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Old 05-24-08, 05:54 AM   #1
LitePacking
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Via Rail Canada, where to start?

Planning to cross Canada this year or next year in September. My plan was to take a plane from Norway to London, London to: Halifax, Toronto or Montreal and take the Via Rail to Winnipeg. And from Winnipeg i will cycle to Vancouver and take the plane to another and warmer destination south.

So my main question is, would it be best to fly to Halifax, Toronto or Montreal? Does it make any difference at all?
I will also buy the bike when i get to one of this towns.

Also wondering about:
Do i need more than a good water and wind proof bike jacket pluss fleece and shirt on my upper body in late september from winnipeg to vancouver. And is it ok to use a summer sleeping bag?
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Old 05-24-08, 08:22 AM   #2
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Never taken the train but I do know that the best scenery is in Western Canada.... in particular in the Rockie Mountains. Cycling that part of the country would be great to I'm sure.

September can be very hot during the days.... pretty much just as hot as mid-summer days or it can be cool.... it really varries. Nights will definetly be cold so I don't think summer sleeping bag will do. I go camping in August and nights-mornings can get very cold.
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Old 05-24-08, 09:22 AM   #3
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A lot depends on the amount of time you have available. If you check at Via Rail Canada, basically all trains that take checked baggage handle bikes, which much be boxed in a relatively large box (that they provide for 20 $). Back to the original question, there are "transcontinental" trains from Halifax to Montréal, then from Montréal to Toronto (only the night train takes bikes if I remember correctly), then from Toronto to Vancouver via Edmonton.

If you have choice of direction (i.e. no specific end point), I would suggest flying to Vancouver, then riding to Edmonton, then taking the train to Toronto. That way, you'll take advantage of prevailing winds (a very slight advantage in the Rockies) and you'll do them as early as possible. I would recommend avoiding the Prairies unless you have lots of time available, and rather spend time cycling further East. From Toronto, you could cycle to Kingston, Ottawa, Montréal, Trois-Rivières, Québec, Rivière-du-Loup, Edmunston, St. John, Moncton and Halifax.
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Old 05-24-08, 04:15 PM   #4
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"Halifax, Toronto or Montreal? Does it make any difference at all?"

Oh-No...that could start something


As for the trains:
No,they're all connected and used to be on the same line,I think there is a few hour stop and transfer now in Montreal
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Old 05-24-08, 09:29 PM   #5
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Winnipeg to Vancouver means going against the prevailing winds which average 20-25kph in September.
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Old 05-25-08, 09:29 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Michel Gagnon View Post
If you have choice of direction (i.e. no specific end point), I would suggest flying to Vancouver, then riding to Edmonton, then taking the train to Toronto. That way, you'll take advantage of prevailing winds.
+1

Definitely a big factor.
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Old 05-25-08, 03:57 PM   #7
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Why not just fly straight to Winnipeg? (Or to Vancouver for that matter if you want to do the prevailing winds thing). It seems silly to spend several days on the train from Halifax unless you are a huge fan of very slow trains. If you only have the Toronto/Montreal/Halifax options, take Toronto. Less time on the train.
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Old 05-26-08, 02:06 AM   #8
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Thanks for all your advise

Thanks for some useful information. This winds i was not aware of.

But this is the first leg of a world tour and it is natural that i go east east east all the way..
So i must start on the east coast and go west and end up in Vancouver.
I dont want to take so many fligths to get to my start destination either, so flights with no stops from London to coast is easy and cheap to get.
And i dont want to go into USA, and i want to end up in Vancouver because its easy to get a flight to New Zealand from Vancouver.

Maby i consider to cruise Novia Scotia first and then bike in the lower parts of canada util i get to Winnipeg area and then take the train to Vancouver to avoid the heaviest winds.
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Old 05-27-08, 09:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LitePacking View Post
Thanks for some useful information. This winds i was not aware of.

But this is the first leg of a world tour and it is natural that i go east east east all the way..
So i must start on the east coast and go west and end up in Vancouver.
I dont want to take so many fligths to get to my start destination either, so flights with no stops from London to coast is easy and cheap to get.
And i dont want to go into USA, and i want to end up in Vancouver because its easy to get a flight to New Zealand from Vancouver.

Maby i consider to cruise Novia Scotia first and then bike in the lower parts of canada util i get to Winnipeg area and then take the train to Vancouver to avoid the heaviest winds.
Prevailing winds from the west will always work against you, no matter where you are in North America.

The main variable to take into account on your trip is the amount of time you have. Also, how much distance do you plan to cover each day on your bike? Europeans in general underestimate the challenge that distances represent in North America. The trip from Halifax to Vancouver is quite a challenge.

One itinerary that you may like a lot would be to fly into Montreal, then bike to Toronto using the Route Verte in Quebec and the Waterfront Trail in Ontario. From Toronto, jump on the train to either Winnipeg or Calgary, then bike to Vancouver.

Best,
Ronald in Montreal
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Last edited by RHoude; 05-27-08 at 09:07 PM.
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