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In fact, the furthest I had ever cycled in a single day was 38 miles — from my home to Cirencester and back — and that was a test-run after I bought the American-made Surly bike I intended to use on my cross-continental travels.There, I’d pedal down the west coast to Los Angeles, follow the Mexican border and cross Texas, dip down into Florida to Miami, then head up the east coast to New York and then home — straight through New England back to Ontario.I planned a gargantuan bike-trek across the width of the continent, from the Great Lakes to the Rockies, up to Anchorage in Alaska, then back down again and over the border into the United States (file picture)She did this in between working as a part-time gardener and carer, studying for a diploma in photography, and looking after her 11-year-old daughter, Katy, and our newborn baby, Dexter.Using the spray improperly can have undesirable effects . But it wouldn’t help anyone if I got myself eaten on the first leg, just a few days out from my starting point near Toronto.This unscheduled stop in the wilds was my own fault.
Because of the time difference with North America, Vicky was often up till four in the morning to be my ‘Mission Control’.‘Don’t get overtired,’ she kept saying. Listen to your body whenever it tells you to take a break.
You’ll make a potentially fatal decision if you’re not thinking clearly.’That’s fair comment. Quite apart from the rare genetic blight that affects my own family, every minute of every hour someone new in the world is diagnosed with some sort of dementia.
The wording on the can of bear-repellent didn’t exactly inspire confidence: ‘Use to deter an aggressive or charging animal.
The recommended minimum distance between user and bear should be 25ft. and may actually attract bears.’I was undertaking this epic, eight-month journey to raise funds for Alzheimer’s research.
I was approaching my 40th birthday in the knowledge that I had only a few good years left.
Like my father before me, I was unlikely to see my 45th, thanks to a rare genetic disorder that had also claimed my older brother. After a childhood in care homes, and a 23-year career in the Army — in the Royal Engineers and then the postal and career service as a commando — fighting was second nature to me.