Etappe 8,5 (Review from Canada and the US)

Etappe 8,5

First I thought I will call my next etappe number “9”, as it comes after number “8”. But it wouldn’t have been fair to other etappes. Not even to number four.  So I decided to call it etappe 8,5 , after Fellini’s master piece.

There is not much to say about this master piece – It was short, easy and nice – Like a Thai midget (drums). It basically started after a metro ride to Long Beach (LA is OK to cycle, but it’s soooo huge),  after which it continued mostly along bike routes along the coast all the way to San Diego.

I had three day stop in Encinitas where I met Jukka and Allan, the World Rider. We had some great time together, eating and drinking like kings (assuming kings have BBQ and red wine) . Apart of gastronomy, we also swam in the Pacific, did some interviews for our blogs and I had a complimentary “Brad Pitt” haircut from Allan’s girlfriend.

As etappe couldn’t have got any easier, the last day we cycled only 60km together with Jukka to San Diego. There we had Jukka’s another friend accommodating us. Easy stuff indeed.

Well, here are the reviews from Canada and the US.

Canada (Quebec):

Roads: Much worse than I expected. People said the roads are bad because of the weather conditions, but this doesn’t explain why Scandinavia has much better road quality than Canada. Cycling from Montreal to Quebec City and down to Maine was otherwise very nice and easy. Good bike paths, lots of picnic spots and friendly drivers made a big difference between South America and Canada.

Mentality: Canada is bike friendly country. Bike shops are good, bike paths in many places and bikes are as common as in Western Europe.

Costs: Canada was surprisingly expensive. Supermarkets have good variety, but if you include the tax, I would say it’s 1,5 times more expensive than in Europe. Fast food is cheaper. I didn’t camp or stay in a hostel, as they were too costly.

Rank: 3

The United States of America:

Roads: People said, that when you travel further, the roads will be better. Not true. Wherever I was, the roads were bad quality. Bad quality for a western country, not for a poor country. A few kilometers of good paving was followed by lots of kilometers of bad paving (at least this is how it felt). There are almost no road signs showing how many miles left. Bike routes exists, yet they are poorly marked.

Mentality: Generally the people are very friendly and hospitable. The customer service is usually also very good. Coming back to Europe I realized how different the US socializing was. However, the US is a nation of cars. Most of the people use cars even if they go to bar or to the “nearest” supermarket. Some camping spots have places only for cars, no hikers or cyclists.

Costs: The US is cheaper than Europe, but not with everything. For example bread, milk , yogurt, cereals, candies & cheese are more expensive. Fast food, chips, gasoline, some fruits, alcohol and accommodation is cheaper. Plus there is free refills for sodas and free wi-fi in many places!

Rank: 2,5

ps. I’m now back in Europe, in the most bike friendly country in the World – The Netherlands

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