One final Google Maps screw up that sent Vining through a hardly trodden path in Fall River
Vince Vining, of Visite Sombre, has successfully completed his admirable mission of biking from Montreal to Halifax, raising money for the Bicycle Messenger Emergency Fund and the IWK Grace Hospital along the way (you can still donate up until Christmas on his website). We here at dandyhorse have been keeping track of his journey, and below you'll find his final journal entires along with a reflection on his entire experience. If you missed part one, you can read it here.
On December 22, there will be a final fundraising show at Gus' Pub in Halifax.
Weird graffiti in Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia
Thursday, Dec 10th Earltown to Bedford 110km
I'd spent the last couple of days with Brent and his wife Kayla having a very peaceful time helping them out around their country market and gas station. Brent and I go way back, and it was nice to have breakfast and dinner with them, work on his new house, and check out his video game collection. He had hundreds of Super Nintendo games and the entire Nintendo Power magazine canon. I told him that I mostly listened to SNES era RPG soundtracks during the ride, which I could tell he appreciated. It was nice this late in the project to talk to someone who understood how much these old games inspired me to do an adventure like this. Truly, I've gained a lot of EXPERIENCE on this QUEST, and I could not have done it without my high STAMINA and LUCK.
This was the last real ride of the whole project. Almost entirely down hill, on a stretch of road that I have already done a few years ago, on a beautiful day, with the last of my provisions waiting to be absorbed and spent. Two hours of zipping down Nuttby Mountain, an hour navigating through dumpy Truro, three hours in the windy fields of East Hants and Shubenacadie, until I saw the Enfield water tower. My first glimpse of a landmark I associated with home, with it's signature red and white stripes. In the afternoon sun, it was a welcome sight. Within the last hour, I got a call from my friend Brendan who insisted on meeting me for the final few kilometers to my brother's house. As I flew into Bedford at nightfall, I was called by my guardian angel, Andrew. He had been keeping an eye on my safety the entire trip, making sure to call me if I forgot to report my location on Facebook. Crushing it at 45km/h past my old high school I took a whole lane while talking to him, headphones in and just screaming. I didn't even care. I god damn made it. I had greek for dinner.
Winter Warmer Alley Cat, Halifax Edition
Saturday, Dec 12
Bedford to Halifax 15km and Visite Sombre Alleycat Halifax Edition
Rolling into Halifax at a slow roll on a Saturday afternoon was a nice change from fearing darkness and kidnap. I grabbed a Propeller bitter at the NSLC, and hit up Mike Harvie's place near the mall. I was glad that Mike put the race together for me, and simply slapped the Visite Sombre tag on the event name. He's always been a rad dude in the scene, organizing races in every city he's worked in, which I'm pretty sure are in the double digits. He organized NACCC 2004 in Montreal, so that's pretty sick, and most of the Halifax races over the past half decade. He also brews beer. Lots of it. I was in a good place. 12-15 racers showed up including Ian Broscoe, the guy who got me into cycling in the first place. I blame him for all of this. My band mate Brendan was there too. I'll be doing a show with him as part of the charity as well, so I'm happy that he has been a big part of the project in its final throws. 3-2-1 go! Off we went on an 8 check point race. Damn, I wasn't ready for this, but who ever is.
(Watch a video of the beginning of the Alleycat here.)
We all crushed the first K at an insane clip, forcing traffic at Quinpool. Half of us got lost, which threw the race into a chaos that didn't right itself until much later. 3 of us annihilated Robie north bound cutting through the parking lot and slamming the curb. Smashing red lights at Spring Garden, I had my eyes wide open for Christmas shoppers, I was feeling festive as hell. Whip, whip, top gear, don't believe me just watch. There was a huge stretch to Point Pleasant Park. I called Brendan hands free, and we team worked every intersection like Top Gun. I'm pretty sure he was Goose. I have a habit of barking at cars during races. It works. Trudging through the sand at the beach, was torture, but I memory resurfaced:
7 years earlier, I wasn't an adventurer. I met a dude at a show who told me that he had just finished a ride all the way from Vancouver. He said that he was going to walk his bike into the Atlantic Ocean the next day as an indication of his journey's end. I joined him that day and asked what it felt like after he waded out of the frigid water. He hesitated, and told me that he was just happy it was over. I never saw him again. I always knew that there was something he wasn't able to tell me that day. Something he couldn't put in to words. Some bigger reason why he needed to be there. I wanted to leave something of myself behind. I needed to put a wall between the things I've done and the things I'm going to do for the rest of my life. This project was it. I didn't know what compelled me to do this in the first place. I knew it was a rite of passage for Maritime cyclists, but I didn't know what that even meant before I did this. What is challenge? What is the purpose of obstacle? Why would I voluntarily subject myself to this dangerous trudge through seemingly unending despair?
Because I'm sorry. I realized at some point that this project was the closest way I could express some kind of apology for all the dumb shit that I had done up until this moment. 30 years of selfish meandering. Real human stuff. Petty, ugly, laziness, with a vile dependence on the fruits of my dying world. Gasoline, meat, electronics made by slaves. What horrors. And does a month out of my life, 1400km, and $2000 to some charities atone for that, hell no! But I'm trying. I feel like this is how I could get the ball rolling.
As I walked towards the shore, I looked east over the water as I had a thousand times before. I removed my shoes and socks and hiked up my filthy MEC leggings over my knees, exposing 2 or 3 messenger related tattoos. I waded a few feet into the polluted water of the Halifax harbour, dragging the Gnarwagon behind me. I could only think to say farewell to my old self, as I stood silent and still full of adrenaline in my garbage baptism. My bleak tour, my visite sombre ended there, between the shipping terminal and the rocks I used to play on as a child, that had years since been fenced off.
I came in 6th.
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