Solo women on bikes, and of her age, moreover, Jeanne Vermette has not encountered any on her route. The young woman, who blew out her 24 candles during her one-year trip, mainly encountered couples, and many men who were making this journey solo; but also an older woman who had been traveling by bike for 13 years.
“I always knew I wanted to travel by bike; I was raised there. When I was a child, in the summer, we would go on a bike ride for a week or two with my parents and some friends of theirs who had children around the age of my sister and me. We were two or three families traveling together, between 12 and 15 people. For me, it was the highlight of my summer,” she confides.
Jeanne Vermette has not only kept very good memories of these vacations, but also precious friends with whom she continues to cycle tour. Unfortunately, neither of them had the luxury of dropping everything to accompany her for a year, even if she would have initially preferred to travel as a duo – not necessarily because it would have been more reassuring, she says, but to have someone to share your discoveries with.
The young woman, however, ended up seeing the advantages of being solo, appreciating the freedom and flexibility of being able to stop whenever she wanted or to change her plans according to her desires. “It’s easier to go to people or have people come to me when I’m by myself,” she notes, recounting how, in Alaska, she met a cyclist who ended up doing three days road with her.
Two of her childhood friends still wanted to travel with her the last kilometers that separated her from Montreal when she returned at the beginning of June. After a final stop in South America in Quito, Ecuador, Jeanne Vermette took a flight to New York. From the Big Apple, where she took the opportunity to spend a few days, she went by bus to Plattsburgh, where she got back in the saddle to complete the last stage of her journey.
Initially, Jeanne Vermette had in mind to go from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego. But she quickly realized that her goal was not realistic. “At first I was pedaling a lot more; the first six months I did 10,000 km. Then the next six months, I really slowed down; I did 5000 km.
“In Portland, I met people who told me they discovered in their travels that there were two types of cyclists: cyclists who travel and travelers on bicycles. I realized that my goal was to travel, so I made the decision to slow down because my body needed to rest and because I wanted to see places and meet people. »
She has had plenty of encounters. In Puebla, Mexico, she became friends with a tour guide who took her and his clients on a hike on the Popocatépetl volcano. It is also for the richness of these meetings that Mexico was one of his favorite countries, along with Colombia.
“In Colombia, I met incredible people, completely crazy generous,” she remembers with emotion.
When she finishes her master’s studies, Jeanne Vermette promises to return to Ecuador to complete the missing section of her route to Tierra del Fuego. She would also like to discover the entire Canadian Rockies and cycle elsewhere entirely – Turkey, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan make her dream.
“I find that inspiring is powerful… If I can encourage people to embark on this kind of adventure, so much the better; tell them that you don’t have to be a certain type of person to get into this. Everyone can find their own rhythm and their own goal. »
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