On My Bike - Sault St Marie, Ontario

By Towers, Alan | Birmingham Evening Mail (England), August 3, 2000 | Go to article overview

On My Bike - Sault St Marie, Ontario


Towers, Alan, Birmingham Evening Mail (England)


Veteran Midland TV broadcaster ALAN TOWERS is riding a motorbike across Canada to raise funds for the British Heart Foundation. This is the second of his bulletins.

Sault St Marie, Ontario

I'M NEW to biking, so this tour must be the longest ever practice run.

The bike goes beautifully and it's comfortable, but that doesn't do anything to minimise the boredom of endless straight highways. I've sometimes thought what a long way it is from Brum to Manchester, but at least there are features in the flanking landscape.

On these Ontario roads - yes, after four days I'm still in Ontario, the second largest province - you see trees, more trees, rocky projections, a lake and more trees. I think in the event of making a 'help me' phone call, it would be hard to describe exactly where you were.

When asked directions you are told: 'It's just up the road a piece.'

That could be from five to fifty miles. Everything is 'an hour or two from here'. They don't mention distance.

I've travelled north from London (Ontario). My first step was at a B&B run by a policeman and his wife. Mike Burgess's family orientated from Coleshill and he instructed fellow officers in the skills of close combat. Before I left he insisted in showing me his equipment - truncheon, cuffs, a sort of straight jacket. I made sure I paid my bill.

I should have booked ahead. It's peak season and that means places are full. At one stop close to the edge of Lake Huron, I had to make do with a dowdy hotel room alongside the highway. It was right out of Hitchcock, dusty car park, cracked paint.

I've spent two days in Sudbury, an unexciting town of 160,000. It has a history of clearing its own pollution. They smelted ore to produce nickel which did nothing for the environment.

Evacuated

Seven hundred people were evacuated for health reasons from a nearby village, called ironically 'Happy Valley'. …

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