Enfin

Hi there, first contact with internet for 7 days (we have been cycling on gravel roads in the middle of nowhere and camping in the wild most of the time). Everything is absolutely amazing. We are at the foot of the Rockies after having done more than 600 kilometres (400 miles). You will have a very detailed update in the next couple of days, we promise and we can tell you there are some good stories coming…. Hope everyone is in good mood. Take care.

EDIT (mumu) I put the translation of the french post that “LTonton” (the uncle of the two heroes) kindly did

We apologize for giving no news but till today, we had very few contacts with civilisation. This first week was an opportunity to give us an idea what next two months will be like. We cycled on highways, pedalled up sandy tracks, crossed rivers and saw the wonderful landscapes of British Columbia. We’ll send photos and videos asap.

2nd July : Vancouver – Abbotsford, 90 km/h, average speed (avs) 19 km/h
Departure 10.30. Everybody recommends Lougheed Highway (very large speedway) to get out of Vancouver but we’re a bit scared planning it as we’re heavily loaded. Panic comes with the first ride : our front saddlebags are so loaded that any change in direction makes them swing and pushes the handlebars from left to right.. We find out that there’s a cycle lane on the highway, which is not that crowded after all, and that drivers do pay attention to cyclers. It’s not that bad ! First true fright : we have to cross over 2 highway lanes to reach our exit. Second fright : the shoulder suddenly disappears and we find ourselves on the right lane. Then, we’re kind of sandwiched between the 6 lanes of the Transcanadian and the 4 lanes of the Loughheed Highway (see here, right in the middle of the two highways). Third fright : on a bridge, the shoulder is 80 cm wide, cars drive at full speed and, at our low speed, handlebars shake like mad. The camping where we had planned to stay overnight being closed, we start again at 17.15 having ridden 75 km. We finally arrive at 19.00, after 90 km altogether. A camping resident, Nancy, kindly gives us buffalo burgers, pecan and strawberry tarts. We eagerly swallow the whole lot in fifteen minutes. We aren’t fully aware yet that this is the first day or our two and a half months tour.

3rd July : Abbotsford – Kettle Valley Railway Trail, 109 km, avs 19.7 km/h
We keep on heading East. At the end of the morning, we meet a couple : Emma, swedish, and Scott, American. Both practice competition raid (Scott was a member of the US team). We do not feel under pressure at all !… Luck, Scott is Environmental Economist and Jean can chat. The day ends on a disused railwail trail which crosses wonderful gorges and tunnels we cover in complete darkness. We finally find a nice place where to sleep, next to a river. We’ve entered the land of the bear and our sleep is lightened.

4th July : Kettle Valley Railway Trail, 48 km, avs 11km/h
Departure 12.30, very sunny… Hard job, right from the start : 6-8% slope on a soft sand track. Jean’s anti-bear water bottle keeps falling nonstop and, once we’re stuck, it’s rough getting started again because our tyres keep skidding in sand. At the end, we’ve climbed 200 meters but are exhausted. We start wondering what we’re here for. The rest of the day will be nothing but steep slopes, soft sand, gravels. In the afternoon, Scott and Emma start ahead while we fix again Jean’s water bottle on his bike. While trying to catch up with them, we pass two bear droppings on the track. Nicolas kindly laughs at Jean singing to keep bears away, but does starts singing together with him soon after seing the first dropping. We’ll have climbed 1400 meters this day . Tough ! …

5th July : Kettle Valley – Nicola Lake campsite, 98km, avs 18km/h
Departure 9.30. After riding a while on a track, where we crossed a river carrying our bikes, we leave Scott and Emma who will follow the Kettle Valley Railway Trail right to the end. Tired of this track, we get back on the highway at the speed of 40km/h with a nice rear wind. We leave the highway after a 4 km downward slope, which allowed Jean to reach 65km/h (Nicolas, wiser, didn’t exceed 57 km/h), to take a small road towards Merritt. It’s hot, we lack water, the road keeps sloping upwords almost nonstop, it’s hard… One of our smartest acceleration was due to a rottweiler running after us. Jean takes advantage of one of the rare downward slopes to improve his record at 67km/h. We reach Merritt to find a seedy town of 3000 inhabitants. Therefore we decide to ride another 20 km to camp on the shore of Nicola Lake. This portion of the road will take place at dusk, with no shoulder, and trucks driving inches away from us. Nicolas discovers an instrument measuring Jean’s stress : his speedometer. Jean cycles at the speed of 37 km/h, on flat ground, no rear wind, even though we have done 80 km. We go to sleep worn-out.

6th July : Nicola Lake campsite – Douglas Lake campsite, 52 km, avs 16km/h
A comparatively short, but exhausting day (dirt track again under a blazing sun). We spend the night on a lake shore after crossing an Indian reservation. Life’s beautiful.

7th July : Douglas Lake campsite – Salmon Arm, 94 km, avs 19.6 km/h
Departure 8.30. The track is OK and we feel like riding along. While going downhill at more than 50 km/h, quite busy avoiding potholes, Jean sees a big dog crossing the road and we slightly slow down to let it reach the other side. We do need a bit of time to realize that we’re seing our first bear. It’s not a slight breaking anymore but a panic skidding which follows. From then on, we use our bear horns at each bend. At the end of the track, we stop in a general shop to eat. Jean notices samples of cakes to taste on the desk. He tastes one of them.
“-How do you like it ?”
Jean, who finds it a bit tasteless answers evens so “-Mmmh , it’s good.”
“-It’s for dogs.”
We then decide to leave quickly
Nothing special about the afternoon ride, but we’re put up by an ex bear hunter. We enjoy his conversation and laugh when he says that his main game is to approach behind a bear that’s just finished hibernating and shout “Bouh !” to see it run away.

8th July: Salmon Arm – Three Valley, 95.6 km, avs 15.3 km/h
Departure : 7.15 after waking up at 6 am. After 50 km of tarmac till Mable Lake, we get on a track. It’s 11.30 and, not being at all aware of it, we start a 32 km climbing on a stony track, in the scorching heat. The 3 km ride downhill after the pass is pure happiness. We’re camping on a lake shore, mountains all around, alone. We’ve started a week ago, rode 587 km (most of it on tracks) and we do appreciate this very moment, proud of ourselves.

We’re approaching the Rocky Montains

9 comments

  1. mumu 3.41 am

    J’ai essayé de mettre tous les accents que Nico et Jean n’ont pu trouver sur leur clavier américain. Je m’excuse d’avance si il en manquait cependant encore quelques uns.
    Par ailleurs, ils n’ont pas eu le temps de faire une traduction de tout ça, donc si il se trouve parmi vous un volontaire, je me chargerai de mettre la version anglaise en ligne une fois qu’elle m’aura été envoyée (murielj *at* gmail.com).

  2. guiguilegrizzly 6.52 am

    Ouais pour camper je vous conseille vivement le black bear camping http://dephstars.free.fr/stock/RTNH/Julie_Babas_BlackBear.jpg ,
    faites gaffe!
    G.

  3. guiguilegrizzly 9.28 am

    Je suis déçu qu’on ne puise pas poster d’images sur votre blog…, sinon c’est vachement bien décrit, on capte bien l’amabiance pour nous autres, qui pédalons dans la semoule et non sur des pistes. Ca a l’air sympa, d’un jour à l’autre vous faites des distances variables avec des moyennes très différentes, attaquez pas trop fort kan même.
    Bon sinon là je suis cool mais au prochain post, si je ne vois pas de réponses à au moins l’un de mes comments, je vais vous envoyer les cousins que j’ai là-bas,
    bisous
    Guiguilegrizzly

  4. mumu 9.32 am

    Ben en fait si, ils peuvent poster des images. C’est juste que là ils avaient oublié de prendre le câble de transfert de l’appareil photo (si j’ai bien compris).

  5. henri 8.50 am

    Merci mumu pour la restranscription, et bon courage aux deux aventuriers ! Embrasse les de ma part !
    Vivement les photos !

  6. guiguilegrizzly 10.40 am

    En fait, c’est moi qui voulais poster des images dans mes comments,
    voilà à bientôt
    Guiguilegrizzly dit rhumcannelle

  7. mumu 10.44 am

    Ah oui, ben alors non dans ce cas là. Désolée. Mais ton lien marche très bien pour aller voir la photo.

  8. Rob 5.15 pm

    Fantastic to read your postings! Such adventure! As I read, I had beautiful images of the counrty and mountains that you have been cycling through.

    It’s great to here that all is going well, Nic and Jean! You haven’t mentioned anything about sore butts! So no problems there? And how about the tan line?!! Getting a strong school-girl tan?

    And how’s the cooking and food situation been? Are you eating tons? Carrying enough food?

    Well, my spirit is with you guys!

    Ride safe! Live life!

    Rob

  9. guiguilegrizzly 6.30 am

    J’ai trouvé un camping qui se trouve sur votre route et qui a l’air très sympa; en plus il a l’air réservé aux hommes en couple comme vous… ça peut peut-être le faire.
    http://gwardeath.free.fr/share/newbears.jpg
    Guiguilegrizzly dit nounours