“Find your sit bones” you are often told in Yoga. I personally don’t think I’ll ever have a problem finding them again as both Mike and I are suffering from sore bums as we get used to long hours on the bikes and the weight of our load.

Within the first 5 days of our trip we have biked from Edmonton to Jasper covering 367 km. Although not a huge distance it has been a good break-in to what has become our daily routine and has had a large enough toll on our bodies to work out the initial pains and kinks with small adjustments to our bikes which are now becoming the perfect touring machines. Our bikes have now been affectionately named “Phoenix” (Karen’s bike) and “Chapped Ass Monkey” (Mike’s bike). We’ve discovered diaper rash cream is essential for the break-in period of our Brooks saddles (Mike’s especially).

Obed Summit

We rode over a weigh scale on the 3rd day just outside of Edson, curious of the weight we are pulling. Karen weighed in at 120 kg (265 lbs.) and Mike a whopping 160 kg (353 lbs.) which explained the sore knees, sluggish speed and the final realization that we have to drop some weight.

Our daily average has been smaller than anticipated after cranking out 92 km’s on our first day, since then we’ve been averaging about 70 km’s fighting headwinds, hills and the weight of our bikes. We can’t complain too much as we were picked up on Day 5 after reaching Jasper National Park by Mike’s parents who were on their way to Osoyoos, British Columbia where we are spending the week with them giving us the opportunity to fine tune our bikes and send some of the gear that we packed foolishly back with them.

Jasper National Park

In the first week on the road we have already had a few issues. My ‘click stand’ snapped in 1/2, even though my bike is the lighter of the two bikes and our stove pump that we’ve used for years started leaking. We weren’t able to remedy the ‘click stand’ so I may look for a kick-stand when we get to Vancouver. As for our Primus Varifuel stove we had a spare pump sent with Mike’s parents and upon inspection of the two, we realized that the jet nipple had to be lubricated with silicone grease to keep a seal. Something we had no clue about.

Primus Varifuel Jet Nipple

Lubricated nipple on left and dry one on the right. The reason why our fuel pump was leaking.

Mike also switched out his Rohloff Torque arms for Cycle Monkey’s “Monkey Bone”. Something we thought we had to do to get our ExtraWheel trailer to work with our Rohloff, until we realized all we had to do was re-route the cable housing along the chain stay instead of the seat stay. All lessons that will benefit us in the end by knowing what works, what doesn’t and why. Other than one flat due to a faulty tube, everything else has been functioning exceptionally! Phew!

External gear mesh rubbing on the ExtraWheel when it was routed along the seat stay.

Flipping Cable Housing and Monkey Bone

Mike happy after flipping the cable housing along the chain stay and installing the Monkey Bone.

Cycle touring for us isn’t really about the biking it’s about the places you go and the people you meet. Starting from home we weren’t sure what to expect from those on the road but have been pleasantly surprised by how many nice people we have met already. Every stop people are genuinely interested in our loaded bikes, where we are going and how long we plan on taking. Tiny little towns where we stop for fresh produce and rest areas we have already run into people wishing us well, stopping to chat and telling us jokes or extending and invitation to stay with them. We look forward to spending more time with some of the kindred sprints we have met on the road. The first will be with John and Erika in Hope, BC! I think we can get used to this!

As so many people had warned us, leaving was the hardest part. After hitting the open road and regular calls on Skype to family, finally have the weight of all the planning is off our shoulders and we are both looking forward to the wide open road ahead and having no set schedule except for what is dictated by the weather and the seasons. Leaving Osoyoos back on our bikes we head west to Vancouver to visit family and friends. Then we will cross over to Vancouver Island  and then finally into Washington and head south. At this point we are still undecided whether or not we’ll take highway 101 down the coast through Port Angles or 101 via the San Juan Islands and the inland route.

We have paired up with Mr. Bagshaw’s Outdoor Education Class at Avalon School in Edmonton who are going to help us with planning our route and important considerations on the road. We’ll be posting our first assignment to the Grade 7-9 classes and will keep a separate page for their questions and answers, stay tuned! We’d also like to extend a huge thank-you for their “Good-Luck” message they sent us:

Click on the image for the video!

Also thanks so much for the encouragement we have received so far from all of our supporters, friends, family and those who we have never met that pass on words of encouragement. Please keep the messages coming as we enjoy reading them!

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