Posted by: Silver | November 17, 2011

Amherstburg to Leamington

Amherstburg to Essex:
Distance: 27 km
Ascent: 56 m
Cycling time: 1 hour, 24 minutes

Essex to Leamington:
Cycling time: 0

As you know, I spend huge amounts of time planning and organizing this journey so that everything goes smoothly and SOS Children’s Villages gets the best possible benefit from my being out here, but just sometimes, things end up turning out wonderfully neatly without any help from me at all…

The first part of the story isn’t especially neat, just inevitable: after almost a year and a half of pedalling, Ranger’s chain was as worn out as I think most of us would be after 11,000 km of going round in circles. Equally inevitably, his rear gear cassette was worn down and in need of replacement too. And that’s where the only not-particularly-neat part of the story comes in: part of the reason I went with an ICE trike was because of their sales pitch that all the components are standard – the trike itself might look a bit weird, but any bike shop would recognize, and be able to fix, any of its parts. Turns out, however, that this isn’t entirely true…

A lot of people think I must need a special chain for Ranger when they see how long it is, but actually, that’s just three perfectly normal bike chains all linked together. The rear gear cassette, however, is custom-made by ICE, and not only are replacements not available from anywhere other than an ICE dealer, but you also need a special tool to get the old one off. Thus, after investigation of the costs and shipping times for the custom cassette plus tool, the decision was taken to simply replace the whole rear wheel, complete with new, standard-issue, gears.

So here’s where it starts to get unexpectedly wonderful: my host in Tecumseh just happened to be good friends with the owner of Courtesy Bicycles in Windsor – a very knowledgeable and kind man who not only offered to do the work for free, but also knocked 25% off the cost of the parts. Then my angel of a host in Amherstburg just happened to have a van big enough to transport Ranger, and a heart big enough to pick him up from Essex (where I was by the time the new wheel arrived), and deliver him back to me in Leamington once the work was done. And then to top it all off, she also covered the remaining 75% of the bill!! Being without my trusty steed on the day I was due to cycle to Leamington could have been a big problem, of course, but at the last minute, I just happened to get an invitation to speak to the Essex Rotary Club that evening, and the president of the club just happened to live near Leamington, so was happy to give me a ride to my next destination. And that just happened to be on the only day of really bad weather I’ve seen lately, but thanks to all of the above, I just happened to not have to cycle through it!

Still more wind turbines! The environmentalist in me rejoiced, the cyclist in me was just glad that the resource being harvested was going the same way as me for once...

The life-blood of Leamington is indeed red: ketchup red. Apparently, the area boasts the largest number of greenhouses in the country, and from what I saw, I find that entirely believable

Leamington ('LEEmington') doesn't have a spa, but it does have a rather popular lakefront; from the look of the beach cabins, though, anyone would think they were expecting Lake Erie to produce some bad weather in the next few months...

Many of Leamington's inhabitants are Mennonite, but there is also a large Italian population there, and this was one of their mausoleums, lit up in memory of lost loved ones and backlit by the glow from the ever-present greenhouses



  1. Did anyone mention the tobacco industry that used to thrive in the Leamington area?

    • No, I don’t recall that being mentioned at all! Do you know something about Leamington then, Jack?!

  2. This is exactly what I (well, OK, Dvae did the work) did the last time I needed a new rear cassette and chain. Dvae couldn’t get the old cassette off the old wheel for love nor money, so I did the sensible thing and just bought a new wheel. How annoying for you to find out that you needed a specialist part! Amazing that the chain and cassette lasted for so many miles though, that’s a LONG way! here’s hoping the new parts last as long or longer. 🙂

    *BIGHUGS* Miss you!!


  3. That warms my Heart Silver…unexpected generosity is the best gift ever !! I am proud of them as Canadians helping you on your Miracle Trike Trek across Canada..And oh so proud of you as you keep getting up and putting one foot in front of the other and pedaling…You are an amazing Spirit and Canada is so lucky to have you as one of it’s own…..:) Stay warm and keep on keeping on..
    Love, Graham…

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