CYCLING THE MARITIMES: PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND AND NOVA SCOTIA

Cycling the Maritimes

Michael’s write up about cycling the Maritimes (Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia), during our cross Canada cycle trip in Autumn 2016. Click here to read Kelly’s write up about cycling Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia

CYCLING THE MARITIMES: WELCOME TO ATLANTIC CANADA!!

We left New Brunswick to pop into Canada’s smallest province, Prince Edward Island, and it was definitely a spectacular entrance! The confederation bridge is Canada’s longest bridge at nearly 13km long. Unfortunately it is illegal to cross the bridge by bicycle as the wind gets pretty intense and there isn’t really much space to ride. So we had no choice but to jam our bikes into the back of the shuttle bus and be passengers over the bridge. I was keen to try and pop a wheely across the bridge, but Kelly was having none of it.

Anne of Green Gables – yes, we did!

The cold and dodgy weather continued cycling the Maritimes and into PEI and we were faced with freezing headwinds and rain, but the sun did come out when we reached the ‘Anne of Green Gables’ house, which is actually a national heritage site…for some bizarre reason. I knew little to nothing about the Anne of Green Gables books, but seeing as we had a national parks pass, the entrance was free. So we decided to pop in and check it out along with the hoards of Japanese tourists who apparently come here as some sort of weird pilgrimage!

The staff was cool and let us bring our loaded up bikes inside and lock them in the lobby area while we poked around some odd props and ‘Anne’s house’. She was a fictional character and this house was actually built from descriptions in the book. The author Lucy Montgomery grew up in the area so I guess it wasn’t all made up. I got to try on a luxurious red pigtailed wig, pose outside the house like Anne and stuff my face with ice cream, so all in all it was a good outing!

green gables
Michael of Green Gables

 Confederation Trail

The cycle trails around PEI were stunning routes along the coast and through farmland and forest. We found a good spot to camp at a picnic area on the coast after deciding against setting up our tent in one of the many campsites that were closed for the season. We decided this due to the tales of other tourists getting moved on in the middle of the night by security for illegally camping. Also we rode around one of the closed campsites and it had a bit of a horror movie vibe about it so we didn’t want Michael Myers slashing our tent in the night and making us soil our sleeping bags.

Unfortunately we arrived just outside the tourist season and it seemed like half the island had shut down. Campsites, restaurants and shops were kind of hard to come across until we hit the capital, Charlottetown.

We contacted a Warmshowers host called Lindsay in Charlottetown and spent a couple of nights camping in her backyard and strolling around the pretty port town, visiting the local breweries (Upstreet and Gahan) to sample some of the fine local drops including a spiced pumpkin ale that made me excited for getting to spend Halloween in Canada! We also tried out the ‘world famous’ Cows ice cream that started on PEI and has been consistently voted into the top ten best ice cream places in the world. I felt it would be wrong of me not try it and it was definitely packed full of creamy goodness. Cows’ gets the official Cowgill stamp of approval.

It was a short stay on PEI, but the cold was starting to make it difficult to sleep and we were both pretty burnt out after nearly 4 months on the road and were looking forward to getting to Halifax to explore our new home for winter!

Hello Nova Scotia and crazy, windy storms!

We got the ferry to Nova Scotia and straight into some gale force winds. Unfortunately winds from the hurricane that devastated Haiti were hitting Atlantic Canada and when we camped on a cycle route outside Pictou, they paid a visit to us shaking the tent violently and pounding it with a crazy amount of rain and flooding our delicate little home.

We had previously had some issues with moisture getting into the tent through the floor and ground sheet even in light rain, but now with this downpour everything was soaked.

To add to the tent issues, my Therm-a-rest mattress had developed a gigantic bubble in the centre forcing me to try and sleep with a basketball-sized lump between my shoulders. Not a good night, my spine has never been the same since.

In the morning we shivered in soggy sleeping bags hoping the rain would ease up long enough for us to pack up and bugger off to somewhere drier, but the downpour just refused to let up.

We ended up making a break for it and finding a Tim Horton’s coffee shop to shelter in and try and warm ourselves up and come up with a plan of attack. After filling ourselves with as much hot coffee and muffins as we could, we decided it was not worth the risk of riding in the storm. It was apparently set to get a whole lot worse with 100km an hour winds throughout the day and heavy rain and flooding. Not ideal weather for pushbikes and a leaky tent.

nova scotia sign, Cycling Nova Scotia: Halifax
We made it to Nova Scotia! Still cycling the Maritimes!

Change of plans!

We found a reasonably priced hotel in Pictou called the Auberge Walker Inn with lovely Scottish/Canadian owners who let us dry out all our gear in the basement and warm up with pots of tea. It was thanksgiving and half the town was without power, but we managed to get into the pub before it went out and enjoyed an awesome veggie roast and beer to forget our soggy intro to Nova Scotia.

The freezing wet weather and gear issues with the tent and my mat were starting to get us down a bit and we were now tossing up if we wanted to stick to our plan of riding the Cabot trail in Cape Breton or just call it quits and head straight to Halifax earlier than planned. It was a tough decision as we were so close that it felt a shame to skip what is supposed to be one of the greatest cycle destinations in all of Canada, but we were worn out and just not feeling it at that stage so decided to avoid the cold and skip Cape Breton.

The end – for now!

We eventually drove the Cabot trail a few weeks later with a friend and it was spectacular, but at the time we were just tired and not up for riding and camping in the rain and cold anymore. It was a tough choice but we felt there was no point doing it if we weren’t going to enjoy it.

So all of a sudden our trip was nearly over! We had less than 200km until we reached our final destination! It was a very surreal feeling, but I still think we made the right choice as it gave us more time to sort out our accommodation and get jobs in Halifax before Christmas to help us save up for the next leg of the trip next year! We had finished cycling the Maritimes, but it wasn’t an end to our time in the Atlantic provinces just yet.

Halifax: Our home for the Winter

We still had 2 weeks before we could move into our apartment that Kelly had organized through Airbnb negotiating a month by month rate with our new landlord and friend, Fred. So we still had to find somewhere to stay for a couple of weeks. Luckily for us there are some pretty amazing people out there and a Couchsurfer called, Jeff came to our rescue! Letting someone stay in your place for a night or two is pretty cool, having someone stay for 2 weeks is friggin amazing! Jeff totally saved us and we spent the next couple of weeks hanging out, drinking around the fire pit and playing card games in his cool rural property in Windsor Junction just outside Halifax. Jeff had also adopted a couple of young German Couchsurfers for an indefinite amount of time so his place kind of felt like a vagabonds sanctuary!

couchsurfing cape breton, Cycling the Maritimes
Our awesome couchsurfer!

In that time we both applied for as many jobs as we could find and rode the 30km into Halifax for interviews for jobs, which we both scored! I would be working at a discount home and clothing store called ‘Winners’ in a warehouse role and Kelly would be working at a chocolate shop in the same shopping centre.

So after 7000kms we had done it, coast to coast by bike!! We ended with a bit of a fizzle rather than a bang, but hey we still had an amazing time and now get to save some pennies, investigate the local brews and prepare ourselves for our next epic adventure, from Canada to South America! Come April time we will roll out of Nova Scotia and into the good ‘ol USA for the second leg of journey and I can barely contain my excitement thinking about it, bring on April!!!

Thank you to all of the amazing people we met across this stunning country. As with our previous trip it’s the people that always make the most lasting memories for us and Canadians definitely are a special breed of humans! We loved cycling Canada and we loved cycling the Maritimes – so thank you!

VIVE LE QUEBEC! QUEBEC BY BICYCLE!

QUEBEC BY BICYCLE

Michael’s write up of our time spent crossing Quebec by bicycle, during our 7000km cycle trip across Canada in Autumn 2016. Click here to read Kelly’s write up of cycling in Quebec.

VIVE LE QUEBEC! ROLLIN’ FREE LIKE A WHEEL OF CHEESE THROUGH A TASTY LITTLE SLICE OF EUROPE IN CANADA!

Our introduction to this delicious, cycle friendly, French Canadian beauty was an easy 120km day that flew by like a breeze! 72km of which was on the Prescott Russell Recreational trail. Winding through forests and along old railway lines where we finally cracked the magical 5000km mark!

Every single Canadian cycle tourist we had met so far across Canada had been from Quebec. So we were pretty sure it was going to be a good place to be on a bike and we definitely weren’t disappointed!

Global Citizen Festival

We had a few days off the bikes planned in Montreal where Kelly’s brother Michael was meeting us and had hooked us up with some free tickets to the Global Citizen festival that he was helping organize. So instead of being sweaty cycling bums living in a tent, we spent 4 nights camped out in an airB&B apartment drowning in beer and living like rock stars with VIP backstage tickets to a music festival and all the booze we could fit in our bodies!

It was definitely a different experience and quite surreal being backstage at a fancy pants festival and after party, but it was nice to change it up a bit and break the routine of cycling. Also beer is pretty good stuff and tastes even better when free.

After several days exploring Montreal and pretending we were back in Europe. Sipping espresso and munching fresh baked goods at patisseries. It was time to load our food bloated carcasses back onto the bikes!

I was nursing a large hangover from the after party that we attended until 3am. We had to hit the road again at 9am, but my boozy blues were made more bearable by the scenery and excellent roads.

cycling in Montreal quebec
Montreal, Quebec

Quebec by Bicycle

Camping was occasionally tough as all space along the river to Quebec City seemed to be crammed pretty tight with homes on the waterfront, but we got creative sleeping behind a massive garden hedge on one night and outside a B&B on another slightly awkward occasion. The owner had approached us when he saw us eyeing up a nice juicy patch of grass outside the closed tourist info centre in a small town. He asked us in broken English if we wanted to stay at his house. Of course we did! Score!

When we got back to his ‘house’ we realized it was actually a bed and breakfast and he was in fact trying to get us to stay inside as paying guests. Some awkwardness ensued as we spoke with his wife inside, but in the end they turned out to be cool and let us camp in the garden for free instead of paying to stay inside.

Quebec City and Bicycle Trails

We had another little break in Quebec City, staying with a Warmshowers host Maude in her apartment with a huge garden in the courtyard. Maude was an ‘urban gardener’ and had created a huge veggie garden in her courtyard. She also had other projects around town building gardens in office blocks and government buildings. We were happy because we got to munch fresh veg for a few days instead of instant noodles and pasta!

Quebec was a super touristy town, but it was a nice place to chill out for a couple of days and soak up some of the European vibes, and to relax in coffee shops before hitting the awesome cycle trails again. From Quebec City we opted to catch the ferry to the other side of the Saint Lawrence River and rode along the scenic trails whenever possible. Exploring Quebec by bicycle was what I had pictured cycle touring to be before our first trip from France to China a few years ago. Relaxed car free cycle routes winding through forests with free rest areas to camp.

cycling in quebec
Cycling through the streets of Quebec City

La Route Verte

The Route Verte through Quebec was a definite highlight of our trip across Canada. It made the wet and cold weather a little more bearable, as we always knew we’d find a little picnic spot or even a designated cycle camping spot to pitch the tent at the end of the day. The temperature had suddenly dropped significantly as we were approaching the New Brunswick border and on our last night in Quebec we had by far the coldest night of the trip. We woke up to a tent covered in a thick sheet of ice and all our water bottles frozen solid.

camping and cycling in quebec
Awesome camp spot just off the bike trail in Quebec

It wasn’t all doom and gloom though, we got to sleep next to an old world war II bomber in a park on the cycle route and had a fantastic sunrise to thaw out our gear and bone marrow!

It was now time to tackle our seventh Canadian province, New Brunswick and try not to freeze our bits off on the bikes!!

Vive Le Quebec, Vive le fromage and route verte cycle path!! I hope you enjoy Quebec by bicycle!

If you’re geeky like Kelly, you can also check out our cycle stats for Canada.

Cycling Lake Superior in Ontario

Ontario by bicycle. about us

Kelly’s write up of cycling Lake Superior! Click here to read Michael’s write up of biking Ontario.

Lake Superior is friggin’ huge!

Cycling Lake Superior was one of the highlights of our cycle trip across Canada. It’s the largest freshwater lake in the world, and has some stunning national and provincial parks, and I’m sure some amazing hiking. We spent 10 days cycling Lake Superior. We cycled 7000km and only covered about a third of the entire route around the lake. To put things in perspective, 700km is like a return trip from London to Paris.

The day we left Thunder Bay and headed north to Nipigon it rained. On top of this we had a terrible head wind, there were construction work for about 60km and there was next to no hard shoulder, which meant we were pretty much cycling in the road of a busy highway. It was not fun! And, it didn’t feel particularly safe. We had our lights on the whole time, but still I’m not sure we were that visible. The issue was, we had nowhere to get off the road, and so we had to keep going. 110km later and we finally rolled into Nipigon at around 8pm. The raining was still not letting up. We decided to screw the camping, and treat ourselves to a motel.

As it turned out, earlier that morning, before the rain started, Michael found an iphone on the side of the road. As luck had it we were able to return the phone to the owner. And, he gave us a $60 reward. That reward would be our cheap motel, which was actually pretty expensive for a motel ($90 – that’s our budget for 3 days), but the owner did give us a huge thermos of coffee and we managed to dry all our gear out.

Cycling Lake Superior
Beautiful (but cold) Lake Superior

We woke the following day to find the rain had stopped and the sun was making an appearance – woohoo!

After we had finally packed up, it was already a late start, but we decided to check out the town and grab a coffee. When we finally started cycling Lake Superior that day it was almost lunch time. The ride from Nipigon to Marathon was supposed to be hilly, but also very scenic. Straight away I realise we underestimated just how hilly this section would be.

The previous day we were shivering in the rain, today we were sweating, climbing up hills in direct sun. The kilometres were slowly clocking up. We had planned to do about 90km that day, but only managed 75km, and by the end of the day we were knackered. That night we camped at a picnic spot, right on the lake. It was one of the best spots we had camped all trip.

We took the following 2 days cycling to Marathon fairly easy. Allowing ourselves time to stop and enjoy the views and also not to burn out. The ride was challenging, but the scenery made the blood, sweat and tears all worth it. For me, cycling this section of Lake Superior was more difficult than cycling in the Rockies. Finally we made it to Marathon, and stayed with a local guy, Lloyd.

From Marathon the cycle got easier – or we got used to cycling steep gradients.

It felt like we flew to White River, and we arrived nice and earlier. Enough time to chill, have a shower, relax and eat a shit load of food. Apparently there had been a lot of bear sightings, so we were on extra alert. I was sure we would see a bear at some point around Lake Superior – we never did.

The next day cycling was just as good, and we arrived at Wawa at a reasonable time. In Wawa we meet a guy, Zoltan, outside the supermarket who invited us to camp in his garden. He actually ended up going the extra mile and setting up his trailer tent for us to stay in. The generosity of people during the cycle trip, never fails to amazing. People are genuinely amazing! Anyone that thinks otherwise should hop on a bike and go on a cycle tour – within a couple of weeks I can guarantee you would have experienced unbelievable hospitality and kindness from strangers.

Cycling Lake Superior Provincial Park

Cycling Lake Superior Provincial Park was one of the highlights of our cycle across Canada. It is definitely up there with Bow Lake and Banff National Park. We took our time cycling through the park to enjoy the beaches and vistas. One night we camped at Sinclair Cove – it looked like we were on a tropical island paradise. It has to be one of my favourite campsites (though I write this while we’re camped at a picnic spot, next to a stinky drop toilet).

I had to keep reminding myself that it was a lake and not an ocean. I love the ocean and often miss it when I’m travelling. What I’ve discovered is how awesome lakes can be – swimming in a lake feels refreshing like a cold bath, you can drink the water, it doesn’t sting your eyes and there are no sharks.

We only had 2 days left of cycling Lake Superior before we reached Sault St Marie, and finally got a rest day off the bikes. I had been told there was a steep incline into Sault. Other than that it should be pretty easy going. We decided to take it easy and set up camp on the beach to enjoy the sunset. We got chatting to some people, and a local told us we would get moved on if we camped on the beach in this area. Complete bumper! Ian, the owner of a local RV park, came to our rescue, and let us camp in his RV park for free. This is just another example of the unbelievable kindness from strangers that we experienced throughout the cycle tour.

Cycling Lake Superior
Chilling out for a couple of hours on one of the beaches on Lake Superior

Sault St Marie

Finally after almost 2 weeks we made it to Sault St Marie, where 2 amazing warmshowers’ hosts, Juanita and Jeff, greeted us. We spent a couple of night exchanging stories, drying out and cleaning our gear and recovering, and eating some amazing meals, with our awesome hosts.

There is a bike store in Sault, called Velorution that has a free campground for cyclists. We decided, we had to spend at least one night at this campground. Unfortunately, there were no other cyclists staying there the same night as us. We’re in the tail-end of cyclists crossing Canada, so we tend to miss most of the cyclists, but it was still an awesome set up, and we were thankful for the extra rest day.

Already it has been over 2 weeks cycling through Ontario, and we still have 850km before we reach Canada’s capital, Ottawa. That means we would have cycled over 2000km in just Ontario. Ontario is just crazy big!

If you’re planning a cycle trip, you might find cycle tourists’ non training plan handy!

onwards to ottawa
Campsite at the bike store in Sault St Marie, Ontario

Pedalling the Prairies: Swift Current to Manitoba

pedalling the Prairies

Kelly’s write up of pedalling the Prairies during our cycle tour across Canada in the summer of 2016. Click here to read Michael’s write up about cycling in the Prairies.

Pedalling the Prairies of Saskatchewan

While pedalling the Prairies we discovered friendly people, good campsites and great cafes. We also discovered that the Prairies went on and on, and on. from Swift Current we got on the Trans-Canada highway 1. It felt like a dream after spending a week cycling through the bumpy roads of the forgotten Prairie lands. The section of highway between Swift Current and Moose Jaw had a wide, smooth hard shoulder. It even felt like we were on a slight descent, though I’m sure we probably weren’t. We were smashing out the kilometres! It felt great! On top of this there were plenty of cute towns to stop at. All of them had a museum, coffee shop and free wifi. We were in cyclist heaven!

We spent an enjoyable couple of days cycling to Moose Jaw. Spending too much time at the various towns and cafes along the way.

One thing I noticed about Saskatchewan is the interesting town names. We visited Kyle and Herbert, and seen signs for Elbow, Eyebrow and Cereal. Moose Jaw and Antler also got a visit from us. I can’t help but be intrigued to how a town got a name like Eyebrow – at least it gives you something to ponder while on the bike.

Warmshowers’ and Prairie Hospitality

Once in Moose Jaw we were greeted with the lovely Glenda, a legendary warmshowers’ host. This was followed by a few nights stay in Regina with Ron, another legendary warmshowers’ host. And then yet another warmshowers’ host in Sedley and an offer in Arcola.

People tend to give Saskatchewan and the Prairies (in general) a hard time! We were told numerous times to skip the Prairies; that they were boring and had nothing worth seeing. Well, what I have to say to those people: if you want to see boring head to Western Australia and drive 5 hours east – red sandy desert for days. You’ll be lucky if you even pass a gas station or see another person!

The Prairies on the other hand are fully of extremely friendly people, all whom have an interesting story to share. We met ranchers, famers, Mennonites and Hutterites, Germans, British, Ukrainian people, plenty of cyclists and people enthusiastic about cycling, and just a whole bunch of awesome people. In fact, I don’t remember one person that I met in the Prairies that wasn’t amazing in one way or another. For me, a large part of travelling and cycle touring is the people you meet, and we met some amazing people in the Prairies.

regina, cycling the prairies
With our amazing host in Regina!

Rest Days in Regina

We decided to have a few rest days in Regina. There were a couple of reasons for that, firstly for Ron’s amazing cooking, secondly to get a few bike things sorted, and thirdly to sort out my eye! 6 weeks (since the day we arrived in Canada) and I still had an infection on my eyelid. Obviously, at this point I was a little concerned about it and decided it was a good chance to get it checked out. I was told some good and bad news. The good news was it didn’t look like a virus so it shouldn’t spread to my eye and affect my eyesight. The bad news, it will still take some more time to heal and potentially I could have a bump on my eye for the rest of my life. At least I didn’t have too much to worry about!

After Regina we planned to get off the highway and head onto some quieter roads through some smaller towns. Usually the roads weren’t as good, but they were quieter. We also got the opportunity to pass through less travelled areas, which we always preferred.

Cycling through Canada’s Tornado Alley

One thing we hadn’t considered to be an issue or concern while pedalling the Prairies, were tornados! To be perfectly honest, I didn’t even know Canada got tornados, so when I received an email from Brad (another warmshowers’ connection) about a tornado warning in the town we had planned to camp in that night, we were a bit concerned. The day had already been struggle, with 60kph+ headwinds we were at times barely cycling 8kph.

We pulled into Fillmore at 1pm for lunch and pretty much passed out from exhaustion and defeat. After lunch we headed to the town hall. This is when we discovered the tornado warning! The lovely people of Fillmore came to the rescue. Before we knew it we had a basement to sleep in and was being shown around the local towns. The random kindness of strangers never fails to amaze. It really does restore your faith in humanity.

After a goodnight sleep, out of the danger of any potential tornado or hailstorm, we were back on the way. And, for once, the wind was at our backs! We were practically flying down the road towards the next province, Manitoba.

Saskatchewan, pedalling the prairies
Friendly hosts in Saskatchewan!

Making Cycle Touring Friends

We had just passed Stoughton (where we were supposed to camp and where apparently a tornado did touch down the night before), when we heard some strange noises behind us. As it turned out, a German, cyclist couple, Luisa and Jacque had been following us for a few days. They finally managed to catch up with us. They were the first couple we had ever cycled with, so it made a nice change to cycling just the two of us. So all four of us continued pedalling the Prairies together.

We spent the rest of the day, cycling with an unbelievable tailwind and made it 137km to Redvers, right near the Saskatchewan/ Manitoba border. Redver’s had an awesome (and cheap) campsite, so we decided to camp there for the night and celebrate with a few beers.

After 2 weeks pedalling the Prairies of Saskatchewan we finally got to cross into the next province, Manitoba.

Though Manitoba would be a new province, we still had a few hundred kilometres of cycling through the Prairies before we would be out of the pastures and meadows and into the lakelands of Ontario.

Planning your own cycle trip? Don’t forget to buy insurance! Check out this article to find out why it’s important to get sufficient cover on your trip.

pedalling the prairies
Jacque, Luisa, Me and Michael having lunch somewhere in the Prairies!

Cycling in the Saskatchewan Prairies of Canada

Cycling in the Saskatchewan Prairies

Kelly’s write up about cycling in the Saskatchewan Prairies during our coast to coast cycle trip. Click here to read Michael’s blog post about cycling the Prairies.

Hello Saskatchewan!

Cycling in the Saskatchewan Prairies.

As soon as we crossed into Saskatchewan there was an instant change in road quality. No more wide hard shoulder and lots of potholes. The only things that stayed the same were the swarms of mosquitos and the scenery. We had heard mixed things about the Prairies, and now we had the chance to learn for ourselves what cycling in the Saskatchewan Prairies is really like!

We still had another 90km to go to get to the closest town, Eatonia. Originally, we didn’t plan on cycling the whole way to Eatonia, but we were keen for some comfort food, some cold drinks and to escape the swarms of mosquitos that were chasing us. It didn’t matter how fast we cycled, the bloody mosquitos managed to catch us!

Mining Towns: Eatonia & Eston

The ride to Eatonia actually turned out to be the longest cycle day on the trip so far, 119km. Even more reason to celebrate! So, when we arrived into Eatonia we decided to treat ourselves to a campsite – yep, we know how to treat ourselves to luxury! And then we headed to the store to buy some treats and find some beer.

Eatonia was not a tourist town, but there were a few services, including a tavern and a cheap store with coffee and cakes. The lady working at the campsite warned us of another storm; so even let us camp in the shelter. What more do you need? We were pretty stoked!

All the people staying in the campsite were there for work, which I thought was a bit odd. I wonder what would happen if company’s in Australia started booking campsites instead of hotels when they sent their workers to rural towns to work.

We considered spending a rest day at Eatonia, but decided to head onto Eston the following day (only a short cycle – 55km away). In Eston we camped at another official campground. It was actually booked out when we arrived, but they luckily had some overflow campsites, which we were able to camp in. Everyone staying in the campsite was there for seasonal mine work. People literally moved into the campsite for 3-5 months to work.

cycle tourist
Cycling… on and on and on…

More Prairie land

After leaving Eston we decided to head down the very quiet, 342. Just like the road we took into Saskatchewan, there weren’t many services along the way, but the road was dead quiet, and instead of 300km, we only had about 100km to cycle.

We were able to cycle side by side for the most part, and only seen 1 car every 15-30 minutes. It was great! Trucks were also not allowed on the road, so we didn’t have to worry about gushes of wind as they zoomed passed.

A guy in Eston told us about a hotel in a small town called White Bear. Apparently they served awesome food! All we really cared about was getting a cold drink and filling up our water bottles. It was a hot day and there wasn’t much shade along the route – another downside to cycling in the Saskatchewan Prairies. Our focus was on getting to White Bear and that kept us motivated to keep cycling on.

White Bear

We eventually pulled into the small community of White Bear. It was tiny! I suddenly had my doubts that such a small place would have a hotel. Either way, we decided to find out. To our amazement the hotel did exist. We cycled over in excitement, just to find out the hotel was closed on Mondays – and of course, it was a Monday.

Feeling a bit defeated we hid in the shade of the hotel and started munching on some peanut butter and nutella. We sat there for close to 2 hours – we completely lost all motivation to cycle on.

Around 4.30pm, a ute drove passed us and stopped, curious to know what two bums were doing hanging around outside the hotel. We told the driver we needed water and hoped to get some from the hotel, but it was closed. With no other questions, he invited us back to his house to fill up our water bottles.

SASKATCHEWAN ON TWO WHEELS, Cycling in the Saskatchewan Prairies
The small Prairie town, White Bear

Friendly people

Russ (the ute driver) had been living in the town his entire life. It was interesting hearing all the stories about how the town had changed over time. The town used to have grocery stores, repair shops, elevators and a school. All that remained now was the hotel and a few houses. The population of the town was once about 300 people. It was now 13 people.

After chatting to Russ for a bit he invited us to stay in his spare house – yes, he had a spare house, right nextdoor. Even though we had a relatively short cycle day, how could we pass up staying in an old farmhouse.

It turned out that every Monday, the owner of the hotel put on a BBQ for the community. Provoss (the hotel owner) kindly invited us along. We even visited the hotel to pick up some beer. Though the hotel was closed, we somehow managed to still visit it and eat the food we had been told about – mission accomplished!

At the BBQ we met about 90% of the community. Everyone was super lovely and even tried to help us with our route planning. Lyn and Darrell invited us back to their house for a bit, then dropped us back off at Russ’s. I can honestly say, I don’t know many places that have such a community spirit.

Cycling in the Saskatchewan Prairies, SASKATCHEWAN ON TWO WHEELS
Making friends with the locals!

Kyle

The morning we left White Bear we were continuously attacked my mosquitos – honestly, I have never been attacked so bad. It was crushing our souls and making it very hard to enjoy the cycle. It also looked like it was going to storm (again). Great start to the day! We definitely found the most challenging thing about cycling in the Saskatchewan Prairies to be the mosquitos.

The town of Kyle was only about 15km away, so we decided to head there and have a second breakfast. At Kyle we decided to book a hotel in Swift Current to chill out rest for a couple of days! The first hotel of the trip, but we needed it!

From Kyle we were back on a main road. This meant we could no longer ride side by side. After being on quiet roads for so long, the traffic (especially the trucks) took a little bit of getting used to.

It was only a 90km cycle day, but it dragged! We both felt exhausted and beaten down by the bad weather, but most of all the mozzies. Finally, we cycled over a hill and could see Swift Current in the valley. Yes! 10km downhill to the hotel! I was ecstatic. Swift Current, though only a small town, was the biggest place we had been to since we left Calgary.

I love the country, but sometimes it’s nice having access to things we usually take for granted. Like, food, cold water, beer, a comfy bed, not being eaten by mosquitos… the list goes on. Cycle touring definitely makes you appreciate the little things.

A bit of luxury in Swift Current

At Swift Current we checked into the Comfort Inn. Though a budget hotel, it felt like pure luxury. Comfy beds, breakfast buffet, free tea and coffee. We were living the dream!

We chilled here for 2 nights  taking a rest from cycling in the Saskatchewan Prairies. Happy to be away from the mosquitos and amping ourselves up for the cycle down highway 1 to Moose Jaw.

So, we got a taste of what it’s liking cycling in the Saskatchewan Prairies, but this was still the beginning. We still have a few hundred kilometres until we reached the next province, Manitoba.

If you’re planning a cycle trip, you might want to check out what made our first cycle trip different, to make sure you don’t make the same mistakes as we did during our first cycle tour.

CYCLING THE ROCKIES TO CALGARY!

cycling the Rockies to Calgary

Michael’s write up about cycling the Rockies to Calgary during our cycle trip across Canada in Summer 2016. Click here to read Kelly’s write up about cycling the Rockies to Calgary, and to the start of the Prairies!

THE ROCKIES TO COWBOY COUNTRY

Hello Rockies!

After a pretty harsh introduction to cycling the Rockies to Calgary that involved me crashing my bike like a clown and mangling up my once devilishly handsome ankle, we decided a bit of a rest was in order as we were both exhausted and sick of having our bums glued to bicycles. We enjoyed the spectacular scenery on the way into Jasper national park, but were dismayed to see that all campsites were marked as ‘full’ on the road signs. No room at the inn for smelly cyclists.

The despair didn’t last long though as when we eventually arrived at the first campsite we found out that only the sites for the big ugly R.Vs (cheat mobiles) were full, but hiker / biker walk in sites were available! Yay! A shower and a chance to clean my filthy greasy wound!

Jasper was a nice town, appeared to be purely for tourists but still had some charm and most importantly; an all you can eat Indian buffet!!! Hungry vegetarian cyclists are the Indian buffets worst enemy and only known natural predator in the wild. We ripped it apart and left no chickpea or naan bread unchewed. We also severely savaged the Jasper brewing companies tasting platter before shakily riding back to camp to pass out before it began raining yet again.

After a day off the bikes and a short hike we were on the road again cycling the Rockies to Calgary, via the amazing Icefields parkway towards Banff….and back into the rain.

There was no relief, I think it had rained pretty much everyday since we left Vancouver, but the scenery was stunning with plenty of waterfalls, glaciers and excuses to hop off the bikes and look around along the way. We even spotted a bear doing a happy little jig across the road at one point.

Flying down the extremely steep Sunwapta mountain pass was a pretty terrifying experience as my hands were so numb from the freezing wind and rain that I was having trouble squeezing the brakes. Brakes can be important for a cyclist when riding down a mountain by the way.

The scenery approaching Banff national park was jaw droppingly beautiful, around Bow lake and near the Icefields park centre were particular highlights and I’m definitely glad we took the time to get off the bikes and walk out to the edge of one of the Glaciers. Avoid the tourist trap that is the Icefields park centre though, huge masses of tourists jostling there way off tour buses to pay $6 for a coffee and $5 for a cookie. We stuck to our gourmet diet of granola bars and Nalgene bottle coffee for this stretch to stop our budget getting sodomised.

We had some pretty amazing camp sites along the way and as it is illegal and actually enforced that there is absolutely no wild camping allowed within the parks, we stayed in official government run sites in the Rockies so did get the luxury of a shower and some shelter with wood stoves in some spots which was kind of a nice change….but it still kept raining.

Cycling the rockies and the icefields parkway
Making it to the Icefields Parkway!

We rolled into the ultra touristy Lake Louise area after a few days and gorged ourselves at the bakery and filled our bellies with the warm fuzzy goodness of rum and hot chocolate around the campsite to try and forget about the relentless punishing rain.

On a ‘rest’ day we thought we’d take a leisurely ride to check out Lake Louise. It had been sunny all morning until it came time for us to ride the 4km basically vertically uphill from the campsite when mother nature decided we hadn’t experienced enough wet weather recently so turned on a torrential downpour for us. We pretty much rode up a river to get to a lake to battle with other soggy holidaymakers to get a snap of Lake Louise in all its moist glory. It was a pretty place, but I think the scenery and smaller crowds around Bow lake made that a bit more enjoyable, still worth a trip to check out though.

The amazing views and stunning cycling along the Rockies towards Banff town and into Canmore where we had a Warmshowers host called Jeff to stay with.

We had lunch and a coffee break by the river in Banff (where it of course pissed down) before taking the amazing ‘legacy trail’ two-lane bike path all the way from Banff to Canmore, which was one of the highlight cycle days for me so far. It was pretty special being able to fly along side the main highway surrounded by stunning mountain ranges in every direction without fear of being run off the road by an accountant called Bill on holiday from Winnipeg in a Winnebago roughly the same size as a small eastern European country that he has no idea how to control.

The legendary Jeff and his lovely wife Paula fed us to bursting point and filled us with beer and helped massively with planning the next leg of journey telling us all about which roads to take, which to avoid and which towns were best for hungry cyclists!

After a couple of pleasant nights feeling like human beings and enjoying laughing at the rain from inside a nice warm house it was time to roll on to Calgary and the stampede! Yeehaw! We even got escorted out of town by Jeff who rode with us for about 20km to show us the right road to take!

cycling the rockies
Cycling the Rockies to Calgary

With all of our dramas at the start of the trip taking Kelly’s bike back we lost a couple of days and were now in a race to reach Calgary in time for the last day of the famous Calgary stampede to watch the cow Olympics or whatever the shit a stampede is.

We had managed to claw our way back on track, even through the Rockies and were going to make it in time for the stampede! So we smashed out a 110 km day through an insane downpour on the highway that basically turned into a full blown flood. We were forced to seek shelter at a farmer’s market where a lovely local lady cheered us up by giving us a bag of carrots as I think she felt pity for the two very wet cycling bums. Small acts of kindness like this can really make your day when you’re riding! Plus it’s nice to have something to sex up your traditional meal of pesto pasta a bit by throwing some fresh veg in the mix!

We made it cycling the Rockies to Calgary!!!

After several weeks stampeding against the clock to get there before the festivities finished, we had actually arrived in time to use our tickets that we purchased months ago! Just after we got to the city, a freak hailstorm broke out which we got to enjoy from the warm comfort of a swanky airbnb while sipping rum and munching free carrots before heading out for an evening of chuck wagon races! Yeehaw doggy!!

It was an incredibly satisfying feeling knowing we had made up for lost time and managed to get into town for the stampede…I have absolutely no idea what the fuck was going on during the chuck wagon races, but a good time was had by all and they had beer and funny hats. What more could you want?
Prior to the races we also wandered around the grounds and looked at all the tacky shite for sale and randomly bumped into a First Nations guy that we had met two days previously cycling through a reservation on the way to Calgary! Pretty bizarre experience being in a city where you know absolutely nobody and attending a very busy major international event only to bump into someone you met in a different part of the province days earlier!

So after all the dramas at the beginning of the trip we had achieved something we had basically thought impossible and made it to the stampede in time!!! To treat ourselves we found the swankiest (cheapest) breakfast buffet in town and swarmed all over it like a pair of savage Canadian deer flies sucking its prey dry of blood. Our prey happened to be French toast and waffles; way better than deer blood.

The waiters in this particularly trendy little café seemed appalled at the sheer volume of food we were able to consume and attempted to bring us the bill after a mere two plates! Hahaha! Get the fuck out of town my friend, come back when the chef is broken and sobbing on the floor because he misses his family and wants to go home; we are cycle tourists and we’re in this buffet game for the long haul!!

We enjoyed our couple of nights in Calgary and were anxious to see what the road ahead held for us! Would the flatness of the prairies be easy after the cycling the Rockies to Calgary? Will we eventually drown in the constant rain? Will the Canadian Mounties chase us down and have us hung for crimes against buffet humanity? All these questions and more will be answered in the next boring installment of this blog where we tackle Saskatchewan head on and wrestle it into submission like the little prairie dog it is!! Or we get run over by Bill in his Winnebago, whichever comes first.

If you’re planning for first cycle tour, then check out these resources for cycle touring to help with your planning.

bow lake: cycling the Rockies to Calgary
The Rockies were absolutely stunning – despite all the rain!

Cycling the Alberta Prairies

cycling the Prairies, Cycling the Alberta Prairies

Kelly’s write up about cycling the Alberta Prairies during our cycle trip across Canada in Summer 2016! Click here to read Michael’s write up of cycling across the Prairies.  

A couple of rest days in Calgary and then a couple more in Airdrie was exactly what we needed before Cycling the Alberta Prairies! We had the chance to rest, clean our gear, buy new gear, replace some broken and lost things, eat a whole lot of food and drink a whole lot of beer. So, as you can image we were feeling a bit more ‘normal’ and more enthusiastic about the cycle ahead!

Horseshoe Canyon and the Start of the Prairies

Once we left Airdrie the Prairies became quite apparent. Suddenly there were yellow canola fields, pastures, meadows and wheat farms everywhere. The land also flattened out – though there were still a lot of small hills along the way (which we weren’t expecting). The wind picked up and we spent the day battling a strong head wind. The first of the trip, but not the last.

We spent the night camping in Horseshoe canyon – a stunning canyon just outside Drumheller. It was at Horseshoe canyon where we started to see Prairie Dogs (this is actually where we spotted the most Prairie dogs of the whole trip). Prairie Dogs are totally adorable! They are Canada’s quokkas. A quokka is a marsupial found on an island just off the coast of Perth and they are the happiest, little fur ball in the world, and totally adorable!

quokka selfie
My cousin with a quokaa
prairie dog, Cycling the Alberta Prairies
Prairie dog at Horseshoe canyon, which we discovered while cycling the Alberta Prairies

Drumheller: The Dinosaur Town

In the morning we cycled onto the tourist town, Drumheller. To get to Drumheller we had a steep descent into the Coulee. It was an awesome and very pretty cycle! It also meant we smashed out 20km in less than an hour.

Drumheller is famous for it’s dinosaurs. As soon as you enter the town you will start to see plastic dinosaurs everywhere. We headed straight to the visitor center to see the world’s largest plastic dinosaur. It was actually pretty awesome! You could even pay to climb up to the mouth of the dinosaur. I have to admit, I am a fan of the various, “world largest” items.

We spent a bit of time chatting to the lady in the visitor center and mapped out a plan. We decided to head down highway 10 to check out the Hoodoos (rock formations on a smaller scale to those in Cappadocia, Turkey) and then cycle the quiet 570. Before we head off down this route, we made a quick, but important stop at good ole’ Timmy’s for some sugary treats and a coffee.

The Hoodoos

Highway 10 was stunning, though quite touristy. We cycled through the coulee (like cycling in a gorge or narrow valley) for most of the day. The Hoodoos were quite cool – worth the stop! Not as impressive as the rock formations we seen in Turkey, but still completely different to anything we had seen in Canada so far.

After the Hoodoos the traffic disappeared. There were still a couple of small towns we cycled passed, but we knew we would get to a point that this would end. At the end of the Coulee, in the very small town of Dorothy, we stopped in the shade and had a long rest.

Chilling with the dinos at Drumheller
Chilling with the dinos at Drumheller

Road 570: Entering the Prairie Plains!

From Dorothy there was 300km until the next town, which was also in the next province, Saskatchewan. There were very limited services along the route, so we weren’t sure where we would be able to get water. We decided to take this route due to the lack of traffic. Cycling the Alberta Prairies was challenging!

The first night we camped at a community hall in Coulee. Coulee consisted of a farm, a community center/ school (which didn’t look like it was being used) and a camp of construction workers. Luckily this meant we could fill up out water at their camp.

The next day was shit! Strong headwinds, lots of mosquitos, little change in scenery and lots of bloody hills (I thought the Prairies were flat – what I friggin’ lie). To fill up our water bottles we had to detour off the road about 6km to the trading post at Big Rock (Big Rock consisted of a trading post, a house and a campsite). The trading post was like an oasis, with cold drinks, hot drinks, free wifi, free water and friendly staff. I didn’t want to leave. I would have happily lived there for the rest of my life instead of getting back on the 570, but unfortunately, that wasn’t an option.

Haunted Shacks and Ghost Towns

We headed back to the 570 and continued towards Saskatchewan. Finally, we got a nice long descent. When I reached the bottom, I turned around to see where Michael was and noticed a huge black storm cloud was making its way for us. Fortunately, there was an abandoned house in the field, so we decided to head over and check it out.

SASKATCHEWAN ON TWO WHEELS
Where we slept for the night

Now, anyone that knows me would also know I’m a big wimp. I hate anything that could potentially be haunted, I hate scary movies, I hate all that horror crap! I was not planning on sleeping in an abandoned house that looked like it hadn’t been lived in for 50 years. Michael must have been able to tell, just by looking at me that I wasn’t too impressed with the idea. Every horror movie I had ever watched that featured ghosts or haunted houses, started to go through my head. How the hell was I going to sleep in that shack?
Fortunately (or unfortunately), the storm hit! It was bad. Later we learnt just how bad it was – roads had washed out, farms flooded and some areas even got hail. We had no choice but to camp in the haunted shack (by this time I had already decided it was haunted). Surprisingly, I had a good sleep. The storm distracted me from the sounds from the ghosts, that along with being so exhausted from cycling in a headwind all day, meant I passed out pretty much as soon as my head hit the mat.

Cycling the Alberta Prairies

In the morning we woke to clouds, but the storm has pass. We managed to get some pretty awesome photos in the shack. I was in shock that I actually managed to sleep in a haunted shack – something to tick off the bucket list!
We packed off and got back on the 570 to the Saskatchewan border. We may have finished cycling the Alberta Prairies, but really the Prairies had only just begun!

Are you planning your own cycle tour? If so, check out  this article about Accommodation Options for Cycle Tourists.

VANCOUVER TO THE ROCKIES; WET DAYS ON TWO WHEELS.

alberta vancovuer to the rockies

Michael’s write up of our the start of our cycle trip in Canada, cycling from Vancouver to the Rockies. Click here to read Kelly’s write up of cycling in British Columbia.

It’s here! Cycling Vancouver to The Rockies!

After 3 years of having very vague plans to ride across Canada the time had finally come! So here it is, my write up of the start of our world cycle trip, cycling Vancouver to the Rockies. You’d think after that long, it would all go pretty smoothly right? No, the start was a massive pain in the sensitive delicate rectum region.

We had subjected ourselves to that horrible thing known as “having a job” back home in Australia in order to save some extra cash for the trip seeing as we couldn’t save at all living in Vancouver. After 7 months we had finally saved up enough pennies to get back to Canada and begin our next adventure! We arrived in Vancouver after some major flight delays (8 or so hours) plus missed connecting flights, lost baggage and dramas getting our camping stove, ‘Colin on the plane (when the stove did eventually make it to Vancouver it had been damaged on the flight…fuck you WestJet!).

We were ready to rock from Vancouver to the Rockies! Well sort of.

Before starting a bicycle trip it is probably a good idea to have a bike. We had purchased 2 bikes on the recommendations of a bike shop in Vancouver to pick up when we arrived, I would not recommend anyone else trying this method, not a good idea. We thought it would save time organizing bikes before arriving but in the end it was a major hassle and cost us several days and a whole lot of stress.

Seeing as we are planning on spending the next few years riding, I had wanted to get steel framed bikes capable of touring around the world so we invested a little more cash than last time, but we still couldn’t afford the top of the range touring bikes so I was pretty happy when I found a store that had two of last years model bikes in our price range of under $1000 (bikes were $820).

leaving vancouver
leaving vancouver on the bikes

When we arrived though I soon realized that Kelly’s bike a Norco search S3 only had two chain rings at the front giving it a total of 18 gears…my bad I thought it had 3 at the front…sorry Kelly!

You like pushing up hills though right?? The bike shop had talked up how great these bikes were for touring and how they’d be perfect for what we needed them for, but really the gears on this bike were not exactly ideal for lugging a whole ton of shit through the rocky mountains and beyond and the shop should have been straight with us instead of trying to clear out old stock on a couple of tourists.

We persisted though, the shop swapped out the rear gears for something with a wider range, but on the day we left Vancouver it was clear it was not going to work, we made it 65kms to Kelly’s friend’s house near Abbotsford and she couldn’t get the bike up a hill so mountains were gonna be a pretty big issue! Cycling Vancouver to the Rockies – Kelly couldn’t even make it 100km. Something had to be done!

New day, new bike.

The next 2 days are a blur of stress, anger and frustration contacting the store, dicking around attaching and detaching crap to the bikes and eventually managing to exchange Kelly’s bike and pay the difference of about $450 to get this years model touring bike the same as mine (Brodie circuit) instead of a unsuitable cyclocross bike.

I’m sure there’s plenty of good cyclocross bikes for touring and I believe you can tour on just about anything, but as we were planning a pretty massive trip we wanted something better than we had last time. It was a frustrating experience and I could go into more depth about the shit that went on but it’s in the past now and thinking about it makes me want to curl up into a big shiny bald ball and cry my little peepers out so we’ll leave it there. We were just lucky that Kelly’s friend Kira is such a legend and gave up a whole day to take us back to Vancouver to sort it out.

brodie green bicycle circuit
Kelly’s new bike!

Vancouver to the Rockies – take two!

We greatly underestimated the sheer volume of shit that we had brought with us for this trip. It was ridiculous. The bikes were so heavily loaded up they were wobbling like a drunk cowboy at the Calgary stampede and still struggling to make it up hills, so over the next few weeks tough decisions were made and we both ended up donating various crap we could do without to people along the way. It’s still an ongoing process though, I feel like I have a lot more stuff than when we rode from France to China, but at least the bikes were actually up to the job!

After the initial stress and disappointment of starting the trip like that it felt great to finally be on our way plus we were riding through a place called Chiliwack so that cheered up my small childlike mind a bit. Spent a night wild camping next a river near Cultus lake and had all the old feelings of total freedom flooding back as we pitched our tent in a hidden little spot in the trees.

The tour had begun! Finally we were cycling from Vancouver to the Rockies!

In the morning I snapped my chain before we even left our little camping spot (first ever snapped chain for me!) and Kelly was stung by a wasp, but we weren’t gonna let it get us down goddammit!! Fixed up the chain and hit the road again passing through some beautiful B.C scenery at Bridal Veil falls, through the Othello Tunnels near Hope and camping next to a highway down an embankment hidden from sight.

People kept talking to us about the Coquihalla mountain pass and making us regret our lack of physical fitness and pre trip training as we pedaled through the rain towards this hilly beast. Our legs definitely got a little shock when we hit it, but memories of some of the horrendous climbs we’d tackled through central Asia and Europe made it seem not so bad.

The rain persisted on and off so we were going from shivering and wet one minute to baking and sweaty the next having to constantly put on or take of layers of clothes. We cruised through valleys and mountains and passed through cool little towns on our trip through Kamloops to Merrit camping in hillside scrub, rest stop areas barely hidden from view and one particularly stunning spot on our way to Kamloops next to a river with perfect views on our little tents’ doorstep!

After about a week we decided a shower was in order as we had various plant life growing on us and had begun to smell like a French cheese boutique.

We found an airBNB in Clearwater to escape the still constant rain and scrub ourselves raw. Felt nice to be indoors and have access to a kitchen, as our stove had died on us a few days previously and we had to buy a tiny emergency twig-burning stove to heat up our meager rations of oatmeal and pasta. Also felt nice to fill my insides with sweet delicious beer!

Spent a few hours checking out some amazing waterfalls in the nearby Wells Gray provincial park with our awesome Airbnb owner and then hit the wet road again! Climbed higher heading towards the rockies and smashed out our first 100+ km day of the trip so far through an isolated stretch heading to mosquito capital of the known universe, Blue river BC.

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

Mosquito Flats

As we pulled into the small mountain town looking for a clearing in the forest to duck into and set up camp, A large friendly black bear appeared casually chilling on the side of the road roughly 4 meters from Kelly so we decided perhaps this was not the ideal spot to rest our weary bones for the night and continued on into the town. I asked a couple with a young daughter if they thought we would get into trouble if we set up a tent in the local park next to a lake, but turns out they weren’t locals either and didn’t have a clue.

The Spanish couple quickly offered us a backyard to camp in overnight and we were set…apparently the town had been having a bit of a bear problem recently with a particularly big grizzly stalking the area and they showed us the large trailer parked across the street from their house with a huge metal bear cage trap. Felt a bit better knowing we were near a house at least and we could store our food inside to hopefully keep the furry little buggers from eating our tent and us.

We had no encounters with Yogi or his friends that night, but my god the mosquitos were savage! We had originally thought we’d get to hang out and practice our now terrible Spanish over a coffee with the nice couple that saved us, but instead were forced to rip everything off the bikes and dive head first into the tent as quickly as possible before we were sucked dry of all our precious blood that we need for living and stuff. Thousands of them. Thousands of the horrible little shits. Looking up in the tent at the outside was terrifying; it was a covered black mass of swarming bloodthirsty winged shit heads. I already felt a bit dizzy from dehydration, I think if anymore had munched me I probably would have passed out.

It was onwards and upwards.

We had another big day with stunning scenery and pedaling close to 100km getting to Valemount to stay with our first Warmshowers hosts (like couchsurfing for cyclists) Tom and Peggy. Was great meeting this couple who had an incredible amount of experience cycle touring all over the world for years, plus Tom was a pretty handy guy who brought our poor little stove ‘Colin’ back from the dead! He could no longer simmer and only functioned in the ‘off’ or ‘burn the absolute shit out of everything’ modes…but he was alive! Pretty stoked we could cook food and boil water for coffee again without scavenging for dry twigs when it had been raining solidly since we arrived.

Spent a nice evening with Tom and Peggy chatting and getting lots of helpful tips about the route and then had a leisurely 40km day started off by gorging ourselves at the local Swiss bakery before setting up camp in one of those weird ‘non wild camp on the side of the road’ official government run campsite thingos near Mt Robson. Campsites with showers, toilets and water?!?! Who knew!

cycling the rockies, VANCOUVER TO THE ROCKIES
Cycling the Rockies

It continued to piss down solidly over the course of that day and the coming days as we finally finished cycling from Vancouver to the Rockies!!!

To celebrate cycling from Vancouver to the Rockies I decided it would be a grand idea to clip a guard rail with my pannier while trying to take a photo, throw my camera several feet in the air into the middle of the road and crash off the bike carving a chunk of flesh the size of a late night drunken kebab out of my ankle. I will admit, not my finest idea, but I like it to mix things up while cycling to keep it fresh. It felt like we needed some more excitement and our luck had got better since the start of the trip so I didn’t want us getting too cocky.

My ankle looked pretty nasty as I had carved it up on the front gear cogs forcing a kilo or so of black greasy shite and grit into the wound so we stopped on the side of the road to rub my dirty gash clean(ish) with some alcohol wipes…not a fun time for me to be honest. In hindsight, I most definitely needed stiches as this occurred roughly three weeks ago now and it still keeps opening up to let the inside of my ankle say hello to the world and give my blood a chance to explore Canada, but we were nowhere near a doctor or hospital and were also in a bit of a race to get to Calgary in time for the stampede so didn’t want to have to take a break off the bikes. Yeah I’m an idiot.

So we had made it!!!

After a shaky start and some ups and downs we were finally entering the Rockies! We had made it from Vancouver to the Rockies! We had started to feel better about the cycle trip and our chances of survival (despite my little tumble) and were slowly getting back into the swing of things after nearly two years since the last trip and felt ready to invade the Canadian Rockies like Genghis Khan on a pushbike! So we made it Vancouver to the Rockies.

 

Interested to know what countries we’ve rode through on the bikes? Check out our Country Tracker to find out, and create your own country tracker to see how many countries you’ve been to.