testimony from myrika, solo travel grant awardee (summer 2018)
Solo Crossing Canada
A few months ago, I accomplished one of my greatest challenges ever; crossing Canada on a bike from Vancouver to Montreal. Alone. I started to plan the trip last year during the long months of fall and winter, not really knowing why I decided to do it in the first place. All I knew was that I wanted to push my limits. As time passed, the reasons behind this trip that some qualified as totally crazy became clearer and clearer; I wanted to see the country, I didn’t want to pollute and I wanted to take the time to appreciate all the landscapes. Biking seemed like an obvious choice to achieve all of that. While applying for the Solo Travel grant, I gave myself another challenge; to pick up trash along the way. I was supposed to pick a bag a day. Unfortunately, this proved to be unrealistic because of some logistical issues that I hadn’t foreseen; first there were very few trash cans and dumpsters along the way, and most importantly stopping to pick up trash slows you down quite a lot when you have over a hundred kilometres to cover daily.
And so I rode my bike day after day, smiling, crying, expressionless, not really knowing how I was able to do it, but doing it anyway. I talked to my parents a lot during the trip and they helped me to stay focused and motivated. Several problems along the way forced me to learn about mechanics. And visit many bike shops.
My bike, better known as Wilson «Wheel» Radier, was good company during the 2 months that it took me to cross the country, and he followed me on my new adventure in Vancouver, where I recently moved to!
I suffered from a knee injury that was caused by a bad adjustment of my seat. It hasn’t even quite healed yet and I have no idea how I made it despite the pain, but I’m taking some time to rest now before the next departure.
The best part of this trip was by far meeting new people every day. They would come to me almost instantly when they would see my bike loaded like a mule. They would come to talk, to offer me food or even a place to stay! Everyone, in their own way, gave me the strength and courage I needed to keep going. I am still amazed by the generosity and kindness people showed Wilson and I.
This adventure gave me a new sense of maturity and fulfilment. I completed my very first cycling trip, but it’s only the beginning; there will be many more to come and Wilson and I will see the world together!
the trip in stats:
51 days cycling
5148 kilometres travelled
13 sbags of trash collected