Leg 2 of our little bike ride begins – across the USA!
After a month of being at home it was actually a little difficult to tear ourselves away. We had our cake ate it, as much cake as we liked, and I in particular ate a lot of it. And everything else that was put in front of me. We were at home with all of the good stuff (family and friends, time, a fridge with choices of food, an electric kettle) without any of the bad stuff (going to work, mortgage, bills). Every day was a Saturday; there were no Sunday evenings for us. So it was actually quite tough to box up the bikes and repack all of our belongings back into panniers for the transatlantic flight. But once we got off the plane and us and the bikes were intact, and we saw our first dunkin’ donuts, the excitement flooded back. U-S-A!
Boston is a really nice city, and a great introduction to the USA for the slightly homesick Brit. It has a good amount of historical buildings, there are English road names everywhere and just to help, we had booked a talk at the British International School. The sun shone and we ate clam chowder. We rode our bikes with British flags flying proudly behind us up to Bunker Hill monument, the site of a battle in the American Revolutionary War that although won by the British, spurred on the colonies due to heavy British losses. We visited a science fair (which in true American style, turned out to be a huge event) and were fed bugs by students from the British school wondering if they are the food of the future. They were a bit dry for my liking, and there’s no way that a plate of crickets could fuel me for a day on the bike.
Walking around in shorts when it was not quite ‘shorts weather’ with our fine athletic figures turned a few heads and we were asked at least 10 times if we were in town for the marathon. Not likely. Some might disagree but I think cycling 5000 miles across the country is much more preferable to running 26 miles. But it was fun to watch, the city really gets behind the event and we even had someone to cheer along – Rosie, the daughter of our hosts, who ran a very impressive 3:08. It was so exhausting watching the race that we had to have extra helpings of ‘marathon cake’ back with the family after. We rode out to the sea and dipped our wheels in the Atlantic Ocean (mandatory before starting a cross country ride). Our last morning was spent talking to a class of Y5s about the trip so far. They were really inquisitive and spent about 30 minutes asking questions such as ‘what inspired you to do a biking trip’ ‘who rides faster’ ‘how did you tell the donkeys apart’ and ‘are you going to Hawaii/Asia/the Middle East/etc…’. As with all kids so far, the picture of the donkeys received the most positive attention.
The time in Boston was also needed to get used to life this side of the Atlantic. After 5 months in Europe learning new languages everywhere we went, it is a bit strange to have to do that here as well. But before we knew it we were slipping words like restroom, sidewalk (ok that makes more sense than ours), trash, vacation, faucet (saying tap water elicits blank faces) and a new one to me, rotary (no? Me neither. Roundabout!) into sentences. More difficult is having to translate lbs into kgs, remember that a US pint is smaller than an English pint, and talk temperature in farenheight (not a clue).
So after five nights in Boston we had grasped the basics of the American language, adjusted our body clocks and roughly planned a route to Toronto, a mere 600 miles away. We were ready to hit the road!
Big thanks for making Boston great to Orian and Caroline, Norma, Bob and Rosie (and Eleanor), and Caroline and Cynthia.