Idiots & Lunatics
Trip Start May 06, 2012
42Trip End Jun 26, 2012
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Where I stayed
The first person I met was Dave, pictured below, who was cycling on the path and whom I talked to for about 20 miles. Dave was a charming American & he was cycling to his Doctor's appointment. This didn't seem too strange given that the towns are now an increasingly common commodity rather than for the first 50% of the trip where they were a very rare & not particularly attractive commodity. It was when he explained that he needed to cycle c60m to get to the appointment that I thought he was a little off kilter, especially when he said he could have motorcycled but the idea of getting up at 5am, in the dark, so that he could complete the miles was too compelling
He then proceeded to tell me that his Dr's appointment was to review a disc in his neck which had been damaged when he had been knocked off his bicycle 3 months ago. That made the fact that he was cycling 60m to the Doctor more impressive, and when I asked how he was getting home, the answer was obvious wasn't it.... I will cycle back! And this is when I realised that maybe we weren't the same because when I reach the Atlantic, I am not cycling back either to the Pacific, or home on a modified Pedallo! But then I am crossing the US for the 2nd time, so maybe we should both be committed to an asylum!
Unfortunately, Dave was a bit of a bad omen. Though the similarities of our cycling misadventures were similar, he was going to a Doctor to review his injuries from being knocked off his bike - and I have yet to befall that misfortune. However, later that day that I nearly did - and this is where the second lunatic makes his unwanted appearance.
The canal trail as I would discover was only really a canal trail for about 100 miles of the 350m and I had covered the majority of that on my first day
I had just cycled through a town and on exiting it a pickup truck decided to pull out directly in front of me. What was strange was that this big pickup had been sitting in a small car pack area for the entire 30 seconds or so that I came towards him. The road was clear and no cars had either passed or were visible, and though he had a clear view of me as the only person on the road, he waited till I was about 10m away before pulling out to block my path which is where he then stopped. Fortunately, I saw him pull out and slammed on my brakes and stopped 30cm away from hitting him. When I pulled up from my handlebars to look directly at him, it was clear that he wanted me to initiate some sort of confrontation, because all he did was smile in a manner that was unnerving
Unfortunately, that wasn't the only misfortune of the day, there were 2 others. Firstly, it drizzled all day and the secondly, I had miscalculated the distance to Syracuse. I thought it was 75m but it turned out to be 95m which turned the day into a 7hr jaunt rather than a 5hr one.... though this was more stupidity than lunacy it was a real pain! Having been so ill with sunstroke the night before, the idea of such a long day would have galled me at the outset but the overcast conditions kept the temperature down and the sun off my back and the light rain was never wet enough to require me to don any waterproof gear, so in fact the poor weather conditions were a blessing and meant that I finished in Syracuse feeling good
You can also see from the pictures that I passed through a town called Clyde on the Erie - which seemed appropriate given that most Americans don't get Clive, but call me Clyde. It put a big smile on my face and though it might not seem much, it doesn't take much during long days in the saddle.
Syracuse, which is where I stayed the night is a great little city and I was fortunate that I found a hotel right in the heart of downtown where there were about 3-4 blocks of restaurants, bars and shops. It was nice to be able to walk to dinner and also to have such a wide and great choice. I had a small bar crawl before having a lovely dinner.