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  1. #1
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    Suggested Route? (Toronto to Thunder Bay)

    Hello

    I'm looking for a suggested route I may take. Here's a rough Google biking map from my area (Port Credit) to Thunder Bay: http://maps.google.ca/maps?saddr=por...m&lci=bike&z=7

    I friend suggested I take Highway 17 or 11. Highway 17 being more difficult & prettier (along Lake Superior too), Highway 11 much easier and a few hundred km longer.
    Not that I trust the map above, but why does the bike route seemingly avoid Highway 17 when it hits Sudbury? Does it basically not put you on a highway for safety reasons?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ontario_Highway_17

    I like that Google's bike map takes you along Lake Simcoe.

    Shall I take Highway 11 up to North Bay then continue going west on Highway 17? What's Highway 69 like? Definitely want something scenic, I am a Photographer too!

    Also, as a new rider please tell me of your concerns regarding Highway choice and precautions D:

    Thanks

    Just discovered the regional forum...
    Last edited by JarrettH; 08-30-11 at 02:36 PM. Reason: fixed link

  2. #2
    Senior member Dan Burkhart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JarrettH View Post
    Hello

    I'm looking for a suggested route I may take. Here's a rough Google biking map from my area (Port Credit) to Thunder Bay: http://maps.google.ca/maps?saddr=por...m&z=7&lci=bike

    I friend suggested I take Highway 17 or 11. Highway 17 being more difficult & prettier (along Lake Superior too), Highway 11 much easier and a few hundred km longer.
    Not that I trust the map above, but why does the bike route seemingly avoid Highway 17 when it hits Sudbury? Does it basically not put you on a highway for safety reasons?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ontario_Highway_17

    I like that Google's bike map takes you along Lake Simcoe.

    Shall I Highway 11 up to North Bay then continue going west on Highway 17? What's Highway 69 like? Definitely want something scenic, I am a Photographer too!

    Also, as a new rider please tell me of your concerns regarding Highway choice and precautions D:

    Thanks

    Just discovered the regional forum...
    If you ride hwy 11, you will be the only cyclist you see. 17 is the only acceptable route for cycling, but I would plan to ride up the Bruce Peninsula, take the ferry from Tobermory to South Baymouth, ride accross Manitoulin Island, and join 17 at Espanola.
    I'm an over the road trucker, and I travel the T-Can quite a bit. There's lots of cyclists on hwy 17 this time of year, but 10 to one eastbound over westbound.
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  3. #3
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    Most cyclists choose Hwy 17 rather than 11 because it is more scenic. It supposedly has fewer trucks, because trucks take the flatter Hwy 11, but there are still lots of trucks.

    Hwy 17 west of Sudbury is a divided highway which cyclists aren't allowed on.

    Hwy 69 is okay. There's lots of traffic, but a good shoulder. The problem is getting to Hwy 69.

    I second Dan's suggestion of going by way of Manitoulin Island.

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    I wouldn't literally be on the highway though, isn't there a shoulder you can ride on? Looking at the photos on wikipedia it appears so, but maybe that doesn't count...?

    I'm looking up your route Dan, thank you!

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    That looks AWESOMEEEEEEEE Dan, I'm excited hahaha!

    And it removes that big question mark: what to do before Highway 17
    Last edited by JarrettH; 09-03-11 at 04:56 PM. Reason: removed old route

  6. #6
    Senior member Dan Burkhart's Avatar
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    I would NOT recommend cycling on 69. I never see cyclists on it for one thing, and for another, they are working on extending the 400 northward. It actually extends beyond Nobel now, and I have no idea how you would stay connected with 69. It's becomming a piece of road here, and another stretch there.
    Sudbury itself would not be a problem. Bicycles are not allowed on the bypass, but you can go into town and take regional road 55 west to link up with the highway west of town.
    However, all that is moot if you take the suggestion to go via Manitoulin. I've ridden across the island a couple of times and it's a great ride.
    Gearhubs demystified and other cool stuff.


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  7. #7
    Used to be Conspiratemus
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    Quote Originally Posted by JarrettH View Post
    I wouldn't literally be on the highway though, isn't there a shoulder you can ride on? Looking at the photos on wikipedia it appears so, but maybe that doesn't count...?

    I'm looking up your route Dan, thank you!
    Perusing Google Streetview here and there along 17 between TBay and the Sault, I don't see much of a paved shoulder, just a foot maybe of asphalt to the right of the fog stripe that you could run off onto without hitting the gravel but not wide enough to ride on with any real separation from motor vehicles. And it looks rougher than the main vehicle lanes. Dan Burkhart would know better since he's actually been there.

    Route 6 from Espanola through Manitoulin Island looks really sweet though.
    "I did not know that!" -- J. Carson

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    Senior member Dan Burkhart's Avatar
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    No paved shoulder on 17, but lots of cyclists so we know to watch out for you.
    I would not ride it on skinny tires, although lots of riders do. I like the option of bailing out to the shoulder when necessary.
    Use a mirror for sure, and be alert for oversize loads. If a pilot car passes you with the lights flashing, you know something big is right behind.
    I arrived in Dryden last night, and on the trip here from Sault Ste. Marie, I saw a fair number of cyclists, but not nearly as many as my last trip across there two weeks ago. The season is starting to peter out. Another two weeks, I won't expect to see many at all.
    As mentioned before, 69 would not be a bad cycling route. The shoulder is mostly paved from Nobel to the French river, but getting to it might be a problem. The north end is being expanded to 4 lane as well, so there would be a connection problem there too.
    There must be a reason I never see touring cyclists on that road. The only time I see a bicycle it's usually an Indian riding from the rez into Pointe Au Baril.
    Gearhubs demystified and other cool stuff.


    Rule #12: The correct number of bikes to own is n+1

  9. #9
    Senior Member lucille's Avatar
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    JarrettH, if you decide to take the route through Tobermory, I would suggest taking a day off there. Since you've mentioned you're a photographer, you really want to have a good look at the Georgian Bay and the most gorgeous blue waters, flat rocks and take a boat tour to Flowerpot Island, if you can. You want be disappointed, this area is really beautiful.

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    Used to be Conspiratemus
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Burkhart View Post
    No paved shoulder on 17, but lots of cyclists so we know to watch out for you.
    I would not ride it on skinny tires, although lots of riders do. I like the option of bailing out to the shoulder when necessary.
    Use a mirror for sure, and be alert for oversize loads. If a pilot car passes you with the lights flashing, you know something big is right behind.
    I arrived in Dryden last night, and on the trip here from Sault Ste. Marie, I saw a fair number of cyclists, but not nearly as many as my last trip across there two weeks ago. The season is starting to peter out. Another two weeks, I won't expect to see many at all.
    <snip>
    Thanks much for that eye-witness, rubber-on-the-road intel, Dan. Very helpful.
    "I did not know that!" -- J. Carson

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    Thanks I jotted down those destinations, lucille

    Can you show me those spots you mentioned where the shoulder is very narrow? Again, I don't intend on actually riding on the road. I'm using a hybrid bike so not so skinny tires as can be haha.

    New route I have been adjusting (it now follows Highway 17 instead of Google arbitrarily putting it off course for a bike route): http://maps.google.ca/maps?saddr=Por...2&lci=bike&z=7

    Regarding the map, most of the plot points were just to keep it on track as Google has a limited number you can add.

    Thanks Dan for the rear mirror idea, btw!
    Last edited by JarrettH; 09-03-11 at 04:58 PM.

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    Now that I've heard that Soo to Thunder Bay is rather inhospitable and deserted I am seriously considering just going to Soo then overlapping Highway 17 a bit and heading into Sudbury (VIA train). That should make it about 1,000 km. Gives me time to look around & enjoy. Completing a trip to Thunder Bay in two weeks could be pushing it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JarrettH View Post
    Thanks I jotted down those destinations, lucille

    Can you show me those spots you mentioned where the shoulder is very narrow? Again, I don't intend on actually riding on the road. I'm using a hybrid bike so not so skinny tires as can be haha.
    ...
    I just rolled the arrow along Highway 17 and tried to walk the little orange person onto the route at various places. When I got a hit, I panned around and down to look at the shoulder. Did this at maybe a dozen-and-a-half spots, especially where it goes inland (hilly!) since that's where there will be passing lanes that typically eat up any paved shoulder (and where fast cars will be passing slow trucks and little you.) The photos you saw on Wikipedia showing wider and better-quality paved shoulders look like they might be official MTO photos to illustrate highway upgrading projects at e.g., Wawa. From random Streetview shots, it looks as if most of the road hasn't been repaved since I went up that way to go canoe-tripping in 1976!

    The poor quality of the TCH around Lake Superior in comparison with American Interstate highways (and not just the two lanes vs. four) is legendary among cross-Canada motorists.
    "I did not know that!" -- J. Carson

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    Used to be Conspiratemus
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    Quote Originally Posted by JarrettH View Post
    Now that I've heard that Soo to Thunder Bay is rather inhospitable and deserted I am seriously considering just going to Soo then overlapping Highway 17 a bit and heading into Sudbury (VIA train). That should make it about 1,000 km. Gives me time to look around & enjoy. Completing a trip to Thunder Bay in two weeks could be pushing it.
    It's still a long rugged 314 km from the Soo north to White River which is the only place you can get the VIA train back to Sudbury (3 days a week in each direction, nine hours on a Budd car with no food service AFAIK.) Then if you were hoping to continue by train back to Toronto, you need to get yourself way out of town to Capreol which is the closest that VIA's Canadian (also only 3 days a week) comes to Sudbury. Probably more practical to get a box at a bike shop in Sudbury and take the bus home.
    "I did not know that!" -- J. Carson

  15. #15
    Senior member Dan Burkhart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by conspiratemus1 View Post
    I just rolled the arrow along Highway 17 and tried to walk the little orange person onto the route at various places. When I got a hit, I panned around and down to look at the shoulder. Did this at maybe a dozen-and-a-half spots, especially where it goes inland (hilly!) since that's where there will be passing lanes that typically eat up any paved shoulder (and where fast cars will be passing slow trucks and little you.) The photos you saw on Wikipedia showing wider and better-quality paved shoulders look like they might be official MTO photos to illustrate highway upgrading projects at e.g., Wawa. From random Streetview shots, it looks as if most of the road hasn't been repaved since I went up that way to go canoe-tripping in 1976!

    The poor quality of the TCH around Lake Superior in comparison with American Interstate highways (and not just the two lanes vs. four) is legendary among cross-Canada motorists.
    There is paving going on all the time on that road. If it wasn't done every few years, the freeze thaw cycles would crumble it, even if there were no traffic on it.
    It really isn't that bad a road though. Most of it has a good foot or more to the right of the fog line, and the traffic isn't all that constant. if you can do hills, I wouldn't fear it too much.
    I carry a bike in the truck, and try to get out for a ride every chance I get. I haven't ridden a long distance tour on the Trans Canada, but I've ridden numerous small stretches of it.
    I'd love to ride the whole length of it one day, but I'd hope to do it eastbound.
    Gearhubs demystified and other cool stuff.


    Rule #12: The correct number of bikes to own is n+1

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