Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Keep The Rubber Side Down!

Location: Williams Lake, BC, Canada
Waking in our tent in Clinton we discussed the best method to get packed up and gone without offering ourselves up as the breakfast buffet for the hoards of skeets on and around our tent. We got dressed in our cycling garb, put our pyjama bottoms back on over the top so our legs were covered and tucked them into our socks. We put our raincoats and head nets on, tucked the nets in, put up our hoods and put on our biking gloves. Having packed everything inside the tent we exited our safe zone in our protective gear, said goodbye to Shelley and David and packed the tent and loaded the bikes as fast as we could. We left without breakfast, stopping briefly at the road to take our pjs, coats and head nets off.

We had probably only got a couple of miles down the road when we had a little incident. As usual Tom was riding in front and as is often the case I was close behind him so we can have a conversation. Occasionally I get too close and my front right pannier rubs against Tom's rear left one. We often make a joke about "rubbing's racing" a quote from the classic Tom Cruise film Days of Thunder. It freaked me out the first time it happened, but it's harmless and so I've stopped being too worried about it. Unfortunately it was obviously just trying to lull me into a false sense of security as on this occasion it caused my bike to veer wildly towards the road, I think I then overcompensated to stop myself going into traffic and while trying to unclip my foot toppled the bike over to the right. The bike came to a stop & flung me from it down the short embankment into the ditch. This whole sorry episode lasted only a few seconds in which I managed to bleat out "oh f@&k" about five times and poor Tom thought I'd been clipped by a passing car. My helmet-clad head got flung about a fair bit and I remember thinking that's the second time in less than a week I've whacked my bonce! As soon as I came to a halt in the grass I stopped swearing and exclaimed "I'm ok, I'm ok" so as not to worry Tom any longer than necessary. He was quickly at my side, slowly helping me up and we started to check over my bike. It looked fine, hurray! But my back right Ortlieb had taken the brunt of it and I'd managed to snap one of the clips that attaches it to the rack clean off. After a little faffing around with the spare bungees we'd been given way back in Wilson, WY, we were back on the move. I was a little shaken, with a bit of road rash on my right leg, but otherwise mostly just annoyed at myself.

We stopped at 70 Mile House for coffee and shared some French toast. Chatting with the owner/cook/waitress we mentioned how much we liked B.C. and she promptly asked if we wanted to buy the business. Slightly taken aback we took her card and left with food for thought. We chatted as we rode about what it might be like to own a restaurant and motel in the area and if we thought we could make it work. I don't remember all that much about the ride from there to 100 Mile House except getting an escort through a long stretch of road works which we really appreciated and cycling past our first Canadian summit sign for Begbie Summit. We had lunch at the Visitor Centre at 100 Mile, making use of their wifi and toilets, before continuing on to Lac Le Hache Provincial Park. We rode just shy of 70 miles that day, but having arrived in the park we rode around some more to scope out a good site that was hopefully not mosquito infested. 

We decided on a spot when we noticed another loaded touring bike on the site behind and went to say hello. Lucy turned out to be a Canadian Environmental Engineering student using her summer holiday to ride around some of the more remote bits of B.C. and invited us to share her campsite and split the fee. We spent the next few hours trading stories, advice and experiences before the mozzies became unbearable to Tom and I and whilst Lucy braved a walk to the lake we retreated to the tent. After chatting with some other fellow campers in the morning we all rode off together and said our goodbyes at the highway. Lucy was headed to Williams Lake along the highway that day and we were going to check out the lake before taking the back road past Williams Lake to a spot on the map called Marguerite. Having looked at the lake we headed off in search of our dirt road and easily found our turn off. The pavement abruptly stopped and turned to a steeply rising dirt and gravel track. It was hard going and rough and caused me quite a lot of pain. Though I thought I'd got away unscathed from my little tumble I had woken up with stiff, aching neck and shoulders and a headache; basically I think I'd given myself minor whiplash. Nervous after coming off I did not have the mental toughness to cope with this terrain and yet although I was feeling pretty pathetic I didn't want to admit defeat. Thankfully Tom realised this was not a good route for us today and said we should head back to the highway.

The ride to Williams Lake was only about 30 miles, but we stopped a number of times as my neck, shoulders and head were causing me considerable discomfort and we decided to call it a day and camp there rather than pushing on. We bumped into Lucy again outside the grocery store and headed to the campground together. Once we put the tent up I crashed out while Tom headed off to the bike shop to try to fix the Ortlieb. Red Shred's were very amenable, taking the handle/clip off one of the bags in the store which they would order a replacement for and so for 15 Canadian bucks we had a fully functioning bag again. Stopping after so few miles meant we would have two long days ahead of us to get to our Warm Showers' host's place in Prince George on Monday, but I definitely needed the rest and the following morning was feeling much better and far more able to cope with what the day may have in store.


  1. Like the headgear Sophie, just timed nicely for Royal Ascot, it would turn a few heads..Mr P

  2. Glad your ok Sophie! Still sounds like an amazing adventure despite bumps and tumbles. So glad you are still meeting lovely people on the way :)