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

Canadian Road Quality

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.

Canadian Road Quality

Old 04-19-10, 11:50 AM
  #1  
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 3
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Canadian Road Quality

Hello there,

I am currently planning my first cross Canada trip and have hit a snag. I have been having trouble trying to find a website or any information on road quality for cyclists. I would like information on the best roads to travel in regards to width of shoulder, actual quality, dirt vs pavement etc.
If anyone knows a good site, I would love to check it out.

Thank you.
RyPope is offline  
Old 04-19-10, 12:54 PM
  #2  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Ontario
Posts: 60

Bikes: 2009 LHT, 2009 Kona Jake, 1992 Trek 850 Antelope

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Look for tour de Canada trip reports..
Most of the riding will be on highways so it will basically be good.
BC AB very good, SK very bad, MB ok, N ON ok lots of trucks, S ON good, QC very good

Google streetview covers all of the major routes I believe.. even in the middle of nowhere so you can get a general idea from that also.
subligar is offline  
Old 04-19-10, 07:14 PM
  #3  
aspiring island dweller
 
spinninwheels's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: island off of an island
Posts: 267

Bikes: Easy Racers GRR, Cannondale T-2000/Rohloff Custom, Cannondale R-700, Custom Fixie/Single Speed, Santa Cruz

Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
BC traditionally has wide, paved shoulders. Their is a section between Creston and Cranbrook (IIRC) that has rumble strips. The trans-canada doesn't, but there is more traffic.

If you're on the trans-canada past Calgary, there still are wide shoulders, but rumble strips in sections up to the Hat.

Saskatchewan's secondary roads are crap. The trans-canada and yellowhead (#16) aren't too bad.

I really dislike what happened to Manitoba's highways over the years. Having lived in Saskatchewan and Manitoba when I was younger, both province's roads have deteriorated over the years. But sections of the trans-canada (between Virden and Brandon, and Portage and Wpg) have gravel shoulders. And that just sucks. You may think that isn't a big deal with double lane highway, but if you have to ditch onto the shoulder (which I did), it can be pretty dangerous.

All of Ontario should be cycled with caution, not only for trucks, but for construction and impatient drivers. For the most part, the Manitoba border to Thunder Bay should be okay if you can get an early start in the mornings. Shoulders along the north shore were spotty back in 2003 when I crossed canada, but not as bad as the stretch between the Sault and Sudbury (construction, which probably shouldn't be an issue now, and really heavy traffic). That is why I headed south at Espanola. But I also lived and TO then, and was stopping there.

Quebec as noted is pretty good, though Montreal (as all big cities) was a bit of a pain because it is an island.

The Atlantic provinces were okay, but that maybe had more to do with the decline in traffic and the friendly people.

If you do the Cabot Trail (which I most definitely recommend), remember this...North Mountain.

Have a blast.
__________________
Life is either a wild adventure or nothing - Helen Keller

Last edited by spinninwheels; 04-19-10 at 07:14 PM. Reason: spelling
spinninwheels is offline  
Old 04-20-10, 02:43 AM
  #4  
In Real Life
 
Machka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Down under down under
Posts: 52,151

Bikes: Lots

Liked 600 Times in 332 Posts
From my experience ...

BC roads are variable when it comes to shoulders. There are sections where there are lovely wide shoulders, and there are sections where there are no shoulders at all. I have lived and cycled in BC, and have travelled to various places around BC.

Alberta roads generally have nice wide paved shoulders ... beautiful roads. There is, however, at least one fairly busy road in Alberta without shoulders ... came as quite a surprise to me. I was going to run my 600K brevet down that road, but when I went out there to drive it, I realized there was no way I'd put a cyclist on it. Chances are you won't ride it if you are going straight across Canada. I lived and cycled in Alberta for 5 years recently and a lot of years when I was growing up. I can tell you about quite a few of the roads there.

Saskatchewan roads have what is called, "Saskatchewan pavement" ... very patchy and uneven. Some of the more main roads will have paved shoulders. I have lived and cycled in Saskatchewan to some extent, but am not overly familiar with the roads from a cyclist's perspective.

In Manitoba, don't even think about riding the TransCanada ... take Hwy 2 or 3 instead. They don't have shoulders, but then neither does the TransCanada ... and Hwy 2 or 3 have much less traffic. I lived and cycled in Manitoba for 13 years and could tell you about most, perhaps even all the roads from border to border in the south.

The early part of Ontario, from the Manitoba border to Dryden, there are decent shoulders on the TransCanada, but I've heard they deteriorate by the time you reach Thunder Bay. I've only cycled as far as Dryden. You might want to consider heading into the US from Manitoba and doing the Michigan peninsula instead.

You might be able to get some more info from here:
https://www.cyclecanada.com/

Or here:
https://www.canadatrails.ca/biking/

If you pick up decent, recent road maps from Tourist Information places, they'll tell you quite a bit of what you want to know as well, such as whether or not the road is paved.

Last edited by Machka; 04-20-10 at 03:41 AM.
Machka is offline  
Old 04-26-10, 11:20 AM
  #5  
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 3
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I must agree the Trans Canada in Manitoba does suck.

Any-who thanks a bunch.
RyPope is offline  
Old 04-27-10, 02:53 AM
  #6  
Likes to Ride Far
 
Chris_W's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Switzerland
Posts: 2,345

Bikes: road+, gravel, commuter/tourer, tandem, e-cargo, folder

Liked 12 Times in 11 Posts
In my experience, every road in Manitoba sucks for riding a bicycle. I finished a tour that started in southern Wisconsin by riding from Lake of the Woods to Winnipeg. Every road I tried, big and small, all sucked, and I'm normally not all that picky. Road surfaces were terrible, and they were not nearly wide enough for the amount of traffic that they were carrying. Also, you shouldn't trust the distance signs - my countdown to Winnipeg got to zero when I still had about 20km left to ride; I had already used up nearly all of my energy, so it was not a nice way to finish the tour. Not good memories of that province. I recall the road in Ontario around Lake Superior as being very pleasant, and in the southern part of that province there are lots of roads, so you can normally pick one that is nice to ride on.

Last edited by Chris_W; 04-27-10 at 03:38 PM.
Chris_W is offline  
Old 04-27-10, 03:16 AM
  #7  
In Real Life
 
Machka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Down under down under
Posts: 52,151

Bikes: Lots

Liked 600 Times in 332 Posts
Chris_W ... sounds like you tried to ride Hwy 75 or Hwy 59 ... not great choices for cyclists. But if you had chosen Hwy 12, that would have been a much better choice. Hwy 12 is a very pleasant, empty road from the south-eastern corner of Manitoba up to Winnipeg. I've done several 400K brevets on that road and have thoroughly enjoyed them.
Machka is offline  
Old 04-27-10, 03:45 PM
  #8  
Likes to Ride Far
 
Chris_W's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Switzerland
Posts: 2,345

Bikes: road+, gravel, commuter/tourer, tandem, e-cargo, folder

Liked 12 Times in 11 Posts
Well, it was 7 or 8 years ago, so my memory isn't great, but looking at the map it does appear to be Hwy 12 that I was coming in on, Hwys 75 and 59 would have been far too far west. I don't remember which other road I tried for a while, but I do remember being happy when I could get onto the Trans Canada because it had a shoulder so I didn't have the huge trucks blasting past within 20cm of my handlebars, and the road surface was better quality.

Last edited by Chris_W; 04-28-10 at 05:33 AM.
Chris_W is offline  
Old 04-27-10, 04:02 PM
  #9  
Senior Member
 
Newspaperguy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Posts: 2,206
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
In defense of Saskatchewan roads, there are a few points to consider.

Saskatchewan has a relatively low population in a big area and it has more kilometres of road than any other province in Canada. I don't have the exact number handy, but the number is huge. That may explain some of the condition of the roads.

The Trans-Canada in much of Saskatchewan is in excellent condition. It's got nice wide shoulders and it usually has good pavement.

The secondary roads often have narrow or nonexistent shoulders, but that might not be a problem, if you plan your route. Saskatchewan has a lot of farmers who are on the roads in slow-moving tractors or aging trucks. As a result, the drivers tend to be a little more patient with slow-moving vehicles, including bikes.

If you're up for something a little different, some of the minor roads will give a wonderful cycling experience. These roads are narrow and they don't always have centre line markings, but the traffic is light and they'll pass through some rather cool small towns. (The towns along those roads are sometimes incredibly small, consisting of a gas station and general store, a grain elevator, a church and a couple of houses.)
Newspaperguy is offline  
Old 04-28-10, 05:45 AM
  #10  
In Real Life
 
Machka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Down under down under
Posts: 52,151

Bikes: Lots

Liked 600 Times in 332 Posts
Originally Posted by Chris_W
Well, it was 7 or 8 years ago, so my memory isn't great, but looking at the map it does appear to be Hwy 12 that I was coming in on, Hwys 75 and 59 would have been far too far west. I don't remember which other road I tried for a while, but I do remember being happy when I could get onto the Trans Canada because it had a shoulder so I didn't have the huge trucks blasting past within 20cm of my handlebars, and the road surface was better quality.
Interesting because ... the TransCanada in Manitoba doesn't have a paved shoulder. It does in a few places, like I think there's one on one side of the highway between Winnipeg and Portage La Prairie, but in general the shoulders on the TransCanada in Manitoba are gravel which puts you right there in amongst the wheels of those semis.
Machka is offline  
Old 04-28-10, 06:23 AM
  #11  
Senior Member
 
JeanM's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Montreal
Posts: 194

Bikes: Surly LHT and Opus Urbano

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Google Street view, found on Google Maps, is what I use to get an idea of what to expect before a trip.
JeanM is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
EricL
Southeast
3
02-27-17 01:40 PM
Orianeter
Europe
3
10-15-15 10:50 AM
hayduke217
Great Lakes
7
03-23-14 06:49 PM
ilkphillybkchks
Touring
19
07-31-12 08:00 PM
Ken Roberts
Europe
6
08-28-11 09:47 AM

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
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Your Privacy Choices -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.