Saturday 3 January 2015


The noughts trailed off into space like bubbles. His father had told him that astronomers had worked out that the total number of atoms in all the millions of stars they could see through their giant telescopes was ten with ninety-eight noughts on the end. All the atoms in the world did not even add up to one single googol. And googol was the tiniest little scrap of a thing compared to a googolplex. If you asked for a googol of chocolate-covered toffees, there wouldn't be nearly enough atoms in the universe to make them. (The Daydreamer - Ian McEwan)

As hopes his wont, his blessed imagination, his escape-from-the-spinning-wheel-domestic, FJR emails me early in the week to ask whether my Friday's open for a ride. (Let us make verbs where no verbs have verbed before; in our own image we will make them.) Could be, I ether back.

How about riding from N-town out toward St. Jean and Morris? he says, pelting his phone screen with fingertouch stain.

Could work, I hedge. Then, thinking all the while, Yes, I tap out back. Let's tap out. Let's bleed out into the white.

(I check the forecast afterward. Imprudent to be sure, but necessary. I mean, it's going to be a loop so it's going to be tough sometime, but when, and how much, that's the question. There could be sand anywhere.)

Next day FJR enthusiasms back that we could do an N-town - St. Jean - St. Malo - Dominion City - Roseau River FN - Letellier - N-town loop. About an Epic-eh worth of kms - 130.

Well all right then I shillyshally back. But I am in. It's a good idea. I just have to accept that it wasn't mine. I'm like this with FJR and his ideas.

And that's it until he shows up at the appointed time (8 am yesterday) and we ready ourselves. By 8:30 am we are on the bikes heading North, the wind from the SE.

20 kms or so in it becomes clear that doubling up on the booties is not going to be enough to keep FJR's feet in the way they are accustomed. I offer some chemical heat packs so we stop atop the Plum Creek.

At 10:30-ish we pull in to St. Jean to find our dream of a late morning poutine brunch dashed by the holidays. We settle for felt footbed liners from the COOPs, and cinnamon buns, Nutella, and coffee from the generous and incredulous women at St Jean Foods.

You can cross the Red at St. Jean without a bridge in winter. You can even stand there in the middle of the river changing the battery to your finicky/damn-near-useless VDO computer.
You cannot ride in winter without looking the lion - and hornifying all those you meet
(even with your reflective vestments).
We pulled in to St. Malo at about 1:15 and found the bar. Nice digs. (At least compared to A-town's public offering.) A good chipotle steak wrap with a side of poutine along with sudz of choice seemed right.

Dryclad and laded with the fruits of the earth - steak and potato - we lumbered out of town at 2 to find that the road to Arnaud said otherwise. We found the sand again, for the sand was, and the sand was in us, and the sand was god. We pushed through just the same, head down, legs rising and falling. 

Overtop of the Red this time, just west of Roseau River FN, we were feeling good.

Heading west two miles south of the 201 ...

... in imminent dark strobing snow ...

... low travellers among fanning monoliths ...

... winding on even so ...

... eyes flashing bright for home 

9-1/2 hours later, at 6, we were back inside in N-town, smelling T & M's sausage homefiring on the stove, we perogy-sizzled our toasted Guinness down-which we washed. 130 kms later. 

Hallelujah we are bums. 

Admitting that our lives are shaped by fictions may give a kind of freedom - possibly the only kind that human beings can attain. (The Silence of Animals - John Gray)


  1. i have come to look forward to the post-ride write up. so thanks for it. you guys are kinda crazy. keep it up!

  2. There just are not enough likes to give this. Awesome.