Part One: The final legs of Vince Vining’s Visite Sombre charity ride


Leaving Cloverdale, New Brunswick

After almost an entire month on his bicycle, Vince Vining has reached his destination of Halifax. He set out from Montréal on November 19, and dandyhorse has been documenting his expedition through his photos and journal entries that he graciously has opened to the public.

Vince undertook the ride to raise money for the Bicycle Messengers Emergency Fund, and is still accepting donations through his website.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's post about the last miles of his journey, the Halifax Alley Cat race and Vince's reflection on the experience.




A graveyard outside Oromucto

Tuesday, Dec 1 Hartland/Cloverdale to Oromucto 100km

Today I experienced my first real taste of Maritime friendliness. Not to say I hadn't already received heaps of hospitality from my hosts. This was different: genuine kindness from strangers. After a morning spent scaling Crabbe Mountain and tearing up the frosted hills of central NB, I descended rapidly into Fredericton. I crossed a long walking bridge, and along the way admired the beauty of this city I'd always ignored. Who goes to Fredericton? Nice people that's who. An older dude stopped me on the bridge, and engaged me in conversation about the weather, the city, and he asked me about my project. We kept it brief, but as he left he wished me luck, then patted me on the back, like we were family. Being a transplant to Southern Ontario, you always forget about these moments where the guard comes down and humanity can exist. There's no guard in the Maritimes. Too bad there's no work either...



Weird graffiti in Shubenacadie

Wednesday, Dec 2 Oromucto to Sussex 110km

I spent the night before at Scott's house, a retired infantry captain who had served two tours of duty in Afghanistan. He was super nice, but obviously had little experience hosting anyone. His wife Melissa picked us up some Dairy Queen. He realized there was a chance i was vegetarian or vegan and asked if I wanted something else. I let him know that there is nothing I don't eat, even torture meat (I didn't say that though of course, and truly, it's all torture meat). We spent the night playing darts and drinking beer. In the morning, he showed me the military base, and the LAV3 he used to drive. Two huge guns, top speed of 100km/h, and able to transport 8 soldiers not counting the gunner, captain, and driver to the front line. I asked him if it was hard on his heart and mind to be over there. He said that he was rarely afraid, mostly just bored, however the hardest part was losing friends. The chances for fatality were technically low, but it happened. I know I'd feel pretty messed up if one of my courier friends was killed on the job. I have felt messed up about it. It happened. Today sucked. It was long and rainy, and there was ice in the morning, and a bridge was down so I had to take a huge detour into this muddy neighborhood, and at the end of the day I was stuck in the dark again like the first day. Got to Sussex safe, anyways, and met Lindsey. A single mom. She made me chicken fingers and fries. It rocked.


Poor riding conditions near sussex

Thursday, Dec 3 Sussex to Moncton 100km

I woke up in Lindsey's son's room. Lindsey was telling me about how he was a semi professional gamer, with a specialization in Starcraft 2. I used to be very interested in e-sports, but just as a spectator, and not a competitor. Either way, it was interesting to be in a place that reminded me of my former self. Korean band posters and all. The road was pretty hairy again. I should mention the general economic condition of this part of Canada: poor. This place is rural purgatory nestled between Oromucto: a city created to house military, and Moncton: the defacto arena of Mi'kmaq, English, and Acadian communities for as long as anyone can remember. This grey land was littered with abandon and neglect. Whole villages had been left to the effects of nature and time. Closed gas stations, closed restaurants, closed muffler shops, but plenty of mean dogs. I whipped through these places as fast as I could, but the loneliness of the veldt disturbed my morale and therefore my pace. I reached Moncton just as the snow began, and the sun set. All the sudden I was doing some urban riding. It felt weird as I hadn't ridden in congestion for weeks. #messlife I found my friend Cory. I showered, had dinner, got some craft beer and we went to a show at a venue in Moncton called Claude's House. I met a lot of nice people, helped build a snowman in the driveway, and saw a couple really good bands including Halifax's Outtacontroller. They were dope I bought a shirt. Then I went drinkin'. Two day break!


A punk show at Claude's House (name of the venue) in Moncton


Excellent riding day with new wheels and parts enroute to Sackville, New Brunswick


Friday Dec 4 and Saturday, Dec 5 A weekend in Moncton with Cory

Herc I should explain my relationship with Cory. Although Cory and I have a rich friendship and shared goals, we've only hung out 4 times. When I left Halifax in 2010, he had just started getting in to bikes. He moved to Guelph, where I randomly decided to bike there and hang out with him. This is the base of our relationship. I find out where he is, I bike to him, and we talk about bikes. I've done this 4 times. This time was v special. He introduced me to the East Coast White Trash cyclocross and mountain bike crew, as well as most of the staff from Consolvo Bikes, where a lot of them work. His friend, JD hooked me up with a new wheel set, and a new group set. He sold it to me for a song, and Cory redid my bike again. It really needed it. He didn't want to scare me, but it took him 20 minutes to remove my bottom bracket. GALVANIC CORROSION. Gotta watch that business. We did a lot of other cool stuff that weekend, but the main thing was when we had a bonfire out in Salisbury at Lacey's place. Lacey was once a courier in Montreal, but had decided to remove herself from that city, which can at times be dark, and come home to New Brunswick, which as I explained earlier, is only grey. Flames to embers, embers to sleep.


My first encounter with the Atlantic, Pugwash NS


Sunset in Earltown NS featuring windmills. Highest point in mainland NS


Tuesday, Dec 8 Sackville to Earltown 130km

I'de spent the day previous at my good friend Neil's in Parrsboro. It was good to see him and Parrsboro is a beautiful little town. He drove me back up to Sackville and once again, frost covered every inch of the landscape. The peninsula that Parrsboro resides in is the blueberry capitol of Canada, and the hills at sunrise were like something out of a Miyazaki movie. Neil and I talked about Nausicaa and the Valley of the Wind for like the tenth time before we said goodbye. Riding into the Tantramar Marshes was brutal. The road was way rougher than I'd been warned it would be, and it seemed to go on forever. I finally was spat out on to a pretty nice highway with a huge shoulder that took me all the way to Tidnish, NS. It was really fast riding along the North Shore all day with no breaks, and before long I was in Tatamagouche. From here it was a steady climb into Earltown. Along the way, and just before sun down, Brent drove by me on the road. He offered me a ride the final 6km, but it was against the rules. That night, we had roast bear dinner at their friend Shannon's house, and hung out with their pigs and goats. One of the pigs drank another pig's pee. It was really funny.


Related on the dandyBLOG:

Visite Sombre: Montréal to Halifax charity ride

Update! Visite Sombre: Montréal to Halifax charity ride

Toronto couriers prepare for strike with benefit concert

dandyREVIEW: Premium Rush vs. Line of Sight

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