“I use the bike to get around.”
Photographer’s link: After five days riding and having seen only one other person on a bike, I made a bee-line for two wheels. NorthWest Territories are massive. Immense. Even people raised in the more populated areas of Canada are stunned at the space here. How far everything is from everything.
There is an independence in the population. All the cars that pass are in top shape, most with emergency packets, just in case. There is a constant awareness that they have to be able to take care of themselves until help arrives – if they need help.
I was the only bike on the highway and cars and trucks would pass every ten to fifteen minutes. Huge spaces where there was no vehicle. But every driver gave me a wide, protective space as they passed me. They saw I was riding a straight, consistent line so no horns were sounded as they passed, no attempt to intimidate me. Every single oncoming vehicle gave me a friendly wave of fingers from the steering wheel, a sense that they saw me and were aware I might need help, if I only made a sign.
It was one of the safest times I have ever spent on a bike.
It was also the only time I have really felt like I had to rely on myself. There were no gas stations on the route, no stores, shops or coffee stops. If you wanted food, you either caught or carried your own. A three day hard ride would mean talking to almost nobody. It was a surprise to be that remote – and nobody in the Territories would even consider this a remote part of the area.