On our feet

The road out of St. John's.


We got up at eight-ish and had some food, talked to the Austrian guy for while, and didn’t get away till right before eleven.
The highway out of St. Johns was fast and packed like they always are out of a bigger city, and the wind was hitting us from the front. At the 60 we did a hard right and went downhill through smaller communities like Woodstock and Topsail, eventually going through Conception Bay South and Holyrood. At the 90 which is called Salmonier Line, it was a right again past New Town and then we were back on the highway which was much quieter now but still two lanes a side and widely divided. The land-scape here is wide open and we could see for miles in each direction across the long emptiness of short trees and shallow water bodies. Google Earth it and you’ll see that everything in NL is either a pond [First Pond, North Pond, Old Man Pond] or a brook [Corner Brook, Middle Brook, Pynns Brook].

The hills of the Avalon Peninsula are very gracious, rising slowly and gently and descending with the same panache. We got some good taste of wind-effect on the heavily laden bikes [100 lbs per, we figured, including the bike’s own weight: approx 35-40 lbs with all the bells and whistles].

Its amazing the sway a stiff breeze can give. For me it was extra interesting while leaning low on the drops [the curved lower grips on the handlebars]. I’ve never had these before and it takes a sec to get used to them since your whole center of gravity takes on a new identity. When a semi drives by for instance, with the weight of the two panniers on the sides of the front wheel, you sometimes get the death-wobbles: your front wheel and handle bars begin to shake back and forth, not violently, but gradually more intensely. Its the same as when your riding a skate board with loose trucks down a steep hill and you begin to wobble back and forth till you lose your balance and smash your teeth out on the concrete. Johno had shown me a good trick of resting a knee gently against the top-tube to stop this but it still felt like dare-deviltry with the semis. The good thing about these big rigs going by is that they give you a nice little push. I’ve heard rumors of cyclists getting sucked under wheels by the pull but since I’m still alive I’ve written them off as groundless.

Perhaps it was on Avondale Access road that we stopped and turned off. There was a creek there and we headed up the secondary route and came through an old gravel quarry where machines and trucks were rusting on their axles. Up the way there was some kind of race track but we didn’t go that far.

It was becoming time to finds a campsite and I whacked through the bushes down to the water but it was very dense brush and the land that led up to the creek was to soft, bad for setting up a tent so we had to carry on.

A few Km before the turn to Brigus Junction we found a good spot near Brien’s Pond.

Tent, fire, food, sleep.

It was a bit of a weak start at 70K and Johno was talking about a pain in his knees. On my side there was the usual soreness that comes with new beginnings, but though my right knee had bugged me on the way up to Whistler it was doing okay. I’d felt the knee-cap slipping and sliding a bit and had been taking it slowly on easy gears while Johno had bashed on at racing speed, at least in the beginning.

One Comment to “On our feet”

  1. Interesting post. I see all the ponds in Newfoundland on Google Maps. I guess it was a bit cold there, but are those ponds good for swimming or are they marshy?

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