I plan to cross Canada next summer and will use Highway 3 in BC and Alberta to Medicine Hat. From there I am looking at either Highway 1 or a combination of Highways 13 and 2 to cross to Winnipeg. I know that the TCH will be quite busy but I am used to that kind of riding. I am more concerned about proper shoulders and camping opportunities. Recommendations please.
Highway 1 near Regina has really wide shoulders, and I ride on it all the time. Unfortunately there are spots on many Saskatchewan highways get very narrow. The last time I drove to Calgary from Regina, I noticed that the shoulder on the 1 does narrow in various spots. I'm not familiar with the 13.
There is Google Streetview images of both highways, so you could use that to see what the roads are like.
If you are fundraising, take Highway 1, but if you are want an interesting route, definitely take the 13. I haven't travelled on it extensively, but my co-worker's father was instrumental in having it designated the Red Coat Trail. I don't think there is much of a shoulder (a couple of feet), but there is a lot of history. Google the "red coat trail" for more.
I cycled across Canada last year. I had planned to take Hwy 13 in Saskatchewan, but part of it was under water, so I ended up taking Hwy 1. So I haven't cycled Hwy 13, but I have driven parts of it. It's very quiet, and more interesting than Hwy 1. Hwy 1 has a giant shoulder all the way from the the Alberta border to Regina.
From Regina I headed south to hook up with Hwy 2 in Manitoba, because I had heard bad things about Hwy 1 in Manitoba. Hwy 2 has absolutely no paved shoulder. The shoulder is thick, loose gravel, which is completely unrideable. There is lots of traffic, including lots of semis. However, the traffic is polite, and waits until it is safe to pass.
This year I drove out west. Hwy 1 in Manitoba has a good shoulder for most of it. There are sections without a shoulder, but it is a four lane, divided highway, so there should be plenty of room for vehicles to pass cyclists. If I were to do it again I would probably take Hwy 1.
East of Winnipeg I highly recommend Hwy 15/44. Hwy 44 is a nice, little, winding road through the forest with no traffic.
Thank you for your input. I had heard the possibility that Hwy 2 in Manitoba may be a problem. Does anyone know anything about Hwy 23 and then Hwy 3 into Winnipeg? I am searching for some route into Winnipeg that either has shoulders or is not too busy. Thanks