Wow, what a day this has been. Today was the type of a day a touring bicyclist dreams about but rarely encounters. It was the absolute best day of biking we have had from the west coast to Niagara Falls, Canada. We left Hamburg, NY at 8:00AM this morning and bicycled through Orchard Park and on into Buffalo, NY. As in population 292,000 people - thank goodness it is Sunday morning. We had six lane highways all to ourself and plenty of time to study our map and pick our way through the maize of highways and overpasses. We actually rode through Buffalo and got away with it. lol
When we finally found our way to the Buffalo Peace Bridge the bicycle entrance was a turn style gate large enough for only single bikes. We had to request assistance from a security guard who ended up opening gates leading directly on to the bridge. All went well. While at the top of the bridge we stopped to take numerous pictures of up and down the Niagara River, Buffalo, and Fort Erie, Ontario. Immediately after arriving in Canada we were bicycling along and a black gentleman driving a work truck rolled down his window and give us the thumbs up and hollered "Welcome to Canada". WOW -Tooling on down the Buffalo Peace Bridge we picked up Niagara Parkway which lead us to the Niagara Recreational Trail. The Niagara Recreational Trail was approximately a 20 mile route that lead us directly to Niagara Falls, Canada! On our way to Niagara Falls we stopped for lunch at Miller's Creek Marina. When John walked in the door a teenage girl walked up to him and asked where is the Tour de Fox Valley? (we had our Fox Valley MTR Jersey's on). A very pleasant conversation followed with Sarah and her mother who have done the Ragbri ride 5 different times and they were very interested in our cross country ride. You can tell that Sarah has a real passion for bicycling and I am sure as she grows older she will be attempting some type of a cross country tour.
After lunch we continued on the Niagara Recreation Trail and we ended up having a flat tire on our B.O.B. No big deal - 20 minute fix and we were on our way again. We will pick up a new tire for the B.O.B tomorrow at the bike shop in town. As we were repairing the tire there were numerous bicyclist going by on the road. In the 20 minutes it took for us to do the repair there were probably 100 or more bikers that went by. We knew something was up but wasn't sure what! Continuing on we learned that we were caught up in the "Ride to Conquer Cancer" which had 4600 participants with each participant having to raise at least $2500.00 in order to ride in this two day event. There route and our route were identical so we had no choice but to go with the flow and we ended up crossing there finish line where there were thousands of people cheering the riders as they crossed the finish line and hollering way to go, good job, you did it etc. We felt bad about receiving congratulations and thanks for there accomplishments. The finish line had an atmosphere similar to a finish line of the Grabaawr, Ragbri, or any other major tour with everybody in a very emotional state. For many of the participants may have lost loved ones or good friends who have been affected by cancer.
It was so amazing to be in the center of all these bicyclist that have such a passion for biking. Everyone was congratulating each other, giving hugs, hi signs, and even some holding there bike above there head as they had there picture taken with Niagara Falls in the background. Numerous people asked us about our ride and of course, we explained to them that we were not part of the cancer ride but that we were touring. Everyone was so interested in our travels and it was so fun to tell them of our trip and also talk with them about there last two days of biking.
We had a young man come up to us and ask us what the word B.O.B. on our flag was. We explained to him that the trailer we were pulling was called a B.O.B. ( Beast Of Burden ). Here he had been biking for his dad who passed away from cancer. His dad's name was Bob Abbey and this young man had seen our flag. We spent some time visiting with him and his family and took his picture with our BOB flag.
A short distance beyond the finish line we came to Niagara Falls. Anything and everything that you have ever heard about Niagara Falls being an awesome site is absolutely true - being the spring of the year the volume of water going over the falls is phenomenal. There are people that come to this destination from all over the world, every shape, size, color, and nationality.
Around 4:00PM we headed to the Hampton Inn. We had made reservations and decided to get checked in and drop off our B.O.B. in our room and then bicycle around Niagara Falls to check it out. We went down Queen Street looking for the bike shop so we could see what time it opens up on Monday morning. We found it very easily and noticed that it opens at 9:30 on Monday morning. We both really like the area and we have decided that we are going to spend two nights in Niagara Falls so we reserved our room for another night and will head back to the US on Tuesday. We bicycled back down to the falls and just spent time enjoying the beautiful scenery of Niagara Falls.
Around 5:30 we went back to Queens Street and stopped at Grand Central for a few drinks and dinner. This is a very nice sports bar and although there were only a few people here on a Sunday evening we had a very nice time. We were sitting up to the bar when a gentleman asked us "Can I ask where you got the fashionable attire from". We laughed because we had our bike jersey and rain jackets on yet (it was cold out). We explained to him about our bike trip and he had all kinds of questions for us. What an interesting man he was. His name is Paul Carson Duplessis and he is a musician and very knowledgeable about the area. We had such an enjoyable conversation with him and really appreciated the signtseeing ideas that he gave us.
We have found that the Canadians are very friendly , anxious, and curious to hear about our travels!
Niagara Falls is a place that in previous years we felt it was too far away to drive to for a vacation destination and here we are by bicycle! Amazing!
We now have bicycled 1,450 miles since leaving home 22 days ago. Of that 22 days we took off one day due to rain. We have decided to take off a second day tomorrow because we want to spend more time in Niagara Falls.
|Buffalo skyline! We were so happy that it was Sunday morning as the traffic was very light!|
|We saw this stencil of JFK on the side of a building!|
|Approaching customs on the US side!|
|Thank goodness there were signs telling us where to go!|
|Now the big question is, how do you get a recumbent tandem and a bob through that turnstile? You don't!|
|Leaving the US and bicycling over to Canada!|
|View of the Lake!|
|Picture from the bridge on the US side!|
|View of Buffalo, NY|
|I am in awe that we are here!|
|Welcome to Ontario!|
|Skyline of Buffalo, NY|
|Bridge that people take to go to and from the US and Canada!|
|John along side the lake. We had stopped to watch boats race by!|