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My Route

Highway

Where

Comment

Marine Dr --> U.B.C

Burris St. --> Hastings (7A)

There is a bike route that parallels Hastings to Simon Frasier.

Vancouver City

I avoided going to North Vancouver over the Lion Gates bridge. I've heard of few bad stories of cyclists on that bridge.

Hw 7

Vancouver (Burnaby) to Hope BC

It is fairly busy at times, but there is good shoulder. You cannot go on Hw 1 until Hope BC.

Hw 3

Hope BC to Keremeos BC

Hw 3 was fairly quiet. But there was two big summits to climb. There is nothing between Hope and Manning Park and nothing between Manning Park and Princeton(both about 70 km).

From what I've hear Hw 1 to Kamloops has a lot of tunnels but is very scenic. The Coquilhala is not recommended as it is a difficult climb with few places to stock up. Also it is not a very scenic view but is the fastest route.

Some people take Hw 99 from Vancouver and wind thier way up to Jasper. I don't know much about that except it would be fairly cold in Jasper.

Hw 3A

Keremeos BC to Penticton BC

A short and fairly quiet highway with lots of cyclists

Hw 97 + Hw 97A

Penticton to Sicamous

It is fairly busy from Penticton to Vernon but the Okanogan is beautiful and full of fruit stands.

Hw 1

Sicamous BC to Kenora ON

That's a long way. It is a busy route but has a great shoulder except in Manitoba where it comes and goes. In fact, the shoulder was so big two cyclists could ride side by side without being bothered by traffic.

Some people take the back roads further south. Those roads would be quiet but have no shoulder. Some people went from Edmonton to Saskatoon and down. Apparently that route is not very good for shoulder.

At Glacier National Park in BC I suggest starting your day from Revelstoke, that way you can get to the next town of Golden in one day.

Hw 71

Longbow Corners ON to Fort Frances ON

This is a quite hilly alternative to going through Drydon to Thunder Bay. Of course I did not go to Thunder Bay.

Hw 53

International Falls MN to Duluth MN

I took a route through the states because I heard bad things about the Northern Ontario trans Canada highway. Hw 53 had a lot of biting flies and was kind of bumpy but it had a big shoulder and was flat.

Hw 2

Duluth MN to Wakefield MI

In Duluth there is two bridges. You have to take the second one(Hw 2 bridge) because it has a sidewalk. In Duluth Hw 53 turns into an interstate so you have to take side roads. For a while Hw 2 was red.

Hw 28

Wakefield MI to Sault Ste Marie MI

28 will take you to see some nice views of Lake Superior. The shoulder is a little small in places but it was never too bad. It was very very flat. In SSM you have to very briefly get on an interstate hw to get to the bridge.

Hw 17

Sault Ste Marie ON to Espanola ON

I was told this section was the absolute worst of the whole trip by other bikers. It was not great but I didn't mind too much.

Hw 6

Espanola ON to Fergus ON

The beginning of Hw 6 is very hilly with little or no shoulder. With weekend traffic I think it may have been worst than Hw 17. Normally it is pretty quiet. The section after Owen Sound where 6 + 10 are combined I found to be dangerous.

Backroads to Waterloo

Local roads

Bad air, and no shoulder, and yet a fair amount of traffic.

Camping + Food

In my opinion there are several levels of bicycle tourists.

  • Those who camp anywhere and cook their own meals. This is the least expensive way to go. However, it means you must carry a lot more gear like a stove and fuel. I'm not too sure where they camp, in a forest or a farmer's field I suppose. The roadside picnic area's also seem to be popular even though there is always a sign saying "No camping". I have a lot of respect for people who take this approach.
  • Those who camp in backyards. Some people will come into a town and chat with the local folk. Eventually someone will offer you to camp in their backyard or sleep on their couch. Sometimes they will also cook a meal for you. It seems like a great way to meet people... but I would be a little worried myself about staying at an axe-murderer's house.
  • Some carry very little gear. Either they have a support vehicle or they have a lot of money and stay at a motel every night.
  • I was somewhere in the middle. I usually stayed at private campgrounds or hostels. It would cost my anywhere from 5 to 20$ a night. A lot of the National or Provincial parks did not allow tenting due to bear threats. I preferred the private campgrounds in the town limits as opposed to the provincial campgrounds. The provincial campgrounds were often 10 to 20 km off the highway. Sure it would be quieter but 10 km is a big tour to take every day. Also I found the closer to town you are the less mosquitoes there were. I would eat at a fast food place like subway quite often, but I also ate a lot of grocery food that did not need to be warmed up. I was usually carrying food that packed small such as, Presidents Choice Muslix (in a green box) or Grape Nuts, pop tarts, granola bars, trail mix, tuna, bananas, blueberries, raspberries, yogurt, muffins, V8 juice and candy. I know eating out at a fast food joint is expensive but I liked to be able to look forward to something when coming into the next town.

Water

  • Some people buy spring water and gatorade. That gatorade stuff is expensive. I tried it once on my trip. I didn't feel any noticeable difference so I stuck with tap water. The same goes with powerbars. Those powerbars are about 2$ each. I tried one on my trip. Again I didn't feel a huge difference so I stuck with bananas and what not. I would carry V8 juice sometimes, I found it was a good snack.
  • I merely filled my water bottle at gas station washrooms and info center fountains. If the gas station is in the middle of no where you may want to ask if the tap water is drinkable.
  • Try not to drink water from a lake or stream. I was able to avoid it. I was warned about "Beaver Fever" and other sicknesses you can get from lake water. You you do drink from local water sources you should use a filter or iodine tablets to minimize the risk.
  • I had 3 water bottles that hold 750 ml and sometimes I carried a can of V8 juice. I never used up all three in the course of the day, but I would refill when I could. If you are cooking you will need more water.

Tough sections

Just because I have listed a bunch of hills as tough does not mean I dislike them. Hills don't really bother me when compared to headwind which can happen anywhere... especially the prairies.

  • Hw 3 BC - Allison Pass (Elevation 1352 m)
  • Hw 3 BC - Sunday Summit (Elevation 1282 m)
  • Hw 97 BC - Drought Hill Peachland (it's not as high but it is very busy and has a small shoulder with sewer grates)
  • Hw 1 BC - Rogers Pass (Elevation 1330 m)
  • Hw 1 BC - Hilly winding road(but beautiful) just after Golden
  • Hw 1 BC - Lake Louise (Elevation 1539 m). There is a climb just after the town of Field. There is a little more of a climb to get from the Lake Louise town to the lake itself.
  • Hw 1 AB + SK + MB - Forget about the hills listed above. I found the rockies to be much easier than the prairies. The wind direction in the prairies supposedly goes from West to East most of the time. However, during my trip it was perhaps more often from the East. Having headwinds against you all days makes it feel like you climbed a mountain all day. Sometimes the wind was so strong I was moving at 9 km/h or would have to get off and walk the bike for a while.
  • Hw 71 ON - From Kenora to Nestor Falls it was a series of small hills.
  • Hw 71 ON - From Sault Ste Marie to Blind River. I was told this section was the worst of the trans canada (although they say around Sudbury is pretty bad too). It wasn't great due to a small shoulder and lots of traffic. However, I found that 95% of truckers were very courteous and gave you room if they could do so. It didn't bother me too much but there fairly good consensus on this.
  • Hw 6 ON - From Espanola to Little Current it was hilly with no shoulder.
  • Kitchener-Waterloo ON - I just like to include this in my list because I find riding around town where I live to be more dangerous than any of the highways I took. People curse and swear at me here, which pretty much never happened on my trip.

Bugs

I guess bugs can be found just about anywhere in Canada. I found that bugs really reduced my enjoyment of my trip but there were sections that I did not find any.

  • I found that Southern BC had no bugs, but northern BC like Salmon Arm had lots of mosquitoes.
  • I also do not remember any biting bugs in the prairies.
  • Manitoba has large mosquitoes and very large horse flies. Horse flies harass you all day by spinning around and colliding with you. However, I never had a horse fly bite me in that province. I think they are more cautious. I never encountered this, but apparently near water there are these tiny black flies that make you all bloody when they bite. These flies are so small that they can make it inside your tent through the screen if you have a cheap tent.
  • Minnesota had these smaller version of horse flies that were really irritating because they would bite as soon as your legs stopped spinning. Also there were a lot of ticks that found me but luckily none burrowed in. Walls of stores were often covered from top to bottom in moths.
  • Michigan was not as bad but has some mosquitoes and earwigs. Walls of stores were covered top to bottom in some sort of flying bug I am not familiar with.
  • Ontario had mosquitoes and horse flies. Since I grew up in Ontario I also know it has deer flies which is a smaller triangular version of the horse fly. I never saw any deer flies on my trip and I was glad of it.

Reasons Why You Should Do It

  • You are not invisible. You will meet lots of people who are curious about what you are doing. You will also meet a lot of other cyclists doing a similar trip. Driver's will encourage you with friendly honks.
  • The scenery is amazing. Sure you could drive on the same roads and go through the same scenery. However, when you are biking you can look around and admire the details, which you cannot do when traveling at 80 km/h. A cyclists can stop anywhere and take a picture, a car can only stop at pull over spots.
  • You will feel like you did something with your summer, and have some stories to tell.
  • You will lose weight... ok this is not necessarily a good thing. As a 135 pound male I am always trying to gain weight. It's amazing how much you will eat in a day and not gain a thing.
  • You will know your Canadian geography much better.
  • You will get a crazy suntan. However, I have a farmer's tan... and since I had gloves on most the day my hands are pretty white too.
  • Personally I find cycling to be a little more relaxing than driving, especially if there is a large shoulder on the road. Some days I would just zone out and day dream, something that one can not(or should not) do when driving a car.


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