Posted by: Silver | August 21, 2011

Fort Qu’Appelle to Yorkton

Fort Qu’Appelle to Melville:
Distance: 77 km
Ascent: 260 m
Cycling time: 4 hours, 5 minutes

Melville to Yorkton:
Distance: 45 km
Ascent: 93 m
Cycling time: 2 hours, 21 minutes

The long-awaited prairie summer is obviously finally here at last: yet again, these were two very pleasantly warm, sunny, dry rides accompanied by the sound of chirping crickets, whirring dragonflies and almost no mosquitoes. 🙂 Ranger, as ever, took the journeys entirely in his stride, despite the ‘variable’ condition of the road surface in the shoulder. Upon arrival in Yorkton, however, he suddenly seemed to decide to fall apart on me…

First, his parking brake cable snapped. Then, as I rode away from the bike shop after getting that replaced, my chain started to fall off. A return to the bike shop got that fixed, but then one of the fairing bolts came loose. And as I finally made my way back to my host’s house after re-tightening that, I noticed that the right front fender was out of alignment and catching on the wheel…

I am, of course, extremely grateful to Ranger for waiting until I was in a town large enough to have a bike shop before causing me any problems, and I am even more grateful to the guys at Source for Sports in Yorkton, who installed a new brake cable and fixed my chain without charging me a penny – thanks, guys!

The brake cable incident does raise a slightly delicate question though: although a large part of the reason for the breakage was simply wear and tear and natural lifespan, the mechanic at the bike shop did confirm my worries that repeated attempts to move Ranger while the brake was on probably hadn’t helped. You see, it would appear that people just don’t expect a pedal cycle to have a parking brake, so numerous hosts have – with the very best of intentions – tried to ‘help’ me by moving the trike for me, but without taking the brake off first. There has also been a tendency for hosts to try and lift Ranger by various non-weight-bearing parts of his anatomy (especially the fairing)… Can anybody out there please suggest a suitably tactful way of telling people I’ve only just met not to touch my trike, without sounding like an ungrateful, paranoid obsessive?!

Incidentally, I have now cycled over 7,800 km: if I’d simply started in Victoria and headed for Newfoundland along the Trans-Canada Highway – like most cross-Canada cyclists do – I’d be there by now…!

Blackened steel cut-outs of cowboys are fairly common round these parts, but in Melville town centre, they had a rather more interesting variety of decorative silhouettes dotted about the place

The Ukrainian influence is very strong right across the prairies: this was the Ukrainian Orthodox church in Yorkton

Unfortunately, car trouble prevented my host from being home when I arrived in Yorkton; fortunately, I had this little chap to keep me company while I waited

Ah, it's been a while since I last saw one of these! Yorkton has recently been taking steps to try and encourage car drivers to get out of their cars more - against indignant protests from some of them, of course....

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Responses

  1. You need some warning stickers on the fairing saying: “Fragile!” and a touch activiated growling mechanism to scare people off.

    Alternatively, only apply the parking brake when you’re on a hill?! We never put the handbrake on on the MG whilst it’s in the garage – it’s not going anywhere.

    • I definitely like the growling mechanism idea – perhaps it would work with curious bears too?! 😉 As for the second part of your observation, that may be dealt with in my future mini-essay entitled “Why do the kindest people in Canada always live at the top of steep hills…?!”

  2. Good luck and best wishes on your journey. Just a fair warning, if you are heading towards Sault Ste. Marie be very careful as the hills are steep and it seems never ending. Take Care.


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