I wanted to take a moment to thank Kirk R Davis for reaching out and asking me some interesting questions. If you have a few questions of your own, please feel free to reach out and I will do my best to answer them. Some of the following questions are pretty simple to answer and some as you can see might be considered a bit on the private side (which I actually appreciate). I am happy to answer all questions honestly and to the best of my ability. Thank you Kirk, for following my ride closely enough to cause further inquiry.
How are you holding up mentally?
Actually I am doing great and over all have done great through this whole experience. I got a little cabin fever over the initial Covid-19 travel restrictions way back between March & May and I dealt with that by biking a multi day loop being completely self sufficient with virtually no contact with other people.
I found myself a little frustrated after being in Vancouver for 2 weeks when I first got here to Vancouver. I don’t mind spending some time in a city but not that long. (Part of my job is to pedal down the road). Part of the reason for staying so long initially had to do with living here before and taking time to visit some people along with visiting followers of the ride. The city was also blanketed in forest fire smoke for almost a week. I also was working very hard on planning many things for the future of the ride now that I have been able to accomplish what I have to date.
On a side note I might mention that I do take many days off from biking but I can assure that I never stop working. Most down days at a host has me working on my computer until 2am every night. When I arrive at a host my time with them is always the priority. Every host I have ever had can attest to this. But when they need time to do their stuff I have 10 things going on at once. You simply have to visit my website or Facebook for the proof.
In the end, as with this entire ride my timing has been perfect. I am never late, I am never early, I simply arrive on time.
Have I ever wanted to pack it in? Never, I am more pumped then I was before I started. Life on the road completely agrees with me.
How are you holding up physically?
I have had no injuries or physical strains resulting from this ride so far. That being said, big mountains are still a killer.
Are you where you should be in regards to the financial aspect of the journey?
This a very interesting question to answer. And my ride was so unusual and unique that my answer likely will not help any other cyclists planning to bike across Canada. But I will attempt to answer regardless.
Meals – I spent $4,560 on food crossing Canada. Factors to consider. Except for 4 meals all meals were restaurant meals from Nov 12 to March 19. After March 19 likely 90% of meals came from a grocery store (the rest from restaurants).
Considerations – I was probably handed between $500 to $700 in cash and gift cards in Atlantic Canada and another $200-$300 in one-time financial support from followers. And I have had at least 200 to 300 meals in people’s homes.
Everything else – I spent about $5,800 on everything else while crossing Canada. That being said where I spent my money is probably a little different then most, including some of my expenses. I spent $850 on a new laptop. I had to switch and purchase my winter gear to summer gear. I almost never spent money on campgrounds. For example, the last campground I paid for was in Nipigon ON. I did spend $100 for 2 nights at a hostel in Jasper and $30 (for 3 nights) at the hostel in Golden BC and $500 at hostels in Vancouver.
Another expense that was a little new for me was museums. Historically I never pay to go into places. Because of the money I saved from campgrounds I visited a few museums. I feel like bike related expenses and tune ups were way more then I hoped. That being said multiple bike shop did not charge me for their work.
I should mention that I am about as cheap as them come. I was once told by a Dutchman from an older generation that I was the cheapest Dutchman he ever met. If you are Dutch or understand the Dutch you will find that statement very amusing.
As far as where I should be? I am actually way ahead thanks to some work-related bonuses I got at the end of the year and a pretty sweet tax return this Spring. I think I was hoping to bike across Canada for $8,000 but I never planned to spend nearly as much time crossing Canada as I did. So, I guess the numbers probably work out regarding expense predictions.
Thinking back on your Canadian part of this adventure, what are a couple of things you would change in the planning of such a trip?
The way this ride happened was very sudden. To read more detail on how this ride happened so suddenly you can read a recent blog post that talks a little bit about that HERE.
I did not have the luxury of time. As crazy as it sounds I had more money then I had time. I was working/driving a truck 80 hours a week criss-crossing America from Burlington ON to California every 2 weeks. I prioritized my 3 most important tasks to be completed. I spent the minimum of time to figure out the answer/solution/completion and then I moved on.
Reflecting on this ride I have to believe that I have ridden one of the greatest rides ever across the country of Canada. So based on that I have to say I would not change a single thing. Not a single thing over 284 days I took to pedal and the 5 months it took me to put this ride together. A pretty crazy thing to say! Honestly, I wish I could be more helpful, but I am so thankful for my answer as it stands.
But I do wish I had visited Hopewell Rocks in New Brunswick, but given the time of year it likely would have been fogged in or a snow storm.
Where does the poetry in your life come from?
In 2017 I met the woman of my dreams and one day a poem came out of nowhere but I wrote it down. I have never written anything like that before that day. I told her that I have no idea where it came from and if another would ever be written. I think about 30 more poems actually did get written to/for/about her.
And then one day all that part of my life came to a crashing end. And then a week before I was about to hand my trucks keys in and leave the greatest most difficult job of my entire life to start this life changing adventure of biking through Canada during the winter I found out the she had been married a month already and married 4 months after she left me.
This would be the worst day of my life and a very emotional time for me as you can imagine. For better or worse these emotions created poetry. I would ultimately describe most of my poetry as profound sadness.
I joke that my life must now be emotionally boring as I rarely write poetry any more. That being said I would like to write more and think about doing so often. Unfortunately when a poem comes to me it comes unexpected and I generally write it in about 5 minutes. Poetry is not something I don’t sit down and try to write though I wish it were.
Perhaps this is a discipline I need to start but unfortunately, I have so much going on in my head it is hard to sometimes imagine such as a discipline. I actually know nothing about poetry nor is it a reading genre that I particularly enjoy. It is just something that happened.
You can go straight to my poetry page HERE.
Where there any challenges to entering the USA with regards to the present day Covid-19 situation?
I don’t actually fly to the US for one more day, but yes there was challenges prior to purchasing my flight. The go-to travel insurance provider for bicycle touring is World Nomads Insurance. They would not insure me during travel restrictions. Then I reached out to Safety Wing, they would not insure me as soon as I received any kind of sponsorship money. A few other insurance companies would only insure to US residences.
A casual message sent to my newly hired PR guy Matt lead to conference call just this morning with Buddy Insurance that is willing to insure me for accident insurance but not health or sickness insurance.
So I will be entering the US with no Covid-19 protection.
What precautions did you take in Canada?
I simply respected and followed the local city requirements or business requirements when required to do so. That being said at this stage if a restaurant does not provide seating or washroom access, I will simply go down the street to a restaurant that does.
Will you be taking as you any precautions enter the USA and travel through more populated areas or so-called ‘Hotspots’?
My answer would simply be the same as I just stated. But if possible, I would avoid hotspots.
Thanks for those questions I really enjoyed answering them.