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Sea to shining sea! Ride across Canada!

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1. Posted by grlonabike (Budding Member 6 posts) 7y

Hi! I am interested in cycling across Canada - from Vancouver to St. John's, Nfld. I would like to hook up with travel partner(s) for this crazy cycling trip starting on or about mid-June for 3 months - and that's cycling at a reasonable pace! (It is not impossible, because many ppl have done this!) I am by no means a seasoned athlete - just reasonably fit. All I have is a free spirit, bicycle, and a tent. YOU are welcome to join me on any part of this adventure! Hopefully, with partners, we can lighten the load of our panniers by sharing equipment. Plan, route, places to stay & explore are flexible...

2. Posted by MartianTom (Budding Member 37 posts) 7y

'Canada, the beautiful...' Hm. Partly wish I hadn't seen this, because it's something I thought about doing a while back, but didn't because... well... I just chickened out! I didn't fancy the idea of doing it alone. It was probably also the thought of a spoke pinging in the middle of nowhere! But I love Canada - so much so that I've applied to emigrate there (2-3 year wait from the UK ) I've more or less decided to do a tour of the States and Canada by car, starting around mid-June. But I'm a very keen cyclist (and runner) and would love to have a go at something like this. I may have to think hard... I'll keep a watch on your thread, anyway. You sound like a kindred spirit.

[ Edit: Edited on 28-Apr-2009, at 14:58 by MartianTom ]

3. Posted by MartianTom (Budding Member 37 posts) 7y

Hm.... definitely having thoughts about this now....

4. Posted by grlonabike (Budding Member 6 posts) 7y

My inspiration for this trip is a book written by a 66-year-old woman named Janice Kenyon. She rode across in Canada in 2003 and wrote "Bike Ride with a Twist 8,321 Kilometres Across Canada." Hers is by far the longest route I've read about in terms of kilometres travelled. I'd like to follow her route because she wrote about places to stay, plus other advice, etc... There is also another route that I'm contemplating. The travellers cycled 7,278 km in 59 days, 71 days if rest days were included. I have the exact thoughts about mechanics breaking down in "nowhere ville," and my rationale is that it would be better to have companions to give support. When I mention about sharing equipment, I thought what a great idea it was to pool resources and have someone to carry a first aid kit, the other to carry a repair kit, someone to carry the cooking equipment (I would like to avoid having burgers and fries everyday).

5. Posted by MartianTom (Budding Member 37 posts) 7y

I'll check out the book. Both routes sound reasonable - looking at roughly 120 - 130 km per day. Not so bad on the prairies, maybe a bit tougher in the mountains! One problem I have is my height (over 6' 5") which, in the past, has meant problems getting bikes. My current mount is a Specialized Sequoia, which is a racer/tourer hybrid, though with only the frame drillings for rear pannier racks. To be honest, for a big trip I'd probably want to buy a dedicated touring bike - tougher, more adaptable and practical. I agree that it's the kind of trip that might be best done with partners, though I've always only ever wanted to travel alone before. Don't think I'd have the neck to do something like this alone, though. I'm still thinking through a few options - but I'll keep my eye on your thread.

6. Posted by grlonabike (Budding Member 6 posts) 7y

au contraire...the mountain climbs are tough, but you know that there will be a downhill cruise eventually. I was surprised to read that the prairies were the toughest. Saskatchewan is hilly with headwind. Northern Ontario has giant hills that are worse than the BC and Alberta passes.

7. Posted by MartianTom (Budding Member 37 posts) 7y

I take your point. I'm a runner, and have always favoured the hilly races over the flat ones. I was in Saskatchewan a couple of years ago (Regina is a destination I'm looking at when I emigrate) and can vouch for the headwinds. Nothing to break them.

What kind of bike are you going to take? Have you done a long cycle journey like this before? And what sort of budget are you working on? This whole travel thing has only recently bitten me and I'm still juggling with a few ideas: the US trip, a European motorhoming trip (which would enable me to take my bike along), or a RTW. But I'm drawn to a long cycle trip. Has anyone else shown any interest yet?

[ Edit: Edited on 02-May-2009, at 10:12 by MartianTom ]

8. Posted by dirgo (Budding Member 3 posts) 7y

Cross Canada (:...My dream I have been wanting this ride for years now and I think that it might come true this summer or next ,would be fun to ride this with someone ..

Steven..

9. Posted by grlonabike (Budding Member 6 posts) 7y

MartianTom, I am going to take a Schwinn Commuter Series bike, one of the mass-produced kind sold at Canadian Tire. In my case, it is a special gift from my big sister. Obviously, it doesn't compare to your Specialized Sequoia...and I can hear all the "professional bike tourists" snickering ;-) The longest cycling tour I've ever done was about 30 km in South Korea. So, this will be a monumental trip! I might have to walk my bike and supplies up the hills... Last summer, an old Chinese man cycled over 1000 km across northwestern China in a rusty, rickety old bike. My traveling companions and I met up with him numerous times while touring on our motorcycles. In the end, it was him who arrived at the desired destination before us. As far as a budget, I read one guy's blog about his solo cycling trip in 2006. He cycled for eight weeks and with the cost of everything, it worked out to be about $2,700. He did a lot of camping. Here's the link - http://www.cs.umanitoba.ca/~durocher/trips/bike/canada2006/index.html

10. Posted by MartianTom (Budding Member 37 posts) 7y

I don't know that the make or type of bike makes a huge deal of difference - as long as you're comfortable on it and it's capable of carrying all the luggage. My Sequoia was a special treat about 5 years ago - a kind of racer/tourer hybrid - though it's only got braze-ons and drillings for rear panniers, as I said (I don't have a car, so I cycle everywhere, which makes a good bike a necessity... it's paid for itself at least 3 times over since I got it: I do 5-6000k a year). I considered taking it on a cross-Europe trip a couple of years back, but it was the lack of luggage facilities that put me off. Have you checked out Heinz Stucke? If not, he's here http://heinzstucke.com/ He didn't have anything special in terms of a bike. In fact, I think it only had 3 gears! It's quite an inspiring story. 40 + years cycling around the world! Anyway... I'm still looking at options. But I have, just today, been in touch with a bike company in Vancouver who can supply a Cannondale touring bike, fully equipped with front and rear racks, for around CAD$1500, which is a huge amount cheaper than I could expect to pay over here. It's just a personal thing, but I'd feel happier with something built to withstand such a trip (which isn't to say the Schwinn won't be up to it - it looks robust enough to me). My height's also a big factor, though. I've always had to pay a bit more for something to fit my frame! On top of that... I've been caught out far too many times with a busted spoke, miles from anywhere. The touring bikes have got stronger wheels, more able to withstand the weight and rough surfaces they get subjected to (I will learn how to replace a spoke and re-true a wheel one day!) The budget you quoted equates to around $4500 for 3 months. Is that what you're looking at? I've never done a tour of this magnitude before, though I cycle to work and back every day (a 26k round trip), so I feel like I'll be up to it. I've done a few 120k trips in the past, too, and it's quite manageable if you pace yourself.
Well.... as I say, I'm still thinking. I will let you know how my thoughts go as soon as I can. I'm ruling out the RTW for lack of time, and am feeling more inclined towards a US/Canada trip. Certainly it would make sense for me, visa-wise, to start off in Canada and then shift to the States, rather than the other way around. The ESTA visa limits me to 3 months in each - or 3 months in total if I start off in the States. That's not to say I couldn't get a visa for a longer stay, but apparently they're not easy to obtain - and there's a waiting list of 6 weeks for an appointment to apply for one, which would take me right up to the wire in terms of your proposed start, with no guarantee that I'll be granted it.
I'll keep in touch. In the meantime, good luck with your preps. ;)

PS You might also find this useful to check out. Mark Beaumont's the guy who cycled around the world. If you put your mouse pointer over the panniers, it shows you the gear he took
http://www.bbc.co.uk/scotland/outdoors/pedalling_around/kit/

[ Edit: Edited on 05-May-2009, at 12:35 by MartianTom ]