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Cycling Across Canada on the great trail.

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Cycling Across Canada on the great trail.

Old 01-07-22, 03:59 PM
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Summerof71
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Cycling Across Canada on the great trail.

Hi all.

Happy New year!! Has anyone cycled across Canada on the great trail? I understand itís been now completely linked up but have still heard reports that itís not perfect?

I went across the US a couple of years back and now looking for my next big trip and hopefully raise a bit of money for charity in the process. Any advice on it would be appreciated. Looking to get some info on, how long, weather (best time to go) remoteness, difficulties (bears-dangers) etc

thanks in advance

D
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Old 01-08-22, 12:01 PM
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[since no one seems to have first-hand experience]

I've looked at this option when I planned this past summer cross-country. First major bummer is that a long segment is a water (canoe) route, along Lake Superior. Then there are many testimonials suggesting that portions (difficult to tell which exactly) are unsuitable for cycling. First-hand I can tell you that some segments are snow-mobile/quads trails that are no fun at all to ride on a bike.

When planning, you're likely to come across advice suggesting that you should ride south of Lake Superior, i.e. crossing the US border between somewhere in Manitoba and Sault Ste-Marie (talk about riding across Canada!). I'd suggest riding north of Lake Superior. The T-Can (11 - 17) has a wide shoulder most of the way and I never felt that cars/trucks created a meaningful hazard. The only problem is that the northernmost sections have long portions without services (Hearst to Longlac is 220kms without any facility, including drinking water).

Then there is the East-West vs West-East debate. I did it East to West. When encountering fellow tourers riding in the opposite direction, most felt that they usually experienced crosswinds. This was also my experience, although for about a week I've had to battle severe headwinds in Saskatchewan (had to ride at night a couple of days to keep making progress).

WRT timing, it is probably a good idea to try to avoid riding BC later in the summer, because of the increased likelihood of being affected by forest fires. So perhaps leaving the west coast in June is preferable. You may experience forest fires in Northern Ontario and Quebec, but not on the scale of what has happened in BC and Alberta during the past few years.

Last edited by gauvins; 01-08-22 at 02:07 PM.
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Old 01-08-22, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by gauvins View Post
[since no one seems to have first-hand experience]

I've looked at this option when I planned this past summer cross-country. First major bummer is that a long segment is a water (canoe) route, along Lake Superior. ...
....
I have no firsthand knowledge of the route, but I can say there is another option if you wanted to avoid the North side of Lake Superior.

Ride down to Grand Portage Minnesota (across the border) so you would have to ride some along the shore from Thunder Bay. Take the ferry from Grand Portage to Rock Harbor, camp there in the campground, then take one of the two ferries to the UP of Michigan. Then ride on the UP East to Sault St Marie.
https://www.nps.gov/isro/planyourvis...n-services.htm

The entire island of Isle Royale is a US National Park. Rock Harbor is on the East end. (Do not take the ferry that does not go to Rock Harbor.)

You would want to make ferry reservations in advance. There might be a one day limit at the Rock Harbor campground, I do not remember if that is for all campers or only those that use shelters. There is no bicycling on Isle Royale but the campground is walking distance from Rock Harbor. The ferry to Houghton Michigan only runs twice a week, I have not ridden the Copper Harbor ferry, I do not know their schedule but I believe it is more frequent than only twice a week.

The Grand Portage to Rock Harbor ferry is small. First photo. This ferry stops at a number of places on Isle Royale. I do not know where they put the bike, perhaps on the front deck? Or on top? They carried my kayak on top when I rode the ferry.



The ferry out of Houghton is owned by the National Park Service, second photo. (The white kayak with the red cockpit cover is mine.)



I am aware of this option because on one of my trips there I saw a bicycle with panniers. I asked a park ranger what that was about, she said that some people use the two ferries to take a shortcut around part of Lake Superior. So, although there is no biking there, some bicyclists transfer through.

The Minnesota ferry to Rock Harbor:
https://www.isleroyaleboats.com/schedules.html

There would be expenses for ferries, park fees, etc.
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Old 01-08-22, 04:33 PM
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I have not ridden across Canada, but I can say that the trail on PEI is pretty good. I rode some of it in 2019 (pre-covid)

There is no bike riding across the bridge from New Brunswick to PEI, a shuttle takes you and your bike across the bridge. And there is a ferry from PEI to Nova Scotia. I rode the ferry to the island, then later the shuttle across the bridge.





Most of my trip was on pavement, I rode the trail where it was convenient.

Bring repellant.
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Old 01-09-22, 02:21 PM
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If you make it to PEI and need anything ping me... I live here.


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Old 01-12-22, 09:43 AM
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The GT, formerly known as the TCT is a pretty convoluted trail in sections and more a theoretical idea than a practical route. For the most part around here they just tried to connect random systems that might work on paper but would never be followed on foot (or bike). There are so many better options that trying to follow it exclusively.

This question was asked a couple of years ago in regards to someone using a Tandem for it. I replied about the BC sections. The logistics are the same for touring bikes as well.

"I live in the middle of the lower mainland BC section of the TCT, such that it is. Even here in a populated area it is sketchy - definitely not recumbent friendly. Amenities in low population areas (most of it) are sparce. There is no infrastructure planning for it as such.
It's really more of a patchwork of trail ideas at this point, rather than one defined and rideable trail like the GAP. In the metro area it follows some roads and pathways, often a rambling course. In the Fraser Valley it follows some dike systems. There are stretches we did last summer that were hike a bike through the Cascade mountains (not tandem friendly).
Then I think it links up to the Kettle Valley Railway (KVR) which is a well defined railtrail route from Hope (more realistically Merritt) to Penticton and around the hills there. About 2-300km's and a good destination ride. You could probably do it on a tandem if you had wider tires (can be sandy) You can easily google lots of info about it. Then it heads east again on other rail rails that have some single track components."


This is the complete thread: https://www.bikeforums.net/touring/1...ada-trail.html

And a trip report I did involving a short section of the TCT. There are pics that show how the trail deteriorates towards the end. This is better than the sections you would encounter in the Cascades section between Chilliwack and Manning. Currently there is major flood damage and pipeline construction on the Coquihalla sections to look at as well.

https://www.bikeforums.net/cyclocros...er-valley.html

Last edited by Happy Feet; 01-12-22 at 09:48 AM.
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Old 01-12-22, 12:50 PM
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I would concur with the opinions on the Trans Canada Trail. It is a great idea in concept but its actual implementation leaves much to be desired. It really is a topic suitable for another thread on how not to build a long distance trail

I have been involved, in a very minor way, on some of the trail construction in The Bragg Creek Alberta area. The portions of it which I have ridden are quite suitable for non pavement touring, you would need a bike with wide tires and low gears.

Some of the parts I have ridden in BC are mainly used by motor cycles and quads, so the surface is quite loose and annoying to ride. Other parts like the High Rockies trail along Spray lakes is a professionally designed and built bike trail , but it has a lot of extraneous elevation gain and loss, which is quite fun on an unloaded bicycle, but would be very tiring on a loaded touring bike.


Some parts of the TCT might be quite suitable, but I would carefully do my research and check with local trail groups before attempting them.


Strangely enough, they have changed the name back to Trans Canada Trail, after being named the Great Trail for a number of years.


The Trans Canada Trail, officially named The Great Trail between September 2016[1] and June 2021,
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Old 02-12-22, 02:06 PM
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Thank you. I had completely forgot that I actually started this thread!!! Thank you so much for your input. It does seem that the TCT is quite a broken promise so to speak. It does look in parts thatís itís doable but these do run out of steam and on to non rideable trails. But I guess the good parts can be used and then different routes to get me back on my way. Itís all down to the planning!
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Old 02-12-22, 02:09 PM
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Hey mate. Thanks for taking the time to reply. Yes it seems that the trail is quite insincere in the way itís being advertised. There does seem to be some good trails on it but it doesnít help when the next trail along isnít rideable by bike. Back to the drawing board
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