DISCOVERING NEW BRUNSWICK BY BICYCLE

That sums up discovering new brunswick by bicycle!

Michael’s write up of discovering New Brunswick by bicycle during out coast to coast Canada cycle trip in Autumn 2016. Click here to read Kelly’s write up about cycling in New Brunswick.

NEW BRUNSWICK.…WAY BETTER THAN THE OLD ONE.

Waking up at the border sign between Quebec and New Brunswick we knew our seventh province was going to be a frosty one!

The temperature had taken a sudden dip and frozen our tent solid overnight. We were now faced with the coldest cycling of the trip so far, but we were still happy because the amazing cycle path rolled on!

On our first day discovering New Brunswick by bicycle we managed to smash out 105 km in less than 5 hours, which I’m pretty sure is a record for us. We had decided to stay indoors and treat ourselves to an airbnb in Perth (not our home town in western Australia, a different colder one) and thought we’d make it in plenty of time to meet the owner and pick up the key to the place. That’s before the wind decided to be a huge chilly prick and change directions and the cycle path abruptly ended with a ‘closed for construction’ sign forcing us to detour several kilometers up a bullshit steep hill and onto the highway.

Screw you New-Brunswick-bike-path-dudes. A diversion sign BEFORE the construction would have been handy!

We did eventually make it the last 20km to the AirBnB where we spent the next day defrosting our weary bones and ingesting some local hoppy malt health beverages called ‘beer’ and cleaning all our clothes ready to layer up for the next day of icey biking.

New Brunswick in Fall, discovering new brunswick by bicycle
Discovering new brunswick by bicycle – New Brunswick in Fall

Trans-Canadian Bike Trail

The bike path did pick up again and although it wasn’t quite as well maintained as the Quebec side with some sections too rocky to ride fully loaded, it was still nicer than riding the highway!

We had a pretty great day of discovering New Brunswick by bicycle. Riding on the cycle paths, winding through the forest and alongside rivers and lakes where we eventually found an ideal spot to pitch the tent next to a pedestrian suspension bridge over a stream complete with picnic table and amazing sunset views. This one was definitely up there with the best wild camping spots of the trip.

The only bonus of camping when the temperature drops is the mosquitoes pussy out and disappear! Finally some peace!

Bike Troubles

We ploughed on keen to reach Fundy national Park and see one of Canada’s main attractions, the Bay of Fundy. We rode the cycle path where possible, and took quieter roads when the rocks got too chunky. Near Fredericton, we stayed with great Warmshowers hosts, Tracey and Paula on their veggie farm. And, cycled passed the worlds’ biggest axe in Nackawic (and a brewery named after it that was closed causing me to weep uncontrollably). Then, my chain decided to start slipping whenever faced with a hill nearly causing me to fall off and break my luscious face several times.

Fundy national park is an extremely hilly place, so luckily for me the chain problems occurred before the town of Sussex so I could get the problem fixed at the local bike shop before starting the serious hill climbs into Fundy. The legends at Outdoor Elements bike shop helped me get back on the road again and even called up one of their friends outside Sussex who owned an awesome motel and let us stay for $20! Unfortunately on the way to the motel I discovered the new chain hadn’t fixed the issue and I was forced to ride back to Sussex the next morning where the amazing staff changed my cassette and solved the issue just in time to tackle the beastly hills of Fundy!

As well as fixing up my sexy steed, the guys at the bike shop also informed me we were only one day behind a group of German cycle tourists who had been in the shop the day before. Our friends Jacque and Luisa again with some of Luisa’s’ friends who had flown out to ride with them for a week or two. We were hunting ze Germans!

Bay of Fundy

As we had heard, the hills into Fundy were a total bitch! It was all worth it though with the views at the top ranking as some of those most spectacular of the whole trip. The ride down the other side of the hills was an intense experience and made me glad our bikes had disc brakes! We absolutely hammered down the hills and into the picture perfect campgrounds just outside the town of Alma. Unfortunately it wasn’t until we picked up on Wi-Fi at the camp grounds that we realized our German buddies were staying at the other campsite. The one that was several kilometers back up the steep as shit hill we had just hurtled down at 300km an hour. Sorry guys, you’re on you own!

We managed to meet up with our friends though for beers and cinnamon buns from the famous ‘Kelly’s Bakery’ in Alma. If you are in Alma and don’t fill your body with as many of these hot gooey delicious cinnamony chunks of pure joy then you my friend are a fool! The date slices and brownies were also pretty sextacular, but the cinnamon buns were like a baked orgasm.

We enjoyed a couple nights off the bikes relaxing at the Headquarters campground that was complete with Wi-Fi and cooking hut – pure luxury! We hiked a few trails around the bay, checked out some waterfalls and rehydrated with beer and fireball liqueur. I was on a bit of a cinnamon high around this period.

Fundy National Park and a Kelly, discovering new brunswick by bicycle
Fundy National Park and a Kelly

Hopewell Rocks and more beer!

When it was time to leave Alma the wind kicked into overdrive and we were smashed in the face by the breeze the whole way to Hopewell rocks where we were living it up in another motel. We decided to be rebels and sneak into Hopewell rocks after the gates were closed for the day after several people told us it was generally accepted as fine as long as you weren’t an idiot climbing the rocks. We had an amazing sunset stroll along the beach checking out the crazy rock formations and stunning beach views. I can definitely see why this is such a hotbed for tourists in the summer.

We rolled through the freezing wind and drizzle into Moncton where we decided to spend the night in a hostel. It just so happens that Moncton has a kick ass brewery too…coincidence? No, no it wasn’t.

We checked out Pump house brewery and sampled some fine beverages including the local specialty a blueberry ale complete with floating blueberries in the glass. Saucy!

More friendly people

Our last night discovering New Brunswick by bicycle – Province number 7, was spent with an lovely older couple Bill and Marilyn in Shemogue, There we ate like royalty and I fit at least a kilo of kick ass spinach and mushroom lasagna inside me and exchanged cycle tales over beers and discussed our plans for spending winter in Halifax.

Bill had been a lobster fisherman for over forty years. Marilyn was an artist and showed us her beautiful art in her workshop out the back of the house. Eventually we hopped on our bikes and began the short pedal to the bridge between New Brunswick and, the smallest province in Canada – Prince Edward Island!

Goodbye New Brunswick you tasty minx. You chilled us to the bones, but your stunning parks and coastline made us keen to explore more of the Maritimes by bicycle!

That sums up discovering new brunswick by bicycle! Bring on Prince Edward Island! If you’re a stats nerd like Kelly, you can check out our states here.

Random Shoe Tree, discovering new brunswick by bicycle
Random Shoe Tree in New Brunswick somewhere

Entering the Maritimes: cycling in New Brunswick

cycling in new brunswick

Kelly’s write up of cycling in New Brunswick during our coast to coast Canada cycle trip in Autumn 2016. Click here to read Michael’s write up of discovering New Brunswick by bicycle.

Winter is coming!

We ended up cycling into New Brunswick in the evening of a very cold night. The Trans Canada bike trail that we were on had been fantastic. There were plenty of camping opportunities along the way, hardly any people and plenty of scenic views. We decided we would definitely attempt cycling in New Brunswick on some more of the Trans Canada trail.

As it was already freezing, we decided to set up camp just after the Quebec-New Brunswick border. Next to a small airfield and an old aircraft display. We quickly set up camp, cooked and jumped in the tent, for a chilly night. The following morning we woke to an icy frozen tent, frost on the grass and a definitely chill in the air. Winter was definitely coming (and yes, I’m a Game of Thrones fan). Cycling in New Brunswick was definitely going to be a cold stretch.

Camping next to an airport in New Brunswick
Camping next to an airport in New Brunswick

Warming up!

We packed up and headed to the closest coffee shop to warm up – this just so happened to be a Tim Hortons. Feeling a bit unmotivated to continue cycling, we ended up chilling out in Timmys, indulging on donuts, muffin and coffee for about 3-4 hours (yeah, we’re fatties). We still had at least another 80km to go, but absolutely no motivation. I think this is called the 3-month travel slum. After 3 months of travelling, no matter how you travel, it no longer seems as exciting. You start to feel warn down by the constant packing up and moving on.

Cycling in New Brunswick: The 100km challenge

To motivate ourselves we decided to book into a “motel/ apartment/ guesthouse” in the little Maritime town of Perth. The only catch was the apartment was another 106km and it was already 1pm. On top off this it was now getting dark at around 6pm, so we only have a few hours of light to smash our 100km+.

The first 60km to Grand Falls was awesome! We totally smashed it – even with a lunch stop! The cycle was on a smooth, relatively flat road, with moderate traffic. We managed to arrive into Grand Falls before 4pm, so made a “quick” stop in at the superstore, checked out the Grand Falls, and were back on our way.

Having such a good experience on the Trans Canada trail in Quebec, we decided to hop back on the Trans Canada trail to Perth. Big mistake! Soft, rocky gravel is what greeted us on the trail! It was barely cyclable, but we persisted for about 10km to see if the path improved. Suddenly the cycle path ended due to path and road closures! We were forced to detour up a steep hill to get back on the main road.

We decided to stick on the main roads the rest of the way to Perth. These roads were quite hilly and it was taking us a lot longer to pass the kilometres. Eventually we rolled into Perth around 7.30pm.

Cycling in New Brunswick definitely had new challenges that we haven’t had to dealt with so far on the trip. Frost, cold weather, less hours of light and sections of continuously steep, hills.

Suspension bridge on the Trans Canada trail in New Brunswick
Suspension bridge on the Trans Canada trail in New Brunswick

Perth, New Brunswick (not so different to Perth, Australia)

It was definitely strange seeing road signs for Perth everywhere. What made it even stranger was that our apartment/ guesthouse was next-door to “Bogan’s Bar and campground.” It felt like home! We spent a couple of nights in Perth, just resting up, drying all our gear out and making plans for the rest of the cycle across Canada.

Hilly terrain!

The next couple of days were hilly! In fact, we completely underestimated the hills. We cycled through the cute towns of Bath, Bristol, Woodstock (not so cute) and south and north Hampton. Still managing to average about 105km a day (how? I have no idea), our legs were definitely feeling it.

Occasionally we would hop onto the Trans Canada trail for a few kilometres, however the path was generally terrible and very bumpy, so we never lasted long on there. At one point we did decide to take the Trans Canada trail, as we were looking for a good camping spot for the night. The path took us down an old road and across a suspension bridge, where there was also a great camping spot. The following morning it was very misty and eerie feeling. It reminded me of something from the headless horseman!

Back on one of the main roads for another very hilly day! We had planned to cycle through Fredericton and onto Oromocto, to stay with our warmshowers’ hosts. They had a beautiful property, with chickens and an organic vegetable garden – the kind of place I would like to own one day.

Sussex

Jacque and Lusia, the German couple we had cycled with previously, had contacted us to let us know they were only a day ahead of us. They were cycling with some German friends, so had been taking it a bit slower. We decided to smash out a few kilometres to try and catch up with them at Fundy National Park.

The cycle to Sussex was easy going compared to the previous days. We managed to arrive into Sussex around 4pm, which was lucky, as Michael’s gears had started to play up.

Luckily there was a bike store in town (Outdoor Elements), with super helpful and friendly staff. They played around with Michael’s chain and gear for a bit. One of the guys in the store also helped sort us out with some accommodation at the Timberland motel, about 8km outside of town. After about an hour we headed off to the motel. On the cycle there we discovered that Michael’s bike still wasn’t fixed, so the following morning he headed back into town to get it sorted. Luckily we only had about 50km to the park, so we had plenty of time to get it all sorted. Before midday we were on our way!

Fundy National Park

The 10% gradients into Fundy National Park were killer! Luckily it was the shoulder season, so there wasn’t too much tourist traffic around. It took us a few hours to ride 50km and by the time we made it to the campsite we were buggered. We hadn’t cycled gradients like this since Europe!

We caught up with the Germans in Alma town. It was kind of strange seeing them again, but also really good to catch up on stories. Michael ate a stupid amount of sticky buns and baked goods from the town bakery, and then we headed off on a hike to work it off.

After Fundy, we had decided to take it easy for the next week and let our legs recover a bit before we hit the Cabot Trail. The Cabot Trail has 16% gradients, so my legs needed all the rest they could get. So, we decided the rest of the time we’d be cycling in New Brunswick would be our “rest time” – still cycling, but just shorter days.

Mud Flats on the bay of fundy at low tide
Mud Flats on the bay of fundy at low tide

Hopewell Rocks

Leaving the park we had only a short, but hilly cycle along the coast road to Hopewell Cape, home to the famous Hopewell Rocks.

We checked into our motel, chilled out for a few hours, and then headed to the rocks to see them at low tide. We got to the park about 5.30pm, after it had already closed for the day. It turns out you’re allowed in the park after hours, but you just do so at your own risk.

It was amazing! We had the park practically to ourselves, and got some stunning shots of the rocks at sunset. The Bay of Fundy experiences the highest tides in the world. The tidal movement is every 6 hours. If you’re not paying attention to the tidal charts, it’s possible to get cut off on the beach, as the tides move so quickly and so much. But, we’re too smart for that; we just headed down after hours in the freezing cold at sunset instead.

Hopewell Rocks was definitely my highlight of cycling in New Brunswick!

Hopewell Rocks at sunset, cycling in New Brunswick
Hopewell Rocks at sunset

Moncton and onwards to PEI

The next destination was Moncton, which meant another short and relaxing day cycle! Moncton seemed like a nice town. It has a good local brewery, called the pump house, which has tasty beers. Highly recommend if you happen to be passing through. We spent the night at the hostel and the following day had a short 60km to our warmshowers’ host in Shemogue. This would be our last full day cycling in New Brunswick! In the morning, we’re head to Canada’s smallest province, Prince Edward Island (P.E.I).

I’m pretty nerdy and like to keep track of our stats – check them out here, if you’re interested!