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Days 17, 18 and 19: Bear and Bike Troubles

Moncton to Port Elgin, to Charlottetown, PEI, to Pictou, NS

Distance: 273 KM biked

Total KM Biked: 2144 KM in 19 days

After visiting The Multicultural Association of the Greater Moncton Area (MAGMA) and speaking with Syrian, Eritrean, and refugees of other nationalities, I hopped back onto the road to head out of Moncton. 

Thank you to the C'mon Inn Hostel for hosting me in Moncton!

The "Running into a Bear and Having Your Bike Breakdown" Story

Everything was going great with the ride, and my only concern was time - because of the morning meetings, I was starting my ride pretty late. 

The second half of today's ride was all on the Trans Canada Trail, along a section of the trail that was 40 KM long and completely isolated - no towns, no homes, no roads to get off at. Basically, it was the worst spot so far for something to go wrong. 

So guess what happened. 

Now, the bear wasn't a big deal - after it wouldn't get off the trail, I pulled out my whistle and started being really loud as I moved towards it. When I was about 25 metres away, the bear came out onto the middle of the path to look at me with its ears perked, but as I biked closer it got the message and moved off of the path, allowing me to bike past. 

Challenge one, done. But the real challenge came about 200 metres after the bear. The trail got really rocky, and with 15 KM to go to my next stop, I got a flat tire. Now, that's not a big deal - flats are common, and easy to fix. 

I flipped over my bike and got to unscrewing the nuts on the back wheel that hold it to the bike. Unscrewing the left one was no problem. The right one, however, was extremely tight. I realized that, because I had taken my bike to a mechanic the day before, they had tightened these nuts using their heavy duty equipment, meaning that I couldn't take off that nut using my portable set. 

This was a much bigger problem than a bear. It was now 9 PM, getting dark, and I was still 15 KM from my destination. With no other choice and with a ridiculous number of mosquitoes attacking me, I put all of my equipment back on the bike and started to run down the trail, dragging my bike along with me. 

This was brutal. In the forest, it got dark fast, and I had to use a headlamp to see where I was going. After 2 KM of running, I heard a crashing noise right beside me, and looked over to see a moose standing 5 metres away from me, just staring. I kept running and running, especially since if I stopped to catch my breath, the cloud of mosquitoes that was chasing me would catch up. 

After being able to run about 7 KM in 45 minutes with my bike and all of my gear, I knew that I was in a bad place. I was going to get to my next stop around midnight at this point, assuming that I didn't run into any other trouble on the way. I had called Linda, my host in Port Elgin, to tell her that I would be really late, but because the trail is so isolated, there wasn't much she could do to help. 

A bit after 10 PM, I saw light appear on the trail. In the distance, I thought it might be a house or shed, but the lights kept growing larger. I realized that it was a car, and I don't think I've ever been happier to see a car in my life. It turns out that Linda had found someone in town with a Jeep that could handle the rough terrain of the trail, and so we threw my bike into the back of the Jeep, and with me laying on top of the bike, we started driving towards town. Even with the Jeep, it still took almost 45 minutes to get across the trail, but just after 11 PM, I managed to make it to Port Elgin and collapse on a bed. 

And just like that, onto Day 18. Thank you so much to Linda for hosting me in Port Elgin! 

Surprise, surprise - turns out that inland PEI is really hilly :( 

Carb recovery meal: 

And finally, Day 19! Today was biking really fast to catch the ferry to Nova Scotia, so compared to my Bear-and-Bike day, it wasn't exciting at all - just the way I like it. 

4 provinces down, 2 more to go. Sorry for the shorter blog posts, but I just have to keep biking - almost done!