2009 Canada

Tour 2009 Canada, Montreal – Vancouver
Travel Solidarietà per l’Abruzzo

starting date: 25th July 2009, Montreal
arrival date: 29th August 2009, Vancouver
across: Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia
distance covered (km): 5.250
average speed (h): 20.5km/h
total cycling time: 258 h
pedal strokes: 1.006.200
bycicles: Tandem azzurro, Maiocchi
stops: 31
flat tires: 11
broken spokes: 21

postcards sent: 450
charity organisation: CRIAQ, Croce Rossa Italiana – L’Aquila, Abruzzo
amount devolved: 3.000€

Watch our videos on mi&ti Onlus youtube channel.

Here is a quick summary of our trip:

When I turned 50 I dreamed of celebrating with a 6000km bike ride.
I initially thought of embarking on an adventurous coast to coast in the US, but Tiziano insisted that we went to experience the beatiful nature of Canada.
Canada it is, then!

So here we are again, pen and paper in hand, tracing lines on maps, putting together itineraries, evaluating what cities and lands to cross.

This journey was planned to be completed on a tandem, equipped as usual with all the necessary items to grant 5 weeks autonomy.

Our travel begins in Montreal and will end in Vancouver. We did plan relatively long stretches of an average over 190/200km, so that we could squeeze in some more free time to enjoy ourselves out in the wilderness.
We have seen and experience both lovely and scary things,  for instance three days in the challenge a black bear crossed the street right before our eyes. It was not the only time we saw one of thos really, we have spotted a fair amount of wild animals between moose, lynxes, eagles, herds of bisons, caribous, hawks and all sorts of coloured birds, marmots and so on. Every time it was an emotional sight to see.
All the people we met along the way made our journey heart-warming. We talked to people on bikes, on foot, exchanged words and smiles, took pictures with strangers and just generally received such an overwhelmingly encouraging energy that really pushed us through the difficult times.
We managed to give away a lot of postcards, traded t-shirts, spent lovely nights with newly made friends and heard a lot of “Have a good way!”, “Bon courage! Bye Bye!”
Riding right by the Majestic Lake Superior, the forests, the endless sunflower fields, corn fields, soy cultivations… a true rainbow of colors and a real triumph of natural scents.
The road never seemed to end, rettilinei a perdita d’occhio e salite infinite.
Montreal, Ottawa, Michipocoten, Thunder Bay where we meet the honorary consul and his wife Maria Lachimea, who invites us to join them on an evening out.
In Thunder Bay there is a statue representing Terry Fox, a young man who lost his fight against cancer in 1981, who at the early age of 18 lost a leg to the disease but walked 5300km between Canada and United States until reaching Thunder Bay, where his journey ended due to a significant worsening of his conditions.
We hop back on our bycicles and reach Winnipeg, Regina, Redcliff, Calgary where we visit the Olympic Park and then Lake Louise, surrounded by the Rocky Mountains.
At that point we are roughly 1000km away from Vancouver, cycling in the middle of nowhere along a countryside road and hoping to come up with a solution for the night, when suddendly a huge, white building appears before us: a hotel. Now, that is luck!

Two friendly looking chaps approach us pointing at the Italian flags on our bikes. Turn out they are Italians retired expats, who have been living in Canada for long time, named Pietro e Giovanni. Turns out also they have really toured around Canada, together with a group of friends. They have plenty of curiosity to satisfy about us, they escort us to our rooms carrying our bags and give us an appointment for dinner. The following morning we have breakfast all together, exchange numbers and decide to meet again with Pietro and his wife in Vancouver, where they live. Every promise is a debt, so we do meet again and enjoy a party thrown in our honor with a delicious dinner. The following day they wouldn’t be home, so to our great surprise they handed us the keys saying. “We won’t be home tomorrow, help yourself, the fridge is full”. Those were the farewell words by Pietro e Lucille, two amazing people met on a random day out biking in Canada.

This is definitely one of the things I love the most about our journeys, the genuinity of special encounters that turns into long lasting friendships.

Milena, di mi&ti