Canada Day 37-40: Riding Kola to Brandon, High Bluff and Winnipeg plus Rest Day

Day 37 Riding Kola to Brandon

Today’s ride wasn’t too interesting, but I was staying at a really nice airbnb place, where I could put me feet up and relax for a bit. After I arrived, I went on a bit of an adventure to find groceries, it ended up being a 15 block walk each way, but it was worth it to find more of the coconut and cashew chocolate. I fetched dinner on the way and had some tofu at a Japanese restaurant, just to get a reminder of my Japan tour, which I was starting to miss. I was feeling pretty exhausted, I had completed 10 out of 12 consecutive rides to reach Winnipeg and I was almost there.

Day 38 Riding Brandon to High Bluff

It was a long day and at the half way point I met a fellow cyclist from Quebec, named Serge, who was staying with the same Warmshowers host in High Bluff.

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The heat was exhausting and I stopped in Portage La Prairie for a slushie and some shade. It was painful to hop back on the bike for another 14km, but once I arrived in High Bluff and saw the beautiful home, I knew it was worth the extra effort. Marvin and Darlene built the house 16 years ago and it has enough space for their kids and 10 grandkids too. After a much needed shower, some laundry and some BBQ’d burgers for dinner, we relaxed in the lounge room and pitted some cherries for some homemade jam. I was rewarded for my efforts with some delicious cookie sandwiches, which I will definitely be making when I get back home.

Day 39 Riding High Bluff to Winnipeg 

It was finally the last leg of my Calgary to Winnipeg sprint, adding up to 1383km and 73 hours across 12 days. As I got closer to town, I felt so excited and relieved that I could take a rest day. My Warmshowers host, Julius, also cycled across Japan and came across my entry in a guest book at a cafe between Osaka and Nara. Unfortunately he also broke his collarbone during his trip, after sliding on gravel while rolling downhill at 80km/hr.

In the evening we caught up with some of his friends, checked out a Fringe Festival show and had some chicken wings and pizza for dinner. I really enjoyed chatting to Julius, he’s so enthusiastic about cycling, he has five bikes, rides throughout the year (including -40 degrees Celsius winters) and thoroughly researches anything bike related.

Day 40 Rest Day, Exploring Winnipeg and Fringe Fest

In the morning I took care of some maintenance, swapping out my worn tyres and noticing a slipped spoke. Around noon, Julius came home from work and we had my bike spoke fixed at the bike shop nearby and rode to The Forks, a cool spot in town where the Red River meets the Assiniboine River. I had a go at riding the fat bike, which is like a bike with monster truck wheels and can easily tackle kerbs, gravel and stairs.

We went to another Fringe show, this time it was a show called Bike Face, a story about a woman who rode her bike across Canada. The subject matter was obviously interesting to both of us, but I learned that Bike Face was a term used in the late 19th Century to discourage women from cycling. It was too threatening for women to enjoy the freedom and independence of cycling, so some experts warned the public of risks that were associated with female cycling. The show was really funny and most of the audience were fellow cyclists too, you could tell because we all had our helmets and bike seats close at hand, to avoid having them stolen of course.

After watching some more live shows in the park, we headed back home and stayed up past midnight, just talking about bikes, travel and all sorts. At the very end, we had a group photo, so in case you’re wondering, in the photo below, my toy is the giant banana, like Wilson the volleyball from Cast Away. I got him in Penang 7 years ago and he goes with me wherever I travel, usually sitting on the back of my bike. Julius also collects toys from different trips, so it was cute to have a photo of all of them together. Eventually it was bedtime and got ready for the next week of cycling.

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