Week 22 Mactier to Montmagny

Day 149

Feeling slightly guilty putting on 2 pairs of sock, a pair of shoes and then shoe covers in front on Barefoot Sue’s wonderfully healthy bare feet we set out into a very reasonable temperature this morning. 

Beautiful  scenery again alongside lakes and with Autumn colours lingering on.  Halloween is a big deal here and loads of houses have fantastically scary displays and we hoped we didn’t looking part of the scene as two tandem riding zombies.
A brief stop for coffee and cake and we made the decision (against good advice) to take the more major roads to try and go a bit easier on a niggly knee Stevie has.  The roads weren’t awful but certainly less scenic and it then started to rain too making for a rather dull afternoon.
Headwinds took the wind out of our sails a bit and spme rolling hills slowed us down at the end.  It was just getting dark when we heard cheers from the road and we’re delighted to have such a reception at our accommodation for the night.

Andrea and Stephen are not only tandem riders but also audax randonners so very experienced in the need so soggy tired cyclists and have actually been following our escapades since we rode Lands End John O’Groats in 2020.  We had a great evening swapping cycling stories and a whole load of freshly laundered clothes to look forward to for the morning!

Day 150

Wow…150…we can’t really believe it!

Having been fantastically set up with full bellies and clean clothes from Andrea and Stephens we set off into mist again bit it was much warmer now.  Some steep short hills to start with soon woke the legs up but a scenic route full of Autumn colours had been suggested by Andrea to help keep us off the busier highways. Dodging wild turkeys and little black squirrels carrying nuts as big as their heads we made and early stop at a bakery.

We had the usual chat (where are you from? Where are you going? What will you do when it snows.?…) at the bakery we stepped out to find two other cyclists admiring the tandem.  Jim and Mary were the  only ones to brave the forecast of rain on their group cycle ride but had got lucky with the weather abd were delighted to meet us.  They took the photo of us and our details and have tracked us down online and it’s fascinato hear Jim has also ridden the length of Canada!
We had a lakeside ride into Belleville and back into motels after a few nights of wonderful hospitality.

Not the most exciting of days…apart from WE’VE ONLY BLOOMING RIDDEN 15,000MILES!!

Day 151

A beautiful dawn start in Belleville and it was certainly a beautiful town.  This set the scene for the day with countryside interspersed with lakes and woodland and little villages and towns to break it up.  For the first time in a long time the weather felt spot on: not too cold or hot, not to humidity or dry, light winds (albeit in front) and just blooming pleasant.

This made for a rather leisurely first garage stop but gave us the motivation to push on.
A quick bit of cold pizza on the side of the road and Laura scoured the undergrowth carefully having found out the sore itchy rash on her “upper thighs” was likely caused by contact with poison ivy! Unlike to UK ivy the plant here has can cause almost burn like sores due to the highly irritant sap and more worried about bears in the bushes Laura must have squatted unaware!!!

A safe washroom and a quick drink at Westport set us up to ride into the sunset with the road flattening out again after a series of undulations.  Near the outskirts of Ottawa and ready to ride through tomorrow.

Day 152

Do you need a can opener for your worms…?

Most of the challenges on this record attempt aren’t physical…unless it’s trying to access Canadian canned goods! The beer bottles are great- easy twist caps (as you may be astounded to know we didn’t bring a bottle opener!) but cans are another matter…barely any ring pulls!
Now after the third or fourth near miss of finger amputation opening cans with the multi-tool you might have thought Laura would remember to check before purchase but when faced with a wonderful array of cylindrical foodstuffs it’s not always easy to focus on how you will access them!

Last night was the last straw and having wandered the whole supermarket Laura found herself in the cooking utensils aisle with a sealed can of baked beans…a can opener was purchased!

Considering Stevie has trimmed down spanners and weighed tooling by the gram prior to the trip it was not surprise he was not impressed. A discussion this morning and it was left in the motel…and then retrieved…to live in Stevie’s back pocket, assumabley to constantly remind Laura of her folly!

It travelled through countryside turning to town to city as we approached Otttawa and was whisked along a beautiful bike path along the riverside before crossing the bridge into Quebec.  Peering past it Laura got views of the parliament buildings of Canada on the far banks of the river.  It got warmer and the bouncy roads and removal of layers failed to displace the can opener as we traced the river East.  It is very much a French province now with all the signs in French and a different feel to the culture.  Eventually the roads settled down and we did too after so much city work, just catching a glorious sunset as we crossed back into Ontario for tonight’s motel.

And it is just as well the can opener came along for the ride as there turned out to be no less than four cans to open for dinner!! ( Guess who does the shopping! )

Day 153

A late start…but with good reason! Stevie took the opportunity of a spacious motel room to put on the last cassette of the trip and change out the chain and jockey wheels to, giving SteLa the Java a much needed spruce up at the same time!

We set out into glorious sunshine and the heat kept rising as we shed layer after layer of clothing, no expecting a +30’c shift for a few weeks ago! Soon waving goodbye to Ontario we were now in Quebec proper and the weather added to the strange feeling we were on holiday in France! ( I assume you lot are checking the tracker to make sure we aren’t).

With good weather and the wind due to come behind us we made the decision to push for a full day distance and booked the motel at our first stop, accepting we may be a bit late.

We moved from countryside with dairy farms and tall grain stores to suburbia along the river banks and passed a huge hydro power plant.  Trying to pick smooth and speedy roads was challenging and we edged closer to Montreal. The light faded all too soon and we crossed the massive Jacques Cartier bridge over the river in the dark with the skyscrapers of the city shinning below.  It was slow going on the way out with horrendous potholes and lots of traffic lights but we finally made it through and to our motel, tired but very pleased with our progress on a “maintenance ” day!

Day 154

Another glorious day weatherwise! I’m sure we’ve earnt this somewhere in the monsoon…

A warm start and with  the wind behind us we winged our way alongside the river past quaint riverside houses and a massive power station on the far banks.

A break  at Tim Hortons is Louiseville took longer than planned as there seems a rather relaxed atmosphere to everything around here but we did have to novelty of seeing a young lad come in and order a batch of coffees before cycling off to deliver them on his bright red trike!

Diverting on a more Northerly course after Lousieville the scenery changed to dairy farms am agriculture with the maize field stubbly with the remains of the crop.  The forest encroached again as  we went North and another large hydro station at Shawinigan.  A flying descent down to the river was only diminished slightly by the climb up the other side.  It was even warmer by this point and Laura got down to short sleeves-a weird contrast to the Christmas decorations going up in the villages already.

Another sunset finish but with the clocks going back tonight this looks to be a permanent fixture of our rides now!

Day 155

Not such a sunny start from a rather unusual hotel (there could definitely be another ghost story in the making there…) the rain quickly caught up with us from the winds behind.  A quick pharmacy stop to top up on sudocream and toothpaste (not to be mixed up!!) we approached Quebec to cross back over the river on yet another massive bridge. 

It brightened up enough to get some views and the bridge felt rather unnervingly high up.  Another smaller one was more picturesque before we quickly ended up in countryside again.  A bit of a rolling ride for the rest ofnthe day before heading back down to the banks of the river with the wind blowing us in and drying us off.

Weekly distance 729 miles

Total distance 15571 miles

Punctures 0!

Pizza 4 😋

Tins opened by Tim the tin opener: 5

2 thoughts on “Week 22 Mactier to Montmagny

  1. Brilliant, it’s a bit late now but I used to carry an army ration pack can opener, pre ring pulls. It was a flat piece of alu and must have weighed half an ounce but did the job. I’ll send you one if I can get one. You’re both absolutely brilliant, thanks for sharing your adventures with us. Cheers Joe

  2. Thanks so much for your wonderful trip naration, Having cycled the area, Quebec and Atlantic Canada, its nice to hear your comments and descriptions. I have passed on your adventures to some friends that also are tandem riders and one who is a randaleaur rider. They we are happy for you both and you help us enjoy your trip from the armchair. Bless you both and we hope no flats or mechanicals.

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