Day 1: Chicago to Halifax (mostly via airplane) - Nova Scotia and Cape Breton 2003 - CycleBlaze

August 30, 2003

Day 1: Chicago to Halifax (mostly via airplane)

My flight departed Chicago O'Hare airport at 9 AM on Air Canada which provided a huge plastic bag and charged US$50 for the bike. I had to change planes and go through Canadian customs in Montreal. My bike didn't show up at Montreal, so I submitted a claim form. I was very surprised when the bike appeared at the baggage claim area in Halifax. It took me almost 2 hours to get the bike, assemble it, and change clothes. I got on the road at 5:30 PM under overcast skies with a temperature of about 20C (68F). I got on the 102 expressway and went 5 km AWAY from Halifax, all downhill to the Highway 2 exit. Then I rode on quiet highway 2 into Halifax. The road goes through countryside for a while and then starts to have more and more houses, especially along the many lakes.

Church on highway 2, the back road to Halifax.
Heart 1 Comment 0
One of the lakes between the airport and downtown Halifax.
Heart 0 Comment 0

In suburban Bedford I stopped at a Canadian Tire store to buy a liter of fuel for my stove. Then I continued into the city as it got gradually darker. It was completely dark by the time I got to the Halifax International Hostel at 8:20 PM. The hostel is in an interesting neighborhood on the south end of downtown, 2 blocks from the railway station and Dalhousie University. The woman who runs the office was on her 'lunch break' and said she wouldn't check me in until 9 PM. She also told me the hostel had no secure place to store my bike. And she said I would be evicted if I brought my sleeping bag into the bunkroom. That didn't exactly put me into a good mood. I locked by bike to a railing behind the hostel and walked away (in my cycling shoes and clothes) in the darkness to find dinner. I ended up eating a Subway sandwich near the downtown waterfront, and then went back to the hostel to check in. They stored my sleeping bag in a closet behind the office and I carried all my other gear into the bunkroom and changed into 'street' clothes. I walked 4 doors down the street and went into 'Bearly's' blues club, which had a very good blues band. I sat at the bar drinking Alexander Keith's honey brown ales and danced a few times with two friendly women sitting next to me at the smoke-free bar (smoking is banned in all public places in Nova Scotia). The lead singer in the blues band was a very old guy in a wheelchair. The women said they have been going to see him for more than 30 years! I left at 12:40 AM (10:40 PM in Chicago), went back to the hostel and slept soundly despite the street noise in the open window right next to my head.

Halifax International Hostel on the right. Four doors down is Bearly's Blues Club (photo taken the next day).
Heart 0 Comment 0

While biking into Halifax I was passed by another touring cyclist who had just flown in from Toronto. In the Hostel I met 3 other touring cyclists - one from Brasil, one from London Ontario, and one from California.

Distance: 53.3 km (33.3 mi)

Average speed: 22.2 km/h (13.9 mph)

Maximum speed: 54.4 km/h (34 mph)

Climbing: 207m (683 ft)

Hiking: walked about 2 km (1.25 mi) in downtown Halifax

Today's ride: 53 km (33 miles)
Total: 53 km (33 miles)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 3
Comment on this entry Comment 0