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Bike Route across Canada

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Bike Route across Canada

Old 02-13-15, 05:49 PM
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shibbyman23
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Bike Route across Canada

What do you guys think about this bike route from Vancouver to Calgary:



I'll follow Hwy 7 along the north bank of the Fraser River until Hope then head through the Crowsnest Pass (Hwy 3) until Keremeos then head straight North until Revelstoke and across to Calgary from there. I really loved travelling Hwy 3 as a kid when my family went on camping trips in the Summer to Penticton. Has anyone toured that stretch before? This route has a lot of spikes in elevation but I'm young so I think I can handle it.
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Old 02-13-15, 07:32 PM
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It is very nice going through there, some of those hill are going to be challenging for sure the way I remember it driving through there...
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Old 02-13-15, 08:18 PM
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I've cycled parts of that route in the past, and we have driven that route in recent years. Yes, it will be hilly.

When are you planning to go? If in July or August, be prepared for a lot of traffic on the North until Revelstoke and across to Calgary section. It would probably be better to do that section in June or September ... a little quieter.

And be careful going through Golden. Golden has been in a constant state of construction for the past 12 years.
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Old 02-13-15, 09:55 PM
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Originally Posted by shibbyman23 View Post
What do you guys think about this bike route from Vancouver to Calgary:



I'll follow Hwy 7 along the north bank of the Fraser River until Hope then head through the Crowsnest Pass (Hwy 3) until Keremeos then head straight North until Revelstoke and across to Calgary from there. I really loved travelling Hwy 3 as a kid when my family went on camping trips in the Summer to Penticton. Has anyone toured that stretch before? This route has a lot of spikes in elevation but I'm young so I think I can handle it.
Check if rumble strips have been cut into the shoulders of any road you intend to ride. If they have, then the road will be essentially unrideable.
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Old 02-13-15, 10:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Mayer View Post
Check if rumble strips have been cut into the shoulders of any road you intend to ride. If they have, then the road will be essentially unrideable.
Just checked and there doesn't appear to be any noted by cyclists. It appears the alternate route Hwy 5 to Kamloops has them though... Deterrent to Significant CycloTouring Growth - Rumble Strips - CycloTouringBC
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Old 02-13-15, 11:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
When are you planning to go?
Going to try to leave early May weather permitting. I'll check out the Allison Pass weather cams before I go.
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Old 02-13-15, 11:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
I've cycled parts of that route in the past, and we have driven that route in recent years. Yes, it will be hilly.

When are you planning to go? If in July or August, be prepared for a lot of traffic on the North until Revelstoke and across to Calgary section. It would probably be better to do that section in June or September ... a little quieter.

And be careful going through Golden. Golden has been in a constant state of construction for the past 12 years.
Actually, the road east of Golden is in pretty good condition now.
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Old 02-13-15, 11:30 PM
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I did the Hwy 3 section of your route five years ago. The shoulder was wide, and there were no rumble strips. It was in June, so there wasn't a lot of traffic, but it was very rainy.
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Old 02-14-15, 08:34 AM
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shibbyman23: Wish I could go with you, having done that route in the 1980s as a part of a tour from Niagara Falls to Cranberry BC & back to Iowa.

If you go in the Spring, be careful of the grizzlies. Recent news about Yellowstone NP suggests that, due to an unusually warm winter, fewer small animals will have died than usual, leaving fewer carcasses for the grizzlies to feast on when they wake up from hibernation. Thus, the grizzlies might be hungry. I suspect much of the same could apply to the Canadian Rockies.
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Old 02-14-15, 07:29 PM
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The route I have mapped out takes you past a ton of lakes, rivers, and streams. Plenty of flora and fauna
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Old 02-14-15, 11:47 PM
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My wife and I did a similar ride 2 years ago. We started in Vancouver, but headed north from Hope on Highway 1. Our route will intersect with your proposed route at Revelstoke then to Calgary. We headed south from there into Montana.

The section from Revelstoke to Calgary is fantastic. If you are like us, it will be slow going; we had to stop every 10 minutes to take a picture Bears were not a problem, and most campgrounds had bear boxes. If you are wild camping it might be a problem.

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Old 02-14-15, 11:54 PM
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That picture looks magnificent! What time of the year was that?

Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
Bears were not a problem, and most campgrounds had bear boxes. If you are wild camping it might be a problem.
No worries I know how to bear bag, and also to put smelly things like toothpaste and lipbalm in the bear bag as well
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Old 02-15-15, 02:24 AM
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The route is very doable. The toughest section is the first real elevation you face; from Hope through Allison Pass and Sunday Summit to Princeton. I did that as part of a cross Canada trip in 2012 and never found a more difficult section on the whole ride. Hwy 3 has some rough shoulders and crappy sections but it is not too busy so it never becomes a real problem. Through the Okanagan can be quite busy so if I was you I would stop in a bike shop in Penticton to ask about side routes that can get you off the main highway. Once you get to the Trans Canada the traffic picks up but the road is usually superior to what you see on Hwy 3. There has been a lot of construction around Golden over the years but it has done much to make the highway better for cyclists. I rode through there in 2000 and again in 2011. The roads were much nicer in 2011.

I would recommend as late as possible a start in May. Snow can still fall in the Selkirks and Rockies at that time of year. You are less likely to run into it through Allison Pass. There it is more likely to be some cold rain. Check out journals on Crazyguyonabike (https://www.crazyguyonabike.com) Go to the left side of the main page and look under Journals by Category - Routes - North America - Canada and have fun.
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Old 02-15-15, 08:40 AM
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Will you do the Icefield Parkway as a side trip? And from Calgary east, is your plan to be mostly off or on 1?
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Old 02-15-15, 09:28 AM
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Crazyguyonabike.com for more
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Old 02-15-15, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by shibbyman23 View Post
That picture looks magnificent! What time of the year was that?
Early July.
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Old 02-15-15, 10:15 AM
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Going thru Banff is the icing on the cake . Though ( non cycling & 30 years ago ) I spent some time around Nelson .
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Old 02-15-15, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by IPassGas View Post
Will you do the Icefield Parkway as a side trip? And from Calgary east, is your plan to be mostly off or on 1?
I've heard about that being one of the most scenic routes in the world, but how is it for cyclists? Is there enough shoulder and not a lot of traffic in May?
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Old 02-15-15, 11:56 AM
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There could be snow in May. (Or in June, July, August for that matter, but not as much of it.)
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Old 02-15-15, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by shibbyman23 View Post
I've heard about that being one of the most scenic routes in the world, but how is it for cyclists? Is there enough shoulder and not a lot of traffic in May?
I rode the Icefields Parkway at the peak of the tourist season last summer. The shoulder is very generous for pretty much the entire route, and as an added bonus, there are no commercial trucks on that route, just tourists. So RVs and tour buses are the most you have to contend with. Plus, the speed limit through the national parks drops to 90 km/h and people seem to be exceptionally accommodating to cyclists. Highly recommended route.

I also rode a stretch of Hwy 3 between Hope to Princeton around the same time last year, and that stretch of highway was the opposite experience: lousy shoulder, often poor sightlines, heavy truck traffic, and many impatient RVers. Not fun at all, even though it is also very scenic.
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Old 02-15-15, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by dh024 View Post
I rode the Icefields Parkway at the peak of the tourist season last summer.
I also rode a stretch of Hwy 3 between Hope to Princeton around the same time last year, and that stretch of highway was the opposite experience: lousy shoulder, often poor sightlines, heavy truck traffic, and many impatient RVers. Not fun at all, even though it is also very scenic.
I'll be going through there before the tourist season, and there will be barely any RVers heading out to Princeton in May. It will be cold and wet but I'm bringing rain gear and merino wool clothing.

With the route I have planned I would end up in Banff then have to go North through the Icefields Parkway to Jasper then east to Edmonton and back down south towards Winnipeg again. That seems like a bit much for a detour. Alternatively I could take Hwy 5 up to Jasper then go south through the Icefields Parkway to Banff>Calgary but then I would be missing all of Hwy 3 it's a hard decision that I don't want to regret. Also Hwy 5 route has rumble strips on the shoulders...
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Old 02-15-15, 03:05 PM
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If you are interested in the side trip to Jasper, another option is to catch a Brewsters Coach up to Jasper, and bike back down from there. Their prices are reasonable and they are happy to take bikes along. Just a thought if you are really concerned about time.

Otherwise, the scenery along Highway 16 from Jasper to Winnipeg (through the parkland) is more interesting than the flat prairies to south, in my opinion, but it will add some extra miles, as you say.
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Old 02-15-15, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Norsman View Post
Check out journals on Crazyguyonabike (https://www.crazyguyonabike.com) Go to the left side of the main page and look under Journals by Category - Routes - North America - Canada and have fun.
Thanks for the advice! This guy just did the exact same route last year starting in mid-May https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/...id=12563&v=1nU I will definitely be taking that route now looking at his trip journal
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Old 02-15-15, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by dh024 View Post
If you are interested in the side trip to Jasper, another option is to catch a Brewsters Coach up to Jasper, and bike back down from there. Their prices are reasonable and they are happy to take bikes along. Just a thought if you are really concerned about time.
Thanks I will consider this option. I think I will make my decision while on the tour, and if I'm not sick of the hill climbs by the time I get to Banff then I will probably do that.
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Old 02-15-15, 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by shibbyman23 View Post
I've heard about that being one of the most scenic routes in the world, but how is it for cyclists? Is there enough shoulder and not a lot of traffic in May?
The Icefield Parkway generally has quite a wide shoulder, and in May the traffic should be relatively light.

Lots of photos of the Icefield Parkway (and Hwy 11 going east from Saskatchewan River Crossing). I lived quite near there for several years.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/machka...7619203595712/


However a word about the weather ... if you're planning to be in Revelstoke or any point east of that (eg. Banff, Jasper) in the first half of May, expect snow. There's a small chance there won't be snow, but there's quite a good chance there will be. Also expect that campgrounds won't be open ... but that's OK because you'll want to stay in a hotel anyway to warm up.

If you're planning to be in Revelstoke or any point east of that in the second half of May, you may get snow but you may not ... I've cycle there with and without snow. The campgrounds should be open in the second half of May, they usually open on the May long weekend or sometimes the weekend before that.


If you are planning to go all the way across Canada, you might consider a route that takes you ... Revelstoke > Golden > Lake Louise > Banff ... and up the Icefield Parkway to Jasper ... and back down the Icefield Parkway to Saskatchewan River Crossing > Nordegg > Rocky Mountain House > Red Deer ... and then make your way to Drumheller and continue eastward.

Saskatchewan River Crossing > Nordegg on Hwy 11 (as seen in the photos I linked to above) is gorgeous. I have cycled in many parts of the world, and that is my favourite highway. After Nordegg there isn't as much awe-inspiring scenery, but it is still quite pleasant and quiet. Not much traffic at all. After Rocky Mountain House the traffic does increase a bit, but the road is good with wide shoulder.

Another option might be to turn south at Rocky Mountain House and follow Hwy 22 (Cowboy Trail) down to Calgary ... that's a nice route too and you'll see the mountains off to your right almost all the way down.
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