Day 1: Every time I’ve been through Pearson it’s been a chaotic mess of humanity. Except for yesterday. We arrived the requisite three hours before our flight to find a nearly deserted departures counter. There were three Air Canada reps and the two of us. That’s it! Baggage checked, bike boxes dropped at the oversize counter, through security, and into the Maple Leaf Lounge in about 15 minutes. It was epic!
Killing more than two hours is easy in the Maple Leaf Lounge: free beer, WiFi and food. Nuff said.
The plane was a shiny and new 777. It is a huge plane. Huge. And it is VERY quiet. The in-flight noise is significantly less than any other plane I’ve been on. So much so that I almost felt like my noise cancelling headphones were unnecessary.
Day 2: We arrived in Frankfurt to a chilly 12 Celsius as we sprinted from the plane to the terminal. We had clear Customs, and then go back through security and board our flight to Toulouse in less than 50 minutes. Surprisingly this was a snap! Once on the plane we verified with the baggage handler that he had loaded our bikes, which put our minds at ease for the final 90 minute flight. Breakfast on this flight was a terrific selection of meats, cheeses and muesli with honey and milk. I could eat this breakfast everyday.
Upon arrival in Toulouse we collected our baggage and sussed out the city bus system. Unfortunately the bus we wanted to take was on diversion because of construction at the stop we needed. This meant a longer walk for us through the city. It was a long walk made extra long by towing our bike boxes and luggage. Steve and I chatted with locals in our broken French asking for directions and made it almost the entire way without resorting the the GPS in my iPhone!
Once checked in we quickly unpacked out bikes and assembled them before heading out for a late lunch. Steve’s bike was packed by a pro. Instructions, photos, and a couple pairs of surgical gloves to keep your hands clean. He rented his bike box from BikeBoxRentals.ca – Efraim hooked him up with a wicked Thule box and did a terrific job packing it up. If you’re on the hunt for a bike box get in touch with him today!
Now we’re off to meet the rest of the group and discuss the plans for the week. I’m also planning on sizing up the competition!