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Questions about plan to cross Canada

Old 08-19-19, 12:10 PM
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Jno
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Questions about plan to cross Canada

I have a couple questions for anyone who has ridden across Canada.

I am planning a cross-Canada trip accompanied by support vehicle so donít need to carry gear. My hope is to use my endurance bike (Infinito). Iíve ridden centuries and been fine, but havenít ridden consecutive centuries every day for months, so if my intention is stupid, Iíd welcome that judgment (supported by reasoning, I hope). I am fit middle aged guy, if thatís relevant

I had intended to get deeper wheels (40-ish such as Enve 3.4) but just got back from riding in France where the mountains and mistral winds kicked my ass. Since I am not carrying a load, I figure I can get exactly the wrong wheels if Iím not careful: climbing wheels for the mountains that end up being brutal across the prairies or deeper ones that compound the challenges of the mountains. So my question is, if anyone has experienced the terrain across Canada and discovered what wheel depth provides the best net benefit, could they pass that advice along?

Thanks in advance for any help.
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Old 08-21-19, 05:36 PM
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I've ridden around Lake Ontario twice. It was my perception that the paved roads in Canada are harder than US roads. I don't know if that's really possible but it seemed so to to me. I would pick a wheel set that is not stiff. I would also go with a wide tire, at minimum 32 mm. Also consider double taping your bars. Your hands ,feet, and butt will be taking a beating. If you're not careful you can do real damage. I'm talking from experience.
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Old 08-22-19, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by mac mini View Post
I've ridden around Lake Ontario twice. It was my perception that the paved roads in Canada are harder than US roads. I don't know if that's really possible but it seemed so to to me. ...
+1. It doesn't seem possible, but that was my perception as well. As I rode along, going bumpbump, bumpbump, bumpbump ad infinitum I was speculating that the asphalt blend used in Ontario is more durable, but creates wider expansion cracks.

I gather you're worried about wind resistance. Fair enough! I know the wind can slow me down, but I just go for the fattest tires I can fit. Last year I rode around Lake Ontario on 40 mm tires, this year on 53 mm tires. Even on 53 mm tires, I felt each of those bumpbumps and didn't enjoy them much, but I seemed to suffer less than the other riders.
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Last edited by rhm; 08-22-19 at 10:48 AM.
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Old 08-22-19, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Jno View Post
I have a couple questions for anyone who has ridden across Canada.

I am planning a cross-Canada trip accompanied by support vehicle so donít need to carry gear. My hope is to use my endurance bike (Infinito). Iíve ridden centuries and been fine, but havenít ridden consecutive centuries every day for months, so if my intention is stupid, Iíd welcome that judgment (supported by reasoning, I hope). I am fit middle aged guy, if thatís relevant

I had intended to get deeper wheels (40-ish such as Enve 3.4) but just got back from riding in France where the mountains and mistral winds kicked my ass. Since I am not carrying a load, I figure I can get exactly the wrong wheels if Iím not careful: climbing wheels for the mountains that end up being brutal across the prairies or deeper ones that compound the challenges of the mountains. So my question is, if anyone has experienced the terrain across Canada and discovered what wheel depth provides the best net benefit, could they pass that advice along?

Thanks in advance for any help.
I recently completed a tour from Calgary to Vancouver through the Rockies. I had a loaded rig.

I found that the passes through the mountains have a lot of jagged rocks on the shoulder. I encountered a lot of metal debris too. I used 32mm Panaracer Pasela TG/PT tires and rolled over these things with ease, however if I had anything less than a 28mm tire, I'd be concerned.

I did not suffer any flats or wheel failures. Mind you, this was on a loaded rig.

If you're using an endurance bike you want to make sure you have very tough tires. The shoulders are smooth in some parts, but you're in the mountains. Rocks fall all time time or end up on the shoulder.

Note: if you are really interested in getting more specific information, maybe try posting this in the touring forum. A lot of those guys might have info you are looking for as well.

Last edited by BikeWonder; 08-22-19 at 06:38 PM.
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Old 08-22-19, 04:25 PM
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Thanks

Thanks for the advice - since I wonít be carrying a load, I would not have expected to need more than 28s so will start figuring all that out. Thanks again.
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Old 08-23-19, 03:07 AM
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I did a 9 day trip through part of the Rockies on a specialized roubaix. It was light credit card touring so no heavy pannier loads, just my heavy body. I was running rims that were 30mm deep or so, never seemed to have issues with them. I was running 28mm Vittoria Corsa tires and only had one flat in 1100km. I found the paved shoulders on the main highways exceptionally clean compared to roads in Ontario. I still use those same wheels and tires on rides all over Ontario and have had good luck with them.

I wouldn't bother with puncture resistant tires, they're slow and give a harsh ride. If your frame can fit 32mm I'd go that way though, a supple tire makes for a nice fast ride. I would carry a spare tire and two tubes, I always do on brevets and tours, never been stranded on a ride. I also carry a boot if something goes really wrong.

I imagine folks that live in windy places still use deeper rims but I don't have any experiences to share.
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Old 08-23-19, 10:36 PM
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I have ridden from Winnipeg to Vancouver and Calagry/Jasper to Van many times and find the roads to be ok more or less. They have repaved a large portion of Winnipeg west since 2016 which helps.
I was using Gatorskins in 28mm and found them ok but sometimes a bit harsh and now have switched to 32 which I like better. You can run them a bit soft and still not worry about pinches. Less than 28's and I would worry about pinch flats or the harsh buzz I'd get trying to pump them up to avoid them.

The decision as whether to seek puncture protection or not may depend on how much you like or don't like fixing flats. The biggest culprit I have found is small bits of wire from worn out radial tires that like to sneak into the tire. With a support vehicle and extra tires/tubes I would consider less protection and increased performance over high protection.

From Winnipeg west you would want aerodynamic rims if anything as you have vast distances to cover. The prairies aren't really that flat and have many small rollers along the way. Wind direction is a toss up mostly but you will hit head winds definitely past Calgary to the Kicking Horse pass. I don't really know what mountain rims are (for climbing?) but east to west the big hills are all down. West to east you go up more but the climbs are all long and relatively gradual compared to European alpine passes.

Interesting topic as I am considering a fast (ish) trans Canada tour next summer 2020.

Last edited by Happy Feet; 08-23-19 at 10:46 PM.
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Old 08-26-19, 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
I have ridden from Winnipeg to Vancouver and Calagry/Jasper to Van many times and find the roads to be ok more or less. They have repaved a large portion of Winnipeg west since 2016 which helps.
I was using Gatorskins in 28mm and found them ok but sometimes a bit harsh and now have switched to 32 which I like better. You can run them a bit soft and still not worry about pinches. Less than 28's and I would worry about pinch flats or the harsh buzz I'd get trying to pump them up to avoid them.

The decision as whether to seek puncture protection or not may depend on how much you like or don't like fixing flats. The biggest culprit I have found is small bits of wire from worn out radial tires that like to sneak into the tire. With a support vehicle and extra tires/tubes I would consider less protection and increased performance over high protection.

From Winnipeg west you would want aerodynamic rims if anything as you have vast distances to cover. The prairies aren't really that flat and have many small rollers along the way. Wind direction is a toss up mostly but you will hit head winds definitely past Calgary to the Kicking Horse pass. I don't really know what mountain rims are (for climbing?) but east to west the big hills are all down. West to east you go up more but the climbs are all long and relatively gradual compared to European alpine passes.

Interesting topic as I am considering a fast (ish) trans Canada tour next summer 2020.
Thanks for the detailed info! Exactly what Iíd hope for (and yes, I meant climbing wheels for mountains)
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Old 09-02-19, 06:38 PM
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I suggest going west to east. The wind on the prairie can be brutal and it almost always blows east off the Rockies. Hwy 1 between Chase BC and Sicamous BC isnít safe on a bicycle in my opinion. The road often hugs a cliff on one side, is two lane undivided and isnít engineered for the volume of traffic it carries. It will be years before that road is a 4 lane. Youíd be safer taking the 97C Connector then 97 from Westbank to Sicamous.

Or you could take Hwy 3. Itís 2 lane but has very little traffic compared to #1 and is so twisty that motorists canít really get going very fast. Plus thereís not much cell service so they arenít going to be texting. Plus youíll have a far greater chance at seeing bears.

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Old 12-05-19, 06:51 PM
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cross Canada adventure

We crossed Canada on a loaded tandem. You definitely want to go West to East to take advantage of prevailing winds.
We used 28-32mm tires, mostly gatorskins, but did encounter a lot of flats and major tire wear. Of course the bike + gear + 2 riders was very heavy.
I wouldn't sweat the details of rim profile, you'll be fine with anything.
We managed 130k per day fully loaded, so you'll be fine for consecutive days with support. But get your training miles in so that it's not a shock to your butt and knees!
Consider staying off the trans-Canada hwy whenever possible. It is unpleasantly busy with transport trucks. Sometimes it can't be avoided, but quieter highways exist across the prairies, and hwy 3 through BC is preferable.
None of the climbing is actually that bad, though incessant ups/downs in northern Ontario and Newfoundland.
Have a nice trip.
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