Originally Posted by coldcanuck
This is sort of an extension from the discussion about eastern Canada from the Touring 2005 cycling forum.
I'm looking for anyone who's crossed the rock... I'm interested in finding a neat route. We're looking at spending some time on the Trans Canada Trail (which isn't even close to finished), and we're trying to find ways of spending as little time as possible on the Trans Canada. We're planning on starting in St. John's and finishing in Halifax.
Any ideas? Any must sees?
I was born in Newfoundland, grew up there, rode my bike there both MTB and road. Never croossed the island by bicycle though. In 2000 I moved to Halifax, NS.
However, being from there, and riding the outskirts of St. John's and the Avalon Penninsula, plus having driven across that thing, more times that I wish to count, I feel that I am qualified to comment.
- Nfld is the most miserable place in the world to ride a bike. RDFW - Rain, Drizzle, Fog and Wind. Although, riding a bike in South Asia or Iraq might be a tad worse right now. Be aware of cold and rain. Not vertical rain, but horizontal rain. In Nfld you don't get wet on your head and shoulders, but rather on one side, due to the force of the wind.
- ride from west to east, Port Aux Basques to St. John's. It blows everyday, all day in Nfld. The average wind speed is 30km/h. Here in Halifax it is 10km/h. Keep in mind that is AVERAGE. If you are into S and M then do the opposite.
- The Trans Canada is your only choice to go from west to east (or vice versa). You can do SOME loops off of that, but that is the only road available to get from Port Aux Basques to St. John's. Otehrwise, it's out and then back to the TCH.
- Traffic is generally light.
-Trans Canada has a fairly wide shoulder. The shoulder through Terra Nova Park is like another lane - VERY wide. The only place that you should be aware of is around Appleton. The road isn't (or wasn't last year) in the best shape and there was not much shoulder to speak of. This will last about 20-30km, give or take. No shoulders on the secondary roads
. Yes, locals tend to drive fast and they don't see much by way of spandex clad cyclists very often in those parts. You'll be stared at.
- If you do loops off of the TCH keep in mind that services can be few and far between. Even on the TCH, service can be quite a distance apart. For example, if you head down the Bay d' Espoir highway (360) to Harbour Breton make sure you load up on water and food. There is NOTHING for 200km until you get to Harbour Breton. I know this because my mother is from that area and my parents have a....cottage there, where they spend the summer months.
- You will not find more diverse scenery, culture, dialect, food, etc anywhere else in the world.
- Man, that island sure is hilly. Adjust number of chainrings and gearing accordingly. Can't fit a forth chainring on your bike can you? Gros Morne PArk is WAY hilly. But great scenery. People here in Nova Scotia talk about the challenge of Cape Brenten. HAH! But a mere bump, I say!
- Oh, did I mention about the rain and wind? Be prepared for it.
My suggestion is, if you want to avoid the TCH as much as possible, to take the TCH from Port Aux Basques to the Notre Dame Junction, just past Bishops Falls. In between there you can go up Gros Morne, or the Baie Verte Penninsula, but eventually, if you want to go to St. John's, you have to come back to the TCH. At the junction head north on the 340, which takes you to 331, 330 and 320 back to the TCH at Gambo. This loop will provide you with great scenery, good accommodations and services. Although it WILL bypass Gander which is where the planes were grounded from the WTC terroist attack. Get the book "When the World Came To Town" and read up on it.
The loop around the Avalon Penninsula is good that leaves St. John's down to Ferryland, Trepassey, St. Marys, back to the TCH (GASP!) and then onto St. John's. Similarly, the loops north of St. John's - Conception Bay, Torbay, etc my old riding spot is great.
If you want more info PM me, I'd be happy to help.
These links may offer you some help also:
When are you planning to do the ride? I head back to Nfld every summer. Perhaps we can meet and I'll show you around St. John's and areas?