Posted by: Silver | December 17, 2011

Cambridge to St Mary’s

Cambridge to Stratford:
Distance: 71 km
Ascent: 615 m
Cycling time: 4 hours, 53 minutes

Stratford to St Mary’s:
Distance: 27 km
Ascent: 122 m
Cycling time: 1 hour, 37 minutes

Even after being on this journey for over 18 months (it was exactly 18 months yesterday!), I’m still encountering a seemingly inexhaustible stream of ‘firsts’:

On the way to Cambridge, my gear cables froze for the first time… Perhaps I shouldn’t wash Ranger immediately before setting out into seriously sub-zero temperatures?!

On that same journey, I saw my first northern cardinal! (Note for British readers: northern cardinals are to the North American Christmas what robins are to the British Christmas, ie. actually resident all year round, but red and therefore shamelessly exploited by colour-theming Christmas card makers and festive decorators of all types. In spite of the illogicality of it all, though, you just can’t help feeling Christmassy when you see one on a snowy day… 🙂 To complicate matters further, Canada does have a robin too (actually a kind of thrush). Those previously-noted imaginative-naming early European settlers noticed it had a red breast, so its name was a foregone conclusion, but it blew its chances of becoming Canada’s Christmas bird by very sensibly flying south for the winter…)

On my way to Stratford, I met my first Mountie! Only, he wasn’t a mountie… You see, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (The Mounties) only look after the smaller communities of Canada, so the uniformed gentleman on horseback that I encountered was actually a member of the Waterloo Regional Police – but he was Canadian, he was mounted, and he was a policeman, so I contend that he still counts! His lady Mountie (Mountette?) colleague had seen me on TV, so we had quite a long and lovely chat about SOS Children’s Villages, my journey – and how much easier it was to move her steed sideways… Funnily enough, sitting next to those two beautiful horses, Ranger felt a whole lot smaller than he ever does next to the trucks on the highway!

And along with all the ‘firsts’, a ‘last’: the ride to St Mary’s was my last ride of the year! Appropriately enough, it was completed in pouring rain and blowing winds, but I did manage to make it all the way to the end of the year’s itinerary under pedal-power, so I hang up my helmet triumphant, ready for a little Californian Christmas R&R before hitting the road again in the New Year! 🙂

The blog entries will continue over the winter though, so watch this space – there’s still so much more to tell you all about!

The lake in Queen's Park, Stratford - not quite completely frozen over yet...

Fields full of free-standing Christmas lights seem to be quite popular around here: this was the display in St Mary's

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