I would go to this years Evolve. I spent a day figuring out the details and than purchased a flight to go from Ottawa to NS and back the day the festival begins and the evening It ended. I was also able to squeeze in a night of good food and beers with my brother who will be in Toronto when I arrive home in August. Overall I am very happy I made the decision to go and in the end the festival, just like the Lynx, the Bears, the Mosquitos and the bike getting stolen are all just another chapter of the story.

Just getting down to some filthy dubstep with the Evolve crew!

When I arrived back in Ottawa I was met by the rest of my original group who I had not seen in a month. They were all in good spirits and we had much to talk about and catch up on that night. During the following day I went around pricing bicycles and gathering up several items which I had not gotten donated, but that were necessary for the road ahead. In the afternoon I went and met with a man in the Market who claimed to have a bike that would do the job. One shop in the city sold a Salsa, Fargo so I had went to take it for a test ride. After riding this bike for ten minutes I can tell you that I will probably never own another one of these bikes again. I loved my Fargo. Perhaps loved it a little bit too much because when I rode that second one not a thing on it felt right. Everything about this Fargo was different. Physically the seat, tires, wheels, handlebars, shifters, component selection and just about everything else other than the frame was different. Besides the physical make up of the bike it was apparent this Fargo simply had no spirit. I can only assume the feeling I had inside me is the same feeling someone has when they cheat on the person they love. The decision was an easy one, I walked the bike back into the store and told him it just didn’t feel right and walked out of the store.

I walked to the Market where I had agreed I would meet Ed at about 2pm. Dom and Kat came with me and we waited out front of the shop curious as to which vehicle would be Ed’s. Right on time he showed up. I could tell by his demeanor he was the guy I was looking for. There is a certain facial expression you get on your face when searching for someone you have never met before. I could see this look on Ed’s face and made my approach opening with, “Ed? , hi I’m Coady.”

Meeting all the people I have in addition to working as a guide I have seen this expression many times before and I was easily able to pick it out. It is not always the exact same look, it various depending on the person wearing it. There are people who take this look and bring to it their confidence in the unknown to come. Where as others who shy away from these social encounters wear the look only slightly, perhaps in hopes they will not make the encounter and they will continue on with their day, continue on with their comfortable, safe routine. Myself, I cannot help but be confident in what is around the next corner. You could say I am lucky, I have experienced the good there can be. I have seen the opportunities and cherished the moments. Sickened to the core with the thought of letting those moments pass by. All those people, strangers at first, but who is not a stranger at some point in life to another person? Later strangers can turn into lifelong friends, looking back finding it hard to remember the days when you were strangers at all. So I wear my look of confidence that good friends are waiting to be met and that doors closed are right there, waiting for me to open them. I am not scared of let downs, awkward moments, rejection. I am not afraid of the bad that can come because I know and have witnessed that it is in the shadow of the large amount of good in our world.

I could tell that Ed shared this same look of confidence. He has toured on a bicycle (the bicycle he gave to be exact) and knows the great people that exist in this world. He said short and simply, “I know how many people helped us out when we were on our bikes and this is just me paying a little of it back.” After a few minutes of telling me the tricks and tips of mounting the pannier bags onto it he got in his car and drove off. I now held in my hands a new bike. A real beauty. All steel, made to tour, bar end shifters, threaded holes where you need threaded holes, cantilever brakes, wide range of gears and a set of sweet old school red Cannondale pannier bags. I was set.

Thanks for the new ride, I am in love.

I spent the night tweaking the bike to make it suited for me and gave it a quick little tune up. When I get it home, I’ll change the stem to better fit me and at some point I will be purchasing another Brooks saddle. I have biked three days on the Selle Italia saddle it came with and I miss my Brooks now more than ever. I am not sure I will make it past Quebec (City) before buying another Brooks.

The very next morning I was ready with my new bike and all my newly acquired gear to go on it. I had stayed at Ben and Vans that night to take advantage of the bike shop Ben has in his garage as well as give a proper good bye when I took off.

This was a bit of a let down, I had asked for the Family Size and later when I was finished was informed that I had only gotten the Large.

I headed off from their house to the PB to meet with Eddy, Court, Kat and Dom. A morning bonus, I was able to grab a coffee before they got there. I have such an appreciation for coffee and ice cream since doing this trip. We snapped some group photos in front of the buildings and made our way out of the city. We were in Quebec in a matter of minutes and started on La Route Verte in the direction of Montreal. La Route Verte is a special series of bike pathways and low traffic roads designated for cyclists traveling from city to city in Quebec. For anyone looking to do some touring, perhaps not a 4 month trip but something to get your feet wet. I suggest taking La Route Verte from Gatineau to Quebec City, or to shorten it up by 200kms, going from Montreal to Quebec. I have heard mixed opinions of this route. I went into it with an open mind and absolutely fell in love with it. You spend the day weaving in and out of streets, constantly alert and always engaged in what is going on. La Route Verte is a beautiful part of La Belle Province and I will certainly be back to bike it again.

We planned to do Ottawa to Montreal (203kms) in two days and achieved that no problem. Along the way we were met with beautiful landscapes, hilarious language barriers, delicious home cooked breakfast and shuttled across the water on the Oka ferry. The whole time the feeling of being back on a bike heading East never got old. I felt great. Even if I was sore or sick, you would not have known it. I was too full of emotion to feel physical stress.

Eddie and I on the ferry out of Oka sporting our matching outfits.

It was apparent through out both days to me and the others that it had been a long time since I had biked in a group. I no longer questioned the pace at which I biked and instead just did what I found comfortable. I biked fast and alone. I stopped where I wanted to stop and biked when I wanted to bike. Things are different now then before, a month of alone time and encounters with other cyclists on the road have shown me what I want and how I want to do it. I now take more out of each day and go to sleep with no regrets towards things I didn’t do. This mentality can be a hard one to hold while in a group, but I plan to keep it all the way to Halifax(and possibly further). I want this trip to be everything it can be, because I know it will only happen once.

After some time spent in Montreal I felt the urge to move on, so I called the rest of the group and told them I’d be leaving two days ahead of schedule. The next morning I was up and on my bike, last night I arrived in Trois Rivieres.

I am happy I came here early, my first night was spent at a Bonfire, meeting all of Ciarins friends and this morning I went kayaking with Pam. This afternoon I plan to bum around a Value Village, find a book and sit and drink coffee with a 90% chance of getting ice cream. Tonight is Karaoke with Ciarin. The rest of the group should be here Thursday night I think and then we will all go to a segment of the Grande Prix, which is in Trois Rivieres and free to go to on Friday. In other Free News, Quebec city is offering free Cirque Du Soleil shows, so in several days when I arrive there I will hopefully be attending my first Cirque! Ref: Knocked Up.

That’s all I have to say for now, well I have a lot more to say but I’m losing focus and I’m sure you are too.

Cheers, go see the new Batman it is sick,

Coady Lee

Ottawa/Gatineau.

I woke up to the sound of Ben and Van busily moving about preparing to go climbing for the morning. I had slept on their back deck atop their crash mat located at the base of their personal climbing wall. I’ll stop here, rewind a bit to explain how amazing these two folks are and how I ended up listening to the sounds of the city on a warm Sunday morning in the quite nook known as Hull, just over the bridge from Ottawa.

The befriending of Ben and myself started quickly after arriving into the city and heading straight to the Parliament Buildings, which were the only landmark I knew about in the big city of Ottawa. Since earlier in the day after getting an early start I had been directed off into Quebec as a route to get to Ottawa rather then continuing along the 17 highway in Northern Ontario. Northern Ontario: where the shoulders were no where to be found and people still felt it their right to come with inches of you while you steadily focused on balancing the white line, “taking your life into your own hands”, remarked the officer who escorted me along my way in the Quebecois territory. After thanking him for his time and help I said good bye to Jeff and headed on down the road, a little nervous of what this foreign province had in store for me. Over the past couple of weeks I had fallen into an almost routine through the long province of Ontario; stopping every couple hours with full access to bathrooms, picnic tables and a drinkable water source, it was almost as if I was on a luxury cruise rather than the reality of what it is I am doing. I never had to worry about tiring myself out, I never had to “hold it” if I had to go and best of all there were such an abundance of beautiful rivers and lakes to swim in along the way that I had lost track of time and day and simply followed the rhythm of my body and let it do as it pleased. One special thing about that section I am most fond of was the ability to stop biking, find some shade and let my mind wander for hours to the tales of Farley Mowat or Jack London.

Entering Quebec it was as if I had opened a whole new book and the first chapter was no where to be found. I was tossed into just about the halfway point, sweating away all of my water, curiously snooping the shores of the river but being kept away by the DANGER DANGER signs regarding swimming. I was with out my trusty Ontario map. I had met Dave, a fellow cyclist but heading the wrong way (West) and figured he could use the map more than me since I was just leaving the province and he was beginning. I swapped some stories from the road, compared notes, was sure to inform him of all the sweet free camping spots conveniently represented right on the map by little picnic tables. Side Note: I will plead dumb to the fact you probably aren’t supposed to camp at these places until the day I die and will always recommend them to anyone traveling by bike.

I stopped an hour after entering Quebec and took some time to enjoy a coffee, air conditioning and sadly but desperately a bottle of the Devils Spit (Bottled Water). With all but one of my water bottles empty and the day getting no cooler I kept pushing on down the road in hopes of reaching Gatineau before I dropped from dehydration. One memory is strong from that day and it is of me stopping halfway up a very small incline, no longer able to push on and looking to my right and seeing a farmhouse. This farmhouse had a coiled up garden hose on the side of it and what I pictured inside of the house to be cool, crisp refreshing lemonade. I could not actually see anything inside of the house but I sat there, on the side of the road burning my ass cheeks on the asphalt day dreaming/probably hallucinating about all of the wonderful moist treasures hidden behind the front door.

My water was the temperature you would normally run a shower at on a cold winters evening and I looked at it as if it were a person. Cursing the state it was in and the small quantity of fluid it possessed (So many lifeless objects have been given human characteristics in desperate times on this trip that I have probably talked one on one to mostly everything I owned). I ate a few of the bananas I had been carrying all day and sat there starring with bloodshot eyes, stalking the farmhouse in front of me wondering how much water I was going to be able to squeeze out of those bananas once they were in my stomach.

Surged with a sudden impulse of determination to continue on I hopped up and got back on my way up the hill. Convincing myself that I could feel my body taking all of the nutrients out of the bananas and absorbing the total moisture content in them as if my insides were this magical living machine, so highly efficient and productive in turning the calories I ate into pure concentrated energy for my body to keep moving. I do this often, imagining what is taking place with the food I eat once it is chewed up and swallowed admiring what is dispersed of as being waste and no longer holding one ounce of useful nutrients for my body.

I admit at times on this trip I have thought about the harsh realities that are associated with dehydration and the risk of veering off into traffic. But, like this paragraph, they are gone as quickly as they started.

I eventually did make it through Quebec, after a couple of incredibly refreshing Coca-Colas along the way and my first Quebecois Poutine since a year and half ago (it is true that Coke is the most refreshing drink … even if in reality it is not, as you can tell I am not always one with reality). I could see Gatineau. Like I said I had come through Quebec so in order to get to Ottawa I just had to bike straight in Gatineau, on to Hull and then up over the interprovincial bridge (I love this type of bridge) into the downtown core of Ottawa. All of the dealings I had had all day with lack of water and bathrooms was now forgotten as my eyes were now opened wide and focused on the green roofs sheltering Parliament Hill. The big smile I am known for by those who know me best was stretched perhaps wider than it had ever been before propelled by a sense of accomplishment having finally arrived at my personal destination for this leg of the trip.

Ottawa. I was finally here. No more lonesome days of biking, no more checking dates to be sure I would arrive on time. The great Canadian Shield had been conquered and the mosquitos that went along with it were no more. My bike could now be free to spontaneously combust as it pleased for I had seven days of rest to piece it back together if need be. I had a break from Semi-Trucks and no more side wind blasting into my face and treating my bags as sails while breaching the northern shores of Lake Superior. Ontario was done, I had given it my all, everything I had in me was pushed into my pedals for the taste of this beautiful reward and now I could simply lay back (where ever) and enjoy it.

With no worries as to where I would sleep in the city seeing as I had just been resourceful enough to make my way through the barren back country lands of Ontario with out a single issue. I should correct myself: I’m sure there were many “issues”, I simply just chose to view them as a game, or a taunting joke played on me by my bicycle. I laughed many times when others would think me crazy for doing so. To me it is just a task, something that needs to be done in order to move on. It could take a little bit of energy to accomplish it or all that I have. Either way it is just something to do, not the impossible, not a wall too high to climb; just a simple task.

Casually I biked up over the boardwalk of the Hull bridge and crossed back into Ontario for my short Quebec endeavor was finished for the time being and I was returned to my comfort blanket of rest areas and potable water. Like most cities I saw a large landmark, this time being the epic buildings of parliament, and zig zagged my way towards it going up and down one way streets, crossing onto sidewalks when I would realize I was biking on a street I shouldn’t be. Followed by socially gracefully apologizing to tourists and perhaps but not probably locals for having to maneuver my big, Fat, as I refer to it, bike in and out of the herds of people, my eyes starring up into the sky searching intently for a glimpse of the PB’s rooftops again so I would know where to make my next Zig, or possibly a Zag. When finally the cars and people parted like the sea before me and their I was, Face to Building with the capitol of the capitols themselves: the Parliament Buildings.

I rolled on up the sidewalk and off of the street, nodding to the officers in their parked car as I casually but all knowingly disobeyed the law by biking where it was that I was biking at the time on my own agenda to get to where I needed to go.

I saw this cool fire making device with water flowing out of it as well and figured that’d be the best place to lean my bike and “take in” what it was that I had just done. Like so many times before this fire making and water fountain thing turned out to be the perfect addition to my moment of reflection. Circling, in a very proper and prestigious fashion, all around the water were plaques representing the areas with in Canada. I slowly circled the fountain admiring the craftsmanship in each plaque and reading the names below, I’m not the best with memory so I needed some help with who’s flag was who’s until I finally came round to Nova Scotia. No help was needed for that crest is one etched in my brain since birth. From the time I had entered Ottawa I had felt so small and somewhat embarrassed to be in such a big city with just myself and my odd looking bike full of my things. Strangers with good hygiene and stylish outfits peered at me out of the corner of their eyes, usually taking a second look in awe, most likely whispering to each other, “My, My, My. Oh look Honey how smart the Canadian Hobo’s are, keeping all of their things on their bikes like that. Quick take a picture before he asks us for money!” Where as now, seeing that plaque in front of me it was like being at a house party where you know no one and feel like everyone is just looking at you with judgmental eyes when BOOM! All of a sudden here is your best friend and he just happens to know everyone at the party and quickly gets you aquatinted and now you have forgotten all about that awkward stage of the party where you knew no one because right there in front of you is your best bud from back home and before you know it he’s holding the beer funnel and your having the time of your life. This is how I felt. Nova Scotia is and always will be my best bud.

Just like at the party Scotia does know everyone and leads me to meet Ben. He introduces himself and assures me that he understands the lifestyle I am living and that he has done it before. He walks up and asks the usual questions of how long I’ve been on the road, where I’m coming from and where I’m heading. Turns out he is the Director of Operations for the light show that is displayed on the PB’s. He tells me I should check them out which I assure him I will and then he says the magical words that float through my ears and tickle my soul causing an undeniable smile, “So you need a place to sleep or pitch a tent in the city?” And there it is. I have been in this big city of Ottawa for not even an hour tops and I have already bumped into my Best Bud, Nova Scotia and I have met Ben who has fulfilled my needs for an area to sleep void of hassle from anyone of authority with a debate on the legality of urban camping at 2:30am.

Henry and Meg, the couple I met on the road end up in Ottawa this day as well so I found them on the Hill and eventually we all end up destined for Ben’s house. We spent the night enjoying some beers and laughs on their back deck and all decided to head to bed around 1am. Mission accomplished. Finally I could rest my weary head and not be bothered with anywhere to go the next morning. I was at a place that felt like home and and surrounded by people who could easily be family. Not to mention a big crepe breakfast was planned for the following morning, who can ever get upset about that?

In addition to the crepes breakfast we followed it up with a pot luck diner. All vegetarian and all very very delicious. If it wasn’t for Halifax calling my name I would be going out to look for a job and probably never leaving this place of perfection.

After a late night of a few too many beers and a couple of late night cigars I slept for the second time on their back deck. The crash mat (a large pad used in rock climbing incase you fall off of the wall) was like sleeping in a bed compared to my Thermarest and it allowed me to get the sleep my body was craving. I  peeled myself off of my sleeping bag, currently there is a heat wave, and said a grudgey, “Good Morning”, to the friends of Ben’s who had gathered to go rock climbing and I moseyed for the bathroom. The availability of a shower at all times of the day is still something I am getting used to and something I can’t help but try and take advantage of, for the sake of the people around me who have not yet become immune to my stank. Freshened up and feeling like a couple hundred bucks I head back onto the back deck for a more formal introduction to the blurry figures I had woken up surrounded by.

Sadly at this time I also had to say my Good Byes and thank/hug Van and Ben for everything they had done for me as I was planning to set off and stealth camp for the night and then hang out with my friends parents until my flight on Thursday.

I ended up tagging along with Meg and Henry and took a tour of the PB’s east wing and then we went and checked out the Museum of Civilization back on the other side of the bridge. Since I was planning on not going back to Ben and Van’s I had grabbed all of my things and loaded them onto my bike. I had purchased the lock the day before and up until now had not left my bikes side for more than 10 or 15 minutes. Mind you I had also not been in a large city for quite a while. Sadly I had to learn all to quick and very harshly what this would mean.

Here is a letter I wrote to the Thief:

Dear Thief,

Yesterday afternoon you stole the only material possessions that I had in my life. You took my wheels right out from under me along with my house and all my necessities to get across Canada. 

So that you know what it  was that you took I will explain a little bit better.

When I walked out of that museum and saw that my bicycle was no where to be found I very quickly knew what had happened because you tossed the lock on the ground after you cut it. But when I looked at the spot where my bike was no longer sitting all I saw was that you took a very special photograph from me.

When I was fourteen my sister passed away from cancer and before she died she picked out a photo that captured a happy moment between the two of us. She took this photo and wrote on the back To Cody, Love Nicole. This photo is the only thing I take with me where ever I go in the world and every time  I run my fingers over that writing I am reminded of what it was like to be in that moment. When I looked and saw that this photo was no where to be found, that it had been stolen, the only feeling I felt was fear. I feared that I would never have that feeling again and that there would never be a photo to capture such a moment with Nicole again in my lifetime. 

So thank you. You took away the last material thing in my life that I had any true emotional connection to and made me realize that it was not needed to feel my sisters spirit. I no longer need that photo and you showed me that. With all of the organizing and planning that has happened since the moment my bike was stolen the whole time I have felt my sisters strong presence in me more than ever and it’s because it is now associated with the life I live and not that photo. 

I understand times can get tough and money gets tight, I have faced both of these things on this trek and now more than ever am I faced with those two realities. I know that sometimes when we are in these situations it is hard to crawl out and get back on your feet but just know that the answer is in truth and positivity. Stay true to what you believe in and just have a positive outlook for all the experiences you encounter and things will eventually work out. I wish that you have the ability to grow and learn from this experience and that hopefully in the future you will not find your self in such desperate times. May good things find you and help you live a meaningful life.

Sincerly,

Coady Lee

I filled out a police report in Gatineau but I know that if the thief simply crossed the bridge with the bike then they are almost scott free. Because the incident happened in Quebec technically I can not fill out a report in Ottawa to alert the patrolling officers to keep their heads up for the bike. So my only option for Ottawa is to check the lost and found. This was all I was told.

At this point, I think the bike and everything else I own is gone for good. I do not have much time to piece together a solution on how to continue on with this journey. I have enough money to supply myself with food for the rest of the way but the expenses involved with buying new gear far exceeds the funds in my account. Yesterday I was able to come up with a list of the essentials for continuing on and today and tomorrow have been spent on trying to find them all. Van and Ben are having a fundraising party for me this coming Wednesday in Hull at their lovely home and we hope to raise some money to help me out a little. It will be nice just having the support more than the money. Like every one on Facebook who has sent me words of encouragement or to those who have offered whatever they can to help, please know that I am forever grateful. It means the most knowing that I am not alone in this.

I have been running around the city and talking with many people since having my bicycle stolen. Trying my hardest to find a new suitable ride and work from there. I have had many calls from reporters and at this point feel as though my story has been told and that from now on it is time to just focus on getting my things together. I appreciate the coverage and the positive support it has generated through out these two lovely cities. I hold no resentment towards either Gatineau or Quebec and I do view what I did as foolish. I used a low grade lock to protect the things that I owned. In the future this will not be the case. I had an idea in my head as to how someone would view the difficulty of stealing such an enormous load and underestimated a desperate mans capabilities.

I view Gatineau and Ottawa as two very beautiful cities. So close together but yet separated by an imaginary boarder. While riding Vans fixie around for the past two days I have been making it my mission to get lost and have to eventually find my way back to the house as a way to explore and see  a new side to the city that I may never had seen otherwise. I find myself in love with the ability to cross certain bridges and go from signs reading english and then french to french and then english. I have heard peoples conversations in Ottawa spoken in french and I have heard many people speaking in english in Gatineau. There are two major provinces side by side, people crossing the Hull bridge all day long, to view the PA buildings, go to work, get cheaper products, find cheaper rent, meet up with friends or like me just biking for the sake of biking. Two very distinct provinces, yet it is the people inhabiting this special area that each day make the invisible line separating the two a blur. For me after crossing so many provinces I no longer view Canada as separated by provinces. Yes there are financial differences between the two but the people are no different. I believe that if we keep working towards it, we will be able to establish stronger communities with in Canada. Communities where we look out for each member, no matter age, language, race, social class, size of their bank account or things they believe in.

I talked about this earlier with Ben and I thought it was very interesting; over the past two days thousands of people have taken an interest in my story. Hundreds of people have reached right out, stepped off of the side lines and offered whatever they could to help me. I have had so many offers that I have actually had trouble being sure to talk with everyone and sort out what it is I need and who to get it from. After talking with Ben, we thought what if this many people jumped at the opportunity to help someone else in need? The percentage of our population who are well off verses the percentage of our population who could use a hand are two very different numbers. Now I am not saying give your money to the next person you see on the street who looks like they need some help. I am saying get to know the problems in your community and take the time to reach and out and help someone. You will be surprised at how valuable things can be that we sometimes take for granted. In this case I needed to try and replace 4500$ worth of stuff to help me across the country and so many wonderful people have shown their true colours and come to my aid. For someone else it could be the support thats needed in going to rehab. A child you know could simply need a role model to steer them down the right path. That person squatting on the ground with their face buried in their hands could have just lost someone close to them, failed an important test, broke down under the pressures of society and now this person just needs a friend. I needed a friend when my bike was stolen. I was speechless, gut was in knot and my eyes were watering. Meg, Henry, Ben, Van and the whole cities of Ottawa and Gatineau you stepped up and were that friend. Think about how much affect you can have on another person and just imagine how it would feel to be them and have a stranger walk up and offer the hand that they desperately needed.

Like I have said so many times over the past couple of days this bike being stolen is a very small event and is completely shadowed by the positive movement it has created. People are coming together over bikes and exploring and helping out someone in need. I could never be upset with so much going on.

At this time I would like to thank some of the people I have met and been helped in some way or another since having my bike stolen:

Meg and Henry, safe travels where ever you are and I cannot wait to meet up again. I appreciate all the help you guys gave me the day this all happened.

Ben and Van, thanks first off for putting me up and second for letting me extend my stay. You two have gone above and beyond what it means to be helpful to someone in need.

Steve Fischer, Thanks for talking with me the day after it happened and being very respectful and a true stand up guy the whole time. I appreciate you driving me over to the museum and will never forget dumpster diving around the area to see if we could find anything they may have tossed. It meant a lot to me and it is awesome everything you have been doing since.

Jean-Pierre Petit, I had one of the best lunches I have had in the entirety of my life with you today and enjoyed our conversation very much. Thank you for taking my mind off of my busy day and giving me a few hours to relax. I hope you enjoy the books I suggested and that my blog updates continue to be up to par. I look forward to receiving your books in the mail and will certainly have to find a beautiful french girl to read me the pages as a bed time story!

To everyone who has helped me out financially, it is such a weight off of my shoulders to not have to worry about my meals for the rest of the trip along with my bike, gear and any maintenance I may have to do along the way. From the small to the large, every donation has made a difference and will be paid forward on to the next person I see who ever needs a hand.

Thank you to everyone who I will meet over the next couple of days who offer support, I will never forget this experience and have learned so much about the power of community.

In the end, things will work out. I managed to get this far and there is not much on this earth that could keep me from getting the rest of the way to Halifax (Probably Saint Johns, NFLD as well). I have lost all of my things. I have the T-shirt and shorts I am wearing, a few electronics and this big dumb smile on my face to get me by for now and it is more than enough. Thanks again.

 

See you soon Hali,

 

Coady Lee

Originally posted on Coady Lee:

Hey everyone,

Yesterday was a sad addition to all the other amazing days since being on the this trip. After spending the morning and after noon visiting the PA buildings and the Museum of Civilization I was shocked to find that my bicycle along with everything I own was missing. Lying on the ground next to the spot I had left it was my cut lock.

I have been living on my bicycle traveling across across the country for just about two and a half months. Words cannot describe how I felt walking out of that museum to find the lock laying on the ground.

Here is a letter for the person who stole it:

Dear Thief,

Yesterday afternoon you stole the only material possessions that I had in my life. You took my wheels right out from under me along with my house and all my necessities to get…

View original 546 more words

Testing my Beliefs, Ottawa, ON

Hey everyone,

Yesterday was a sad addition to all the other amazing days since being on the this trip. After spending the morning and after noon visiting the PA buildings and the Museum of Civilization I was shocked to find that my bicycle along with everything I own was missing. Lying on the ground next to the spot I had left it was my cut lock.

I have been living on my bicycle traveling across across the country for just about two and a half months. Words cannot describe how I felt walking out of that museum to find the lock laying on the ground.

Here is a letter for the person who stole it:

Dear Thief,

Yesterday afternoon you stole the only material possessions that I had in my life. You took my wheels right out from under me along with my house and all my necessities to get across Canada. 

So that you know what it  was that you took I will explain a little bit better.

When I walked out of that museum and saw that my bicycle was no where to be found I very quickly knew what had happened because you tossed the lock on the ground after you cut it. But when I looked at the spot where my bike was no longer sitting all I saw was that you took a very special photograph from me.

When I was fourteen my sister passed away from cancer and before she died she picked out a photo that captured a happy moment between the two of us. She took this photo and wrote on the back To Cody, Love Nicole. This photo is the only thing I take with me where ever I go in the world and every time  I run my fingers over that writing I am reminded of what it was like to be in that moment. When I looked and saw that this photo was no where to be found, that it had been stolen, the only feeling I felt was fear. I feared that I would never have that feeling again and that there would never be a photo to capture such a moment with Nicole again in my lifetime. 

So thank you. You took away the last material thing in my life that I had any true emotional connection to and made me realize that it was not needed to feel my sisters spirit. I no longer need that photo and you showed me that. With all of the organizing and planning that has happened since the moment my bike was stolen the whole time I have felt my sisters strong presence in me more than ever and it’s because it is now associated with the life I live and not that photo. 

I understand times can get tough and money gets tight, I have faced both of these things on this trek and now more than ever am I faced with those two realities. I know that sometimes when we are in these situations it is hard to crawl out and get back on your feet but just know that the answer is in truth and positivity. Stay true to what you believe in and just have a positive outlook for all the experiences you encounter and things will eventually work out. I wish that you have the ability to grow and learn from this experience and that hopefully in the future you will not find your self in such desperate times. May good things find you and help you live a meaningful life.

Sincerly,

Coady Lee

I just did an interview with a CBC TV reporter and I look forward to the good things that will come from that. Ottawa is still an amazing place and even with this happening it still does not shadow all of the great people I have met and the wonderful things I have done since being here. The story will air in Halifax and Ottawa tonight and then you can find it on their website.

I cannot get my photos to upload to the site, so please check them all out on my Facebook!

Cheers,

Coady Lee

Sault Ste. Marie to North Bay, Onatario!

 

Ontario you are an amazing province to cycle through.

 

Thank you so much to Mel and Jim for an amazing stay in Echo Bay. I had been itching to get into a kayak this whole trip and I finally had the opportunity when we went out to the camp. I biked across the lake, took a nap in the sun and then headed back in the evening. When I walked up to cabin supper was put together and waiting for me. I had a delicious meal followed by a few beers. When supper was all finished Jimmy, his friend and myself all headed out in the boat to troll the lake for some fish. I came out empty handed but it was a peaceful way to spend the crisp evening, drifting up and down the lake enjoying the sights and sounds of a beautiful Northern Ontario sunset. After fishing we packed up the camp and were just about to head back to their house when I realized I had dropped my Debit card. I gave up hope in finding it after the first five minutes and started the process of assuring myself that I could make it to Ottawa with out it. Mel would not let me give up and her and Jim rolled out the flashlights and ATV for extra luminary power. Finally after 15 more minutes of searching I spotted on the ground behind the truck. What a relief. This was an example of the lengths these people would go in order to help me out and I was very grateful. We headed back and went to sleep for the night, not before some fresh hand picked strawberries however.

The following morning I woke up from a deep slumber (this often happens when I am placed in a bed rather then my tent) and walked into the kitchen to find Mel already up putting together omelettes for breakfast with fresh fruit, toast and homemade jam on the table. I had what felt like a feast in comparison to my usual morning dishes and started packing my bicycle in order to hit the road before it was too late in the morning. Before I was to leave I was shown even more hospitality by these two amazing people when I was given a bag containing all sorts of delicious snacks as well as a couple fillets of lake trout and last but not least a hefty bag of frozen deer meat from Jim.

Thanks again!

I’ll make it to Halifax on all of this food!

 

 

Another great spot to pitch a tent for the night in Serpent River, ON.

 

In Sudbury. ON I was met with more great hospitality by Pat and Rach who stuffed my things into their car and drove me from Tim Hortons to their place in Markstay. The next morning they woke up and drove me all the way back to the same Tim Hortons to respect my mission of biking every foot of the road across the country.

Crazy Frenchman.