An early snowfall forced a German cyclist off the road at Shoal Lake in the latter part of September.
Alexander Adler was able to make his way through Oak River and Hamiota during a sprinkle of rain followed by a downpour, but when it turned to heavy snow, he decided to pull over in Shoal Lake and stay awhile.
Making his way across Canada, this was the second time Adler was forced to hunker down due to snow. Back in May, he was cycling through Newfoundland in the Gander region when it was hit by a system that dumped 25 centimetres of snow. Even though the amount received here in September was not nearly that much, it was enough to see Adler welcome and appreciate Shoal Lake’s hospitality.
For the Berlin citizen, his journey across Canada began in April in Montreal, travelling first to the East Coast and back to Montreal, then heading west in August. At first Adler thought he would go to Vancouver, but is now aiming to work from mid-November to March before hitting the road once again with a friend.
“Cycling has become a passion of mine,” said Adler, who is seeing Canada on a work/travel visa. “Prior to the Canadian excursion, six years ago I had the pleasure of cycling across New Zealand.”
Having met many cyclists on his adventure, their number on the road drops significantly during the off-season. Adler would rather bike in the spring or fall, versus dealing with the extremely hot summer temperatures, but the snow is another story.
“For some, tuning into a weather report on a radio, phone or a rare television while cycling may be the norm. I personally am not interested in knowing what today, tomorrow or for that matter next week has in store,” Adler said. “The freedom and independence achieved through cycling as one experiences a country is fascinating to say the least.”
Cycling 13,000 kilometres in Canada over the past five months, in general, Adler has found Canadians to be great. Depending on the day and conditions, the 35-year-old averages 100 km per day, despite cycling with Raynaud’s syndrome — a disease of the blood vessels — forcing him to stop to warm his hands six km south of Shoal Lake before venturing on through the snow squalls.
“Filled with an abundance of energy, downtime is good, but not for too long,” said Adler, who found a day job of being a draftsman too mundane, and his second apprenticeship of a childcare worker a little more pleasing, but having an appreciation for nature, he leans toward living for work versus work for living.
Homeless by choice, when it came to the hospitality of the community, business people, and RM of Yellowhead Councillor Paulette Koroscil, he had nothing but good things to say.
“Reaching Shoal Lake around 1 p.m., after lunch I was taken to the Shoal Lake Communiplex, thanks to the assistance of Councillor Koroscil,” said Adler. “I’m a little humble for the attention, but the arena felt like home.”
Living his dream, Adler will chalk up his layover in Shoal Lake as time not to be forgotten, as he continues west on his passion for the open road.