Posts Tagged With: bike

We’re in the news!!!

OK, so the trip’s been over for a couple of weeks now. But we couldn’t help adding an extra post about our publication in the press! Here it is, our article in Adventure Cyclist magazine’s August issue!

Check it out right here !!

Categories: Cross-cutting | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Bye-bye Bikin’USA

Le compteur vélo s’est arrêté sur 15 808 km.
Après notre course contre la montre vers Vancouver, on a décidé de s’offrir quelques vacances avant de réapproviser nos vies belges. On a donc passé nos deux dernières semaines de voyage à faire ce qu’on adore : du vélo ! Les États-Unis nous ont rouvert les bras à coup de parades et de feux d’artifice pour le 4 juillet. Des montagnes de l’Olympe jusqu’ à Seattle, en passant par les îles San Juan, on est devenu maître des ferrys sous un soleil éclatant. Et après 10 mois à sillonner le pays, on a trouvé un petit paradis où il ferait bon revenir vivre. Peut-être que c’est ça l’effet de fin de voyage.

L’heure est donc aux au revoirs. Et comme on a le coeur un peu serré, on va commencer par ce dont il ne sera pas trop difficile de se séparer.
Bye-bye riz, purée, haricots noirs.
Bye-bye nuits froides sous la tente, à s’emmitouffler comme des chenilles dans leur cocon.
Bye-bye Google Maps qui nous envoie sur des chemins désaffectés.
Bye-bye les coups de pompes de fin de pique-nique.
Bye-bye les chaussures à cales et mon T-shirt rose.
Bye-bye la sensation de devoir sortir de la tente alors qu’on y est bien installé.
Bye-bye les moustiques abusant de ma vulnérabilité lorsque ma vessie appelle à être soulagée.
Bye-bye les 7 hamburgers pour 7 dollars du MacDo.
Bye-bye les montées infinissables à nous exploser les jambes.
Bye-bye les pneus plats de Dynamite.
Bye-bye ma radio qui crachote une fois qu’on s’éloigne trop des villes.
Bye-bye nos peaux toutes collantes lorsque les douches viennent à manquer et qu’on essaie de se glisser dans nos sacs de couchage.

Mais bye-bye aussi snickerdoodles, corn-dogs et cosmic brownies.
Bye-bye la surprise de découvrir où on logera ce soir.
… le bonheur de passer toutes nos journées à nous 2.
… la vie sans clé ni carte de fidélité.
… les montagnes, déserts, forêts et océans.
… les high five échangés avec des passants en rue.
… nos appétits d’ogre.
… les orques, alligators et armadillos croisés en bord de route.
… le sourire complice échangé avec les autres cyclistes.
… le plaisir de sentir le vent dans nos cheveux et les paysages défiler sous nos yeux.
… l’honneur d’être accueilli comme des rois par des inconnus.
Bye-bye… mais certainement pas adieu !

Categories: Cross-cutting, Northwest, Washington | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Dreams are made possible if you try

After Vancouver comes Vancouver. Another one, Vancouver Island this time. An island that calls itself the bicycle capital of Canada, and we were all to eager to explore.
After our first night of Mansion Camping (i.e. pitching your tent in the backyard of a mansion), we rode down the island on a designated bike trail all the way down to Victoria, the capital of British Columbia. We even got to endulge in a little sightseeing. And among the monuments that catch the eye, one of them stood out for us. A statue of Terry Fox, a kid who got diagnosed with bone cancer in his teens. After undergoing a first amputation, enduring and seeing the suffering of cancer patients, he decided to take a stand and run a Marathon for Hope across Canada. His plan was to run from the East coast of the country to the West, raising awareness, funds for research and hope for a cure. His race ended short in Ontario where his condition forced him to stop. He died shortly afterwards in 1981 at the age of 22. But as the moniument says, his legacy lives on.
When people ask us why we’re doing this, the answers always go something like “for adventure”, “to discover this beautiful area”, “to learn more about a country that’s part of our identity”. Terry’s journey was of a different kind. We took a moment to pay our respect to his inspiring story and remind ourselves of how fortunate we are. And that “dreams are made possible if you try”. 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Categories: British Columbia, Canada | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Race to the Wet Coast !

We had talked about our “end of the bike ride bucket list”. On that list, was to have some kind of an apotheosis, a Grand Finale for our bike ride.

So there we were one day, happily eating pancakes at a local restaurant. And all of a sudden, she says to me “How about we ride to Vancouver fast enough to make it for Canada Day, July 1st! We race to the coast, enjoy the parades and celebrate the end of our journey with fireworks!”. Sounds like fun, but how far is it? How fast do we have to ride?

After a brief map analysis, it turns out we’ve got over 700 km to go and about 1 week left before Canada Day. After 9 months of riding, it sounds like we could do it. The only problem, we found out later on, is British Columbia looks like a giant sheet of corrugated metal, with all the mountain ranges running North to South, ans dominant winds come from the West. It sounds like a challenge! Let’s do this!!!

And so the race began, with a couple of mountain passes each day, a Sasquatch, daunting headwinds, a rainy desert, provincial parks, mosquito attacks, and a century (100-mile ride) on the last day!

And we even got there a day early!

 

Categories: British Columbia, Canada | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Nelson’s Time Machine

2004. L’Euro entrait dans sa 3ème année de circulation, les diables rouges rêvaient de coupe du monde et je faisais ma rentrée en rhéto à 8000 km de mon collège bruxellois. Quelques mois plus tôt, dans le tram qui nous ramenait de l’école, une copine n’avait pas été longue à me convaincre à participer à un programme d’échange Belgique-Canada. A 17 ans, j’avais déjà passé le portique de 7 écoles (3 francophones, 2 flamandes et 2 américaines) et j’étais excitée à l’idée d’être parachutée pour 2 mois de l’autre côté de la terre. Débarquée en Colombie Britannique, j’ai suivi des cours de poterie, d’écriture et de camping. Ma famille d’accueil m’a appris à sauter dans les lacs, à prendre soin de chevaux et à cueillir des huckleberries. Et les deux mois ont filé comme un feu d’artifice.

10 ans de progrès technologique plus tard, la formule de la machine à remonter le temps a enfin été mise au point. Franchissez 14 000 km à vélo, traversez quelques nuées de moustiques assoiffés de sang, et le ferry du lac Kootenay vous débarquera dans une autre période de votre vie ! Quel bonheur de redécouvrir mes souvenirs d’adolescente et de les faire goûter à Jonathan ! Quel plaisir surtout de retrouver Judy, David et Nicklon, et de papoter sur skype avec Sylvie (qui étudie de l’autre côté du Canada, et c’est grand le Canada !). Les Okros nous ont une nouvelle fois accueillis comme des membres de la famille, et ont ensuite contacté leurs amis Ken et Sondra pour qu’ils nous hébergent 90 km plus loin. Ah, si la Maëlle de l’époque savait qu’elle reviendrait à Nelson, à vélo et avec l’homme de sa vie ! Ca lui aurait sans doute paru un peu trop beau pour être vrai !

Categories: British Columbia, Canada | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Over the 49th Parallel

It took us 9 months, but we made it past the border to another country! For the occasion, we were expecting (or rather hoping) for a ceremony, a speech, a stamp on our passport, heck, even a body search. Some kind of event showing us we changed country. But the passage over the 49th parallel couldn’t have been smoother. So Canada, here we were.

Now on the map, Canada already looks huge. And knowing it’s only 3 times the population of Belgium living in a country 330 times bigger… that leaves a lot of room for trees ! And riding through it, you get a real sense of the immensity of the land. Especially when you find out there’s only one road that can take you towards Vancouver. You know that one road sticking out on the map? That’s literally the only thing to ride on. Unless you want to take your chances in the mud on logging roads with the coyotes, bear, bobcats and cougars (at least that’s what our first encountered local told us).

So off we went, into British Columbia, the land of trees and lakes, or “The Best Place on Earth” as they put it on their signs. (Would modesty be a Canadian virtue ?)

Categories: British Columbia, Canada | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

A Biker Rides Through It

Aaah… Montana. Land of beautiful wilderness, big skies and fly-fishing-movie-stars. A relaxing and beautiful ride.Yet if we were time-warped to the area 150 years ago, the feeling would have been quite different.

We would have seen…

Legendary mountain men, those trappers struggling to make it rich before the beaver hat ran out of style.

Gold-prospecting pioneers being ambushed and robbed by corrupt sheriffs

Corrupt sheriffs being hanged by vigilantes in the lawless frontier land.

Nez Perce tribes being chased and massacred by US troops in one of the dark pages of American history.

We would have seen all that and more.

But Montana, luckily, is not too fiercely stuck in the past. It’s turned to the future. And as we know the future is bikes. Montana is indeed home to the headquarters of the Adventure Cycling Association, authors of the maps we’ve been following throughout the country. Stopping there was a milestone of our journey, as we got the chance to discuss our trip, eat free ice cream and go for a little photo shoot with Dynamite and Fireworks! What’s not to love!

Categories: Montana, Rockies | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Forever Wind

– “Well, you’ll see, Wyoming is a really nice place to live… If you can tolerate the isolation. And the long winters. And the hot summers… And the wind”

– “Oh it gets windy around here?”

– “Hahaha! Did you hear that, dear? He asked if it gets windy around here!! You’ll see…”

As if the words of our first host in the state weren’t warning enough, in the “Climate” section of our Wyoming cycling map, you could read the following: “Winds in Wyoming basin easily blow 40 to 60 mph. What’s worse, conditions can change randomly, so expect it to blow in your face at all time. Expect to whimper and struggle all the way through your ride. It’s gonna hurt”.

OK, it maybe didn’t exactly say that. But that was pretty much the point.

The state motto of Wyoming – forever West – should be corrected.

We had to face it. We needed help. So we joined forces with another group of cross-country cyclists! As a pack of 6 (a.k.a. The 6-pack), we found strength and supported each other through a couple of gruesome days.

Our tracks took us along the paths followed by persecution-fleeing-Mormons, Gold-Rushing-49ers, and Trail-Blazing-Explorers. After all, it’s the only way to go West avoiding the high Rocky mountain passes and finding reliable sources of water & grass for the cattle. But I guess explorers mostly saw the state as somewhere to go through, not to stay. In a state the size of the UK, there are more antelopes than people. With a mere 572,000 people, Wyoming is the least populated state of the country.

Although the journey must have been desolate and rough for the early explorers, we must admit times have made things more enjoyable for us bike travelers. For us, crossing the state was a ride punctuated by strawberry-peach pie & ice cream, otter pops with firemen around a bonfire, and a night in a tipi! And guess what reward awaits when you’re done crossing the Wyoming basin…

 

Categories: Rockies, Wyoming | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Mir’Arches

Déjà 13 jours depuis notre départ de St George, et toujours aucun McDonald à l’horizon. Etions-nous bien toujours aux States ? Le Grand Ouest Américain est clairement une contrée à part. On pensait commencer à maîtriser le désert. Les 5 litres de réserves d’eau avaient trouvé leur place sur chaque vélo (en bouteille de 50 cl, ça permet d’être vraiment encombré lors des remplissages aux stations d’essence, à chacun son carburant). On avait trouvé le noeud parfait pour fixer la tente à de grosses pierres (adieu l’idée d’enfoncer les sardines, le sol étant plus dur que nos selles de vélo). On savait se passer d’une connexion internet et téléphone plusieurs jours d’affilée (l’absence d’ondes fm laissant malheureusement ma petite radio bien silencieuse). On commençait même à voir de beaux cocotiers s’élever aux bords d’oasis verdoyant … non, ça on laisse à Dupond et Dupont, nos chers casques protégeant nos petites têtes de toute surchauffe.

Enfin, c’est ce qu’on pensait avant de voir des bateaux nous dépasser en plein désert, de faire la course avec Flash McQueen, et de tomber nez-à-nez avec les parents de Seb, un ami de Bruxelles. Mais le plus grand des mirages nous attendait une fois de plus en plein coeur de parc national : de fabuleuses arches s’élevant de nulle part, prêtes à faire chavirer la tête de tout randonneur osant s’aventurer sous elles … L’illusion était alors parfaite. Et pour redescendre sur terre, rien de mieux qu’un bon jet d’arrosage nocturne, carchérisant la toile de la tente. S’endormir sur une pelouse bien verte en plein désert ? Faut pas rêver quand même ! Ou alors rêver de gros pick-ups tractant des bateaux, se préparant à naviguer dans l’un des lacs formés par les barrages du Colorado…

Categories: Southwest - Part II, Utah | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

In a Parallel Universe

What if things had gone the other way around? What if, instead of moving to Belgium, my dad had convinced my mom to come live in the US with him?
Would we have gone for a 10 month bike tour around the Land of Chocolate, Beer and Fries? Would we have spent our childhood summer vacations in the luscious beach town of Blankenberge eating speculoos ice cream and riding a cuistax? Unfortunately, some questions will remain unanswered. But by riding to the San Francisco Bay Area, we did get a little glimpse of what life could have been. Because that’s where my dad’s college friends all moved to.

So as we connected the dots between each one of them, we sewed the fabric of my life in a parallel universe. In a nutshell, we would have lived by the Pacific, gone for walks among the redwoods, commuted across the Golden Gate bridge, rooted for the San Jose Sharks and eaten artichoke soups!

But who am I kidding, my dad was too much of an East coast guy, anyway.
So thanks Chris, Jan, Bob, Gail, Aaron, Mackensie, John, Kathleen and Caitlyn for the great time and giving us a flavor my parallel life!

Categories: California, Pacific | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.