There was no fanfare there to greet us when we arrived at our arbitrarily selected starting point at the visitor's centre in Miramichi, New Brunswick. No marching bands clashing cymbals and beating drums as we extracted piece after piece of our couchbike from the impossibly small van and laid them all out for assembly in the parking lot. No horn section responding in crescendo as wheels were mounted and cushions were put in place. Nor was anyone lurking in the bushes with lips pursed against a giant tuba. It's a shame about the tuba player, because that much maligned musician would surely have had his moment. In the height of all the frenzy, the tuba man could have blown an abrupt and dissonant tone to silence the band as I came to the realization that a critical component of our couchbike had been left behind. In any event, there I was -- immersed in silence, pale faced and sweaty palmed, trying to explain the predicament to Eivind.

Without getting overly technical, the crux of the situation was this: I had built a custom clamp that was meant to lock down the bearings of our steering mechanism and also permit precise tensioning of these bearings by means of a tuning bolt. Although I had left this critical component behind, all was not lost. It was with great relief that I realized we still had the wherewithal to clamp the bearings. Unfortunately, the precision adjustment would have to be achieved by walloping the bearings with a rubber mallet, a tactic we executed with mediocre but satisfactory results.

Within a few hours we'd reassembled our bike and begun our journey along the wide shoulder of highway 11. After about 7km, we'd turned down a small side road in search of the coastal highway. We were taking up a full lane as there was no shoulder, but we were cruising along, and the light traffic flowed around us in a procession of cars and trucks occupied by people in hysterical fits of laughter. Many were so tickled to see a couch rolling down the road that they dangled out their windows to take pictures of the spectacle.

Eivind was sitting shotgun and had the map spread open in front of him looking for our turn. The turn came quicker than we expected. Although I had access to brakes for both sides of the bike, the excitement got the better of me, and I only squeezed the left brake lever -- the one that was mounted on the tiller. This threw our equilibrium off kilter and the couch went into a high-speed wobble. Suddenly, one of the wheels swung too far and jammed against the side of the couch. It happened in an instant but it felt like slow motion. I felt the couch lift up underneath me. I watched as my passenger was launched in the air and pitched over the pedals. I hung on to the couch like it was a rodeo bull. At the pinnacle of our trajectory everything seemed to be balanced precariously on the two front wheels. Then, slowly, everything came crashing back down. The luggage, which had been mounted behind the couch landed on top of the bike. The couch came down on top of the luggage. Once everything had settled, and I was still clinging to the couch, I looked down to discover that I was sitting about two feet higher than before.