Seeking Advice: "Tour du Canada"

Discussion in 'Touring and recreational cycling' started by origanic, Mar 7, 2005.

  1. origanic

    origanic New Member

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    Hello fellow riders.

    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/pics...nbridge.jpg?v=x

    I am here seeking major advice on doing a tour across Canada from British Columbia to Newfoundland. In other words, a "Tour du Canada". I am going with 2 others and planning to sleep in tents and odd hostles. I am here on the Cycling Forums looking for some more information on how to plan and train for a trip of this kind.

    Is there anyone else out there who has done anything like this for personal enjoyment? I am looking for advice on how you began planning, tips, maps, etc. We are going to attempt an average of 130 km a day for about 2-3 months. Canada tour is approximately 7750km across so depending on out pace and touring while traveling, we are looking at just over 2 months.

    The plan as it stands is to leave in May 2007 (which allows plenty of time to train). Leaving at this time also works out nicely because it will be the summer following my University graduation so I will not be rushed to make it back for September.

    So, I am basically looking for ANY advice on planning a trip of this kind. I am sure with all the hardcore cyclists, one of you must have done a large trip like this.


    You can e-mail me at [email protected] com if you have lots to say, or just posts here will be much appreciated.

    Thank you and hope to hear from anyone!
     
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  2. EmmCeeBee

    EmmCeeBee New Member

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    You've already found links to other tours, so you're not going to have any trouble finding hints and encouragement. Journals seem to bridge the gap between "dreaming" and "planning".

    I've been across the western half of the US, including the Rockies in Montana, but not Canada -- yet. So this is general experience.... Generally, you want to cross the Rockies in early August (give or take a couple weeks). This means starting May through June in the East, or June through July in the West. In Montana, early August of 2001 in the high valleys (~2000m), we got snowed on. It didn't stick to the road but it's something you have to be prepared for. Of course, it depends on which route you take, and on the weather two years from now, but it sounds like you're headed for an early crossing of the Rocky Mountains only a few days after you start.

    No matter when you cross the mountains -- or the continent for that matter -- carry cold weather gear. For lots of things, if you only need it once a month, it's not worth carrying. But not in this case, it can save your life.

    I'd say there are six things to plan for:
    1) choice of bike and gear
    2) bike maintenance
    3) fitness/training
    4) what to carry
    5) maps/route
    6) camping

    1: You've got your bike. Choose lightweight, waterproof camping equipment.
    2: Someone in your group should know more than the basics of fixing a flat or adjusting brakes. Know how to do a once-a-week checkover: loose nuts/bolts; hubs, derailleurs, drive train. How to adjust those things. How to change spokes, especially on the rear wheel drive side. Regular lubrication, chain and drivetrain.
    3: Training is good, especially if you're in a group so everyone is about the same level. But as long as you're in good health and enjoy the daily challenge, you can expect the first week to provide all the training you need.
    4: Lots of web journals give lists of things to carry. As long as you don't pack more than your panniers can hold, you're OK :) Since there's 3 in the group, it will be easy to share (such as cooking equipment, if you want to bring it), and therefor cut down the average load.
    5: I don't know about maps across Canada. For most tours I take, I get good road maps and scan in/print out the segments -- this can take a while, so planning early helps. Or use topographical software to do the same thing. Maybe an experienced Canadian tourer can help with maps....
    6: Camping experience helps, a lot! In fact, I'd spend more time on this than on training rides. Know how to find and set up camp quickly, get a routine established for pitching the tent, stowing gear, cleaning up, doing laundry, tuning the equipment, getting food out -- all before twilight falls. And in the morning, how to break camp and pack quickly. Even if you camp just a few days a week, all this activity can be time-consuming and frustrating if you don't have a built-in routine.

    With two year's planning, you'll be plenty ready. The first days in BC, it will look like a monumental challenge, but by Newfoundland you'll be used to daily accomplishments.

    -- Mark
     
  3. origanic

    origanic New Member

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    Thanks so much Mark! I appreciate all your help greatly!

    Sandie
     
  4. wojo

    wojo New Member

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    You'll find loads of help on the web, but my only comment is that I think you should scale down your average kms/day, expecially for the first part of the trip. You're going to be climbing through some pretty spectacular country and combine the uphill with stops to look around. You find your daily average down a little bit. I might do it myself this summer - if so - there will be a blog.
     
  5. origanic

    origanic New Member

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    Well, km per day can definately change, depending on the grade of the road we are cycling on! The reason I am precisely going in May 2007 is because this is my final university year and I do not have to re-attend in the comming September. Basically come May 2007, I have no "deadline" to be back for September. Definately let me know if you decide to conquer this as well!
     
  6. mgagnonlv

    mgagnonlv New Member

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    I don't know where you live in Ontario, but two options that might work are :

    - Do your tour in two stages: BC to Ontario and Ontario to Newfoundland. It's a bit less intimidating that way, and it allows you other "plan-B scenarios".

    - Via Rail makes it relatively easy to ship yourself and your bike over if you end up being late.

    - I have travelled Western Canada by car, and east of Sault-Sainte-Marie by bicycle. In many places, you should avoid the Trans-Canada highway because you will miss on a lot of local culture, villages, sceneries and the like.

    - I tend NOT to plan too much beforehand. I plan all my gear, yes, but otherwise, I look at maps a province at a time and inquire at Tourist Bureaus, small stores along the way, houses when I borrow water, etc. and tend to decide along the way. Sometimes I end up going faster in an area I thought I would like, but otherwise, I am pleasantly surprised and spend much more time then I would have imagined. In my 1981 tour of Atlantic Canada, I thought I would simply spend a few days in Newfoundland – to be able to say I have been there. I ended up spending more than 3 weeks in that province! That tour almost become a tour of Newfoundland!
     
  7. NZed

    NZed New Member

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    I cycled across BC about 10 years ago with a friend of mine. We cycled from Vancouver to Banff via Highway number 3 and then headed north up the Columbia river towards radium hotsprings before detouring in to banff. My friend Brian continued across canada - have a look at his website http://cyclingbrian.tripod.com/Canada.html .

    one tip...we made a detour one day, going back into the USA for about 20 kms in order to avoid a fairly lager hill...I think if my memory serves me right this was around Trail.
     
  8. origanic

    origanic New Member

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    Wow! That's a great resource sight! Thanks so much! I appreciate all your guys help!
     
  9. tukanuk

    tukanuk New Member

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    I'm planning on heading out on my cross-canada at the beginning of june. My plans are quite similiar to yours except that I am a year ahead of you (I just graduated!!!) i'll keep you posted on all planning I'll be doing. Hopefully, I'll have a website up and running for my bike trip in the next little while.

    -ben
     
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