Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Touring
Reload this Page >

Thoughts on Cross-Canada Route?

Notices
Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

Thoughts on Cross-Canada Route?

Old 04-14-15, 01:16 PM
  #1  
jhawk
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
jhawk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: New Brunswick, Canada
Posts: 160

Bikes: Triumph Mountain Bike, Villiger Cabgona Touring Bike

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thoughts on Cross-Canada Route?

Hi all,

Hi all,

Preparing for my cross-Canada ride this year, wondering how on earth I'm going to traverse this vast expanse!

Here's a prospective route that I've laid out via Google Maps, it isn't very detailed, nor set-in-stone, as I plan to be as free as possible to allow for divergences, and you know, finding 'The One'.



I have to visit Ottawa, I have friends there who I've promised to stop and see!



From there, I'll head North. But I have been given an alternative route by a friend who will also be going East across the country. that route through Ontario is here:



Depending on which route I take, I'll end up in Kenora, or near the ON/MB border...

This is my prospective route through the Prairies.



And then from Medicine Hat (love the name!) to Vancouver, and the end of the road!



This is a radius map of my prospective per-day distances, etc. Just to give me an idea of how long it'll take and the distances that I hope to cover each day. So, for example - Week 1, I hope to do 30km/day. Week 2, hoping to amp up to 60km/day. By the end of the first 4-6 weeks, I hope to be doing 80km/day. It also doesn't include rest days and/or potential odds of meeting 'The One'.

]

All thoughts, comments, suggestions, questions are more than welcome! :smile: In fact, I insist upon it.

Cheers!

Jack.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
Home_-_Ottawa.jpg (44.4 KB, 31 views)
File Type: jpg
ONTARIO.jpg (55.5 KB, 25 views)
File Type: jpg
Radius Tool.JPG (35.5 KB, 16 views)
File Type: jpg
British Columbia.JPG (28.9 KB, 23 views)
jhawk is offline  
Old 04-14-15, 05:38 PM
  #2  
Machka 
In Real Life
 
Machka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Down under down under
Posts: 52,061

Bikes: Lots

Mentioned: 140 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3177 Post(s)
Liked 464 Times in 273 Posts
I'm not very familiar with the Ontario end of things so I can't comment there.

You'll probably be all right on the TransCanada from the Ontario border to Winnipeg. It's a tough call in that area, you don't really have many options. But be prepared for traffic and headwinds.

After Winnipeg, get off the TransCanada. I'd recommend dropping south to Hwy 2 ... it's less busy. When you get to the intersection of Hwy 2 and Hwy 5 (Glenboro), you can turn north and camp in the Spruce Woods Provincial Park. Rejoin Hwy 2 and follow it as it turns to Hwy 13 in Saskatchewan.

You could drop further south if you want, there are several decent hwy options in Manitoba, and as long as you're off the TransCanada, they are reasonably quiet.

You can rejoin the TransCanada in Saskatchewan if you want, but personally, I'd be inclined to stick with Hwy 13 until you get south of Swift Current ... unless, of course, you want to see Regina and Moose Jaw.

No matter what you choose, it will be flat as a pancake and likely very windy. You're riding into the prevailing wind ... but you might get lucky and get easterly breezes. However if you do get an easterly, be prepared for late afternoon and evening storms.

Staying south should be all right as a direct route, through Lethbridge, but it won't be particularly inspiring until you get closer to the mountains. And when you do, be prepared for climbing!!
Machka is offline  
Old 04-14-15, 06:54 PM
  #3  
clasher
Senior Member
 
clasher's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Kitchener, ON
Posts: 2,624
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 196 Post(s)
Liked 69 Times in 54 Posts
I can't see the detail enough on your Ontario part to comment but I rode from Kitchener up to Elliot Lake a few years ago. I drive up there often enough too and highway 17 in that part of the province is just a terrible ride. and would recommend you ride across southern Ontario and up the Bruce Peninsula, take the Chi-Cheemaun ferry and spend a few days riding around Manitoulin, it's only got one stop light and no fast food type places, one of the nicest parts of the province if you ask me. Toronto and the area, the GTA isn't really all that nice to ride through and unless you have to see the big city it's totally skippable... you could also grab a hotel near the Barrie GO (Ontario commuter train service) station and take the train into the city if you wanted to see some of the sights and save yourself the hassle of riding in the traffic. The best touring around Toronto is to be had slightly north of the city, crossing the Niagara escarpement and checking out some of the sights and hills. I recommend the forks of the credit and the various little "badlands" around Mono. If you're not really into hills or wanted to take it easy for a day there is a decent rail trail that runs from around Shelburn all the way to Owen Sound, it runs parallel to highway 10 for the most part so you can always head off the trail if it gets boring. Riding up on the Bruce is super nice, and there is a beautiful side road on the east side that is really quiet and has some quaint campground along the way too. The aptly named 40 hills road is gravel but I made it through with 32mm tires no problem.

I can't comment on the eastern part of the province or the far north but I rode from Manitoulin up to Espanola and then across on Lee Valley Road, it cuts off ~40km of riding on highway 17 and you can duck down on River Road or something like that and shave off another 15 or 20. Highway 17 has no shoulders and a 90km/h speed limit and there's a lot of truck traffic so it's not really all that fun to ride but lots of people do it. I haven't personally ridden much past Elliot Lake on highway 108 but it's quite scenic. If you were into doing the wilderness thing you could take 108 north until it turns into 546 and then get on the 129 and ride up to Chapleau and then across to Wawa thus saving you a few days of riding on highway 17 but there isn't really much of anything along that way except for a few hunting lodges so you'd have to be sufficient enough to do ~250km without any real big towns or anything like that. The roads are pretty lonely too except for the occasional lumber hauling truck. Lots of bugs in the summer too.

Here's some maps to help illustrate what I'm talking about, the first shows Manitoulin and some nice sights to see. The second is my preferred option of riding the Niagara escarpment but the hills can be kinda steep since the roads all run straight on a grid system, mostly. The third map shows the rail trail option and avoiding the more scenic escarpment in favour of an easier ride. Most of the main roads in Ontario don't have shoulders but since the province in the southwest is all laid out on a grid one can usually by-pass most busy highways by criss-crossing the concession roads.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
map-3.jpg (102.0 KB, 8 views)
File Type: jpg
map-1.jpg (101.1 KB, 9 views)
File Type: jpg
map-2.jpg (102.0 KB, 9 views)
clasher is offline  
Old 04-15-15, 09:31 PM
  #4  
hilltowner
Senior Member
 
hilltowner's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Ashfield, Mass.
Posts: 491
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 83 Post(s)
Liked 14 Times in 9 Posts
Originally Posted by clasher View Post
I can't see the detail enough on your Ontario part to comment but I rode from Kitchener up to Elliot Lake a few years ago. I drive up there often enough too and highway 17 in that part of the province is just a terrible ride. and would recommend you ride across southern Ontario and up the Bruce Peninsula, take the Chi-Cheemaun ferry and spend a few days riding around Manitoulin, it's only got one stop light and no fast food type places, one of the nicest parts of the province if you ask me.

I can't comment on the eastern part of the province or the far north but I rode from Manitoulin up to Espanola and then across on Lee Valley Road, it cuts off ~40km of riding on highway 17 and you can duck down on River Road or something like that and shave off another 15 or 20. Highway 17 has no shoulders and a 90km/h speed limit and there's a lot of truck traffic so it's not really all that fun to ride but lots of people do it
+1 on Manitoulin
+1 (and then some) on ON 17 being a terrible ride.

I rode from Duluth, MN to Kingston, ON this past summer. I went through Ontario from Sault Ste. Marie to Kingston. I too rode on the Lee Valley Rd. and down through Manitoulin and via the ferry to the Bruce Peninsula. ON 17 is the worst road I've ever ridden on for that distance (1 1/2 days). There aren't many alternatives. Google gives you some back roads to follow but a local cyclist said they were mostly sand and would add an extra day or two to the time it would take. I recommend taking Government Rd. from Desbarats to ON 17B in Garden River. Google will show you that alternative to ON 17.

Be prepared to feel like your life is at risk when you are on ON 17 or at the very least that you are the lowest form of life and are taking up too much valuable automobile space with your presence on the planet.
hilltowner is offline  
Old 04-15-15, 10:30 PM
  #5  
dh024
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Posts: 314
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 97 Post(s)
Liked 6 Times in 4 Posts
I'll second what Machka has said about getting off the TransCanada highway West of Winnipeg. Not only is it flat and windy, it is probably the most boring stretch of highway in the west. I haven't toured these areas, but I have lived pretty much my whole life in the southern prairies, and I think it would be immensely worthwhile to take a bit more time and travel either North or south on parallel highways to the #1 . Prettier country, more interesting scenery and towns, better camping (if you are into that), and far less traffic.

When you go through central British Columbia, were you looking to travel along the Kettle Valley Railway/TransCanada Trail? That might be tough on a loaded touring bike. I tried the stretch from Penticton to Hope last year on a cross bike pulling a Bob trailer, and some places were just too rough to be enjoyed (the ATVers and motor bikers have really torn it up in many places). I had to find roads to travel for many stretches of the trip, even with high volume (700 x 40c tired). I wouldn't try it again without at least a 2.4" mtb tire (actually, I bought a 3" 29er-plus touring bike to try the whole KVR/C&W Railway route this summer).
dh024 is offline  
Old 04-15-15, 10:56 PM
  #6  
Yan 
BeaverTerror
 
Yan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Shanghai, China
Posts: 2,006

Bikes: 1995 Kestrel 4000; 2013 True North Touring; 1989 Miele Tivoli; 1979 Colnago Sport

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 382 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Recommend you fly to BC and bike east, to avoid going against the prevailing westerlies. Be careful of logging traffic in Northern Ontario.
__________________
Yan
Yan is offline  
Old 04-15-15, 11:11 PM
  #7  
Machka 
In Real Life
 
Machka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Down under down under
Posts: 52,061

Bikes: Lots

Mentioned: 140 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3177 Post(s)
Liked 464 Times in 273 Posts
Originally Posted by dh024 View Post
I'll second what Machka has said about getting off the TransCanada highway West of Winnipeg. Not only is it flat and windy, it is probably the most boring stretch of highway in the west. I haven't toured these areas, but I have lived pretty much my whole life in the southern prairies, and I think it would be immensely worthwhile to take a bit more time and travel either North or south on parallel highways to the #1 . Prettier country, more interesting scenery and towns, better camping (if you are into that), and far less traffic.
I've done quite a lot of cycling in Manitoba and Alberta ... lived in both places for a lot of years.

Personally, if I were doing this trip, I'd go north. South of the TransCanada (as I've suggested) is possibly the more direct route and would be somewhat more scenic than doing the TransCanada. But IMO following the roads north of the TransCanada would be more interesting.

If it were me, I'd do a longer, meandering route which would take in more of the scenery the prairies have to offer. But you'd probably need an extra 2 or 3 weeks to do it.

I might get to Portage La Prairie on 26. That used to be a favourite route of mine. Then grab 16 to Neepawa, north on 5, and then if I recall correctly, it's 357 to 10 and 10 up into Riding Mountain National Park at least to Clear Lake. Then back out again on 10, and 45 over to Russell.

I'm not as familiar with Saskatchewan, but I might head for Fort Qu'Appelle or just aim for Saskatoon.

From there I'd probably aim for Drumheller, although I can tell you that whatever method you choose to get to Drumheller, you do not want to spend much time on the north-south running Hwy 56. Avoid that one if possible. You also don't want to spend any time on the east-west running Hwy 9 heading west out of Drumheller. Avoid that one too. Those two have to be the worst highways I encountered in Alberta. Whichever way you go, there will be a stretch between about Kindersley and Drumheller that will be pretty YAWN.

Going out of Drumheller, I'm pretty sure I've used 575 and it was all right. Use 21 up to either 42 or 595 and across to Red Deer. Then west on 11A to Sylvan Lake. And 11 out to Rocky Mountain House ... Nordegg ... and Saskachewan River Crossing. Hwy 11 between Nordegg and Saskatchewan River Crossing is probably my favourite road in the world ... or at least that I have ridden so far. It's beautiful!

When you reach Saskatchwan River Crossing, you'll be at the Icefield Parkway. Go south to Lake Louise and Banff. Then if you really wanted to do Crowsnest Pass etc. head south on 40 then 22, and onto 3 which would take you through Crowsnest Pass, Fernie, Cranbrook, etc.


For me ... that would be an interesting route ... or something along those lines.
Machka is offline  
Old 04-16-15, 06:54 AM
  #8  
mobile_simon
Senior Member
 
mobile_simon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 75
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
I'm just going to echo that Sudbury all the way to Winnipeg is not recommended. Many cyclists have been killed through there. It's a shame because there are some beautiful areas up there.
mobile_simon is offline  
Old 04-16-15, 07:07 AM
  #9  
clasher
Senior Member
 
clasher's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Kitchener, ON
Posts: 2,624
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 196 Post(s)
Liked 69 Times in 54 Posts
Originally Posted by mobile_simon View Post
I'm just going to echo that Sudbury all the way to Winnipeg is not recommended. Many cyclists have been killed through there. It's a shame because there are some beautiful areas up there.
I've been thinking of riding through the states if/when I get around to doing a cross-country trip just to avoid it.
clasher is offline  
Old 04-16-15, 07:49 AM
  #10  
indyfabz
Senior Member
 
indyfabz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 31,040
Mentioned: 199 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 13746 Post(s)
Liked 6,636 Times in 3,363 Posts
30 Km/day? What are you going to do with the other 22 hrs. of the day?
indyfabz is offline  
Old 04-16-15, 07:54 AM
  #11  
Machka 
In Real Life
 
Machka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Down under down under
Posts: 52,061

Bikes: Lots

Mentioned: 140 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3177 Post(s)
Liked 464 Times in 273 Posts
Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
30 Km/day? What are you going to do with the other 22 hrs. of the day?
Some of us don't move quite that fast ... with a loaded touring bicycle in potentially hilly areas 30 km might take 3 hours. 4 if you stop for photos or to see interesting stuff along the way.


I'd suggest to jhawk that start riding now and build up to where he feels comfortable with back-to-back 50 km rides on weekends in his own area, plus more rides during the week. It will make the trip easier and provide some more flexibility.
Machka is offline  
Old 04-17-15, 10:59 AM
  #12  
jhawk
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
jhawk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: New Brunswick, Canada
Posts: 160

Bikes: Triumph Mountain Bike, Villiger Cabgona Touring Bike

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
30 Km/day? What are you going to do with the other 22 hrs. of the day?
I definitely do not ride as fast as you, Sir! Commendable speed, that. I'm starting out with thirty, then building up. Besides, thirty will allow me to stop and see places and experience places, and meet people. Which is part of what my journey is all about.

Thank you to everyone who has responded so far. I've made notes of suggestions you've all made, and will be fleshing out the route in greater detail soon.

As for Yan's suggestion, I don't have the money to fly out to BC, and this is also an 'Escape from No Funswick' trip for me, I don't plan on coming back East for some time.

Thanks again to everyone!
jhawk is offline  
Old 04-17-15, 11:44 AM
  #13  
indyfabz
Senior Member
 
indyfabz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 31,040
Mentioned: 199 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 13746 Post(s)
Liked 6,636 Times in 3,363 Posts
Originally Posted by jhawk View Post
I definitely do not ride as fast as you, Sir! Commendable speed, that.
30K in 2 hrs. is not even 10 mph. You also have to consider whether there will be somewhere acceptable to stay every 30K.
indyfabz is offline  
Old 04-17-15, 12:15 PM
  #14  
jhawk
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
jhawk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: New Brunswick, Canada
Posts: 160

Bikes: Triumph Mountain Bike, Villiger Cabgona Touring Bike

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
30K in 2 hrs. is not even 10 mph. You also have to consider whether there will be somewhere acceptable to stay every 30K.
Maybe 30K is too low of a guesstimation, I guess I will find out when I get to go out on a few test rides.
jhawk is offline  
Old 04-18-15, 03:13 PM
  #15  
Doug64
Senior Member
 
Doug64's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Oregon
Posts: 6,141
Mentioned: 29 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1031 Post(s)
Liked 434 Times in 258 Posts
I recommend stopping at the Kokanee Brewery when you go through Creston, BC There is also a RV park right across from the brewery that has a good spots for tents.

Last edited by Doug64; 04-18-15 at 05:10 PM.
Doug64 is offline  
Old 04-18-15, 05:54 PM
  #16  
jhawk
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
jhawk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: New Brunswick, Canada
Posts: 160

Bikes: Triumph Mountain Bike, Villiger Cabgona Touring Bike

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
I recommend stopping at the Kokanee Brewery when you go through Creston, BC There is also a RV park right across from the brewery that has a good spots for tents.
Cheers for the recommendation, Doug! Always time for a pint!
jhawk is offline  
Old 04-18-15, 11:55 PM
  #17  
imi
aka Timi
 
imi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Posts: 3,047

Bikes: Bianchi Lupo (touring) Bianchi Volpe (commuter), Miyata On Off Road Runner

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 80 Post(s)
Liked 60 Times in 47 Posts
Always time for a pint!
Yes, but only "the one" pint as you mentioned
imi is offline  
Old 04-21-15, 06:25 AM
  #18  
Bhrazz
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 12
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
In Québec, make sure you double check alternate roads you might want to take, most of the time they are not paved on the sides.

Route 185 until you reach th Fleuve St-Laurent.
185 will merge on either highway 20 or 132 ( your choice ). I recommend you stick on the 132, less traffic, less polution, more locals, more scenery but also less flat!

I actually routed you on googlemap: https://goo.gl/maps/csfrK

( we have this biking path crossing the whole province, some place are merged with the highway but most of it is bikepath, which is really safe, and you can also do some stealth camping very easy. )
Accueil - Carte interactive La Route Verte | Vélo Québec

I have never been biking north of montréal. Avoid Quebec City if you can ( they are douchy )

Depending on the day you come by Montréal, I would gladly invite you to a home BBQ and get some calories in your belly.!

PM me for my information if you want
Bhrazz is offline  
Old 04-21-15, 09:47 AM
  #19  
ayochellia
Junior Member
 
ayochellia's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Ontario, Canuckistan
Posts: 6

Bikes: ca. 1970s Royce Union

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I'm considering a cross-Canada trip as well! It's not going to happen anytime soon since I have loads of preparation to do, but perhaps next year.

What are the general thoughts of taking the Yellowhead Highway through the prairies? We drove that one years ago and it seemed far less flat and dull than the TransCanada Highway.
ayochellia is offline  
Old 04-21-15, 12:21 PM
  #20  
Erick L
Lentement mais sûrement
 
Erick L's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Montréal
Posts: 2,253
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 78 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 1 Post
Originally Posted by Bhrazz View Post
In Québec, make sure you double check alternate roads you might want to take, most of the time they are not paved on the sides.

Route 185 until you reach th Fleuve St-Laurent.
185 will merge on either highway 20 or 132 ( your choice ). I recommend you stick on the 132, less traffic, less polution, more locals, more scenery but also less flat!

I have never been biking north of montréal. Avoid Quebec City if you can ( they are douchy )
I'd avoid Montreal. It's dirty and they're full of themselves. Bicycles aren't allowed on highway 20. Highway 132 from Rivière-du-Loup is as flat as can be. Very windy though.
Erick L is offline  
Old 04-21-15, 05:40 PM
  #21  
Machka 
In Real Life
 
Machka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Down under down under
Posts: 52,061

Bikes: Lots

Mentioned: 140 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3177 Post(s)
Liked 464 Times in 273 Posts
Originally Posted by ayochellia View Post
I'm considering a cross-Canada trip as well! It's not going to happen anytime soon since I have loads of preparation to do, but perhaps next year.

What are the general thoughts of taking the Yellowhead Highway through the prairies? We drove that one years ago and it seemed far less flat and dull than the TransCanada Highway.
IMO the Yellowhead would be a better choice than the TransCanada through the prairies.

Have a look at the route I describe through the prairies in Post 7 ... I don't specifically say it, but that route sort of follows the Yellowhead (Hwy 16).

Just be aware that few highways in Manitoba, Yellowhead included, have paved shoulders.

Last edited by Machka; 04-21-15 at 05:46 PM.
Machka is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
Ty0604
Pacific Northwest
25
02-15-16 05:37 PM
prathmann
Touring
5
03-30-15 06:38 AM
waldowales
Touring
2
06-22-13 09:31 AM
Sachelis
Touring
20
05-01-12 05:56 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.