Halifax City Guide for Cycle Tourists

halifax city guide for cycle tourists

So here is our halifax city guide for cycle tourists! Some cyclists end here, some cyclists start here, some might just pass through. Either way, Halifax is the biggest city in the Maritimes, and definitely has a lot to offer. I’ve spent the past 6 months in Halifax, exploring the city and discovering a few things worthy of sharing with other visiting cycle tourists.

Who will find this Halifax City Guide for Cycle Tourists beneficial?

  • Anyone on a cycle tour that plans on passing through Halifax at some point.
  • Someone visiting Halifax on a budget

Some useful things to know about Halifax

  • Generally, I didn’t find the city to easy to cycle around. There are a few cycle paths, but these few and far between and usually end suddenly. I definitely recommend taking care when riding around the city.
  • Halifax is full of awesome craft breweries! Definitely worth checking a few out is you like beer – or check out this Self Guided Halifax brewery Tour.
  • This may only be something I found odd, but pedestrians tend to walk out in front of traffic without looking a lot. It is almost assumed that everywhere you cross the road is actually a pedestrian crossing. I didn’t notice this anywhere else in Canada, but I definitely noticed it in Halifax.
  • Despite the small size of the city, there is a lot of traffic during the peak hours. Try and avoid cycling during this time if possible.
good robot halifax
Checking out the craft brewery scene in Halifax

Halifax City Guide for Cycle Tourists

Accommodation

Warmshowers and Couchsurfing does exist in Halifax, though the communities are a bit smaller than some of the other Canadian cities.

Airbnb definitely offers some of the cheapest accommodation options. Otherwise, I like to use Bookings (take advantage of $25 of free credit). Hostelz is also a pretty good site to use, particularly if  you are looking for dorm room accommodation.

The North End of Halifax is considered to be a bit sketchy, but nothing compared to East Hastings in Vancouver, or the likes in similar cities. The dodgiest street is probably Gottingen Street.

If you’re looking to save a bit on accommodation then look to Dartmouth. It’s a quick ferry ride away from downtown Halifax, and (if the bridge construction is finished by the time you arrive) there is a bike lane over the Macdonald Bridge, which connects Halifax and Dartmouth.

The Public Gardens in Halifax during Autumn
The Public Gardens in Halifax during Autumn

Bike & Outdoor Stores 

We had good experiences at these bike stores:

CyclesmithSuper friendly bunch! A little pricey compared to a few other places in Halifax, but definitely guanetted to do a good job.

Long Alley BicyclesThis is a little place on Quinpool. Super helpful staff, and definitely one of the cheapest bike stores in Halifax.

Halifax CyclesThis store seemed to have a lot of touring gear. The owners are also cycle tourists, so they’re pretty good at catering to the needs of cycle tourists – and they sell some pretty awesome bicycle jewellery too. This bike store also helped a couple of my cyclist friends box up their bike for their flight.

Mountain Equipment Co (MEC): It is $5 for a lifetime membership and it is definitely worth it. You will love this store. They are dotted all over Canada (in the major cities, though more so in the West), have an AWESOME return policy and sell everything from bike stuff to camping gear to outdoors clothes. There is a small store located in downtown Halifax.

There is also a Patagonia Store, which is located in the stunning old brewery building of Alexander Keith. Definitely worth checking out as it is a really cool building.

If you head over to the Halifax Shopping Centre, make sure you take some out-of-town ID with you. This mall gives out a free $5 voucher to all out-of-town visitors. They have a pretty big Sport Chek store there – and you can check out where I worked over Winter; the Newfoundland Chocolate Company!

Tourist things to do

Maritime Museum

Every Tuesday 5pm – 8pm the museum offers free entry and free talks.

You’ll probably not be surprised to discover that Halifax has a huge maritime history. The museum has a really good exhibit on the Halifax Explosion and also the Titanic.

Citadel Hill

Free entry 30 minutes before closing

You can’t miss this place! Even if you don’t want to visit the Citadel, it’s still worth walking up to the viewpoint. If you happen to be walking passed the citadel at midday, then be warned. Every day at midday the canyon is fired.

Fairview Cemetery (titanic graves)

This is found on the outskirts of Halifax, towards Bedford. They are still easy to cycle or bus to. Or, if you are entering Halifax via highway 2, you can easily detour via the graves. We actually did this by accident when we arrived into Halifax. I found the graves really interesting – read the information board if you do visit!

Fisherman’s cove

You will either have to bus or cycle to this little fishing village. It’s very cute! This is also where you can catch the ferry (approx. $20) to McNab’s Island. There are lots of hiking trails on McNabs that are worth checking out.

Emera Oval (or the commons)

Free skating in winter and free roller blading in summer. A nice place to chill with a picnic and a good book on a sunny day. Another nice place to relax is the Public Gardens.

Seaport Markets

I love these markets! The best day to go is Saturday – this is the busiest day, but it’s also when they have the most stalls open. If you like wine, there are also plenty of wine stalls at the markets that offer tastings, along with local rum and vodka stalls. It’s also the oldest continuously running, commercial market in America.

Bluff Wilderness Trail

Probably the best hike I’ve done near Halifax. It’s beautiful, though if you’ve just come from the Rockies, then it probably won’t compare. It is easily accessibly by bike and bus. There is a really good bike trail that leads straight past the trailhead. The trailhead is about 15km from Halifax. Pleasant Point Park, near downtown Halifax and also Dingle Park, next to Purcell’s Cove are also really pretty parks with some shorter hiking trails.

The cycle trail to the Bluff Wilderness Trail (also the cycle trail towards Yarmouth and Digby)
The cycle trail to the Bluff Wilderness Trail (also the cycle trail towards Yarmouth and Digby)

Cheap Massage

While in Halifax I discovered the College of Massage & hydrotherapy student intern clinic. This clinic was offer hour massages for less than $30. I have to admit I was a little reluctant at first, but I was pleasantly surprised. My masseuse, Breanne was brilliant! She even sorted out some wrist issues that I had been having, and taught me how to correct the issue myself in future.

The free magazine you want to check out is The Coast. It’s released every Thursday, and lists all the different events in and around Halifax. It’s also available online, but I personally find the paper version easier to navigate.

Getting In & Out

Most people will ride into Halifax one of two ways down highway 2 via Bedford (and if you like the Titanic Graves), or via highway 7 and through Dartmouth. Both routes are busy and not really a whole lot of fun. If you do choose to go via Dartmouth then you will either have to take the ferry, or if the MacDonald Bridge is opened, you can cycle over that. The McKay Bridge does not allow cyclists and they are quite strict on that.

If you are headed to Yarmouth or Digby (via Kejimkujik) then there is a bike path that starts near the Rotary/ Armdale area of Halifax. The bike route is paved and well maintained until the Hubbards, from there you might want to get on one of the roads.

To/from the airport

I’ve used Driver Daves shuttle service to and from the airport. They are cheaper than the taxi and pick you up from your accommodation (unlike the other airport shuttles and public airport bus). So if you have a bike box it’s a bit more convenient. They charge $10 per bike box. Also, Uber doesn’t exist in Halifax… yet!

Dingle Park in Halifax in winter
Dingle Park in Halifax in winter

We enjoyed our time in Halifax! There are lots of good restaurants, breweries, markets and random events going on in this student city.

I hope you found this Halifax City Guide for Cycle Tourists useful. Do you know of any cycle friendly places in Halifax that I missed? Let us know in the comment section below.

If you plan on cycling through Vancouver at any point during your cycle trip, then check out our Vancouver City Guide for Cycle Tourists to help you make the most of your visit.

Safe trails!

Choosing Travel Insurance for Cycle Touring

Cycling Kyrgyzstan, travel insurance for cycle touring

Having the appropriate travel insurance for cycle touring is essential! It gives you peace of mind in case something happens, and ensures you won’t end up forking out unnecessary dollars.

I know a lot of people take the risk and don’t buy travel insurance. Personally, I think that’s insane! I used to work as a travel consultant and I’ve heard MANY horror stories related to not being covered. The horror stories were from people that were on holiday or travelling, when something bad happened, and they either weren’t covered or weren’t covered for the activities they were doing. It always ended up costing them. So it’s important to not only have travel insurance, but to make sure you are sufficiently covered for the activities you plan on doing.

A few things to consider when choosing Travel Insurance for Cycle Touring:

Does the policy cover your bicycle?

I’ve discovered that most travel insurance policies won’t cover bicycle thief! Actually, I have not found one policy (for Australians) that does. Most policies also won’t cover damages to your bike. Most will however cover damages or thief to bicycle accessories (panniers, phone mounts etc.). It’s important to check and be aware of this. It’s better to know up front than think you’re covered just to find out later you’re not.

brodie green bicycle circuit
My new bike!

Does the insurance company cover long-term cycle touring?

This is something I always confirm directly with the insurance company, as it’s not always listed on the ‘included activities’ section of the policy. Some insurance policies may only cover cycle touring on roads or paths (ie. not mountain bike trails), or only cover cycle touring if it’s not main activity taking place (ie. it’s not more than XX% of the trip). Other insurance companies may not cover cycle touring at all or it might be considered to be an additional extra or ‘extreme activity’. Make sure you get confirmation directly from the provider before purchasing your travel insurance for cycle touring.

leaving vancouver
Cycle touring in Canada

And, what are the conditions?

You will usually find that the insurance provider will only cover you for cycle touring if you are following the country’s rules and regulations (ie. if it’s law to wear a helmet, then you must be wearing a helmet to be covered or, if you legally can’t cycle on a specific road, then you won’t be covered if you cycle on that road). It’s important to familiarise yourself with the country’s cycling rules, and if you do break some laws (face it, we all do at some point), then be mindful that you might not be covered if something was to happen.

How long do you plan to be cycling for? Will the policy cover you for the entire duration? Or will you need to renew you policy each year?

Most insurance companies only provide insurance policies for a maximum of one year. If you plan on cycling for longer than that, then it’s important to check, 1) Whether the policy can be extend, 2) Whether you can purchase or extend a new policy while travelling. A lot of policies cannot be extended, which means purchasing a new policy. Some policies have to be purchased while you are in your home country, before the start of your trip.

It’s also worth checking whether your travel insurance policy will become void if you decide to visit home during your trip. On the other extreme, make sure the policy isn’t a multi-trip policy; these policies are annual policies that only cover you for travel that is up to specific time period (ie. 60 or 90 days) at a time. After that you have to return home for the policy to still be valid.

I can almost hear some of you ask, “How will the insurance company find out if I wasn’t wearing my helmet, or that I went home for a couple of weeks?” The truth is, they might not find out unless they request specific documents that contradicts your story or if something happens to you while you are breaking one of the policy conditions. It’s whether you want to take that risk or now. If you are forking out all that money for travel insurance, then you probably want to be covered.

A few other things to consider:

Are you travelling solo, or as a group, a family or a couple? Sometimes it’s cheaper to buy a policy that covers you as a group, couple of family, instead of individually.

What countries are you visiting? Different countries usually cost different amounts to cover. Make sure you’re covered for all the countries you plan on visiting.

What’s your nationality? You nationality will affect the policy, even if it’s the same insurance provider. For example, World Nomad’s policy for British nationals covers completely different activities than World Nomad’s policy for Australians.

Arriving in China with the bikes
Arriving in China with the bikes

If you are unsure about anything, confirm in writing with the insurance provider.

When choosing my insurance provider and policy, I always email the insurance company to confirm my inclusions and anything I’m unsure about. I actually did this once, and was told I was covered for something. It turned out I wasn’t, however because I wrote the to insurance company and had in writing that I was covered; they honoured the claim and paid me out. This experience was with World Nomads Insurance Company.

However, boring it is, I also recommend reading through the policy and comparing a few different policy options before choosing your travel insurance for cycle touring. Like choosing your touring bike – picking an insurance policy is an investment.

Our Experience with Travel Insurance for Cycle Touring

We used World Nomads Travel Insurance for our France to China trip, and DUInsure (which is actually part of the Alliance group) for our cycle trip across Canada. I’ve made claims under both policies and overall had a good experience with both insurance companies. However, I did find World Nomad’s system much more user friendly and less complicated for submitting claims online. The overall process with World Nomad’s was also a lot quicker, and I got paid out within days, opposed to DUInsure where I had to wait weeks. I found DUInsure is slightly cheaper for travel in Canada and the USA, which is why I changed insurance companies this time, however I think I will be changing back to World Nomads once we get into Latin America.

 

Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions about my experience with either of these insurance companies.

We would also love to hear from you if you’ve used either of these insurance companies and want to share your experience. Likewise, if you have any other tips for picking travel insurance for cycle touring.

If you enjoyed this article on choosing travel insurance for cycle touring, then you might also enjoy our article on Accommodation Options for Cycle Tourists.

Vancouver City Guide for Cycle Tourists

Vancouver City Guide for Cycle Tourists

So, why did I decided to put together this Vancouver City Guide for Cycle Tourists? Last summer I was fortunate enough to land myself a summer job in Vancouver, working at Capilano Suspension Bridge. If you haven’t heard about Capilano yet, don’t worry you would have by the time you leave Vancouver. It’s hard to escape the park’s advertising! Though I loved working there, it is a tourist trap. But, what I did learn during my summer in Vancouver is the best and cheapest way to see the city. Vancouver is an expensive city, and as you probably know, most cyclist tourists are on a bit of a tight budget. So it is handy knowing how to visit this awesome city, without blowing funds you’ve saved for a rainy day.

Vancouver is also where we choose to start our World Cycle Tour, where we bought our touring bikes and where we had to prepare ourselves for the start of our trip. I wanted to share with others what we learnt.

I’ve made a couple of assumptions of people reading this Vancouver City Guide for Cycle Tourists:

  • You’re planning a cycle tour that passes through Vancouver at some point.
  • You love the outdoors and like hiking.
  • You’re on a budget.
  • You’re visiting Vancouver during the “cycle season” (ie. May – Sept), which is also the “cruise season,” so Vancouver’s peak season.

So without further a due here is the Vancouver City Guide for Cycle Tourists!

Some things to know about Vancouver:

  • Bike theft is huge! Keep an eye on your bike. If it gets stolen you won’t get it back.
  • If you have an expensive Saddle, then lock it to your bike. No joke! Bike seats get stolen all the time. We got some old chain from a bike store and locked our seat to the bike with that. While I was in the bike store, a girl actually came into the store looking for a new bike saddle because hers had literally just got pinched.
  • Avoid staying around East Hastings & Main St (or anywhere near the bus station). It’s not the nicest area of Vancouver.
  • There are loads of cycle paths around the city.
  • You can take bikes on buses and on trains.
  • If you are visiting during July or August, then definitely book your accommodation in advance. I’ve found Airbnb to have the best accommodation deals, otherwise I would try bookings as they tend to have the cheapest hotel prices. Hostelz is also a pretty good site to use, particularly if  you are looking for dorm room accommodation.
  • Most people stay around Kitsilano, Broadway St or Downtown. My favourite areas are North Vancouver (or the North Shore) and Kitsilano. The North Shore is a bit far from downtown, however it is a great base if you plan on cycling Hwy 99 (Sea to Sky), as you will miss all the morning traffic when leaving Vancouver (and there is A LOT of traffic in Vancouver).
  • Public transport and traffic in Vancouver generally sucks! I’ve found it’s usually quicker to cycle somewhere then to catch the bus. If you are staying on the north shore, then there are no trains, which means public transport sucks even more.

Bike & Outdoor Stores

We got our bikes from Bikes on the Drive. Personally, we didn’t have a good experience with them and I wouldn’t recommend them. I’ve heard that Ride On and Ride on Again are both good bike stores to check out. There are LOADS of bike stores in Vancouver – make sure you read the reviews and do some research before dealing with the store.

Mountain Equipment Co (MEC): It is $5 for a lifetime membership and it is definitely worth it. You will love this store. They are dotted all over Canada (in the major cities, though more so in the West), have an AWESOME return policy and sell everything from bike stuff to camping gear to outdoors clothes. There are 2 in Vancouver: one in downtown and one on the North Shore.

Sport Check: Another good outdoor store. Reasonably priced with a good selection. There are a few dotted around the city.

Touristy things to do:

Unfortunately, a lot of the tourist attractions in Vancouver are over-priced, but there are a lot of free or cheap activities to do around the city. A lot of them in my opinion are more interesting than the paid attractions. Definitely skip Capilano Suspension Bridge. It’s a tourist trap and it’s ridiculously overpriced. You are going to see way more impress things on your cycle trip anyway. But, don’t skip the North Shore – it’s awesome.

North Shore

Here’s an idea of a day itinerary that I used to recommend to family and friends visiting Vancouver:

Head to Canada Place and spend a bit of time walking around the waterfront and admiring the seaplanes, view, sails on the building etc. Then, catch the ferry from there to Lonsdale Quay (on the North Shore).

At Lonsdale Quay you have a great view of Vancouver’s cityscape. There is a lookout you can walk up to and get an even better look. There is also a small market, a craft brewery (with ‘ok’ beer) and a cheap “all you can eat” Chinese buffet – if you want to start carb-loading. Lonsdale Quay also has a farmer’s market every Saturday during the summer, and a night market every Friday night during the summer months. The ‘Japanese style burrito’ food truck at the night market is delicious!

Lonsdale Quay has the North’s Shore main bus terminal. From here you can catch buses to several different trails and attractions.

A) Capilano regional Park, the Salmon hatchery, Cleveland Dam & Grouse Mountain

Take bus #247 towards Grouse Mountain. Get off the bus at Capilano Suspension Bridge or Cleveland Dam for Capilano Regional Park* (click here to see a map of the park with trails and bus stop locations).

The regional park is free and has some amazing views of the canyon and really nice walks through the rain forest. In my opinion it’s nicer than the park. I recommend heading to the Salmon Hatchery first (it’s free and takes about 30 minutes to walk to from the Capilano suspension Bridge and about the same from Cleveland dam).

From the salmon hatchery head over the bridge to the lookout that looks up at Cleveland dam (trail #8 on the map). The Coho Loop is also a nice loop to do if you want to explore a bit more. After exploring this area you can head up to the top of Cleveland Dam. It is really beautiful and a nice place for a picnic.

Once finished at the dam, you can head to the bus stop on the road. You have a couple of options here:

  • You can catch the #247 up to Grouse Mountain. Grouse Mountain has a gondola you can take up to the top ($40+). Or, you can hike the Grouse Grind (check that it’s opened if visiting in May or earlier). It’s a steep, but short hike to the top. It’s then only $10 to catch the gondola backdown, plus you get the chance to see all the attractions at the top (grizzly bears, lumberjack show, bird of prey shows etc.) and a nice view of Vancouver. Grouse Mountain has a free shuttle back to Canada Place for anyone that rode the gondola. The bus takes you over the Lion’s Gate Bridge.
  • Catch the #247 back to downtown Vancouver. This bus also takes you over the Lion’s Gate bridge. You do have the option of getting off the bus near Stanley Park.

You can also walk up the Grouse Mountain from the dam. It’s about a 30 minute walk just along the main road.

  • If you want to skip Capilano Regional Park, the salmon hatchery and Cleveland Dam, you can always stay on bus #247 from Lonsdale until the end, which is Grouse Mountain.

B) Lynn Valley and the suspension bridge (the free suspension bridge)

Take bus #228 to Lynn Valley. Get off on Lynn Valley road near the suspension bridge and follow the signs (the bus driver can tell you when to get off). There are some nice walks around the park, including the smaller, but free suspension bridge, some pools that you can swim in, and lots of canyons and waterfalls.

Alternatively, if you want to try some longer hikes you can stay on the bus until Lynn Valley Headwaters Park. There is a hike to a waterfall, and a longer hike, which leads up to Grouse Mountain (this is quite a difficult hike, so don’t attempt unless you are prepared – it also takes at least half a day to a day).

I’ve only mentioned a couple of hikes that you can do from Vancouver, however there are loads. If you are interested in doing any other hiking then definitely check out Vancouver Trails.

Capilano Suspension Bridge - the Lynn Valley one is much nicer!
Capilano Suspension Bridge – the Lynn Valley one is much nicer!

Deep Cove

Deep cove is also a nice place to check out. It’s a small town on the Indian Arm inlet, which has some great (and reasonably priced kayak hire), a famous donut shop and a nice hike known as Quarry Rock.

To get there either take the #219 bus from Lonsdale Quay to Phibbs Exchange, then catch bus #212 or #211 to Deep Cove. Or you can catch the #211 from downtown Vancouver all the way to Deep Cove.

Kayaking at Deep Cove
Kayaking at Deep Cove

Stanley Park

You can’t really visit Vancouver without taking a stroll or cycle around Stanley Park. It’s huge and it’s busy, but it’s still definitely worth doing. Usually people will cycle around the seawall and follow the cycle path along the waterfront taking in all the sites along the way. The cycle path follows the waterfront from Canada to Place, around the seawall (under the Lion’s Gate bridge), around the stadiums and science musuem, Granville Island and Kitsilano. It’s definitely a nice cycle – but it can be extremely busy.

There are also a lot of walks around the park, but personally I think the best way to see it is to cycle.

During the summer Stanley Park also has free outdoor movies.

Craft Breweries

We decided beer is pretty important and Vancouver has some pretty great craft breweries. So we thought we had better make a whole section in this “Vancouver City Guide for Cycle Tourists” dedicated to it. Since writing this guide we have also started a new site dedicated to cycle friendly breweries – check it out at Beercycle Touring.

Black Kettle on the North Shore is a small, but very good brewery. It’s in the industrial area, and is only a small place, but definitely a great spot – especially if you want to get off the tourist trail.

Steamworks does good beer and also good food (I highly recommend the quinoa burger). They are located in Gastown.

Granville Island brewery is super popular, and you will find it all over Canada. The brewery is pretty cool though, and they do brewery tours. The hummus plater is also really good.

I didn’t think much of the beers at the brewery in Lonsdale Quay, but they do have a pretty cool location.

Though it’s not in Vancouver, if you do make it up to Whistler, The Whistler Brewery does a very good Grapefruit beer.

If you want to try a bunch of local brews for cheap, then head to the liquor store and grab a few different ones to try. Drinking beer is carb loading – so, it’s great preparation for cycle touring wink, wink.

Enjoying craft beer at one of the breweries in Vancouver
Enjoying craft beer at one of the breweries in Vancouver

Liquor Stores

BC has 2 types of liquor stores:

  • Government owned (BC liquor): these stores are generally cheaper, but don’t always sell cold beer. When they do sell cold beer it’s usually only bud and coronas (if you’re lucky).
  • Privately owned: more expensive, but they usually have cold beers and wine for sale. They are more likely to sell a larger range of local beers and wines, however this is not always the case.

A lot of the privately owned liquor stores will have tasting nights of either local BC wines or beers. It’s worth keeping an eye out for these.

Free Events in Vancouver to watch out for:

Vancouver loves fireworks.

There are several firework displays on every summer. Celebration of Light and Canada Day (1st July) are 2 of the big ones. There will also be several smaller ones throughout the summer.

Night markets.

  • Richmond Night markets (Saturday night)
  • Lonsdale Quay (Friday night)

There are actually a whole bunch all over the city. This article (though for 2016) does a good job at describing all the different night markets in Vancouver.

Farmers markets.

These are dotted all around the city. Whatever day you are in Vancouver, if it’s summer, it’s likely you’ll be able to find one on, whatever day you’re there.

Outdoor movie nights.

Stanley park open aired movies are free and on every Summer. There are also a few smaller companies that have free outdoor movie showings at different locations through the Summer. The best place to find out about these is in the Straight free magazine or on Vancity Buzz (which I just discovered is now called Daily Hive).

Free salsa classes.

Free walking Tour. 

There are also lots of parades and festivals going on in Vancouver over Spring and Summer, such as the Vancouver’s International Jazz Festival and the Pride Parade. The free magazine called The Georgia Straight is the best place to check out events and festivals.

There is also some pretty useful information on the bicycle section of the Vancouver Tourism site, including information about bicycle events and links to cycle maps.

Sunset in Vancouver, while waiting for the fireworks to start, Vancouver City Guide for Cycle Tourists
Sunset in Vancouver, while waiting for the fireworks to start

Getting in & out:

So I’ve already mentioned how bicycle friendly Vancouver is with all the cycle paths, and public transport that can carry bicycles, but what about getting in and out of the city.

Vancouver Island:

There are two options for getting to and from Vancouver island and both involve BC ferries.

Nanaimo – West Vancouver

Victoria (Swartz Bay) – Vancouver (Tsawwassen)

To the rest of BC:

The two most popular routes out of Vancouver (if you’re heading across Canada) are 1) the Sea to Sky highway to Whistler/ Pemberton and, 2) Highway 1 to Hope (or rather the roads that parallel highway 1 to Hope).

Personally, I would recommend the sea to sky highway, as it is a beautiful ride with stunning views, but it is a little longer and a bit more hilly than the alternative route. The highway does get a little narrow in sections, as does the hard shoulder. Something else to keep in mind is that bicycles are prohibited on sections of Highway 1 from Vancouver to Hope. This means you will have to take the quieter country roads (which I think are actually much nicer, just not as direct), for part of this route. Check out our Canada route notes or our ebook on Cycling Canada for more information about the roads out of Vancouver.

And that much pretty sums up our Vancouver City Guide for Cycle Tourists. Vancouver is an awesome city! We absolutely loved living there, so hope you enjoy exploring the city too.

If you have any questions or suggestion on how to improve this Vancouver City Guide for Cycle Tourists, please let us know. We’d love to hear your feedback!

Accommodation Options for Cycle Tourists

Cycling Kazakhstan, Accommodation Options for Cycle Tourists

There are plenty of different accommodation options for cycle tourists when on tour. One huge decision factor will be budget. Another will be your chosen destination and route, and what is actually available.

This article is going to explore some of the accommodation options for cycle tourists. These options might not be for everyone, but they are certainly available to everyone. Personally, I like to mix it up. When I’m on tour I primarily camp, however at least once or twice a week I will treat myself to one of these other options.

So, here is our list of Accommodation Options for Cycle Tourists

Hotels

Hotels are awesome – the ultimate luxury while cycle touring. They are available all over the world. They usually have hot showers, comfortable beds, wifi, sometimes even breakfast. Everything you dream off while spending the day slugging up a 13% gradient in a cold, wet head wind.

One downside to staying in hotels is the cost! Spending every night in a hotel can be expensive, especially if you’re cycling through Europe or North America. But, even if you’re on a shoestring cycle budget, you should definitely treat yourself once in a while. One thing I discovered about cycle touring is that it makes you appreciate small luxuries. You will definitely appreciate the luxuries of a hotel more while on tour.

Another downside to staying in hotels is availability. Perhaps you’re cycling across the Gibson Desert in Australia. Your hotel options will be few and far between – even more reason to treat yourself once you make it into a city.

I recently discovered Wego search engine, which is a great tool for searching for the best value hotels, wherever you are in the world. It’s a comparison search engine, which means it searches several different sites including booking.com (one of my personal favourites – get $25AUD of free credit here), hotels (book 10 nights and get 1 free) and LateRooms. It’s great for giving you plenty of options and finding the best price for a particular hotel. If you’re also looking for flights, it even has a flight search engine.

Airbnb

Airbnb is next on our list of accommodation options for cycle tourists. If you’re not familiar with Airbnb, it is an accommodation site, which allows locals to rent out their spare room or apartment for a couple of nights. Airbnb is still relatively new, but the number of hosts is constantly on the increase.

I’ve found Airbnb to be a great budget option. You can also find places that give you access to a kitchen, laundry facilities and somewhere to store or lock your bike – things that might be a little difficult to find in a hotel.

One downside I’ve found with Airbnb is that you can’t secure a booking instantly. You request a booking; it then has to be approved. This means if you’re looking for accommodation for that night, you may not hear back in time. Generally if I were looking for a same day booking, I would look at a different option. It is however a great option if you have set dates planned in a particular location. Another downside to Airbnb is that like hotels, they aren’t available everywhere. I’ve also found the fees on Airbnb to be a bit high – however, the overall price tends to be lower, so usually it is still a cheaper accommodation option.

Get $45AUD or your currencies equivalent by signing up here.

halifax home
Our home for the winter (an Airbnb)

Hostels

Staying in a hostel is a great way to meet people. Most hostels also offer access to a kitchen, laundry and common area. If you are travelling solo, then staying in a dorm room might also be a good budget option. If you are not travelling solo, then it can sometimes work out more expensive staying in a dorm room. Splitting the cost of a hotel room or Airbnb, could work out much cheaper, so make sure you check all your options.

Warmshowers

If you have not heard of the Warmshowers community, then check it out now. It’s an awesome source of information and a great way to get in touch with other cyclists.

Staying with a warmshowers host is great! They understand what it is like cycle touring. They know how you are feeling, what you need, what you want. It’s also a great way to get involved in the cycle community. You don’t always have the opportunity to meet other cyclists when on tour, however, warmshowers gives you that opportunity. The great thing about Warmshowers’ is that it tends to attract a similar type of person, so you will usually find you share a lot of common interests with your host or guest.

It’s also good practice to offer to host cyclists when you’re not cycling and able to.

Couchsurfing

Couchsurfing is similar to Warmshowers, however it is designed with all travellers in mind, not just cyclists. It’s a great way to meet locals and I’ve always had a very positive experience and met some amazing people.

I’ve found that a lot of cyclists turn their nose up to Couchsurfing. The community tends to get a bad rap due to the popularity of it, and sadly there are a lot of people that have abused it and given it this reputation. You are also less likely to meet people that understand cycle touring. This means it can be a little difficult explain that you may arrive a day early or late, that it’s hard to give an exact time and that you need somewhere to store or lock your bike.

With that being sad, I’ve explaining this, I’ve never had an issue. And, generally I’ve found couchsurfers’ to be very interested in learning about cycle touring. Another reason I’ve heard from cyclists that don’t like couchsurfing, is that with warmshowers, you know the type of person you will host or stay with. Warmshowers tends to attract the same ‘type’ of person. However, couchsurfing, you could end up with anyone. I guess it’s more of a gamble

One major plus to Couchsurfing being so popular, is that it means that you’re more likely to find a host in some obscure locations. It is also more common than Warmshowers’ in countries such as Mexico and Turkey.

Like warmshowers, when I’m not cycling and able to, I will offer to host other travellers. I think of it as a type of karma. Paying it back, or paying it forward – however, you want to look at it.

Discovering Persian hospitality
Our awesome couchsurfers in Tehran

Official Campsites

Staying in official campsite definitely has its bonuses. It is usually cheaper than a hotel, Airbnb or hostel, especially if you aren’t cycling solo and can split the cost with others. You can set up camp whenever you like, and usually there are hot showers, a picnic area, toilets and a shelter.

There are two types of official campsites; primitive campsites and full service campsites. Primitive campsites might not have showers and usually have limited services. Full service campsites have everything – sometimes even wifi.

The biggest downside to staying at official campsites is that they aren’t popular in every country. If you’re cycling through Turkey, Iran, Central Asia or South East Asia then official campsites are rare. Also, if you’re cycling solo through a country like Canada, then depending on the location it can sometimes even be cheaper to stay in a hostel than an official campsite.

Wild Camping

Also known as Stealth Camping, Free Camping, and Feral Camping.

Wild camping is last on our list of accommodation options for cycle tourists. It involves pitching your tent on unoccupied or crown land. There are usually limited services available (no toilet, running water, showers, bins etc.) In some cases there are designated primitive camping spots, which might have access to drinking water. I’ve also camped at picnic/ rest sites that have access to some services.

In some cases, wild camping might be your only option. It is also a great way to save a bit of cash and keep within your budget. However, if you do wild camp make sure you leave no trace. Pack out your rubbish, respect any fire bans, and don’t disturb the nature. In many cases wild camping has become illegal due to people not respecting these rules – this is the case for many wild camping spots around my hometown, Perth.

Wild camping definitely comes with its risks. If you’re camping illegally then you could be moved on in the middle of the night, or worse you could end up with a big fine. I always check whether there is any “no camping” signs before I set up camp. If I’m camping in a town or village, then I ask locals whether they can recommend a wild camping spot. If I want to camp on private land, then I ask the owner. Private land doesn’t have to just be someone’s garden or field; it could be a visitor center, shop or gas station. Whatever it is, I ask first.

My wild camping rules usually include, keeping out of site, being within a reasonable distance from the main road, asking permission (if required) and most importantly, listening to my gut. If you sense something isn’t right, then don’t camp there – this actually saved us well cycle touring in eastern Turkey.

Cycling Kazakhstan
Wild camping in the desert of Kazakhstan

Other than the risks and lack of services, another downside to wild camping is it’s not possible to wild camp everywhere. Wild camping in touristic places and in cities is usually not possible, or not safe. This is when some of the other options might come in hand. Wild camping also requires you to wait until the evening before setting up camp, where as staying in an official campsite means you can set up whenever you like.

That’s our list of accommodation options for cycle tourists. What’s your preferred accommodation option while on tour?

If you enjoyed these cycle touring tips on Accommodation Options for Cycle Tourists, then you might also enjoy our article on 10 secrets to cycle touring.

Canada Cycle Route Trip Notes: 2016

pedalling the Prairies

Our Canada Cycle Route

When: June – October 2016

Total kilometres: 7000km

Direction: West to East (we still had headwinds)

For more stats click here.

I’ve copied the ‘Canada Cycle Route‘ notes idea and layout from one of our warmshowers host, Peggy. She created a similar page outlining her 2015 trip, which I found really helpful. I thought it was a great idea. So, I thought I’d share our route information to help others plan their trips across Canada. Hopefully this will also provide some security to anyone that is a bit apprehensive about cycle touring.

I’ve also just finished an ebook called, “Cycling Canada” Coast-to-Coast: Trip Notes” which has route and province notes, maps (please notes these are not GPS or interactive maps), resources, recommended bike stores across Canada, plus any other tips or information I’ve picked up along the way that I think others might find helpful. The book is written based on our cycle trip, so with fully loaded cycle tourists in mind. If you do download the book, please let me know if you have any feedback or issues with it. Publishing ebooks is something completely new to me. It took me a long time to put together, but it is the first edition, so any honest feedback is greatly appreciated. Currently the book is only available on Amazon and can be found hereI am working on a second edition, so any feedback is definitely appreciated. Thanks!

Feel free to get in contact if you have any other questions about cycle touring or cycling across Canada.

canada cycle route, Our final cycle route across Canada
Our final cycle route across Canada
RouteRoad QualityCampingOther notes
Start: Vancouver

Check out our Vancouver City Guide!

British Columbia
Canada cycle route
High bike theft in Vancouver. Keep an eye on your bikes.
Hwy 99 southBusy. Good, wide hard shoulder.--There are plenty of cycle paths in Vancouver. You can easily hop on a cycle path to get near the outskirts of the city or onto the 99.
** Another option: Hwy 99 North (Sea to Sky hwy). I’ve only driven this route, never cycled it, but it is absolutely stunning. The route will take you through Squamish, Whistler, Pemberton, Lillooet. You can then make your way to Kamloops from there (I’ve never been on the road between Lillooet and Kamloops so can’t comment on the condition).Busy! Good road with a wide hard shoulder for the most part. The hard shoulder does narrow in sections. This route is more mountainous than the route we took, so expect more mountain passes to cycle. It is also slightly longer.There’s a pretty cool campsite at the bottom of the Chief in Squamish. Good spot for hiking (if your legs are up to it).--
Cut across to hwy 15 and onto 4 ave, which leads to 0 ave (I would instead recommend getting on 8 ave from hwy 15, and cutting down to 0 ave around 200 st or staying on 8 ave the rest of the way).Once on 0 ave, less traffic, small hard shoulder. A few hills from hwy 15 to 200 st.--If you stop on 0 ave, you may have the border police check up on you. They tend to be pretty friendly though. There are a lot of cyclists on that road.
8 ave, Vye Rd – follow to Yarrow Central Rd/ Vedder Mountain RdHard shoulder and good road. Moderate traffic.Wild camping anywhere along the river off Vedder Mountain Rd (before Chilliwack).--
Vedder Rd to Prarie Central Rd onto hwy 1 at Annis RdQuiet road with hard shoulder--Be-careful with your bikes in Chilliwack. High bike theft in the area.
Hwy 1 to HopeVery busy (esp. during holidays). Wide hard should and good road.--Save on Food supermarket in Hope has powerpoints, a picnic tables and free wifi outside. (We’ve discovered that a lot of the big supermarkets have free wifi and a picnic table)
Kettle Valley Rd/Trail (from Hope town to Othello Tunnels)Lot’s of people walking the trail. Gravel through the tunnels (sign telling you to walk the bikes through, but only at the entrance to the tunnels, on the ar park sign). Muddy if there’s been rain.--They filmed Rambo at the Othello Tunnels.
Tunnels Rd/ Othello RdQuiet road. Small hard shoulder. Good surface.----
Hwy 5 (Coquilhalla Summit 1225m)Busy road. Lot’s of trucks and RVs. Wide hard shoulder and good road. Steep 5km climb. Lot’s of chain up areas and a services area at the top of the summit.Lot’s of pull off points on the hwy with possible wildcampingCan cycle around the outside of the Great Bear Snow Shed, instead of through it.
Coldwater Rd to MerritQuiet road. Hard shoulder. Good road.--Free wifi at Walmart.
Hwy 5A to KamloopsModerate traffic. Hard shoulder. Good road.Good wildcamping spots around Stump Lake--
Hwy 5 to ClearwaterBusy. Good road. Hard shoulder.
From Clearwater it’s a very gradual incline to Jasper (we barely noticed it).
----
Hwy 5 to Blue River

(Messiter Summit approx. 850m – nothing to be worried about.)
Busy. Good road. Hard shoulder.Not too many wildcamping spots on the way to Blue River - due to the marshes. Also, lots of bears around Blue River and that general area. There is a campsite in Blue River (apparently overpriced). We were invited to camp in someone’s garden in the town.Not too many places to fill up water along this route. The guy at the garage in Avola is a grumpy man and he won’t let you fill up your water bottles, even if you buy something. Apparently the people at the burger place (Log Inn & Pub) in Avola, just around the corner from the gas station (down the hill) are super friendly, and will probably help you out.
Hwy 5 to Tete Jaune CacheBusy. Good road. Hard shoulder.Not much between Blue River and Valemount.Valemount is a cool town with lots of services (including a brewery & Swiss bakery).

Free wifi at the A&W/ gas station in Valemount.
Hwy 16 to Alberta (and Jasper National Park)As you would expect – super busy! Hard shoulder, though it’s very narrow at times (usually during the uphill sections where there are steep drop-offs).
There are a few steep inclines on the way to Jasper – the first starts just passed Mt Robson visitor centre.
We stayed at the official campsite in Mt Robson ($28 per night), but I think you could get away with wild camping in the BC park (not once you enter Jasper, though).Free wifi at the visitor centre in Mt Robson Provincial Park. Staff were really helpful.
Alberta
Canada cycle route
Hwy 16 to JasperSuper busy. Hard shoulder – bit narrow at times. Good road.We stayed in official campsites only – don’t think you could get away with wildcamping in the park.

Whistlers Campsite ($28 per night) – there are walk-in sites available. It’s about 3km outside Jasper.
We paid for the park pass. We were asked for it 3 times (we were in the park for 7 days). We showed it at Whistlers campsite – though they didn’t actually ask it. No other campsite we stayed at asked for the pass. We probably could have gotten away with just 2-3 day passes – that’s if you’re on a budget and don’t want to pay for the year pass. Also, if there are 2+ people in your group, get the family pass, it’s good for up to 6 people.

Free wifi at the park’s visitor centre in Jasper (we discovered that most national park visitor centres had free wifi).
Jasper to Lake Louise (Icefields Parkway hwy 93 & 93A)

2 main passes:
Sunwapta summit & Bow Summit
(You’ll get given a really helpful gradient chart of the entire icefields parkway, when you enter the national park – we found it really good).
93A was really quiet, 93 was really busy. There is a section of the 93 which is in pretty bad condition (coming down Sunwapta pass in the rain was not fun).

From Bow Summit the road is amazing – my favourite day cycling! They are due to repave the whole road but I’m not sure when this will be completed.
Jonas campsite ($15.70 per night) primitive site, but has water. Walk in sites available.

Rampart Creek campsite ($17.60 per night) primitive site, but has water. Walk in sites available – I think Waterfowl Lake would be nicer to camp at (the lake was beautiful). It was fully booked when we cycled pass and I’m not sure if they have walk-in sites.

Lake Louise campsite ($28 per night + booking fee). We booked this in advance as they don’t have walk in sites, and they were fully booked when we turned up. The next closest campsite is over 20km from Lake Louise.

Lake Louise is approx. 4km (up a steep hill) from the campsite and Lake Louise Village.

There are other official campsites along the parkway – not just those mentioned above. They are all included in the map provided when entering the park.
Skip the Icefields Center – tourist trap!

Make sure you check out the waterfalls along the way. Also the hike to the toe of the glacier was worth doing.

Free wifi at the visitor centre in Lake Louise. Also, free (unlocked) wifi near the bakery/ grocery store area in Lake Louise.

The bakery (Laggan's Mountain Bakery & Delicatessen) in Lake Louise Village is highly recommended.
Bow Valley Parkway to BanffBusy road. Good condition. Hard shoulder. We loved this cycle day.There are some official campsites along the parkway if you want to spend the night somewhere. There is also a campsite in Banff.Lot’s of pull outs on the route.

Free wifi at Banff visitor centre.
Banff to Canmore on the Legacy TrailCycle Path along the highway.--There are lot’s of cool ‘bike stations’ with pump, bike stand and tools, dotted around Banff & Canmore.
Hwy 1A to Seebe then Hwy 1 to Calgary

Scott’s Hill (1414m) Summit – a piece of cake after the icefields.
1A quieter road, but narrow hard shoulder. Hwy 1, very busy, but wide hard shoulder, good road. I recommend getting off hwy 1 when you get into Calgary – we didn’t and there were loads of road works, narrow hard shoulder and it was super busy. Try and get onto a road in Calgary with one of the many cycle paths.--Chiniki gas station is one of the only stops along the way – super friendly staff (they let us fill up our thermos). There are a couple of pull outs along the way as well.

MEC in Calgary has an awesome bike section (and free wifi).
Bow River Pathway/ Nose Creek Pathway to Harvest Hills Blvd (heading north out of the Calgary)Cycle path----
Centre St NNarrow hard shoulder (if any). Moderate to busy road.----
567Quiet to moderate traffic. Hard shoulder. Good road.----
Hwy 9 to DrumhellerQuiet to moderate traffic. Good road. Hard shoulder. Not much shade along the way.Camped at the Horseshoe canyon (no official campsite – but there wasn’t any “no camping” signs either).Beiseker was a cute town with a free museum and services (nothing from here to Drumheller).
Hwy 10 (the HooDoo trail), which turns into the 570 at Dorothy.Hard shoulder. Busy road until the Hoodoos, then it becomes very quiet. Road is pretty good condition. Hilly after Coulee community centre.

The cycle to Dorothy is beautiful – then it’s Prairie land the rest of the way.
There is a steep hill just after Dorothy - it felt like it went on and on.
There is a rest stop at Dorothy, which you could easily wild camp at – we didn’t find any water here, but I think you could ask someone in the town (there aren’t any shops/ services in Dorothy). There is a café at the museum in East Coulee (before Dorothy).

We wild camped at the Community Hall in Coulee – homestead Coulee (not much else there except the hall). We asked the workers camping at the site opposite to fill up our water bottles.

Detour at Big Rock (8km return) to visit the trading post. They have free wifi, coffee, free water, food, and are super friendly. There is also a campsite at the lake there (not sure how much they charge).

We also camped in an abandoned building – it looked like cyclists had probably camped there before. It was about 15km before the 886 intersection.
There is not much between Dorothy, AB and Eatonia, SK – so take enough food, and take sufficient water for at least a day or 2 depending on how many km you’re covering a day (there are a few places to fill up along the way, but not really anywhere to buy food).
** Another option is to take hwy 9 from Drumheller into Saskatchewan, but the hard shoulder is apparently quite narrow and the road is really busy. The upside is that there are a lot more towns along the way and the road surface is good. Once in SK head south on hwy 44 and continue on to Eatonia.------
Saskatchewan

canada cycle route
Hwy 44Lots of pot-holes, but the road is super quiet – no trucks allowed. We rode side by side for most of the time we were on hwy 44. There is also a narrow (if any) hard shoulder.Eatonia campsite ($25 per night)

Eston campsite ($10 for the overflow site)
There was no, “Welcome to Saskatchewan” sign on this road, which I was a bit disappointed about.
342Really quiet road and no trucks allowed. We rode side by side, and seen a car once ever 15-30 minutes. There are lots of potholes and no hard shoulder.

There’s a bit of a steep hill just before White Bear.
Hotel in White Bear. Other than that you’ll be camping in farmer’s land if you choose to wild camp in this section.Not much from Eston to Kyle, the White Bear Hotel has good food, free (unlocked) wifi and rents out rooms (it’s closed on Mondays). It’s in White Bear – super friendly community.
** Another option is to continue on hwy 44 all the way to hwy 4 then head south from there to Swift Current. The road is busier and it's a longer route, but there are more services along the way.------
Hwy 4 to Swift CurrentBusy (esp after being on the quiet roads). Lot’s of trucks. Hard shoulder – narrow at some points. Lot’s of potholes and broken bits at the side of the road (the road seemed better around Kyle and the Landing and got worse towards Swift Current).
A bit of a steep incline coming out of the Landing.
Campsite at the landing provincial park (not sure of the fee).

There’s also a hotel in Kyle (has wifi and cheap breakfast).
The library in Kyle has wifi (when it’s opened).
Hwy 1 to Regina.
I really enjoyed this section of the trans-canadian hwy 1.
Wide hard shoulder. Good road surface. Moderate to busy (lot’s of trucks).Visitor centre/ museum in Herbert offers camping for donation. They have wifi and good priced snacks and coffee, and really friendly staff.

$10 camping in Chaplin.
Towns/ services approx. every 20km from Swift Current to Moose Jaw, then only at Belle Plains from Moose Jaw to Regina.

Best bike store in Regina is Dutch Cycling.
Hwy 33 from Regina to StoughtonBusy near Regina, but the road becomes quieter the further you get from the city. Quite a few trucks on the road. Road is very patchy – good in sections, bad in others. Good to narrow hard shoulder. Fillmore (first night free camping – primitive site).

Creelman campsite $15 – washrooms and showers available.

Stoughton also had hotels, motels and a campsite.
This is where we discovered most town halls have a public library that offers free wifi (as well as toilets and water).

Registration for most town (municipal) campsites is at the town hall.
Hwy 13 to the Manitoba borderWide hard shoulder. Moderate traffic.
The road is in good condition until Redvers then the road quality changes to pretty bad (lots of potholes and a narrow hard shoulder), but we hardly seen any traffic on this section of road.
Redvers campsite $10 – register at visitor centre. Visitor Centre has free wifi and a cyclist logbook.

Arcola also had a campsite (not sure of the price).
--
Manitoba

Flag of Manitoba
Hwy 2 to DeleauHard shoulder is gravel (this is normal for Manitoba). Quiet road. Free wild camping in Deleau (toilets, picnic tables and water available).Don’t expect a hard shoulder on a road in Manitoba unless it’s highway 1 – it’s a “Manitoba thing” I’ve been told.

There is a small “Welcome to Manitoba” sign on this road.
Hwy 21 to HartneyNo hard shoulder. Good to average road. Quiet road – even in the town.Campsite in Hartney $10 (avoid if it’s the town’s annual festival – the campsite will turn into a nightclub until 4am and you won’t get any sleep).Wifi at the library in Hartney.
** Alternative Route: If you want to go to Winnipeg then you can stay on hwy 2 all the way to Winnipeg. Hwy 2 will be busier and still have no hard shoulder.------
Hwy 23 which you can take all the way to Dufrost (via Morris).

After Dufrost you can take highway 59 south to the 201 East.
No hard shoulder.
Road quality is patchy and changes constantly.
Bad road around Ninette (hilly).
Good road from Swan Lake to Altamont (there is even a hard shoulder for part of it) – also hilly. Flat from Miami. Quiet road.

Can't comment on the road condition after Morris – see note below.
Campsite just east of Elgin looked like a nice spot (not sure of the price).

You could probably wild camp at the rest/ picnic stop near Dunrea and also just before Miami. There are toilets and picnic tables there.

Campsite at Ninette lake ($22) – popular

Campsite at Belmont ($15)

Campsites at Baldur, Swan Lake and Somerset (not sure of price).

Campsite at Miami ($10)
There seems to be a campsite at every other town.

Roland’s Roadhouse in Roland – owner is super friendly and helpful. Good pizza and wifi.
** We took a slightly different route on hwy 23 to visit a friend at his farm, but our route involves 20km on a gravel road, so I don’t recommend it. In case you’re interested, on hwy 23 we turned south near Kane/ Morris onto a gravel road to our friend’s farm. After visiting our friend we continued south until we reached 14, then we headed East to Rosenfeld. At Rosenfeld we headed south on 30 until we reached 201 East.The 14 was busy. No hard shoulder. Ok road.

The 30 was moderate to quiet. No hard shoulder
----
201 Moderate to quiet traffic to Vita.

After Vita the road is really quiet.

No hard shoulder the whole way. Road quality is ok – patchy in sections.
In Vita you can wild camp at the school (free). There are toilets, but no running water.The owners of Eva’s café in Vita are amazing! Free (unlocked) wifi, free filtered water and cheap food. Highly recommend!

At the intersection with hwy 12, towards Piney, there is a community building on the west side of the road. There is a picnic table and well with running spring water. Ignore the sign – the water is drinkable.
Hwy 12 (This is apart of “Mom’s Way” – an alternative route to the Trans-Canada from Winnipeg to Thunder Bay).Moderate to quiet road. Good surface for most of it. No hard shoulder.We wild camped in the public park at Middlebro (about 6km from the USA border) – picnic tables and a gross public toilet.South Junction gas station has free wifi and picnic tables.
USA: Minnesota
Hwy 11 (Mom’s Way)

Warroad to Baudette (USA stretch – approx. 60km)
There is a small hard shoulder with a rumble strip (you’re forced to cycle on the white line for most of it). The road is moderate to busy. We did not enjoy this section at all!--Williams has a fresh spring well and picnic tables. There is also unlocked wifi at the diner opposite the park (if you eat at the diner - avoid the chips and cheese dip, complete ripoff).
Canada

Ontario


Flag_of_Ontario.svg-2
Hwy 11 (Mom’s Way) Rainy River to Fort FrancesRainy River to Fort Frances there is a small hard shoulder. The road is good quality - for the most part. Quiet to moderate traffic.Wild camped at the rest stop at Sleeman (drop toilets, bins and picnic tables).

Fort Frances campground (pretty gross washrooms and shower block) $17 per night.
Free wifi at Walmart and the visitor center in Fort Frances.
Hwy 11 (Mom’s Way) Fort Frances to Shabaqua JunctionFor most of the road there is a hard shoulder (small to medium). Road quality is generally good – a few potholes/ road works in parts. Traffic is quiet to moderate. Hilly. Overall we enjoyed this section.Wild camped at the Seine River First Nations community (next to the Pow Wow grounds and sports hall). Free wifi at the sports hall – just ask one of the local kids for the password.

Wild camped at the rest stop near Suwapta, about 3km before a diner and the small village. Drop toilets and picnic tables, and easy access to the lake for a swim.

Wild camped at Sabaqua Junction – ask the ice cream van owners where to camp.
There is a long stretch of nothing between the Red Gut gas station and Suwapta diner (approx. 100km).

Red Gut gas station has wifi and picnic tables. The staff were more than happy to fill our water bottles (with ice) for us.

Shabaqua Junction is not a town, but there is a ice cream/ food van there with super friendly owners that love cyclists. They have a great ice cream selection and chill out area. They can also point you in the direction for somewhere to sleep and fill up your water bottles. Great little spot!

Avoid the motel/ gas station about 200m on from the ice cream van - they are not cyclist friendly and won't let you use the wifi (even if you buy something).
Hwy 11/ 17 Shabaqua Junction to Thunder Bay (via Kakabeka Falls)Busy! Road quality is good and has a wide hard shoulder. --Kakabeka Falls is free for cyclists and worth the stop.
103/ Arthur St into Thunder Bay (south)Busy! No hard shoulder for most of the road. Pot holes!

Generally, I didn't find Thunder Bay very cycle friendly.
--Cyclists are prohibited on Hwy 11/ 17 from the 103 intersection (including the section where the Terry Fox memorial is).

We were really impressed with Fresh Air bike store in Thunder Bay.

Tokyo House all you can eat buffet in Thunder Bay is awesome (it's on the south side of the city). Lunch buffet is only about $15.
Take Lake Shore Drive when leaving Thunder Bay (Hwy 11/17 prohibits bicycles until the Lake Shore/ Hwy intersection) Bicycle friendly – medium hard shoulder, moderate to quiet road.Rest stop at Wild Goose Park – potential wild camping spot with beach access!--
Hwy 11/17 to NipigonLot’s of construction work going on (sign states work not to be completed until 2021).

Busy! Lot’s of trucks. Small hard shoulder (bad quality in sections). We did not enjoy this section of the road at all – it didn’t feel particularly safe (we did have constant rain though).
Rest stop approx. 60km north of Thunder Bay – potential wild camping spot (shelter, toilets, picnic tables)!--
Hwy 11

Nipigon to Marathon – stunning!

Superior Lake Provincial Park – even more stunning (cycling through this park was one of our favourite cycle days)!
There were lot’s of road works going on when we cycled. Various different completion dates.

Small to medium hard shoulder (sometimes even a wide hard shoulder, sometimes nothing). Quality varies.

Busy! Lot’s of trucks. More traffic seems to travel West, than East.

Nipigon to Marathon and Wawa to Sault St Marie have quite challenging climbs. Some particularly steep climbs between Nipigon and Rossport (at least 3 climbs). There is also a steep climb coming into Sault.

The hard shoulder from White River to Sault St Marie on the east side (the west side didn't look as bad) was terrible! Lot’s of potholes and cracks. At points we had to cycle on the road, and the road is super busy along this stretch.
Wild camped at the rest stop just outside Rossport on the lakeshore (with beach). Great spot!

Potential wild camping at Aguasabon Fall (2km west of Terrace Bay).

We did see someone pitch his or her tent at the visitor centre in Terrace Bay.

Wild camping at Marathon information centre (on hwy 11). Marathon centre is about 4km off the highway.

Manitouwadge turnoff (intersection 614) has a rest stop with toilet.

White Lake Provincial Park has campsites (not sure of the cost).

White River – you can camp at the picnic area next to the tourist information (watch out for bears in this area). Tourist information has free (unlocked) wifi and toilets.

There is a rest stop about 10km east of White River, which is a potential wild camping spot (toilets and picnic tables – no, ‘no camping’ sign).

In Wawa you could try wild camping at the lakeshore – there are no ‘no camping’ signs, and RVs stop there for the night, however the visitor center did advise us that occasionally tenters get moved on (it depends who is patrolling that night). Otherwise, there are wild camping spots by the river (Michipicten River) about 6km south of Wawa.

Lake Superior Provincial Park is stunning! Don't skip Old Woman Bay (potential wild campsite) and Katherine's Cove (potential wild camping spot). It is a provincial park and these aren't official campsites so there is a chance you might get moved on, but I think generally it's pretty relaxed. We camped at Sinclair Cove, which was beautiful, but it's a 1.5km detour down a steep road. There is also an official campsite in the park at Agawa Bay, and backcountry campsite available. The closest backcountry campsite we could find to the highway was only 200m, but I wouldn't recommend it unless you have a mountain bike or don't have much gear. The site is at Barrett River (the ranger recommended it to us, but it was too much hassle with the bikes/ bags).

Wild Rose RV park in Batchawana offers free camping for cyclists. The Voyagers nextdoor, apparently has the best apple fritters in Ontario.

Velorution Bike Store in Sault St Marie has a free cyclist campsite (closed on Sundays, but the campsite is out the back. You can text the owner for the washroom code).
Hungry Moose just west of Schreiber is cyclist friendly. Reasonably priced, big portions, good food, free wifi.

Esso garage at Terrace Bay has free (unlocked) wifi.

We discovered that the Husky gas station has a loyalty program, which is free to join up and gives you 500 free points (50 points gives you a free shower, 130 points gives you a free coffee). Husky in White River is right next to the tourist information – perfect place for a shower before pitching your tent. They also have free wifi – when it works!

Wawa visitor center has very good wifi. No camping allowed at the visitor centre. There are no services/ shops for at least 160km south of Wawa.

Canadian Carver - huge tourist trap! Crap wifi! The Voyagers also has crap wifi!
John Rowswell Hub Trail: bike trail around Sault St MariePay attention to the markers and pick up a map - it's easy to lose the trail.

Pretty neat idea, and really well developed around the waterfront.
--Starts next to Velorution bike store (free campsite).
Leaving Sault St Marie on Hwy 17No hard shoulder. Super busy road with lots of trucks.----
Hwy 17BQuiet to moderate traffic. Small hard shoulder.--The world’s largest loonie is on this road, next to a nice picnic spot.
Hwy 17 to just before Sudbury (Whitefish turn off).Super busy, truck road. Small hard shoulder.

The highway between Espanola and Sudbury is particularly bad. There is no hard shoulder at times. We ended up cycling on the gravel shoulder, which isn’t particularly safe as it’s really soft, but the road was too busy to cycle on. This was probably the un-safest section of road we’ve cycled on so far in Canada. There are also a lot of cracks and potholes along this section of road.
Iron Bridge visitor centre/ museum/ picnic area allows camping. We left a donation for letting us camp there.

It’s possible to camp at Spanish near the Marina. There is also free wifi at the marina building, and washroom, shower and laundry facilities.

Potential wild camping at the picnic site approx. 20km east of Espanola.

There are quite a few official campsites along the highway, all seem to charge about $34+ a night for an unpowered, tent site.
This is Amish country, and there are quite a few farmers markets, and fruit and veg stalls along the highway. Most of them seemed to be Amish owned. We also saw some horse and carriages on the road (Thessalon and Iron Bridge seemed to be the most noticeable Amish area).
Road 55

(You can follow this road all the way into Sudbury if you are planning on heading into the city, otherwise you can get back on hwy 17 to go around the city).
No hard shoulder. Quiet road. Potholes (road 55 felt safer than the section of hwy 17 we were on just prior).----
Leaving Sudbury: Bancroft Drive to ConistonCycle path for part of the way. No hard shoulder for the other part. The road is generally really quiet (less stressful than the highway). Some potholes.----
Hwy17 After Sudbury the road quality improves. The road is still really busy, but less cracks/ potholes and a more constant (small) hard shoulder.

Rumble strip on the hard shoulder about 20km east of Mattawa, until just before Deep River (apparently, this is something that’s going to become more common in the area).
Potential wild camping at the picnic spot approx. 30km east of Sudbury.

Wild camping at the picnic/ scenic lookout 20km west of North Bay (we camped behind the toilet block).

Potential wild camping spot at the picnic spot 15km east of Mattawa.

Wild camping at the picnic spot (next to the lake) 45km east of Mattawa.
The New Ontario Brewing Company in North Bay has good beer!
** Coming into Ottawa we took a lot of country roads to avoid the traffic. It was nice and easy (much better than the highway). I’ve included the route below, however it might sound a bit complicated. I’m lead to believe that whatever country road you take into Ottawa will be much nicer than the highway.------
Turned onto Murphy Road towards Petawawa at the Petawawa intersection.Moderate to busy. No hard shoulder. Paved.----
Petawawa Blvd to Pembroke (road changes to Pembroke Street in Pembroke).Bicycle lane on the road! Busy to moderate. Paved.--Loads of Tim Hortons and other fast food places along this stretch. Very built up.
Beachburg Road to Foresters Fall RoadModerate to quiet country road. No hard shoulder. Paved.If you want to detour to the White Water Brewing Company (only 6km off Beachburg Rd), they offer camping for $10 per person.Beachburg is a super cute town. Great community vibe.
Queens Line (changes to Storyland Road)Quiet country road. No hard shoulder. Paved.----
River Road to ArnpriorQuiet country road. No hard shoulder. Paved.----
Old Highway 17Busy coming out of Arnprior, then the road goes quiet. Paved.----
Kinburn Side Road to Kinburn. Turn onto Loggers Way, which changes to Donald B Munro Drive. Follow this road to the town, Carp.Quiet road. No hard shoulder. Paved.--Carp has a picnic area and also a really nice café.
March Road Moderate to busy, with a small hard shoulder. Paved.----
Turn left onto Dunrobin Road (sign posted to Quebec), then turn right onto Riddell Drive, then turn right onto March Valley Road. Quiet roads. Small or no hard shoulder. Paved.

March Valley Road was a nice cycle.
----
Terry Fox Drive (turns into Herzberg Road) to Carling Avenue.Busy. Good road. ----
On Carling Ave you can access the cycle path, which will lead you to Parliament Hill in central Ottawa.Cycle Path (approx. 20km to Parliament Hill). Nice cycle.--This route will avoid all the crazy traffic going into Ottawa. It’s the easiest capital city I’ve ever cycled into.
There are two popular routes from Ottawa to Montreal; 1) the Quebec route along the Ottawa River, 2) the Ontario route. We took the Ontario route because it was slightly shorter. ----We recommend The Cyclery bike store in Ottawa, though there are a lot of other good bikes stores in the city if they don't have what you're looking for.
Ottawa cycle paths to the Prescott-Russell Recreational Trail (ends just after St Eugene at St Eugene Road).72km cycle path. Compacted gravel. Good to cycle on for 95% of the time. Because it is gravel inspect to go a bit slower then on paved road.

We really enjoyed this cycle path.
I think it would be possible to wild camp at the picnic sites along the route. The picnic site at St-Eugene looked like a good option.Picnic tables and toilets along the way.

We didn’t see any water available along the route. There are also no shops, but it’s easy to detour to one of the towns along the route.
St Eugene Road to #10 road (Chemin Comte 10) to Quebec borderSmall hard shoulder. Moderate to quiet traffic.----
Quebec

Flag of Quebec
Chemin du Haut-de-la-Chute road to RigaudModerate traffic. No hard shoulder. Lot’s of cracks and pot holes in the road. Really pretty road next to the river.--Riguad has a good Metro superstore with free wifi.
342Small hard shoulder. Moderate to busy road. Paved.----
Chemin de l’Anse (changes to Rue Main, then to Avenue Saint-Charles) follow this to the bridge at Vaudreuil-Dorion.Shared bicycle/ car road (no separate bicycle lane and no hard shoulder for most of this road). There are some pot holes on the road. When cycling through the towns the cycle path improves. --Really good bakery in Vaudreuil-Dorion (just before the bridge) called “Premiere Moisson.” They also have wifi and really good coffee.
La Route Verte 5 to the locks at Montreal (if you want to get to downtown Montreal)Cycle path on the road. Shared bicycle/ car road at points. Paved. Quiet to Moderate traffic. Quality of the road changes a lot. --The route follows the river. There are lots of picnic spots along the way. There are also lots of services (shops, cafes etc.)
Cycle route along the canal (Du Canal de Lachine) to the old port and downtown Montreal.Cycle path. Paved. Quiet. Nice cycle.--Best poutine in Montreal at La Banquise restaurant (opened 24/7). They also have vegan options.
La Route Verte #5 out of Montreal and over the Norte-Dame Bridge.Mixture of cycle paths and cycle lanes on roads.--Metro supermarket along this route.
138 (which overlaps with Chemin du Roy cycle route and La Route Verte #5 cycle route) to Saint-Augustin-De-Desmaures (just outside Quebec City), once you reach this place make sure you get off the 138 and follow either the Chemin du Roy or La verte route into Quebec City.We ended up just following the 138, as the signage for both the Chemin du Roy and La Route Verte was inconsistent and a bit confusing.

Good hard shoulder for most of the route. Moderate to quiet road.
Not many wild camping spot along this route. The route is pretty “built up.”

There are a few paid campsites available and plenty of motels and B&Bs.

Gîte et Café de la Tour Bed & Breakfast in Sainte-Ann-de-la-Perade, offers free overnight camping in their garden, and optional $10 per person breakfast (incl. coffee) and $10 per person for shower/ washroom facilities.
Plenty of services along the route (picnic spots, supermarkets, shops, cafes, restaurants, motels, water, public toilets, wifi). A lot of the town’s had free municipal wifi.

The Old Port Markets in Quebec City are worth checking out. The wine and cider samples are quite good and very unique (think tomato wine, ice cider and maple rum).
Leaving Quebec City we had 2 options:
- Ferry – easy, cheap ($3.55 per person), quick, nice view of the city
- Bridge – 20km longer, busy, hectic
We took the ferry. It was great – we definitely recommend this over the bridge.--Buy your ferry ticket before boarding the ferry. When we were there the ferry ran every 10-20 minutes and takes about 10 minutes to cross.
Bike path (La Route Verte #1) to the 132Cycle path. Flat and quiet. Nice view of the river.--Picnic spots along the way.
132/ La Route Verte #1 (where we couldn’t cycle on the 132 we followed the Route Verte signs) to Riviere du LoupWide hard shoulder. Quiet road. Well paved - good road condition.

Occasionally the Route Verte was a compacted gravel cycle path, other times it was on the hard shoulder of the 132 or on a quiet road.

We loved this cycle along the Saint Lawrence River. Very beautiful, and relatively flat.
Wild camped at the viewpoint just east of Saint-Roch-des-Auinaies. A stunning spot – right on the river.Picnic spot at the tourist information in Montmagny is a nice spot. The tourist centre has wifi, toilets and drinking water.

The tourist information near La Pocatiere has wifi, drinking water, toilets and good cycle maps, including of La Route Verte #5.
La Route Verte #5 cycle route (135km to Edmunston, NB)Compacted gravel cycle path. Quiet. No cars or motorbikes allowed.Plenty of camping opportunities (approx. every 10km). There are also primitive campsites along the route for $10 per person (self registration).Lots of picnic sites located along the route. Some with drinking water, toilets and shelters.
New Brunswick

flag_of_new_brunswick
Route 144 form Edmunston to Grand Falls (the 144 changes to 108 just before Grad Falls).Small to large hard shoulder. Good paved road. Moderate traffic – busier around Grand Falls.--Nice look out point with picnic tables at Grand Falls.
Route 130 to Perth – Andover

** We did attempt to get on the NB cycle trail (Trans Canadian Trail), but it was soft, rocky gravel. After about 15km the route was closed and we had to detour up a big hill to get back on 130.
Small hard shoulder. The road was patchy in section but generally good. Quite hilly. Moderate traffic.----
Crossed the bridge at Perth- Andover and got on the 105 to Woodstock.

The NB trail does run besides 105. We got on the trail a couple of times, but the gravel was rocky and soft in sections, so we didn’t stay on for more than 15km at a time. It is definitely flatter on the NB trail.
Quiet traffic. Busier around the settlements (particularly near Bristol). Small hard shoulder – sometimes no hard shoulder. Very hilly – if you struggle with constant ups and downs then take the NB trail.--Hartland has a nice picnic spot near the world’s longest covered bridge.

Woodstock seemed a bit sketchy, especially around the Tim Hortons.
Crossed over the bridge at Woodstock and got on the 103 to just before highway 2Moderate traffic. Small to wide hard shoulder. Road quality changes, but generally good.----
NB trail (Ritchie Road to Pokiok Road) - to avoid getting on the highwayQuiet road. Lots of potholes and cracks in sections. Road leads to a suspension bridge. Nice cycle.Wild camped at the picnic spot next to the suspension bridge. No toilets, but there is a picnic table and water from the river.--
Crossed Hawskskaw Bridge and onto Otis Drive through NackawicQuite road. Small hard shoulder. Good paving.--World’s largest axe is in town.
105Quiet road (after the 605 turn off). No hard shoulder. Patchy paving – ok in sections, bumping in other sections. Hilly!--No rest area until York Centennial Park (really nice toilets, picnic tables, water).
Mactaquac Road (across the bridge)Moderate to heavy traffic. Good paved road.--Cool view of the dam on the other side of the bridge.
102Moderate traffic. Good paved road. Wide hard shoulder.----
Just after the “welcome to Fredericton sign” the trans Canada bike trail starts (look out for the sign).Bike path. Compacted gravel/ paved closer to the city. Quiet. Nice cycle.--We followed the bicycle path to the superstore in Fredericton, then out of the city to Oromocto.
102 to Burton BridgeBusy road. Small to no hard shoulder. Ok paving – a bit bumping in patches.----
105 to just before Jemseg (before the bridge).Busy near the bridge and for about 5km after the bridge, then the road quietens downs. The road has hardly any hard shoulder at first and is a bit bumping, but that also improves after 5-10km. Flat, nice cycle along the river.----
Highway 2

** We were going to get on highway 2 at Jemseg, but 105 was closed before the bridge (the bridge itself was not finished), which meant we had to get on highway 2 before the bridge. Once we were on the highway, and at the bridge, there was a “no bicycle sign.” Bicycles are allowed on the highway, but not the bridge. Not wanting to cycle the wrong way down the highway (plus we had no alternative way to get over the Jemseg) we still cycled the bridge – it seemed find, there is still a decent hard shoulder, and it’s two lane traffic, but the bridge is very long.
Moderate traffic. Busy around the bridges. Nice smooth, paved road, with a really wide hard shoulder.--Nice bakery/ grocery store (attached to the gas station) in Jemseg.
Road 10Quiet road (when we were there, but I image in the high season this road is quite busy with tourist traffic). Patchy road, with a few bumps and cracks. Hilly!A couple of seasonal campsites along the route (lot's of places start to close after Sept).Visitor Centre at the junction (it’s seasonal, so was closed when we were there). There is also a gas station on the other-side of the junction turn off.
Sussex

Took McGregor Brook Road, the 121 (Main Street) through Sussex.
Busy! Lot’s of local traffic and tourist traffic. No inner city bike paths. No hard shoulder. There is a campsite in town, but it is seasonal, as are the campsites just out of town.

Timberland Motel (about 7km outside Sussex on the way to Fundy NP) is cyclist friendly,
Famous for it’s murals!

Outdoor Elements is a really good bicycle store – the guys there are awesome!

Lot’s of supermarkets and other stores just as you enter town.
Post Road (Road 111)No hard shoulder. Moderate traffic. Bumpy, but paved.----
114 to Fundy National Park

(make sure you follow 114 at the turn off for Fundy – it’s hard to miss).
Very hilly! A few 10% gradients. Quite when we were there (the beginning of October), but I image there would be a lot of tourist traffic in summer. No hard shoulder for most of the cycle. Road is patchy and bumping in sections, but as soon as you enter the park the road is smooth, small hard shoulder.There are a few park campsite options.

We stayed at Headquarters, because it’s walking distance to Alma town. The campsite is pretty cool, has coin laundry and even wifi ($20.40 per night in the shoulder season). Register at the kiosk or visitor centre.

There is also a primitive campsite at Wolfe Lake (there is a nice picnic site there as well, with toilets).
Park entrance is $8 a day (or free if you have the discovery pass from the Rockies).

Kelly’s bake store is good. We picked up some great “day old” deals. Also, home to the "sticky bun" - try and get one freshy baked.
915 (the scenic route)

* You can stay on 114 instead, which is flatter. To be honest, I don’t think the views on 914 were worth the detour and hills, but I guess that’s personal opinion.
It’s very hilly! Quiet, but I image this would be busy in the peak season. No hard shoulder. Bumpy road.There is a free campground not far after the turn off to the viewpoint.

There are also a few official campsites and guesthouses along this road.
The scenic viewpoints (including the one with the lighthouse) are about 12km detour off the road.
114Moderate to busy road (I image in peak season this road would be constantly busy). There is no hard shoulder (occasionally passing through towns a hard shoulder or bike lane might briefly appear). Paved road, mostly ok.There are a few campsites around Hopewell Rocks, and plenty of motels and guesthouses.

We stayed at the Hopewell Rocks Motel as it was the closest place to the Hopewell park, which meant we could easily walk down and not have to worry about the bikes. They also have somewhere you can store and lock the bikes.
Hopewell Rocks are worth seeing. We spent the night near the rocks, and then walked down after the park closed to see the rocks at low tide (you can enter the park after it’s closed, it’s just you do so at your own risk – and obviously, you don’t have to pay). It was great; hardly any other people there and the rocks were really beautiful around sunset. Definitely recommend!
Moncton

Bike path just before the bridge at Riverview across to Moncton.
Cycle paths around town (gravel or paved).Hostel and guesthouses in downtown. We stayed at the C'mon Inn Hostel, which was in a good location downtown and they have secure bicycle storage.

Campsites are towards Magnetic Hill (about 8km from downtown)
Pump House Brewery does some good beers.

Mike’s bike store is the cheaper bike store in town.
134Moderate traffic. Road is paved with a hard shoulder near the towns, but otherwise there is no shoulder and the road is bumpy with lots of pot holes.----
133Moderate traffic. Paved road, patchy with cracks and potholes in sections. Not much of a hard shoulder. Occasional cycle lane though towns.--Shediac has a nice picnic area at the visitor centre. Free wifi, toilets, a good view of the lake and the world’s largest plastic lobster.
Highway 15Wide shoulder, smooth paved road, moderate traffic.----
955Quiet road along the coast. No hard shoulder. Paved, good to begin with, gets bumpy with potholes as approaching the highway junction.--Only a gas station/ general store along this route.
Highway 16 to the Jourimain Island visitor centre (before the bridge).Wide hard shoulder, smooth paved road, moderate traffic.--Bicycles are prohibited on the Confederation Bridge. There is a shuttle across the bridge, which you catch from the visitor centre ($8.50 per cyclist – but, you only pay if you’re leaving the island). Call the shuttle from a black phone in the visitor centre – then wait until it turns up. We waited 45mins before the shuttled turned up. Shuttle is 24/7, but runs on demand.

Visitor centre has wifi, toilets, picnic tables and a lookout.
Prince Edwards Island (P.E.I)

flag_of_prince_edward_island
Confederation Bike trail to Emerald Junction (road 232)Bike path. Compacted gravel. Nice cycle. Flat.--Lots of picnic tables along the way. A few shelters.
Road 232Paved, quiet, no hard shoulder.----
Mill Road to Highway 2Paved, until half way along the road then it changes to loose gravel for 1km, then changes back. Quiet road. Hilly.

Highway 2 is good, paved, busy, with hard shoulder.
----
Rattenbury Road (road 254)Hilly. Paved. Quiet. No/ small hard shoulder.----
Highway 6 to Cawnpore LaneSmall/ medium hard shoulder, moderate traffic, good paved road.There are a few campsites along this route, but they are seasonal. P.E.I National Park, Cavedish and Green Gables are along this route.

Seasonal route: If travelling this route after Sept, expect a lot of the cafes, shops, campsites, hotels and restaurants to be closed for the season.
Gulf Shore Parkway (this is in the P.E.I national park)Paved cycle path. Beautiful.There is a campsite in Rustico which is open later in the season than Cavendish campsite.

There are also a few wild campspots (if it's low season).
Lot's of view points.
Highway 6Paved. No/ small hard shoulder. Moderate traffic. ----
223Paved. Pretty good road, no pot holes or cracks. Quiet - only local traffic. Hilly.--Nice views of the valley.
Confederation bike trail into CharlottetownBike path. Compacted gravel. Flat. We found the bike trails in PEI really good and well maintained. --Lots of picnic spots along the route. The bike route takes you to downtown Charlottetown. You pass the superstore and a few other shops along the way.
Highway 1 to wood islands and the ferry terminalHard shoulder, rough road with lots of pot holes and cracks in spots, moderate traffic.--Ferry terminal at wood islands has free wifi, toilets and a café. Ferry is $20 per cyclist (you only pay when leaving the island).
Nova Scotia

flag_of_nova_scotia
106Hard shoulder, smooth road, quiet (but dependant on whether a ferry has just arrived).Wild camping spot near Pictou on the Jitney Trail near Brown Point (washrooms and bins).

The Auberge Walker Inn (now called The Scotsman Inn) is a cycle friendly hotel in downtown Pictou (secure bicycle storage and friendly staff).
--
376Decent hard shoulder near Pictou, and a good road (part of the blue cycle route). Quiet to moderate traffic, busier near Salt Springs.Campsite/ picnic site near Salt Springs.--
Highway 4 to TruroNo hard shoulder. Quiet road. Lots of potholes and cracks in the road.Campsite/ picnic site near Salt Springs.
Highway 2 (follow willow street out of Truro) to HalifaxNo hard shoulder or small hard shoulder (for most of the road). Quiet road - busy coming into Halifax, and busy near the major towns. Mostly good, paved road.There are a few picnic sites along the road.* Don't get onto highway 102 at any point - it's a very busy highway with a small hard shoulder.
  • Information on road conditions, prices, campsites, wifi accessibility etc. is valid as of our cycle across Canada trip in the summer of 2016.
  • This list is non-exhaustive (ie. doesn’t include all potential campsites, wifi spots etc.)

10 secrets to cycle touring

10 secrets to cycle touring, british columbia cycling, ecodiscoveries, Eco Discoveries

10 secrets to cycle touring that we learnt from our France to China cycle trip

1. You don’t need fancy gear.

Most people that cycle tour for a long time, invest in expensive, fancy equipment (think touring bikes worth $3000+). This would be ideal, but it’s not necessary, so don’t let it hold you back. We cycled to France with gear that totalled less than $1000 for the both of us (that includes 2 bikes, a tent, camp gear, panniers and spare parts and even some new cycle clothes). This is definitely, number one, in our 10 secrets to cycle touring.

first day of cycle trip cycling france
We had the cheapest gear we could find and managed to cycle 8500km with it

2. Don’t travel without duct tape

Great quote – “You need only two tools. WD-40 and duct tape. If it doesn’t move and it should, use WD-40. If it moves and shouldn’t, use the tape.” I won’t lie, duct tape saved me on many occasions during our trip, especially towards the end of the trip. My panniers were held together solely by duct tape.

3. Don’t listen to negativity

There will always be ‘haters’, those people that doubt your ability to cycle. Don’t listen to them! If we listened to all the people that didn’t believe in us, then we wouldn’t have believed in ourselves, and we wouldn’t have made it.

4. Be open minded.

If someone invites you for dinner, go. If someone suggests a better route, listen.

cycling uzbekistan
The amazing Namangan family that rescued us and made our day

5. Trust your gut instincts.

If something doesn’t feel right, chances are, something isn’t right. It doesn’t matter what the situation, always follow your gut. I had a bad feeling while cycling through a valley, which we had planned to camp in, we decided to cycled on – it turned out this valley was PKK territory (Turkish terrorist group).

6. Plan, but be flexible.

I planned and researched a lot, before and while we were cycling, but realistically you can never plan or prepare for everything – multiple flats, bad roads and a strong head wind will put an end to that. You need to be flexible. If you can’t make it the 80km you planned to cycle, then don’t worry, it’s not the end of the world.

7. Believe that most people are kind and want to help. 

If it wasn’t for the kindness of strangers we never would have made it. If you need help, don’t be afraid to ask. Even if people stare at you or give you a funny look, chances are they aren’t used to seeing 2 grubby foreigners on bikes, it doesn’t mean they don’t want to help. Wave and smile at people as you cycle, and reassure, locals are usually happy that you’re experiencing the local culture.

Our Airbnb host in Clearwater who took us to Wells Gray Park
Our Airbnb host in Clearwater who took us to Wells Gray Park

8. You can cycle tour on any budget.

Whether you have an unlimited budget, or are travelling on a budget as low as $5 a day, it can be done. We cycled on $5 a day throughout Turkey, Iran and the Stans.

9. Be imaginative when looking for campsites, potential campsites are everywhere

Behind a bush on the side of the highway, a gas station, a restaurant, the garden of someone’s house, a mosque, a park, a forest, outside a police station, these places are all potential campsites. Get creative!

camping in abandoned house
camping in abandoned house

10. If your water gets hot, chuck a teabag in.

I know, this is an odd point to include on our 10 secrets to cycle touring, but trust me, warm tea is much nicer than, warm water. Since then, I’ve also learnt that some plastic water bottles contain toxins called BPAs, which leach into the water, if you reuse plastic water bottles. So, it’s good idea to invest in a good, proper, BPA-free water bottle, such as a Nalgene BPA Free Water Bottle.

I hope these 10 secrets to cycle touring inspire you to take the leap, and start cycle touring! If you enjoyed this post check out our article on How to make money while cycle touring.

Do you have any other secrets to cycle touring? We’d love to hear them, so please share them below.

How to make money while cycle touring

make money while cycle touring, cycling to the Canadian Rockies

How are we going to make money while cycle touring? The question I’ve been asking myself constantly in the lead up to our cycle tour. It’s also the question that friend’s and family have been asking me. We all know cycle touring is a cheap way of travelling, however it’s still not free, and to cycle tour long term, like we plan on doing, it’s important to have some income coming in, even if it’s only pocket money.

So, I’ve started putting together a list of possible ways to make money while cycle touring.

  • Freelance writing

I’ve had some success getting paid to write short city and country description or and other travel articles, and to be honest, I haven’t put much time and effort into it… yet! This is something I definitely hope to build on while cycling, though it seems the competition is quite fierce.

Update: I’ve recently had a lot of success freelance writing, my biggest concern is finding a good, regular net connection and also finding the time to write the articles.

  • Online paid gigs

Such as Fiverr (I’ve actually make over $2000 USD in the past year on Fiverr). There are many alternatives, but I’ve only really used Fiverr, so far. Other alternatives include, gigbucks Freelancer, oDesk, Upwork, eLance, Guru, People Per Hour, 99 Designs, Design Crowd, Project 4 Hire. The pay isn’t great, but it is a start! I’ve managed to secure some long term clients through Fiverr, and lead them away from the actual platforms, so to avoid paying the high fee.

  • Stock photos

Not something I’ve really had much experience in. I recently discovered, stockimo, which is an iphone app that allows you to upload and sell iphone photos. Yes, you’ve read correctly, iphone photos. I’ve just signed up and uploaded a few photos, so we will see how it goes. Other sites, for DSLR and SLR photographers, include dreamtime, shuttlestock and istockphotos.

  • Hostel reviews

I’ve been writing paid hostel reviews for quite a few years now, and though it doesn’t usually cover the full cost of a nights sleep (unless you’re travelling in Central America or South East Asia), it still definitely helps. Hostel sites usually pay between $5 – $20 USD per 400 words review, with photos.

Loads of people do it, and seem to make some money off it. I haven’t quite mastered this skill yet, but there will be plenty of time to learn. Once set up, I think it would be a good way to make money while cycling touring, as well as being a good opportunity to learn about SEO and website management.

You can either create your blog on your own website, which means you’re able to add affiliate links and do pretty much whatever you like with your blog. Or, you can try a site like Niume. Niume is a blogging site that pays you per post view. Earn $1 by just signing up here.

  • Website

This needs to be broken down into sub-categories:

a) Adsense/ affiliate links: from what I’ve read, unless you have a huge and constant amount of traffic, then you’re unlikely going to make a lot (if any), money from ads and affiliate links on your website. Our affiliates include, Amazon, booking.com and World Nomads.

b) Ebook: writing and selling an Ebook. I’m experimenting with this at the moment: check out our ebooks!

c) Selling a course/ giving advice.

This is something we definitely plan on doing. To be able to appreciate travel, it’s important to take a break once in a while. We’ve already decided that we will stop for 6+ months at a time, to relax, fix any bicycle gear, fix ourselves up, and to work and live semi-normal lives for a bit. New Zealand, Australia, Europe, and Canada, are good places to work and save cash, especially if you’re able to get a work and holiday visa. Otherwise, TEFL teaching in Asia and South America could be a good options.

  • Teach English online

I have taught English as a second language for English First. Before English First, I taught for a Japanese English school, called Best Teacher. The pay isn’t fantastic, but if you’re travelling through Central America, or Asia, then you’ll definitely be able to save some money through teaching online. Maybe not a good option to make money while cycle touring, but perhaps a good way to make some money in between touring. I’ve just started teaching for a new school that is really flexible on how many hours you can teach, which is great for when you’re on the move. It’s called Cambly.

  • What do we need money for?

All we really will need is food and accommodation. There are a few good options for working in exchange for your food and board. I’ve had some great experiences on helpx, when I first moved to Canada and was looking for work. Some other alternatives include, wooffing and workaway. Hostel International also have an intern program, which works in the same way, and of course you could always contact places directly to find out whether they offer work exchange.

  • Sponsorship/ Grants

Pretty difficult and time consuming to get, but definitely worth a try. I’ve started to put together a list of grants and potential sponsors to contact, however I think perhaps, we will have more luck, once we are actually on the road.

  • Crowdfunding

I haven’t looked to much into this, but I have noticed that trevolta is crowdfunding platform for travel related crowdfunding projects.

This is something else I’ve just started playing around with. Like the affiliate website links, I think you need a lot of traffic before you actually start making much money, but once established it could be a good way to make money while cycle touring.

 

How do you make money while cycle touring or travelling? We’d love to hear your tips and tricks.

If you enjoyed the article, then you might also enjoy our article on Accommodation Options for Cycle Tourists.

The cycle tourists’ non training plan

cycling uzbekistan, training plan

Training plan for a cycle trip is a pretty good idea… but we didn’t do it.

Our trip started from a small ski resort village called Sainte-Foy-Tarentaise, located in the French alps. It was winter time so obviously there was a fair amount of snow around, which made cycling slightly difficult! To embark on a cycle trip was not a part of our plan before coming to France to work a ski season. Several months lounging around in ski chalets, munching our weight in stinky cheese and guzzling litres of beer daily, and we were ready to go. We hadn’t bothered to create a training plan, and were not exactly in peak physical condition.

It was not physically possible for us to train on the bikes due to the snow. Kelly also had suffered a torn meniscus in her knee while skiing, which made it extra impossible.

We had only decided 6 weeks before our work contract ended that we were going to ride to China. So there was not a whole lot of time to plan and train for this silly adventure. I think we managed to borrow a car twice in the lead up to the trip. So on these rare occasions, we were able to drive to a lower altitude and ride for about 20km around a lake. That was our ‘training’. Pretty gruelling, huh?

In an ideal world it would have been nice to get in regular long rides, to get us physically and mentally prepared for the task we were about to undertake, but ultimately it did not matter that we couldn’t train, we had no training plan.

col du lautaret by bicycle
Col du Lautaret by bicycle

We had only purchased our bikes maybe 3 or 4 weeks before we set off. We only ridden them twice and had never ridden them fully or even partially loaded!

I will admit it was pretty terrifying rolling down the extremely steep and still slightly icy hill from the ski station on the first day of our trip with the panniers and backpacks fully loaded strapped to the bikes for the first time. Having never had weight on a bike while riding before it was quite a shock and probably a fairly dangerous introduction to cycle touring.

One piece of advice I would give is definitely do at least a few rides carrying weight just to get used to the way it changes the handling and responsiveness of the bike.

We had a really low budget. So, had opted for very cheap ($20) rear panniers off eBay and a 70 liter backpack on my rear rack, and a small daypack on Kelly’s bike, with homemade handlebar bags made from 6 pack coolers that I’d stitched buckles and straps to. So, we had a whole lot of junk in our trunk! Extremely heavy at the back and basically nothing up front. I would not recommend this set up. I definitely wouldn’t recommend not at least going for a few test runs with this set up… but we survived! Which only proves, it can be done!

In the end it would have been nice to have had more time to get in better shape. And, get used to riding the bikes (loaded or even unloaded), but ultimately it did not matter as we still managed to do what we set out to do, ride to China.

The first day we rode roughly 65 km and felt like we’d really achieved something great… this was by far the furthest either of us had ever ridden on a bike before. I remember laying in our tent on the side of the road that night feeling absolutely high and giddy. We can do this!

That first day was preparation for the second day, the second day was preparation for the third day and so it went on and on. An easy training plan to follow!

Everyday we felt slightly more comfortable and confident riding long distances ,and getting used to the bikes and the quirks of riding them when weighted down with stuff. The first few weeks were admittedly very tough physically due to our bodies just not being used to it, but like I said, everyday it got easier and gradually we were able to push on to greater distances.

I’m sure there is a wealth of information and tips out there for how to get in peak condition for a tour. If you have plenty of time up your sleeve to train, it would be a great idea to check them out and see if anything appeals to you. For me personally I found reading some of these blog posts and info about preparing for cycle touring, scared me and made me more nervous about the trip, as I knew that it was not possible for me to undertake any of these regimes. Sure we could have done training without actually being on a bike like body weight exercises and whatnot… but we just kind of never got around to it.

China by bicycle
At the Chinese border!

So is it essential to train? Absolutely not! The point I want to get across in this section is that anyone can go cycle touring. It’s as easy as… well as easy as riding a bike!

Even if you are not the fittest person out there. You can still do it and eventually your fitness levels will get higher and higher and the cycling will get easier and easier!

If you do not have time/access to a bike pre-trip or whatever, don’t sweat it! It really is quite a simple task; hop on a bike and just ride! Don’t get discouraged by reading posts about how hard you need to train. Or worry about the fact that you don’t have a $4000 bike with all the latest gadgets and fanciest German made gear. Just hit the road and go! You will learn along the way. Get better at it everyday and come to realise somethings that you would have maybe done differently, but ultimately you will be able to do it!!

Believe in yourself and you can achieve anythi….no I’m not actually going to say that. Just get on that bike and go my friend! Fully trained with legs of steel? Years of riding experience? Or, a total novice with no clue what you’re doing and calves that look broomsticks? It doesn’t matter you can do it, and ride wherever you want in this world!

Good luck and safe cycle trails!!

Do you have any additional tips for the cycle tourists’ non training plan? Please add your tips below.

Check out the videos from our France to China trip to see how we got on!