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Fire Adventure
(bike across Canada)

Water Adventure
(sail 'round the world)

Earth Adventure
(backpack the Andes)

Air Adventure
(to be determined)

firewater
earthair
Province

Dates

Kilometres
BC
May 12 - June 3
1775
AB-SK-MB
June 4 - June 19
1675
ON
June 20 - July 1
1752
QC
July 2 - July 17
1720
NB-PEI-NS
July 18 - July 29
1096
TOTAL
68 Biking Days, 11 Rest Days
8018.7

By connecting portions of recreational trails, back roads and minor highways, I originally designed the route as a mixture of rural and urban areas, maximizing its range of terrain, scenery, and unique challenges while minimizing contact with heavy traffic and obstacles.

Total distance travelled was 8018.7 kilometres. In total, 40% of my journey was on the Trans Canada Trail (3164 km). Of this, 2873 km were on unpaved surfaces, and 291 km were paved road connections that are designated trail sections. I also followed another 197 km (2.5%) of "proposed Trans Canada Trail" sections.

Paved highway consisted of 56% of the journey (4516 km). Unpaved highway made up less than 1% (100 km). Other bike trails (non-TCT) added another 41 km (0.5%).

The route was created using a combination of GIS data, satellite imagery, Google Earth, route maps found online and from colleagues. Because at many points the route was so obscure, I relied heavily on satellite navigation using a GPS receiver rather than road maps.

The route is available for download. The following ZIP folders each contain a Mapsource GDB file (preferred) and a GPX version (lacks colour detail).

  • Route-Total.zip (Route in a single track. Contains full version with nearly 38,000 points which is suitable for navigation. Also contains a truncated 10,000 point version which is easier to view in Google Earth)
  • Route-Days.zip (Route chopped into 68 tracks based on each day's progress. Waypoints of campsites not included)
  • Route-Surfaces.zip (Route organized by trail surfaces, such as "Trans Canada Trail", "paved highway", "unpaved road", etc)

The journey took a total of 79 days. Of this, 68 were "biking days" and 11 were "rest days". I spent most nights outside in my tent and sleeping bag.

  • official campsites for 26 nights (33%)
  • camped on people's lawns/backyards for 12 nights (15%)
  • true wild camping (no facilities/toilets) for 12 nights (15%)
  • camped in free sites/shelters (basic facilities) for 9 nights (12%)
  • friends' houses for 16 nights (21%)
  • and finally, in hostels for 4 nights (5%) due to a lack of campsites in urban areas!

Here is a detailed breakdown of the route, categorized by province:

PART 1: BRITISH COLUMBIA


Click the image for high resolution

The route through British Columbia was nearly 1800 km long and followed the Southern Route of the Trans Canada Trail. The trail followed a series of abandoned railway lines and meandered through some of Canada's most awe-inspiring territory - but included many challenging mountain passes and ascents!


PART 2: ALBERTA


Click the image for high resolution

Through Alberta, I left the Trans Canada Trail and climbed over the Rocky Mountains (and continental divide) at the Crowsnest Pass, joining the historical Red Coat Trail. This trail (really a connection of minor highways and back roads) roughly followed the westward path taken by the Mounties from Manitoba in 1874 in their quest to bring law and order to Western Canada (a mere two years after the Canada-US border had been surveyed).


PART 3: SASKATCHEWAN


Click the image for high resolution

Heading Northeast through Shaunavon, the Red Coat Trail became a straight line, passing through grasslands, ghost towns, and farm communities. Some parts of this route (particularily the border between AB and SK) were very quiet with less than 2 vehicles per hour.

PART 4: MANITOBA


Click the image for high resolution

The route across Manitoba was incredibly straightforward and travelled East in a nearly straight line, taking me through the heart of Winnipeg - my first major city since Vancouver! After crossing the Forks, I headed out of town on a final 85 km-long straight road headed for the Ontario border!


PART 5: ONTARIO


Click the image for high resolution

Crossing Ontario was the real grind; nearly 1800 kilometres of forest-and-granite rock-lined highway through the Lake of the Woods region, across the top of Lake Superior, then turned east at Wawa along Highway 101 to Timmins and the Quebec border. There were many long stretches with little to no provisions or services.


PART 6: QUEBEC


Click the image for high resolution

Through Quebec, the route followed Highway 117 for 440 kilometres to Maniwaki, then reconnected with the Trans Canada Trail. It was a pleasure to ride through Montreal, east to Sherbrooke, then north to Quebec City while enjoying tranquil wilderness and well-groomed cycling paths. From Quebec City, I followed Highway 132 along the southern shores of the St. Lawrence River, then turned travelled along the Petit Temis bike path from Riviere du Loup to the New Brunswick border.


PART 7: THE MARITIMES


Click the image for high resolution

The route through New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia followed the Trans Canada Trail with a few road connections, taking me to the finish line in Halifax.


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