Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: British Columbia, Canada
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Originally Posted by rrodgers
For approximately the middle third of the route we are looking at cycling the Kettle Valley Railway. We are thinking of starting on the KVR in Hope and proceeding through Coquihalla to Princeton and on to Summerland and Penticton. From there we'd go through the Myra Canyon and after that leave the KVR and go to Kelowna, Vernon and then to the Trans Canada Highway.
I have a couple of questions, one general, the other more specific. We have a copy of Dan & Sandra's “Cycling the Kettle Valley Railway”. In it the authors are fairly clear in recommending mountain bikes for any extended use of the KVR. I also do not recall any pictures in the book of people using road/touring bikes. The question is, has anyone here cycled over substantial parts of the KVR on a touring bike? If so, where, how far and how would you advise others about a KVR/touring bike combo?
I'm quite familiar with the section of that trail from Penticton to Summerland and part of the way west to Princeton. I've also ridden the KVR from Princeton to Brookmere.
You can ride the Penticton to Summerland portion quite easily on a road bike if you've got heavy duty tires. Going to a 37 mm size is a good idea. Keep your speed modest on that part of the trail. There are a couple of massive holes along the way. People have stuffed branches into them as a way to mark them for other cyclists. Ride, have fun, but be alert.
From Summerland to Faulder, the trail's in great shape. The section from Faulder west to Trout Creek Crossing used to have a thick layer of loose gravel. It's almost impossible to ride in that stuff. But the alternative is to use the road from Faulder to Trout Creek Crossing. It's not all that long, but there's a huge climb.
I've only been on parts of the trail from Trout Creek Crossing to Princeton but the parts I've ridden are okay for solid touring bikes with good tires.
The highway from Faulder to Chain Lake is gravel, but it's kept in good condition aside from some washboard areas. I've ridden this road many times on my bike and it's always been pleasant. From Chain Lake to Princeton, it's paved.
Originally Posted by rrodgers
The more specific question is about the Hope to Princeton portion. We have the third edition (2002) of the Langford book which I believe is the most recent. Back then substantial portions of the trail in the Coquihalla Canyon area were in private ownership and not usable by cyclists or were impassable or in bad shape. Has this situation changed? Has anyone cycled this portion of the trail – Hope to Brookmere – in the past couple of years? How was it? And what sort of time did you require to do it? If you have also cycled Highway 5, the Coquihalla, how was that in comparison to the KVR?
From Hope to Brookmere, the trail is in good shape (or it was when I rode it a few years ago.) I didn't ride it past Brookmere but I took the Coquihalla into Hope.
The Coquihalla is a busy, fast highway. The speed limit is 110 kilometres an hour. The shoulders are wide which is good because the traffic moves so quickly. You'll probably find yourself praying a lot as you ride that highway. If you're riding away from Hope, you'll also face an unrelenting climb on a fairly straight road.
I personally prefer coming out of Hope on Highway 3 and following that route to Princeton. You'll climb on that one too but it's a far superior highway for cyclists. Motorists on that highway aren't in a hurry and truckers will give you a lot of room. It's a two-lane highway with narrow shoulders, but that isn't a problem. I'd recommend cycling Highway 3 from Hope to Princeton and then hooking up with the KVR there.