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Old 10-15-08, 01:13 PM   #1
Randobarf
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Info on starting a tour in British Columbia, Canada

For your reading pleasure I have posted a few pages of information on crazyguyonabike with interactive maps and a video on how to start a cross-continent cycletour from Vancouver, British Columbia:

Vancouver to Kamloops - Crossing the Coast Mountains of British Columbia
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Old 10-15-08, 03:57 PM   #2
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I say, "To hell with Vancouver!" ;-) ;-) ;-)
Start from Prince Rupert and ride along the spectacular Skeena River.
http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/p...na&context=all
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Old 10-15-08, 05:14 PM   #3
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Jeff, that is quite a tour you are on!

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Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
I say, "To hell with Vancouver!" ;-) ;-) ;-)
Start from Prince Rupert and ride along the spectacular Skeena River.
http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/p...na&context=all
On the last page of that article I actually make that suggestion. I love your photos from up there. They bring back many fond memories of cycling along the Skeena River.

Vancouver is certainly not a hot cycling destination. It's just where the airport is for people that are flying in to start their tour.
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Old 10-15-08, 05:57 PM   #4
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You can always take the "Queen of the North" ferry up to Prince Rupert - -
No, wait. You can't. It sank.
Well, you can take the "Spirit of Hartley Bay" - -
Oh, wait. No, BC Ferries didn't want to name the new ferry
after the community that saved all the passengers on the "Queen of the North".

Well, you can take the "Northern Adventure" - meh.
Nothing will quite replace the elegant "Queen of the North".

About routes -
It really is a shame that there is no single good route out from Vancouver.
I've ridden thru lots of tunnels, but don't care to do it on the TransCanada.
I also avoid four-lane expressways if all possible.
So that leaves what - Hwy 99 - the "Dieway"?

How about the Crowsnest and Hwy 5A? I know it's a lot longer, but have you done it?
And what about the BC Forest Road that runs up the Lillooet River to Hwy 99?
It's a lot of dirt, but, I'm sure it's pretty empty.
My guess is that it's WAY too difficult and remote for most folks.

The nice thing about Prince Rupert (aside from all the rain) is that
you have hundreds of miles/kms of nearly level road to start your trip.
And very, very little traffic, too.

I'm an oddball, but I am willing to spend an extra day
in order to start my trip off in a quiet location.
Last winter - Sapelo Island, Georgia.

Best - J

PS - Them pix of the Skeena ain't mine.
I've never seen the sun between Terrace and P.R.
(Still stunning, foreboding, awesome, but cloudy/drizzly)

PPS - I've been DOWN Heckman Pass. I can't imagine going up. My rims were smoking and I had to stop at every other hairpin to let them cool off.

Last edited by jamawani; 10-15-08 at 06:00 PM.
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Old 10-15-08, 07:04 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
You can always take the "Queen of the North" ferry up to Prince Rupert - -
No, wait. You can't. It sank.
Well, you can take the "Spirit of Hartley Bay" - -
Oh, wait. No, BC Ferries didn't want to name the new ferry
after the community that saved all the passengers on the "Queen of the North".
Isn't that disgraceful. The new mis-named ferry seems to be broken down a lot. Strangely enough on my last cycling trip to Prince Rupert the Queen of the North never showed up at the dock. That was the voyage she went down to Davey Jones Locker. We have the good people of Hartley Bay to thank that all but two passengers were saved.

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So that leaves what - Hwy 99 - the "Dieway"?
I don't mean to nitpick but technically the correct name of Highway 99 to Whistler is "Her Majesty's Scream and Die Highway". There is always some screaming involved. People are riding on it. I suppose it depends on how one perceives the danger.

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How about the Crowsnest and Hwy 5A? I know it's a lot longer, but have you done it?
I did Highway 5A last week and I put it in the article on the Coquihalla page. I have not done the Crowsnest Pass (Highway 3) route recently enough to write an accurate report on it. Under any circumstance Highway 3 covers such a vast territory that it will require a separate Crazyguyonabike article. Someday when I get two weeks off I will ride back and forth on it with my video camera. However, it is not my favorite route. There are some narrow sections that do not leave much room for trucks and bicycles. It would not be the first route I would recommend, however nice the scenery is.

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And what about the BC Forest Road that runs up the Lillooet River to Hwy 99?
I will not be writing about any of the Forest Service roads or partially-surfaced roads due to some of them becoming impassible at certain times of the year, the rough surfaces and lack of services. Some of them are practically mountain-bike singletrack where you have to be completely self-sufficient.

Last edited by Randobarf; 10-15-08 at 07:59 PM.
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Old 10-15-08, 10:52 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randobarf View Post
Vancouver is certainly not a hot cycling destination. It's just where the airport is for people that are flying in to start their tour.
Gotta disagree on this point. I've lived and traveled in a lot of places, and Vancouver is my favorite cycling city in North America -- with Portland, Oregon a close second. In both of the aforementioned places, the cycling culture is rich and diverse, and biking is simply the best way to get around. These are cities that just get it.

In fact, the cycling culture is one of the primary reasons I moved to Vancouver a few years ago. On my daily commute to work, the bike traffic is so busy on certain routes that I feel I'm on an organized ride!
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Old 10-16-08, 01:04 AM   #7
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Sorry but with your description of the Sea-to-Sky highway I totally disagree. I cycled it 2007. Trucks drove 1 km behind me because they couldn't overtake. After the construction was finished you have a very good shoulder. Okay I'm used to a bit more traffic as it is usual in North America.

The scenic to Whistler is very beautiful - and from Whistler on is very low traffic. I don't know why the Duffy Lake is always mentioned. From my rating: normal mountains without good views.

Vancouver is good to cycle. The mix of cycling paths and usage of motorways (eg. from the Airport) is very good. You can use quite streets for a city cruise or take the motorway to go in/out as quick as possible. And you can easily take the bus and get rid of the traffic at all.

Thomas
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Old 10-16-08, 12:33 PM   #8
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Thomas that is a fabulous website you have! Your photos are excellent.

Hopefully the summer cycling conditions on the Sea to Sky highway will improve once the $1.5 Billion Olympic motoring improvements are finished. Having been a former commuter (Vancouver to Whistler) on that route I get shivers just thinking of some of the things I have seen motorists do on that road. Next year once I have my health insurance paid up and I have informed my next of kin I will do a couple of laps on the Sea to Sky (after taking a bottle of Valium pills).
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Old 10-17-08, 01:37 AM   #9
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Hi,

thanks for the compliment.

It's really not so worse as looks like. The most annoying was this small concrete wall between the lanes. I had to cross about 10 times just for making a photo. And even that - standing at wall on the left side of the lane - wasn't a problem at all.

Thomas
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Old 10-17-08, 12:45 PM   #10
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Prior to Vancouver being "awarded" the Olympics there was some talk about having a separated bike route to Whistler (partially on a route inland from the Howe Sound, away from the highway). The Olympic road-building budget then sucked up every available transportation dollar to facilitate new automobile infrastructure. It's a shame because Whistler can make a nice day trip from Vancouver and Whistler could use the cycletourists a dedicated bike route would attract.

Given the fact that there is virtually no government budget for cycling and cycletourism in British Columbia there are a surprisingly large number of cycletourists that manage to find their way to British Columbia, from around the world. Every day there are cycletourists arriving at the Vancouver airport from Japan, Europe, the United States, Australia and everywhere cycletourists come from. Hopefully readers of this forum will visit British Columbia (with your bikes!) and Vancouver may eventually become a place that facilitates cyclists like Victoria (BC) or Copenhagen, etc. British Columbia is also an interesting place to cycletour.
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Old 10-17-08, 01:42 PM   #11
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Recommend again hwy3 Crowsnet cause it the most dangerous of the lot. Narrow shoulder and narrow, twisty hwy. Sorely outdated road (hence the local Mayors are asking the province to upgrade it). I drive Hwy 99 (Sea to Sky) lots and once the construction wraps up it will definitely have a better shoulder than Fraser Canyon Hwy and hwy3. The Harrson Lake route remains an option (the other poster called this the Lillooet River route) for cyclists getting from Fraser Valley (between Hope and Greater Vancouver) to Lillooet (ie north of whistler and pemberton). The Harrison route is pretty rough FSR, but I'd say it's every bit as scenic as the OP's suggested Hwy1 route up the Fraser Canyon. Lots of nice camping along the Harrison route and minimal traffic, but really just a summer/early fall route. Lastly, there's the TransCanadaTrail...but that's a whole other discussion.

hwy conditions keep changing here, so be wary of the date of Trip Reports, books and travel guides as they may apply to 2009 tours and beyond...
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Old 10-17-08, 02:34 PM   #12
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Recommend again hwy3 Crowsnet cause it the most dangerous of the lot.
Those are my feelings as well. This year I rode Highway 5A at the request of CGOAB readers. I am an internet marionette but it was quite enjoyable. Now readers have requested that I ride Highway 3 and I am not really looking forward to it.

I see you have done the 200 on the Van Isle Eau de Hell Week (April). Hell week is a great way to get in shape for the touring season and see Vancouver Island (at 3 am). There's nothing like starting off the season with 1500 km of hilly cycling. I did the whole Hell Week this year and it was a blast (and I got a Hell Week pin!).


Hell Week Tour of the Cowichan Valley 200. Photo by Stephen Hinde
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