The art of hitchhiking and 2 flat tires

I am finding it difficult to write another post when I have barely gone 200 Kms since my last one. On the cycling side of things it has been more quiet but I guess the social and ultimate side are happening. Here is the map I have created in google detailing my route from Ottawa to Guelph

The maps are fairly good in terms of tracing my actual route. There are times when I took bike paths and not roads which was more difficult to illustrate but you can get the idea of how I travelled. You can find the Halifax to Ottawa map here.

My budget has also been updated, looks as though I am on target.

Pictures have also been added here.

Now that's a flat tire

Now that’s a flat tire

I have yet to hitchhike on this trip. The hitchhiking stories I am going to tell are from other years.

I always felt that our society had a lot of unused potential. My recent travels to Africa, where having 4 people on a motorcycle was commonplace, reinforced my opinion; particularly in the domain of transportation.

I feel that it is unfortunate that we are content to use so much energy to transport one person from one place to the next. I find that hitchhiking, much like this adventure, is a very interesting sociological experience. While you might have the money to take the bus, plane, or train nothing compares to the feeling of a driver putting on the brake lights and offering you a ride in a similar direction to that in which you are travelling.

The two seconds of eye contact that you make with your potential lift, as you stand on the side of the road holding up your sign and they size you up wondering if all those horror stories in the media are really true, it is one of the most interesting social experiences I have ever lived. I do not think there is a standard profile for someone who picks up hitchhikers. Young or old, male or female, singles or families, in one province or the next, I have had rides from them all. The one thing they all have in common is the willingness to break the societal norm and live something different.

My monologue on hitchiking is relevant because the team I played for at the Canadian Ultimate Championships last summer was based out of Waterloo and I was not, but now I am temporarily visiting.

I came out of my brief stint as a Fredericton resident last spring so that I could take a summer research position with the University of Toronto in Northern Ontario. The interesting thing about ultimate in Northern Ontario last summer was that North Bay was going to host two tournaments. The annual classic Northern Flights and Regionals. North Bay was only 6 hours by car South of where I was stationed in the forest. Hitching seemed like the most logical option for making the trip and twice I found myself participating in that interesting social experiment to get South so I could play some disc. From yelling about the politics of Northern Ontario to sitting in a family’s living room being asked for safety references the stories were worth every second of standing on the road with my thumb out waiting for that someone somewhere who was willing to take a chance.

Onto the present day story.

With my spirit sill spinning I left Mark’s house in Oshawa and rode along the shore of Lake Ontario into Toronto. I fell for the second time this trip in along the way. I think we are all aware of Toronto’s crack problems and I fell victim to one such hole and ended up going face first into the sidewalk. The gentleman sitting in his front yard located beside my unfortunate faceplant informed me that I was the second cyclist that day to fall because of the hole. He was nice enough to me, helping me pick up my bicycle which survived the tumble with only minor scrapes and bruises, however he was irate with the city. I guess someone should tell the mayor that there is a crack problem.

In Toronto I had the luxury of staying on the couch of Brendan and his girlfriend Steph. Brendan and I go way back to the canoe tripping days of Camp Hurontario and it was great to catch up with him again. My time in Toronto was spent logging some serious couch time and drinking beers with various friends in the city.

I wanted to make Hamilton my next stop and so I called on an old friend who I hadn’t seen since high school. Mary and I have known one another since we were 7 or 8 years old and despite our 7 year communication hiatus, she offered me her futon for the night. Hamilton is another city I am super glad I got the opportunity to visit and it is not quite what I would have expected, in a good way.

Now that's a flat tire

Now that’s a flat tire

The following morning Mary and I biked together along Hamilton’s beautiful Lakeshore pathway and we parted ways promising to do a better job of keeping in touch. The pride I had felt in the fact that I had not gotten any flat tires quickly evaporated early that morning when I felt the dreaded drag of low pressure in my rear tire. I fixed things up pretty quick and thought I would be good to go for the day. It was a feeling of dismay when, biking through Cambridge several hours later, my tire blew out completely.

This time my tire itself had split open and I was forced to turn to the foldable tire I had stashed in my paniers. In order to make it fit I had sacrificed one of my African suits and it was nice to see that it had justified the space I had given it.

I pulled into Kitchener to a darkening sky and a cold wind. I was staying with Dan and Kirk, two Waterloo touring ultimate players. That night Kirk and I made for a cold and wet Whiplash practice that featured some sideline shivering and a ton of burpees.

I got the opportunity to see all of the Whiplash players on the field Saturday for the one day Waterloo tournament, Mayday. I was playing with Too Bad a mens touring team based out of Toronto the same one I had played with 2 weeks prior at TUF. Too Bad ended up winning the tournament coming out on top in our final game against the 4th version of the Waterloo mens touring team, Maverick, we had faced that day.

Too Bad 2013 MayDay Open Champs, I'm the on with the beard (photo cred: Ed)

Too Bad 2013 MayDay Open Champs, I’m the on with the beard (photo cred: Ed)

Out of control night out in Waterloo

Out of control night out in Waterloo

Clearly I felt this was a cause for celebration as Kirk, Dan, and their buddy Thomas took me for one of the most wild and expensive nights of my trip. Hitting up a couple of different bars in the area and making for a forgettable Sunday.

Now it is time to Blender.


2 thoughts on “The art of hitchhiking and 2 flat tires

  1. Pingback: Gender Blender: A luge course to a dance party in hell | Canadian Ultimate Ride

  2. “I guess someone should tell the mayor that there is a crack problem.”
    Literally had to stop reading so I could laugh for 2 minutes.

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