top of page

(the) Canada 

Cycling across Canada was part of my trip from Montreal to Death Valley. I've separated it in two to get more details. It's one of life's most incredible experiences, and I can say that I'm very proud! I went East-West like a 1/3 of the riders. Most people think the winds prevail from the west, but I'm unsure about this theory. Every rider I met struggled with winds at similar levels. One thing is for sure: both ways are possible!

(the) Ontario 



My trip started in late spring on the 16th of May in Montreal. My objective was to get to the Rockies as quickly as possible. I was on fire during the first two weeks, doing 160-220km daily. I loved it. From Montreal to Sault-St-Marie, it's a little boring following 17. From North Bay it's also possible to take 11 and go deep in the woods, however, there's not much up there, and by doing that, you miss the Lake. Once you hit Lake Superior, everything changes, and you get into the woods with a great view of the water. You'll find lots of hills between SSM and Nipigon, and it's a part I truly enjoyed. Between SSM and Wawa, there's 160 km without services, the longest I had during the trip - so cycling in Canada is no big deal. Some people choose to cross the border and avoid all the hills from the Canadian Shield, but personally, Lake Superior is worth it. 

In Nipigon, 11 and 17 merge, and you'll reach Thunder Bay, where people choose mainly from two options: head southwest and go to Winnipeg through the states or northwest through Upsala. The US offers more services; from what I've heard, it's a more leisurely ride. However, I had lots of fun going north, and there's at least one town every 100km. 

When you choose to follow 17 (up Lake Superior and through Upsala), the critical thing to know is the amount of traffic that goes by. Innumerous trucks and not shoulder is not an option. And people go fast. I saw three accidents in two days, and one was fatal. I never felt unsafe, but I know riders who profoundly hate traffic, so it is probably good to know. 


the prairies 

Winnipeg to Calgary


The landscape changes drastically, and everything gets flat, flat and flat. However, it is beautiful as well. It's a very peculiar scenery, and its beauty is discreet: you must listen to understand it. In contrast, feeling something with the Rockies' dramatic scenery is much easier. 

The truth about the prairies is (I think): it can be the most challenging or most accessible part of your trip. Some days, I did 240km with a 30-35km/h average with almost no effort, and on another, I did 85km after spending all my energy at 8-11km/h (ridiculously, walking seems almost reasonable). With 50-60km/h headwinds, you'll go insane. I remember crying: it's almost like the prairies want to teach you something.   

I tried riding at night after the wind went down. I was even stopped by the police concerned about trucks calling about me. They were very friendly and let me go. That wind was driving me insane. However, I wouldn't recommend doing that; it messes with your sleep cycle and can sometimes be dangerous even if your lights are on - it is never possible to see everything. The excellent way to go is to ride early in the morning and at the end of the day. Not easy to do when cycling is your objective!

the Rockies 

Calgary to Victoria

It was the easiest and most beautiful part, with an inequivalent scenery. Here, times go faster, and distances seem to contract (maybe Einstein got inspired here). You enter the national park after leaving Canmore, which is around 25km from Banff. In the park, you technically have to pay for every day you're in, and at the campsite, they might ask you to prove you paid, or they'll do it. They also keep spots for bikers so I wouldn't worry too much about that. On 93, they have self-registration campsites; you can also find a spot there. 

For the Rockies, I recommend detours. There's no reason to take shortcuts; everything is beautiful, and every mile is pure joy. Highway 93 (Icefields Parkway) goes from Banff to Jasper and is spectacular, and you'll be able to see Mount Robson, the Canadian Rocky's highest mountain (~3950m). If you have time, I suggest taking 99 to Vancouver instead of going straight from Kamloops. You'll enter the Pacific Coast Range, which is globally much higher (Mt Logan, Denali, etc.) and the scenery is... I have no words! You'll go through Savona, Cache Creek and Lillooet, all witnesses of the gold rush. The funny thing is that it's the driest region in Canada with rattlesnakes and cactus. Then it's the worldwide known town of Whistler, and it's ~120km to Vancouver!   



the RIDE


While in Thunder Bay my host went for a ride with me, and she took this short video... I wish I had more of those... 

bottom of page