Week 23 Montmagny to Halifax

Day 156

Almost a perfect day…

We started out into a great tailwind and flew up alongside the St Lawrence River. Treating ourselves especially to a McDonald’s second breakfast 40miles in before being blown up river to Riviere du Loup.

The rain clouds were in front of us and the big skies in Canada were apparent as we watched the fronts blow through but stayed dry and mostly in the sunshine ourselves.
The villages and lakeside houses were picturesque and interspersed with farms of dairy and agriculture with large grain towers.

We turned 90degrees and Riviere and thought our luck was in as the wind followed us to help us up a steady climb.  Feeling pleased with ourselves nearing the top we felt sure we had a plan set to get to Halifax and the next 5 days.  Freewheeling at the beginning of the descent we weren’t even too put out by a set of roadworks ahead… until we started to peddle and nothing happened!!

We’re not going into detail here as we have some options and Stevie is working his mechanical magic but we had a good few miles on foot and we’re very grateful of a descent down to tonight’s accommodation!  Down jackets went on and we stayed calm in  the face of potential disaster and made a plan.  These are the sort of things we have contingency for but we don’t miss another flight and can stay on track…

We will let you know if we need help from the World Wide Web but please bear with us while we figure out what is still possible…

Day 157

It doesn’t seem like just 24 hours since we were trying to figure out what to tell you lot after a rather nerve wracking evening…

Pleas for help went out left, right and centre to contacts in Canada and we are so grateful to everyone that has offered help.  Stevie got his tools out to see what the damage was… as a few of you guessed we had a problem with the freehub not engaging and investigation revealed 3 out of 4 of the springs that support the pawls had broken and it was a bit of a mess.

If that sounds like gibberish to you, simply the freehub is the thing that let’s you freewheel where the wheel spins and the pedals don’t.  If it breaks the opposite happens… you spin the pedals but they don’t spin the wheel!!

Our only hope was to clean it all up and wait for the hardware shop to open to get some decent grease and hope the pawls could then stay in place with centrifugal force until we get to Halifax and source a new freehub in the meantime.  Laura got to work on this waiting for the hardware store to open and then in the backseat getting rather cold fingers sending message after message out.  Did you know Lisbon has a Bromptom specific bike shop?

Pete at the tandem shop had one on standby for Europe but amazingly we then got a message from Mark to say Hope International were flying one out for us!! What an amazing result and massive reassurance!!

Feeling exhausted already from all the stress, the bike was holding up well and we still had a day’s ride to get done.  Sticking to the highway we had some tailwinds but felt tired, if very relieved.

Now we thought all we had to do was get to Halifax…

… and then we got another message from @cycle.touringlife making us aware the bad weather for Saturday is actual a hurricane… she’s called Nicole…

It’s definitely not over yet..

Day 158

The freehub has arrived in Halifax!!
Cannot thank Hope International, NRG Enterprises and Mark enough!

But we will need to get there…and Nicole is still heading our way for the 12th!

It’s not been an easy day either as although the wind is behind us it’s a freezing Northerly and has got to be one of the coldest days in Canada despite beautiful sunshine.  Following the river we opted to get off the main road today which reduced the elevation but got a bit interesting when we ended up pushing over a swaying suspension walking bridge!! Stevie had his suspicions but the road opened up again bit we still road past sunset.  Missing the turn to Fredericton cost us an extra hill and freezing cold by the time we got to the shop Laura warmed her hands up in the roast chicken cabinet before doing the routine supermarket raid for dinner, breakfast and snacks.

Another suspension bridge to our motel but thankfully rideable this time and we piled in and cranked the heating up!

Going for more distance tomorrow we are hoping to beat the worse of the impending storm but we’re still hoping the tandem holds out until we collect the freehub too…it’s a race to the line again!

Day 159

We weren’t best pleased to wake up to rain that hadn’t been forecast this morning…but at least it wasnt snow!
It was certainly cold enough to start and with the wind on our backs Laura soon was rather chilly on the rear.

More layers on and a few climbs to warm up but we skipped the last Tim Hortons until Moncton as it was a bit too early for our morning stop.  Riding off into the wilderness (or so it seemed) again the road was lined with endless birches and not of the best quality. Taking a break at a quaint village store which definitely sold everything (apart from new freehubs…) we snacked standing up before pushing on.  Not the easiest ride and although Stevie it was “downhill to Moncton” on the profile this didn’t seem to transpire.

A tough day… but another big milestone: 16,000miles!!

The race to Halifax before Nicole gets her way is still on!!

Day 160

A rather colourful start from the surprisingly colourful city of Monkton and we were soon in our last province in Canada: Nova Scotia. With seemingly more English place names (Truro, Oxford, Colchester) some rolling terrain led down to the coast and essentially the other side of Canada!

We are feeling particularly tired and groggy for some reason though but a picturesque stop and some good snacks from last night’s leftovers cheered us up a bit. Stevie wasn’t impressed by the lack of a bench and it would be the second day in a row without sitting down all day.

Pressing along the coast we finally turned South and up and over Folly Mountain, which was thankfully less dramatic than the rockies. It was still a long day though and we rode through our last stunning sunset in Canada. Laura got the Disney on for the last stint and we made good progress to Truro leaving what would be a very reasonable distance to the airport tomorrow.

But we have had the calm before the storm today and Nicole is still on her way tomorrow so it will certainly not be an easy ride in!

Day 161

We could hear the rain pounding on the motel window before we got up, coming in waves and making the prospect of a bike ride less appealing!

But we slowly packed up and wrapped up and got on the bike. It was wet and dreary and expected and the headwind made for slow progress, but every peddle turn was closer to the end of Canada.

Finally the airport came into sight but we had an agonising loop around 3 sides of it to get to the hotel.

Getting into the nicest hotel room in weeks the tandem was safely stored in an office and we set about doing laundry and catching up on admin.

Soon we had a very important vistor- Mark from Tamarack cycles had arrived with the new freehub from NRG Enterprises and Hope International!! We still can’t believe the fantastic assistance we’ve had from these guys and also that the broken one had survived 500miles on centrifuge alone!

He had also brought beers and we had a freak chat about all things cycling and long/ultra-distance.

Next up was Dominic from Cycle Touring Life who was not only dropping off the all important boxes for the flight but also took us out for dinner with his lovely wife Clare. Dominic was the first sponsor to get behind us and his Erro panniers and the Woho bike packing gear he has sourced have been amazing!! Not to mention bailing us out in Malaysia when two of the panniers were destroyed.

It felt completely surreal to have a “normal” evening out and a fantastic end to the vast leg that has been Canada.

We can’t thank all those that have helped so much here enough!!


Weekly mileage: 617 miles

Total mileage: 16188 miles

Punctures: 0

New freehub:1 and continents left: 1

Pizzas: 1

3 thoughts on “Week 23 Montmagny to Halifax

  1. Hi Stevie and Laura, thanks for the update, I was worried that you might have been caught in the Hurricane Nicole. Mostly they lash the costal areas and that’s were you were headed for.
    So glad for all the help with your mechanical.
    So now are you off for the UK and then the Brandenburg Gate, will that be your finish point?
    Stay safe my friends

    1. Hi Jim, it’s been technical problems with WordPress not Nicole that caused the delay this week- sorry about that! We are now in Spain, having been through Portugal, and then France, Belgium, Holland and back to Berlin! The Brandenberg Gate is our finish point on 1st December (hopefully! ) and we return the the UK (not on the bike!) after that.

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