West to East from Montreal

After waking up today way to early this morning, I redeemed my morning with a beautiful sunrise bike ride. I took one of my favorite circuits from home entering the path at the Atwater market, following the Lachine Canal and finally taking the Lachine rapids path back home. A beautiful 26km and feeling great.

I realized yesterday that I started writing about my route and posted a map but didn’t elaborate much on it. Most people ask which direction we are going, and if we are going to “bike all the way home after”. In the planning of our trip originally we were going to fly to Vancouver and bike back home, which was the entirety of the trip. After some talking and thinking Julie and I figured we might as well continue the trip and do a full cross Canada. This was a pretty cool plan and many have done that route exactly. We just had a couple concerns with that plan, foremost it would mean packing up all the bikes and equipment and flying twice, first to Vancouver, then coming back from Newfoundland. The additional expense coupled with packing twice made no sense. A secondary concern was if we did the trip that way, and got back to Montreal, there might be a real strong temptation to stop at home and call it a trip.

In the interest of efficiency and saving some money we have decided that Montreal will be our departure point, and we will head east first. Why west you ask (maybe not if you are also a veteran cyclist) is West important? The prevailing winds in Canada usually blow west to east, which has to do with the jet stream and a whole bunch of scientific mumbo jumbo.

From Montreal we are heading through Quebec to Riviere du Loup then heading south to New Brunswick. From NB we will be heading over to PEI. My only regret is that to get to PEI we have to take a ferry or a shuttle, I would love to bike across Confederation bridge, that would be a rush and a half! From PEI we are doing a short tour then taking a ferry over to Nova Scotia. We will proceed through NS and cross to Newfoundland, as I discussed in my previous post. Finally leaving the east coast at St-John’s and flying to Victoria. We added the Vancouver Island to the route since we never had the chance to visit when we were in Vancouver. Even though it is just 1 day extra we felt that being able to go from St-John’s to “Kilometer Zero” which is the Origin point of the TransCanada Highway in Victoria, British Columbia, on the southern end of Vancouver Island. From there we will cross to the mainland BC and work our way back across the country. At this point the only part that is a huge question mark is Thunder Bay to Sault St-Marie, due to the dangerous conditions of the highway 17 and the fact that towns are 100km apart, creating potentially dangerous situations for food, water, lodging and repairs.

I realize I promised a post about what we want to do with this trip and our motivations, and that will likely be in my next posting. Thanks for reading!

Also thank you to people who are sending responses and sharing their stories and insights with us. I appreciate hearing from you.

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2 thoughts on “West to East from Montreal

  1. Eddie says:

    Hwy 17 isn’t as bad as you’d think. We drive it in that area often on the way to the cottage. There are some little rest stops and side routes into smaller places that don’t seem to show up on the map. Also, the side of the highway isn’t paved but it’s fairly wide in most parts.

  2. wesleymccoy says:

    Thanks ED for your reply. The fact that there is no paving beside the 17 is actually a huge problem. On a bicycle you get absolutely no traction on that surface. Mix that with a heavy load of gear and you end up crawling at 10-12km/hr, and running the very real risk of wiping out. I am also told that there a ton of transports and camper vans that use the route. If you have ever had one blow past you on bike that alone can just about take you out 🙂

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