Posted by: Silver | August 16, 2012

Antigonish to Sydney

Antigonish to Guysborough:
Distance: 64 km
Ascent: 548 m
Cycling time: 3 hours, 50 minutes

Guysborough to River Bourgeois:
Distance: 104 km
Ascent: 455 m
Cycling time: 6 hours, 5 minutes

River Bourgeois to Sydney:
Distance: 104 km
Ascent: 1063 m
Cycling time: 6 hours, 45 minutes

I’ve had a bit of a run of unexpected encounters on the road just recently. First, there was the gentleman who flagged me down on my way to River Bourgeois. Apparently, he remembered reading about me when I had passed through his home town – Nelson, BC! That was over a year ago now!! He was an avid triker himself, and was currently checking out the roads with a view to pedalling across the country himself. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to offer him any particularly good news as a result of my experiences with Nova Scotian pavement: the province may be beautiful, but the road surfaces, sadly, are generally far from it…

Then, later on the same journey, I accidentally killed a snake. 😦 It looked for all the world like it was just a long, thin leaf on the road – until I rolled over it and it started writhing… It was such a beautiful, bright green, and I killed it… 😦 I’ve seen huge numbers of animals that have been killed by motor vehicles along my route, but this was the first time I’d been responsible for such a death. I was a very sad cyclist…

The first encounter on my way to Sydney wasn’t the most pleasant either: I could hear something coming round the blind corner behind me, but as soon as I saw the size of the HGV bearing down on me in my rear view mirror, I decided that now was not the time to be asserting the fact that I have an equal right to be on the road, and promptly escaped onto the gravel shoulder. The truck driver was clearly far more surprised by the encounter than I was, however, and his squealing brakes did give me a small amount of concern that he might skid out of control or start fishtailing on the wet road. Fortunately, everything was fine, but the incident does give me an excuse to repeat what I always say to complacent drivers who drive the same route time after time: yes, you might know the road very well, but you do not know what’s on the road – SLOW DOWN ON BLIND CORNERS!

Fortunately, my final encounters were much happier. Now that we’re into the summer, I’m certainly not the only one out here under pedal-power, but we do still seem to be something of a rare breed, so it was truly an amazing coincidence that the cyclist who caught up with me on the way to Sydney was not only cycling all across the country (although, he was doing it in a straight line…), but he also happened to work at a college that takes scholarship students from the SOS Children’s Village in British Columbia! He promised to tell his students all about what I was doing. 🙂

And finally, a brief stop to use the facilities at the East Bay Country Market outside Sydney turned into a lovely conversation with the owner, who was not only enthusiastic to learn more about SOS Children’s Villages, but sent me away with my arms laden down with chocolate and other goodies for the road as well! A very lovely lady indeed. 🙂

My departure from Guysborough was misty, but thankfully dry, and certainly still beautiful…

Playing with the newly-discovered soft focus feature on my camera as I made my way towards the Canso causeway and Cape Breton island (that’s Cape Breton in the background…)

Making patchwork quilts is extremely popular in Canada, but this was the first time I’d seen a patchwork truck!

Sign seen in Sydney: Canadians definitely have a wonderfully well-developed sense of the silly 🙂

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