And That’s That. Now What?

East Aurora, NY to Delhi, ON

This morning began well when I confirmed that the videos I had left to upload through the night had indeed finished successfully. With work “finished” (seriously, I’m sure there will be more revisions), I set about packing up for the big day. Whether “big” is good or bad is a matter of perspective. Either way, if all went well today I would be back in Canada. Sadly, it would also be Ontario. For now.

My home and native land.

My next “long term” stop is set to be Delhi (population: not many). More specifically, my brother and sister-in-law’s place (while they’re off travelling across the country). The question of the day was whether I would get there today or tomorrow. If it would be the latter, it would mean two short (85 km) days of riding. If it would be the former, it would mean 170 km of riding today. With no plan in place for accommodation along the way, I decided I would push on and power through to Delhi today. I’ve done 170 km before, but not for a long time. And this would be the first time I actually PLANNED a ride of that distance. In the past, those long days just “happened”.

Of course, deciding to make today a long riding day was made easier by the fact that it was a beautiful morning. Sun shining. Warm temperature. I didn’t even bother with my long sleeve shirt. I know, I know … pretty bold for me!

The ride to the Peace Bridge was very easy and much shorter than anticipated. For some reason I thought it was going to be a 35 km ride but it ended up only being 25 km. It didn’t really matter. Either way, I was still planning on 170 km for the day. The shorter-than-expected ride to the border simply meant I’d be spending more time riding in Canada.

We DON’T walk from here.

The short distance to the bridge wasn’t the only surprise of the morning. Upon my arrival at the turnstile/gate on the U.S. side (the same turnstile/gate I passed through back in June) was now supporting a large orange construction sign which informed me that the sidewalk was closed and that a shuttle would take me across the bridge. I’m not one for putting my bike in/on a vehicle (that’s cheating, after all) but in this instance I didn’t have a choice. And since I would otherwise have had to walk my bike across, the shuttle didn’t seem so bad. That said, I still would’ve preferred riding across the bridge.

My big concern was how long I was going to have to wait for said shuttle. That question was answered promptly. I phoned for a shuttle and it arrived within ten minutes. Pretty impressive. Side note: the sidewalk is scheduled to be closed until the spring of 2019.

Today not only marked my return to Canada but it was also the first time I’ve cycled IN to Ontario. And yes, I found that a bit depressing. I’ve happily cycled OUT of Ontario three times (east, west, south) but in the first two instances my return had been on a plane. I guess I could make the argument that I didn’t actually pedal into Ontario as I was actually on the shuttle. Either way, I was back in Ontario. At least it was still a nice day. Side note: I opted not to have the drone follow me across the border from high above. Although the temptation to do so was high.

Canada and the Peace Bridge.

The border crossing was entirely uneventful. Upon reloading my bike after the shuttle ride, I slipped into one of the car lanes and a few minutes later I was officially back on Canadian soil. Well, pavement actually.

My route to Delhi required some necessary backtracking along the route I followed back in June. The route in question included a lot of trail riding: The Friendship Trail (mostly paved), the Gord Harry Conservation Trail, Blue Heron Way, and Lynn Valley Trail (all of which were mostly unpaved but not too bad for a loaded bike). The trails were helpful in blocking the wind to which I would’ve otherwise been exposed.

Along the way, I had a brief encounter with a cyclist from France. He had started in Vancouver and was heading south to the U.S. – clearly, he’s much smarter than I am. I informed him of the closed sidewalk and shuttle and he offered me his map of Ontario (I declined) before we went our separate ways.

My first major stop for the day was in Port Colborne where there was a slight delay in my progress as the bridge was up to allow a very large boat to pass. As I recall, the bridge was up when I passed through back in June.

Excellent subs sold here.

By this time I had been on the road for about four hours and was more-than-a-little hungry. Sure, I had cereal for breakfast but, as I said, that was four hours ago. Once again, I opted for a sub. And once again, not at one of those famous chain sub places. Instead, across the street from one of those famous chain sub places there was Archie’s Subs … a very busy place, I might add. Maybe because I got there shortly after noon. I went with a meatball sub with homemade meatballs and it was more-than-a-little good. And filling. Knowing I still had a long way to go, I opted to eat half for lunch and save the rest for later. I figured there wouldn’t be many food purchasing options along the trail. Plus, it was a really stuffed sub. Oh, and there may have been chocolate milk.

With my belly full, it was time to get back on my bike. Despite having pedalled 60 km this morning, I still had another 110 km to go. As it turns out, most of remaining ride was on actual roads (as opposed to unpaved trails) which was nice (wind notwithstanding) … although, most of the final 15 km was back on an unpaved trail.

Fast-forward several hours and I arrived at my brother’s place in Delhi. It was around 6:30 PM. Considering the wind, I thought a 170 km travel day of 10.5 hours was pretty good (a little over 8 hours of which was actually on my bike).

However, the adventure wasn’t over yet. Attempts to get into my brother’s place weren’t entirely successful as the intended route of ingress was very much un-ingressable (yeah, I know … not a word). A few texts to my brother revealed that the cause of such un-ingressability (yeah, I know … still not a word) was an unfortunate and unintended oversight by the current holder of the house key. A backup plan was needed.

Diane, fellow ingress sleuth.

While exchanging texts to solve the problem my brother had contacted Diane, one of his fellow paramedic friends, who offered to put me up until the return of the key master on Monday. An offer that was very generous and greatly appreciated. However, before it came to that, Diane and I set about searching for alternate sources of ingress. It took some effort but Diane and I proved to be rather persistent and eventually created a “less traditional” point of entry. I won’t go into details. Suffice it to say that access to the interior of the house was successful. Side note: I have to say that I may have had far too much fun trying to gain access to the inside of the house. Thanks again to Diane!

After my somewhat long day on the road (not to mention my post-ride adventure), I spent the rest of the evening resting in front of the TV watching Archer. And eating. And eating. And eating.

I’m now “home” for two weeks until my brother and sister-in-law return. So the next thing to do (in between finishing off my freelance projects) is to come up with an answer to my most frequent of my frequently asked questions, “Where’s your next adventure?” If only the answer was as easy as the question. And in case you think I’m holding back information, I’m not. I really don’t know what’s next … but if it’s going to happen soon it had best be somewhere warm.

Today’s totals:
Distance travelled: 171.70 km
Ride time: 8:10:38
Average speed: 20.99 km/h
Maximum speed: 43.58 km/h

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