Our final Canadian stats

Distance cycled in Canada: 2,217km

Average day: 67km

Amount of uphill: 25,300m (or just under x3 Everest)

Longest day: Yahk to Bayshore Resort on Kootenay Lake at 99.8km

Hilliest day wasn’t on the Icefields or Highway 3 but Sooke to Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island with 1,286m of ascent

Number of nights camping: 17, of which 9 were with the tarp of shame keeping us dry thanks to a cat attack

Number of Warm Showers hosts who protected us from bears & the rain: 13

Ferries taken: x9 – Horseshoe Bay to Langdale; Earls Cove to Saltery Bay; Powell River to Little River; on & off of Quadra Island; Crofton to Vesuvius; Fulford Harbour to Swartz Bay; Nanaimo to Horseshoe BayKootenay Bay to Balfour

Trains taken: x1 – Vancouver to Jasper

Bear sightings: 3 (x1 on Vancouver Island and x2 on the Icefields Parkway)

Alive snakes seen: x5 or so, which is 5 more than we saw in Australia!

Glaciers seen: Countless

The route we took is here: click

Canada map



Climb every mountain

216. Leaving behind the Kettle ValleyOur time in Canada is now coming to end; we’re currently having a bonus day off in Osoyoos before crossing the border tomorrow (Saturday) into the US. We are here about a week earlier than expected after electing not to follow the Kettle Valley Rail (KVR) trail once we had seen some of the surface at Midway. Instead, we came over all the passes on Highway 3. I tend to always fear the uphill, as this generally requires more physical effort, but the climbs the last few days have actually been pretty easy. Long, but not at all steep. The descents have required far more effort in terms of mental concentration, especially when the weather turns just as you summit and you have to descend in a deluge of rain, clinging on for dear life and hoping you don’t lock your wheels (simples – don’t brake!), skid or slide off the road on a corner. I should really be more fearful about the descents with hindsight. Continue reading


199. Cone on shame on the tent at Bayshore ResortSince the last update we’ve had over a hundred holes put into our tent, ridden to the head of the mighty Colombia River, camped with Neil & Ali, rejoined the Kootenay River, said goodbye to Neil & Ali, been five miles from the US border, ridden alongside the enormous Kootenay Lake and taken a car ferry across a lake.  We’ve had sunshine, wind, grey clouds, rain, drizzle, showers and we’re now back to sunshine.  We’re currently camped in pretty Nelson, which is a bit Scottish like (well we are in the Selkirk Mountains) with tree lined hills rising up from the water, but in Scotland it would be a sea loch whereas here it’s a lake at over 500m above sea level. Continue reading

Carrying on south along Highway 93

188. Kootenay ValleyAfter riding the Icefields Parkway Philippa thought it would be wise to give up and return back to the UK as nothing could top that ride.  However, our flight home is from Los Angles so we must continue south.  The first part of the journey was to carry on along Highway 93, the Kootenay Parkway.  We knew there wasn’t a lot along this road, just a couple of campsites, the Kootenay Park Lodge  and a lot of grizzly bears. We were hoping to stayed at the Marble Canyon campsite, but it wasn’t possible to book the campsite and as it was the Canada Day long weekend we weren’t sure there would be space at the site. We set off from Lake Louise with Philippa worrying we wouldn’t have anywhere to sleep. Continue reading

Icefields Parkway: Take my breath away

156. Waterfowls LakeWow. Just wow. I’m almost at a loss for words to describe how fantastic cycling the Icefields Parkway was. For me the four days we spent cycling the Icefields have been the absolute best part of our trip so far. The scenery was simply breath-taking, with huge views all the way along, we were incredibly lucky with the weather, we stayed in far better than expected wilderness hostels and enjoyed it all in the company of Neil and Ali, some cycle tourists from Australia that we met on the road on Vancouver Island a few weeks ago now. Continue reading

Watching the UK leave the EU from our bikes

087. Kinsol TrestleWe’re currently sat in the Cowichan Valley soaking up the news from the UK about the EU referendum.  We left Europe in January to go cycling and have a look at a few other countries to consider whether we’d want to emigrate. We’ve both been fallen in love with Canada, or more accurately British Columbia.  However, being away has also given us a chance to reflect upon life in the UK and we were actually thinking the UK seemed a pretty decent place to live.  OK, it has some downsides (the price of property and population density, especially in the south-east).  That’s now been put into a new perspective with over 50% of the electoral turnout voting to leave the EU.  We’ve not been following the news very closely, but knew that the polls were suggesting a narrow victory for the UK to leave the EU.  Historically referendums have resulted in nothing changing (such as the recent New Zealand flag vote; the Scottish independence question; the Alternative Vote referendum; Quebec’s referendums for independence) and we both assumed the same would happen on this occasion.  At about 2.30pm on Thursday we were sat in a café.  It was 10.30pm in the UK and Farage had admitted defeat.  Whoop.  We cycled down to our hosts, had dinner and then rechecked the news to discover that unbelievably things had changed.  Oh dear God. Continue reading

If you go down to the woods today…

073. Salt Spring wineryIt’s been nearly a week since we updated the blog, but as we’ve been using WarmShowers quite extensively to hide from the rain, rather than sitting around with only each other for company we have been sociable with our hosts, precluding much blog action. The most important news from this end is that WE HAVE SEEN OUR FIRST BEAR!!!!! Of course this is no big deal to the Canadians, but for us Brits used to living in a benign country with little to fear aside from our politicians, this was a major event. Continue reading

The Sunshine Coast: Part 2

043. Skookumchuck BakeryAfter our night in beautiful Pender Harbour we woke up to the sound of rain. Or rather water cascading off the tree we were camped underneath. Phew, it wasn’t actually raining, but it was certainly soggy. Before coming onto the Sunshine Coast we’d seen the forecast wasn’t great, but equally it wasn’t a great forecast for Jasper and Banff, which is the other area we want to explore. We knew we’d be getting wet at some point…. Continue reading

British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast

029. Bald eagleBefore we’d arrived in Canada we’d discussed the fact we would get need to remember how to cycle in the rain, something we’d forgotten about after getting wet for 35km of the 2,850km we rode in Australia.  Saying that, it was pretty warm in British Columbia for our first five days, then we woke up on Wednesday morning to the sound of rain.  That’s the Canada we’d been expecting.  Fortunately we were pretty sheltered under the trees and the tent wasn’t too wet, but by the time we’d started the ride back to Squamish we were getting pretty wet and quickly grabbed more clothes to wear. Continue reading

We’re in Canada!

003. Vancovuer from the Lions Gate BridgeWe’ve been in Canada for a few days now and are still getting over some jetlag (I seem to be sleepy around 1-2pm but wide awake at 1-2am – sigh) and adjusting to crossing the dateline on our 13½ hour flight over, arriving before we left. We spent a couple of days relaxing in Vancouver and since then have cycled up to Whistler, where the 2010 Winter Olympics were hosted. We have a vague plan of what we are going to do in Canada, which involves Vancouver Island and the Icefields Parkway, but our plans have a habit of changing so we shall see… Continue reading