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  1. #1
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    Trans-Canada trail cycling?

    Anyone here have experiences with the Trans-Canada trail?

    We tried a bit of it in 2006 and it varied from great to terrible. Great was the part in Quebec, from Riviere du Loup to Edmunston (NB). After that, the NB part of the trail became a joke (huge rocks, totally unusable on a bicycle). PEI was pretty good but we were told sometimes it gets taken over by ATVs..

    Just wondering about the feasibility of using parts of it as we go across Canada this year. I know it's far from complete and the trail website isn't terribly useful on details.
    We blog about bike touring, with reviews, tips and cycle touring podcasts at Travelling Two

  2. #2
    'roid monkey wannabe AnnaMossity's Avatar
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    Good question mate! I have only been on the TCT from Vancouver to the Fraser Valley and on Vancouver Island too. It was a very well maintained trail and even wheelchair friendly for the most part but the route finding was difficult even with the guidebook. I am thinking of taking it from West to East for the most part but we'll see how it goes. The website is the ****s.

  3. #3
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    I've only been on the bit through part of Winnipeg ... it's a dirt trail on an abandoned rail line, or at least it was when I rode it in 2004. It would be tough going on a bicycle with thin tires, and was full of people in the neighborhood walking their dogs and small children using it as a playground.

    I was just looking at where the trail goes through Winnipeg, on the website, and I see that it follows several roads (one road just behind where I lived), the few MUPs Winnipeg has, and the dirt trail I mentioned. I zoomed in and I see it take riders right across a park half a block where I lived. The only path across that park is a bit of worn-down grass!


    The little bit of existing trail here in Red Deer is just Red Deer's MUP system. It's paved, but some sections are paved in sidewalk pavers (bump-bump-bump-bump), and you've got to watch for broken glass, peds, roller bladers, children and dogs. Part of it goes through Red Deer's dog park where dogs are allowed to run free.

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    I've been on sections of it in Saskatchewan and Ontario that would only be suitable for hiking.

  5. #5
    'roid monkey wannabe AnnaMossity's Avatar
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    There go my plans of riding the TCT coast to coast for the most part, pffft. Hope I can avoid getting smucked by a sleepy driver on The 1.

  6. #6
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AnnaMossity View Post
    There go my plans of riding the TCT coast to coast for the most part, pffft. Hope I can avoid getting smucked by a sleepy driver on The 1.
    For the most part, you don't need to set a tire on Hwy 1 if you don't want to. I'm in the middle of packing, and my maps are all packed, but I'll briefly give you a possible route from memory and an old version of Streets and Trips ...

    From Vancouver - 0 Avenue to Chilliwack (you sort of angle up to Chilliwack on backroads from 0 Avenue). I've ridden all that, and it's a good road. Then I'd take 7 over to where you can get onto 3. Take 3 across to 93. I've driven 3 recently, and it's not bad, although a little hilly. 93 is a nice road. Keep on 93 to Castle Junction.

    Then you've got a choice. You can do a middle route across the prairie or a southern route.

    The middle route would involve staying on 93 (Icefield Parkway) to Saskatchewan River Crossing and Hwy 11. Ride Hwy 11 to Red Deer - gorgeous highway, one of the nicest you'll come across. Then I'd do 12 as far across as it is paved, and head down to 9 close to the Saskatchewan border. You don't want to hit 9 any sooner than that. 9 turns into 7 and heads up to Saskatoon if you'd like to go that way. Saskatoon is pretty. Then you can hook up with 16 the rest of the way to Winnipeg. If you're going that way, I highly recommend visiting the Riding Mtn National Park, and maybe even going up and around the RMNP to Dauphin (83 > 5 > 10 > 357 > 5 into Neepawa and 16 into Portage La Prairie, and then of course 26 into Winnipeg).

    The south route would have you coming down the Bow Valley Parkway into Banff. Then I would recommend taking Hwy 1 into Calgary, but Hwy 1 is good there. In fact, you could probably stay on Hwy 1 right to Saskatchewan because there's a decent shoulder to work with. Once you get into Saskatchewan you'd want to start looking for something else. 13 might be a decent choice, and 13 turns into 2 in Manitoba. You could stay on 2 or go down to 3 in Manitoba, either one is fine ... very quiet. In fact, it puzzles me why anyone would want to ride Hwy 1 in Manitoba where there are several perfectly good alternatives. 2 sends you right by Spruce Woods which is an interesting area.

    I'd stay in Bird's Hill Park in Winnipeg, and then get down to 15 to Elma. Then probably 44 to West Hawk Lake ... especially if it wasn't a Friday night.

    If you want to stay in Canada, then you're stuck with Hwy 17 across Ontario, but I'd recommend heading down to Michigan. If you're going to do that, get onto 12 down to the Minnesota border.

    Then come back into Canada at Sault Ste. Marie. I've driven 17 to Montreal, but I haven't ridden it so I can't comment on it's conditions for cyclists.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    There are heaps of fascinating paved roads across the Canadian prairies. A person could spend a year or more just riding them all, and visiting the little towns, and chatting to the people, and looking at the neat things they put up in their towns. I've given you some fairly direct routes, but you could meander all over the place. Get some good maps from CAA and explore!!


    If you have a look through my Flickr photos, you'll see some of these lovely Canadian roads:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/14302884@N04/sets/

  7. #7
    'roid monkey wannabe AnnaMossity's Avatar
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    Wow, Machka, I knew you'd have some good advice but I didn't count on actually getting stoked about going through the prairies, thanks

    I was going to bus it through the prairies but am not sure they take bikes on Greyhound and don't really fancy getting my head sawed off while trying to sleep, lol.

    Anyways, Ill have a look at those photos for more inspiration.

  8. #8
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    A few examples of roads I mentioned .....


    Here's a shot of Hwy 11 between Saskatchewan River Crossing and Nordegg ... on the way between the Icefield Parkway and Red Deer. I highly recommend taking that highway. I've got several sets in my Flickr collection of Hwy 11/Nordegg because I've cycled out there many times.




    This is in Riding Mountain National Park in Manitoba ... I loved riding that road through there, and there's a nice campground and little resort town on the lake in the distance.




    This is Hwy 3 in Manitoba. It's flat right there, but we're approaching a deep valley, part of the Pembina valley system ... and we've got the excitement of the weather out there too! But notice the traffic density.


    http://www.flickr.com/photos/1430288...7602332364909/


    This is 0 Avenue in BC ... the road I'm on when I took the photo is 0 Avenue. The other road in the photo is Border Avenue, I think, and it's in the US. That bit of grass between the two roads is the border.


  9. #9
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by avatarworf View Post
    Anyone here have experiences with the Trans-Canada trail?

    We tried a bit of it in 2006 and it varied from great to terrible. Great was the part in Quebec, from Riviere du Loup to Edmunston (NB). After that, the NB part of the trail became a joke (huge rocks, totally unusable on a bicycle). PEI was pretty good but we were told sometimes it gets taken over by ATVs..

    Just wondering about the feasibility of using parts of it as we go across Canada this year. I know it's far from complete and the trail website isn't terribly useful on details.
    Have you looked at La Route Verte in Quebec? According to the website it is quite well developed, and I read a positive write up about it in a magazine recently.

    http://www.routeverte.com/rv/index_e.php

  10. #10
    Cycled on all continents JohnyW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AnnaMossity View Post
    ...but the route finding was difficult even with the guidebook...
    I tried it from Victoria. The maps on the homepage didn't helped at all. I lost the trail after 15-20 km after I left the Galloping Goose Trail. No signs (Vancouver Island) at all. In Victoria I couldn't buy the book because it wasn't on stock. I believe this trail is a good idea, but you need a lot of time for navigation. Without the book (or a GPS track) you'll loose the trail quite often (like me). The books are essential.

    To be honest: choose your own route. Some really nice spots (for instance Icefield Parkway) you'll miss on the trail

    Thomas
    My Travelogues: http://thomasontour.de (currently only in German)

  11. #11
    Gordon P
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    The Trans Canada and the Route Verte follow some of the same routes and are in great shape. In regards to signs, I noticed that many in some areas are defaced, removed and/or has the English spraypainted over.

    Sad.

  12. #12
    'roid monkey wannabe AnnaMossity's Avatar
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    Well after all of Machka's great suggestions I bought a plane ticket to England, lol.

    I'll definitely have to do the cross Canada thing soon though so yer efforts have not gone to waste Machka

  13. #13
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    Thanks Machka. That Highway 11 looks great. We are just coming up through Montana now and we were eying that but we're also toying with the desire to just get to Edmonton ASAP and see Andrew's sister. Hummmm... the trail sounds like it's in about the same bad shape as it was last time we were home in 2006!
    We blog about bike touring, with reviews, tips and cycle touring podcasts at Travelling Two

  14. #14
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    Has anyone tried any of the trail in Newfoundland? I'm going to bike from Port Aux Basques to St. John's in mid-august and I'm having a hard time finding reliable and current information about it. I'd like to avoid the TCH as much as possible. Any suggestions?

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