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Aug 01

The Stress of Safety

by in Ontario

Distance: 145km
Time: 5:25:07

Gripping my handlebars any tighter would have had them disintegrate and turn into ash. This was 60km today between Espanola and Sudbury. My neck, shoulders, arms and legs a ball of stress as I danced on the tightrope of shoulder on highway 17 today. At times, the shoulder would disappear, forcing me into the lane. Because it is only two lanes, everyone feels squeezed in, it doesn’t give other vehicles room to give me buffer. But I made it.

Yesterday at the campground, the cross-Canada tour group “Tour de Canada” also stayed. It gave me a chance to chat with them about a supported ride (they don’t have to haul their gear), but more importantly it gave me an opportunity to talk with a few of them about the accident a week ago that cost two of their members their lives. A husband and wife got hit by a pickup truck when he apparently dozed off at the wheel. No doubt talking with them weighed on my mind this afternoon.

I am as safe as I can be. I am very visible two big, bright yellow panniers at the back of my bike calling out. Thus far, all drivers have been incredibly courteous. Even today as stressed as I was and as narrow the space, drivers were never careless. Unfortunately, it is the roads. Why is Ontario the worst?

Every other province, so far, have used the space they have to have wide paved shoulders, often with a rumble strip between me and cars. Not Ontario, instead they have a thin shoulder with wide gravel shoulders. If they paved another three feet, everyone would feel less on edge. I will be writing a letter to the Minister of Transportation when I get home.

Needless to say, I safely made it to Sudbury. I even found some change on the street.

I found a loose coin on the street.

I found a loose coin on the street.

Just three more days until Ottawa, a day off and my beautiful wife. After that she’s joining me until Montreal, woohoo!

Ride on.

3 Responses to “The Stress of Safety”

  1. From Dinah:

    Stay Safe Scott!

    Posted on August 1, 2013 at 12:00 pm #
  2. From Paul Shinkar:

    Hey. Yes it’s not like they don’t have space for shoulders. Sad about the riders. Tragic. That would be life- altering for everyone involved. I totally agee with the security issue. Great line in Macbeth where the witches know the best way to get to Macbeth is to attack his sense of personal security. It will stop us from moving forward in life if we don’t manage it. Stay well.

    Posted on August 3, 2013 at 1:52 pm #
  3. From Sara Daub:

    I just got back from a week at our cottage just outside Sudbury and am getting caught up on your journey. I drove that route between Sudbury and Espanola to visit relatives just the day before you rode it! I knew that was part of your route, but I didn’t know quite when. I kept joking with my boys that we might see you as we drove, not realizing how close I was to being right.

    But seriously, I did think of you often as I drove along that very narrow and winding stretch… I passed many cyclists and held my breath each time, trying to give them as much room as I could. The scenery along there is lovely, but I can easily see how that part of the highway could be deadly if you were riding.

    I wish I’d known when you were passing through Sudbury… at the very least we could have offered you a hot meal and a dip in Black Lake 🙂

    Stay safe!

    Posted on August 6, 2013 at 1:08 am #
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