Canada Day 59-62: Riding Little Current to Lion’s Head, Owen Sound, Barrie and Toronto

Day 59 Riding Little Current to Lion’s Head

Today was my 27th birthday and I was expecting a nice and easy ride, with a pleasant ferry ride in the middle where I could relax and enjoy some treats from the bakery. Unfortunately there was a strong headwind and plenty of rain, which really dampened my spirit. Luckily my new friend Jenna was there to set the pace and make sure we didn’t miss the ferry, plus it was mentally easier to follow another cyclist rather than lead.

We made it to the ferry with half an hour to spare and stood in line with the other cars as they queued to board. We were both completely saturated, but at least we had a few hours to dry off and rest on the ferry. A guy named Jason chatted to us for a while and ended up buying us lunch at the brewery in Tobermory. A free steak definitely lifted my spirits and gave me the energy to push through the last 49km to our hostel.

The Bruce Peninsula is exceptionally beautiful, but also obscenely expensive, which is why we ventured further to stay at Fitz’s Hostel. It was easily the nicest hostel I’ve experienced in Canada and we were able wash our wet and smelly clothes and score some free food from the kitchen. I was completely exhausted after the long day and slept like a log.

Day 60 Riding Lion’s Head to Owen Sound

Today’s ride was much easier by comparison, I slept in late, cleaned my bike and had a waffle breakfast before slowly riding to Owen Sound. After riding with the bike gang for the past few days, it felt strange to ride alone, but I kept myself busy with some podcasts from “Stuff You Should Know”. The path was quite pleasant, I mostly deviated from the main highway and had some decent tailwinds to help me out.

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The waterfront part at the end was really lovely and there was a folk festival in the city over the weekend too. I stayed with Carlo, a warmshowers host who is also a police officer and hung out with his two kids, which was really fun. We watched cartoons, youtube videos and went on an ice cream run, essentially my ideal activities for most nights of the week.

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The mural outside a nearby Mexican place

 

Day 61 Riding Owen Sound to Barrie

For today’s ride, I was optimistic and hoped the rain would hold off until the afternoon, but instead it started raining within the first 500m, while I was halfway up a hill. The wet weather ruled out the gravel trail, but a strong tailwind pushed me through most of the journey.

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I took a long lunch break at the halfway point and waited for the rest of the rain to pass before continuing. The last section was difficult with a lot more traffic and hardly any road shoulder. I had my first near miss when a truck tried to avoid rear ending a car and nearly veered directly into my path. It freaked me out a bit, mainly because there wasn’t anything I could have done to avoid it and it could have easily been a “wrong place, wrong time” sort of accident.

I eventually made it to Barrie and stayed with a lovely Couchsurfing couple who had everything ready for me when I arrived. They took me to Barnstormer, a local micro brewery, where they had amazing pizzas with loads of toppings. I was stuffed by the end of it and they took me on a tour of Barrie to walk it off. The waterfront is very lovely and has lots of cycle paths and nice playgrounds, which were readily used by locals enjoying the last few weeks of summer holidays. My long day cycling took its toll on me and I fell asleep soon after getting back home. Luckily for me I had one more ride before a nice and long rest break.

Day 62 Riding Barrie to Toronto

I was feeling a bit nervous on the road, after my near miss yesterday, so I decided to ride to Aurora and catch the train for the last leg of the journey into Toronto. The side roads were still packed with cars, probably returning to Toronto after a nice weekend away. From Bradbury onward there was a lovely stretch of greenways designed for cyclists and pedestrians, complete with signage, benches and other facilities along the way.

Arriving in Toronto was a nice relief, considering I hadn’t had a long break since Calgary, over 3400km ago. I was staying with Wanda, another tourer that I met in Montreal River Harbour and coincidentally again in Massey and Little Current. She has cycled across Canada by completing each section with different cyclists and family members and she’s also an avid traveler too. I really enjoyed chatting with her and I found it inspiring how she pursues her interests and shares so much compassion and generosity through her community and lifestyle.

Toronto is such a big city, so I’ll do my best to explore and recharge for the last leg to Montreal. Reaching this milestone was such a relief because I knew all the hard rides were behind me and the finish line was within my reach.

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