July 28th, Day 40: Port Huron, MI to London, Ontario: 83 miles, 685 ft. ascent

Firstly to my American friends – I love you all, I love your country and I’d like to be let back in again next week please. But honestly…

Canada, Oh Canada, Where The Air Is Sweet, The Dogs Don’t Bite and They Actually Maintain The Roads.

This morning Border Control closed the Port Huron bridge to traffic so that we could all cycle over and be ‘processed’ by the very friendly Canadian immigration officers, who even took a group photo for us. Now let’s deal in turn with the three things I observed about Canada today.

James and Chris pose in front of the Welcome to Ontario sign. They both look happy.
James and Chris 'post-processing'

Firstly, my olfactory senses were never offended by putrefying road kill, poorly tended livestock farms or the vapour trail of a high speed truck marked ‘Swine Express’.

Secondly, we were greeted by at least 3 dogs, one of which ran alongside us for a few metres. But they were all barking in a playful sort of way, not snarling or biting. In contrast, we have had several encounters with much less friendly canines in the US, and one of the riders needed hospital treatment for a bite. It seems to be acceptable behaviour in states like Idaho where there are no leash laws, to give your guard dog free access to the public highway to do as he will. Probably something to do with one of the sacred amendments to the constitution.

And thirdly, it was such a relief today to ride on roads with an acceptable surface. OK, I realise that in America, where the automobile is king, we have mostly been riding on shoulders reserved for second class citizens. But even so, it seems extraordinary for the wealthiest country in the world to have roads that are regularly less well maintained than the ones I have travelled in Portugal, Peru and Ireland.  

And yet, after all this, I would still trade all my days in Canada for just one more smelly, bone rattling day in the high plains of Idaho being chased by rabid attack dogs, just to have the wind behind us and not have cars on top of us.*

Chris gives a thumbs up in front of a sign reading "Share the road" with a picture of a car and a bicycle
Chris is prematurely optimistic about cycle friendly roads 

*To be fair, we only had two cars today come too close for comfort, but they were both within 5 minutes of seeing the above sign, and I’ve never let balance and judgement spoil a good line.

But I’m not exaggerating about the wind. It was a brutal double digit affair, against us almost the entire route and we definitely suffered with sore knees, sore butts, sore thighs and a speed of only 14.3 mph.