As many of you are aware on April 10 I released my first episode of The Safari Arie Road Show with my YouTube producer Brandon McCaskill. The purpose of this show is to partially replace the Facebook Live Shows. I have always seemed to struggle with these videos and a close supporter by the name of Donald C Brown pointed out that I do much better in a podcast style format. Reflecting on that observation the concept for this show came together pretty quickly. The plan is not to completely replace the Live shows, just transition most of the content of the Live videos to a more polished show.
I feel the first show went reasonably well considering that it was our first show and we are sort of winging it. Brandon has never “hosted” any kind of show and he has the hard part of keeping flow and structure. As with everything, the show will get better and better.
The purpose of the new show will be to keep people up to date with everything going on as I pedal and at the same time provide an opportunity for any questions from the audience to be answered. On our first show we were able to tackle 5 main questions that were submitted out of the over 40 questions submitted. I answered an additional 5 related questions in this post. We will continue to tackle many of the rest of the questions in future shows.
I have decided to blog about each show in regards to the questions answered. Keep in mind the answers may vary between show and blog post. I do not really plan to reference the show for my blog post answers but reflect on the questions in the moment but obviously the answers will be very similar.
Brandon asked me if I was happy with my progress that I made so far? (8:50 minutes into the video)
I was able to pedal just a hair under 4,900 km’s arriving in Kingston ON at the end of the first day of spring. Admittedly I would have preferred to have pedalled over 5,000 km’s by the first day of spring. But upon reflection of everywhere I pedalled and everyone I was able to meet my investment of time spent off the bike was truly worth while.
I added about 1,300 km’s to PEI and NS. So potentially I should have been in and around Sault Ste Marie by the first day of spring. But given this Covid-19 pandemic where would that have left me today?
Question #1 from John Martin – How are you dealing with being away from friends and family on your trip? (11:32 minutes into the video)
Our family has been split geographically for almost 12 years now. My parents relocated to PEI almost 12 years ago along with one of my brothers. I have another brother who moved to La Glac AB a bunch of years ago after living just outside of Sarnia ON. And then there was me in Hamilton ON. I was a long haul truck driver for 6½ years prior to this bike ride. So for years I have been 1000’s kilometers from anyone I know on any given day. So the truth of the matter is I do very well from being away from my family and friends.
Question #2 Perry Stone – Are you concerned about being confronted with dangerous people in Central and South America? The question initially used the word terrorist and Brandon mentioned cannibals. I thought both words were pretty extreme. (13:54 minutes into the video)
If I had to think about everything that could go wrong and all the dangers I may come across it would not be long before I cancel my bike ride and never leave my couch. Truthfully, I give almost no thought to dangers from on the road. My guess is that at any given time there are between 1-2000 cycle tourist criss-crossing the planet at any given time possibly 1000’s more. Not to mention the 10’s of thousands of people on vacation around the world. So far most of us are doing all right.
Because of media the world will tell you that on my route Mexico and Colombia are the most dangerous countries. Yet if you talk to or follow the blogs of the people that have cycled for weeks and months through different countries in Central and South America they will tell you that their 2 favorite countries to travel through are Mexico and Columbia because of how friendly the people were. So there is a pretty big disconnect between what the media tells you and what people with first hand experience tell us.
Does this mean we throw wisdom out the window? Of course not. Common sense security measures and our gut instinct need to follow us everywhere we go. There is little point in getting one’s self killed or mugged in a foreign country.
Perhaps my country of concern is Venezuela. It seems Venezuela has never properly recovered from the world recession of 2008 and now once again with oil prices at an all time low. Fortunately I have a while before I get to Venezuela and I do have a few options. I could possibly take the southern route across and stay away from the coast and big cities and I could also possibly find another cyclist in Columbia that is feeling adventurous enough to go with me. But regardless I feel determined to make my way through Venezuela.
Question #3 Johannes Hoogerbrugge – Do you speak Spanish? If not, how will you communicate in Latin America? (18:32 minutes into the video)
I do not speak Spanish and it is not something that I worry about right now. Attempting to learn Spanish while I am still in eastern Ontario will not help me by the time I get to Mexico. My plan is to start learning my Spanish shortly after I get into the US. And hopefully by the time I get to Mexico I have a few phrases memorized.
On a side note I try not to worry too much about future problems. Nothing I can do about the future and there are enough worries for today.
Question #4 Dallas Justinger – Are you going to be ready physically once the ride resumes? (21:09 minutes into the video)
This question is regarding the fact that with this Codid-19 delay I am no longer touring or biking. And at the moment I am not biking even for exercise. I am staying with an aunt who lives in a 4th floor apartment and the elevator is too small for my bike. Not to mention we have had a pretty cool spring. Currently my bike is sitting outside on the balcony.
So this is my second bike tour and I have never been “ready physically” for either ride. My first ride started in Calgary AB in 2011. It had been 8 years since I had even been on a bike and 14 weeks later I had biked 6,500 km’s.
For this ride I was so busy in preparation that once again there was no physical preparedness. Arriving at the NS ferry terminal my bike was so heavy I was scared to get on my bike in front of anyone for fear of falling over. The first day to Cape Spear and back to St John’s NL was physically the hardest day of my life. Three weeks later I pedalled 98 km’s to the Port aux Basques ferry terminal. For me the touring is the training.
As a follow up question Brandon asked me – Have I experienced any physical soreness so far?
For the most part unless the day was exceptional long I do not feel any soreness. That being said when I first started I experience 2 issues. Very sharp stabbing pains between my shoulder blades and mid way across Newfoundland my knees were a little on the sore side.
Very fortunately I was able to solve the stabbing pains between shoulder blades at a bike shop in Antigonish NS with the help of a stem riser.
The sore knee issue initially had me worried because it took over a week of biking before the pain showed up and I was worried about why it took a week to feel that kind of pain. I mean why not after the first or second day. Arriving in Nova Scotia the knee problem went away and I have been good ever since.
Health related, Richard Arlen asked – Are you getting saddle sores? What is your preferred treatment?
I have never gotten a saddle sore so I have never had to treat any. On occasion my butt has been a little tender after some real long days in a row. Every time I have been fortunate to have a day off as things got tender and my butt got the break it needed.
Melanie Silver asked me two more butt questions. Do you walk your bike to give your butt a rest, sometimes? And am I using the same bike seat you started out with?
No, I never walk my bike to give my butt a rest. I have walked my bike because the hill or mountain was too high though. I walked almost 3 mountains a day on average crossing Newfoundland. And yes I have the same bike seat I started with and have no plans to replace my seat.
Related to that question Bradley R. Bartlett asked – What do you recommend for a good comfy bike seat?
I don’t consider myself an expert on bikes and components. My understanding is that across the board Brooks is the go-to choice for long distance cycling. I cycle with a Brooks England Cambium C17 Carved All Weather Saddle. I also wear padded shorts underneath my clothing and I am sure that makes all the difference in the world.
I have never been into biking clothes or shoes at all. I am a very unorthodox cyclist. Very fortunate for me Richard from MEC Burlington brought to my attention padded shorts that go underneath your clothing.
Also related Ron Smith asked me – Don’t your legs get tired?
I think it goes without saying that if you have a long enough day that yes your legs will get tired. But because of the time I take off for documentation of the ride I don’t feel I have had to push myself physically to a point of needing a day off due to exhaustion.
Question #5 Jake Volz – Did you ever think your ride would have this big of an impact on you and your followers? (23:32 minutes into the video)
Never, this took me completely by surprise. I actually never gave it any thought. I was so busy with the preparations of this bike ride I did not have much time to think about much else. My expectations of the bike ride was that it would be me, myself and I on the road and that would be it.
So, there you have it the notes for Episode #1. If you have any questions that you would like answered please feel free to reach me via my website contact page or on Facebook at Safari Arie.
Another blog post that resulted from a supporter question – What runs through your mind?