Biking Across Canada Day 40 — Sault Ste. Marie to Spanish, ON: Accidentally Crashing the Group Ride

Lunchtime swimming in Lake Huron

Today the favourable winds, flat terrain, and temperate weather turned me into a kilometre machine. Feed me peanut M&M's, put me on a bicycle and I will crank out easy distance all day long.

I wish I could have told you how Sault Ste. Marie's bike infrastructure compared to the other cities and towns I've visited on this trip, but I didn't see any. I saw lots of people on bikes, but nothing to keep them safe on the roads. The closest I saw was an ashphalt pathway that lasted a few blocks, but I'm not convinced that they didn't install that instead of a sidewalk as a cost-cutting measure.

I spent most of the morning following the St. Mary's River which takes the water from Lake Superior to Lake Huron. 

Echo Bay

Partway along is Echo Bay, hometown to the late Robert-Ralph Carmichael who designed the dollar coin we all now know as the loonie. They installed a "big loonie" in 1992 which serves as a counterpart to Sudbury's big nickel which I'll miss out on seeing since I'll be going through Manitoulin Island and Toronto instead of continuing on highway 17 through North Bay.

Just a couple of loons

Outside of Desbarats I got my first flat of the trip. The bike shop in Sault Ste. Marie warned me that my rear tire needs replacing. I'd planned on doing it in Toronto or at my first flat, whichever came first. The flat came first. I can't complain, as I got about 6000 flat-free kilometres out of the tire. When I looked at the tire I couldn't believe it was still holding together—there were large patches missing rubber. Fortunately I've been travelling with a folding spare after hearing horror stories from another cyclist of a catastrophic tire failure in Northern Ontario that required a friend to do a 400km-round-trip tire delivery. They say you pack your fears—this was a fear I was willing to pack for.

I stopped for coffee in Bruce Mines at the Copper Bean Cafe. The town was oddly decorated with dozens of spray-painted bikes. Later when I stopped in Blind River I saw lots of signs welcoming cyclists and the GWTA. After a bit of googling I realized I'd been matching up with the itinerary of the Great Waterfront Trail Adventure, a multi-day ride from the Soo to Sudbury put on by the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail. I accidentally managed to crash their party. Lucky me!

Bruce Mines bicycle decoration
I added my bike to the motif
Museum in Iron Bridge
The mannequin that inspired the warning

After stopping at the Blind River information centre to cook dinner, I was ready to keep going, so I rode on another 50 km until I made it to Spanish River where I stayed at the Almenara en el Rio Marina and Campground, formerly known as Vince's Resort prior to the gentrifying renaming effort. None of the staff were around when I arrived, so a seasonal resident directed me to a little spit out on the river. I had just enough time for a lovely river swim and shower before sunset.

Wide, buffer- and rumble-strip-protected shoulders made cycling relatively worry-free.
Okay, there were some hills today, but they made for nice views of Lake Huron
Serpent River Falls
Home for the night

Today's Distance: 190 km

Cumulative Distance: 4655 km

John Kyle @JohnKyle