10 Questions: Cycling Across Canada

km1000Canadian couple Scott & Becky left their home in Ottawa in 2008 to cycle around the world.

As part of their 16 month trip on recumbent bicycles, they biked all the way across Canada, including remote stretches in Newfoundland and Labrador.

In this week’s 10 Questions, Scott & Becky tell us about the highlights of their route across Canada, including seeing bear and moose in the west, meeting friendly people in the prairies and enjoying great value B&Bs in the east.

In addition to the 10 Questions answered here, check out Scott & Becky’s blog, Going East – a journal of a trip around the world without using airplanes.

1. Can you describe your route across the country?

We took a rather unconventional route across Canada. We started in Ottawa and rode east through Quebec to Rimouski, took a boat to Blanc Sablon, rode around the north-western tip of Newfoundland before tackling the Labrador Coastal Highway. From there, we rode across Newfoundland and a bit around Nova Scotia before the summer ended and we needed to escape the cold. The next summer we rode from Victoria BC, up Vancouver Island, then from Prince Rupert across to Jasper, and then across the middle of the Prairies – between the Trans-Canadas (highways 1 and 16). Finally, we rode across Northern Ontario turning east at Wawa to Timmins, crossed over into north-western Quebec, then south down the Ottawa valley back to home. We rode over 10,000 km in Canada.


2. What were the highlights?

Beyond the wilderness, open skies, mountains, and oceans – the people make Canada interesting. We were surprised by the friendliness of the people in Saskatchewan and loved the opportunities for wild camping in Northern Ontario. The people in Newfoundland and Labrador were also very friendly, but we expected that.

3. Which parts would you skip, if you were to do it again?

That’s tough. Becky didn’t care much for Manitoba – too many smelly cattle and pig farms and the people were not as openly friendly as Saskatchewan. We only had one bad stretch of road, and that was between Thunder Bay and Nipigon – Aptly named the Courage Highway – but they are putting in nice wide shoulders, so in a year or two even it will be much better.

4. What was the traffic like? Were you able to find quiet roads or were you mainly on the Trans-Canada Highway?

newfoundlandThe term “Trans-Canada Highway” is misleading, it really should be the Trans-Canada Highways. There are several different highways that make up the Trans-Canada system. We rode the Trans-Canada only where we didn’t have another choice (Prince Rupert to Jasper and Thunder Bay to Wawa, as well as a few other short stretches). On the stretches of the Trans Canada we chose to ride, traffic was almost always respectful – perhaps because of the giant reflective triangles we displayed. Otherwise, we rode on minor roads, often only seeing one or two cars an hour.

5. Common wisdom says you should ride from west to east because that’s the prevailing wind direction. Is it true?

Winds were mostly out of the north. We had very few days where the wind really helped us – mostly it was either a crosswind or a slight headwind.

6. Did you get a chance to cycle on the Trans-Canada Trail and is it a viable option for cyclists?

scott-canolaWe did not intersect much with the trans-Canada trail, and where we did it was a snowmobile / ATV path and not suitable for loaded touring bikes. For our shakedown cruise, we had fun following the Waterfront trail (portions are Trans-Canada Trail), which follows the shores of Lake Ontario. It varied from bike lanes on busy Toronto streets to single track under hydro lines.

7. You used a range of accommodation types on your trip. Tell us where you stayed, if you were ever stuck for accommodation and the prices.

We found the B&Bs in Newfoundland and Labrador to be a great value, ranging from $40-$60 per night including a full breakfast. When the B&B hosts are happy to accommodate a cyclist’s appetite, that’s always good value! Most of the B&B’s also had sheds (sometimes bigger than the house), so there was always a place to store bikes and hang up wet camping gear to dry out.

scottbcOn the eastern Canada leg of our journey, we stayed indoors more than we originally intended. We were still getting comfortable with touring. We did take advantage of hospitality when it was offered to us, whether that was a room or a spot on the grass, and met some wonderful people that way. We took inspiration from Kevin Kelly’s essay about being kinded: giving people the opportunity to be kind and generous. Only rarely were we brave enough to knock on a stranger’s door, but when we did it was a great experience.

By the time we rode across Western Canada, we camped and stayed with friends and people we met on the road almost exclusively.

8. Did you have any problems with bears or other wildlife?

In British Columbia, we had several moose and bears cross the road in front of us. We always stored our food either in trees or in some other bear-proof device (underneath the bags in the backs of bear-proof garbage bins among other places), so we didn’t have any trouble – although we did learn that hanging food in trees requires practice and a longer segment of rope than we were carrying!

9. Canada is a big country, with a lot to see. How long do you need to tour from one side to the other?

greatpeopleYou need a minimum of the full Canadian summer (starting in mid-May and riding until mid-September) if you want to see most of the country. If you want to avoid the main highways and have time to enjoy the culture, then it is better to spend two summers riding across Canada. People do the ride in as little as 10 weeks, but then they spend most of their time riding on the southern tier Trans-Canada, with few side trips, and don’t have much time to stop and talk to people along the way.

10. What’s one thing every cyclist needs to take with them for a cross-Canada tour?

A tuque (a hat) and some good bug juice. Canada is a northern country. It doesn’t matter what time of year you are riding here, there is always a risk of things getting cool for a week or two. In the summer either the mosquitoes or the black flies can get vicious (depends on where you are riding).

Thanks to Scott & Becky for answering 10 Questions and providing the photos.

Need more information? Check out these helpful resources for cycling across Canada:

If you’d like to answer 10 questions about a favourite cycling destination, read the guidelines and then get in touch.


  1. Joe
    3rd May 2011 at 4:23 pm #

    Excellent info. Thank you. Myself and two friends are going to do this trip at the end of this month. We are also raising money for Cancer Research. Your tips will help make this a success.

    • friedel
      3rd May 2011 at 7:04 pm #

      Glad to hear it Joe. Enjoy! I hope you have wonderful weather and peaceful riding the whole way across.

  2. Anonymous
    29th July 2011 at 10:56 pm #

    I am a 56 year old male possibly planning on completing an across Canada bike trip on my recumbent bike next spring/summer.
    I am also a sexual abuse victim, victimized as a child by my older sister who was 10 years older.. I am in process of writing a book about my abnormal life caused by early childhood sexual abuse..
    My questions evolve on how difficult would it be to obtain sponsors & also attract media attention as I would want to raise money towards awareness of all types of sexual abuse, not only child sexual abuse.. At the same time I would want to expose & sell my book & offer 50% of the sales towards awareness & also to pressure the government to relax the law of prescription which only gives victims of sexual abuse a 3 year window of opportunity to launch a law suite against their perpetrators..
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

  3. Rich
    9th December 2012 at 1:17 pm #

    So in Saskatatchewan & Manitoba, you had destinations that you knew about? I’m worried about where to stay if I do this. I want to do a Vancouver to Toronto route. I’m from Toronto.


  4. Jerry
    24th June 2016 at 2:11 am #

    Hoping on a bike ride Calgary to Prince Edward Island within the next 3-4 weeks by myself…First time for this and have very little info as of yet…Any info will help..

  5. K gray
    6th July 2016 at 1:48 pm #

    I’m off to Vancouver next spring – starting to train and plan now – in your experience what bike would u suggest. ?

    • Chris
      21st January 2017 at 6:32 am #

      Two wheels

  6. Chris
    26th November 2016 at 2:00 am #

    If your staying in Nipigon Ontario ask for the crazy lady from Nipigon. She takes in cyclist. In Saint-Vallier Quebec there was a cyclistes camping gratuit. With a number I called them slept in their backyard. They had a above ground pool, unfortunately it was a cool cloudy day. But was offered.

  7. cheap kyrie 7
    22nd July 2022 at 8:27 pm #

    I would like to voice my respect for your kind-heartedness for those who need help on this particular concern. Your real commitment to passing the message along had become unbelievably advantageous and have constantly enabled women just like me to achieve their pursuits. Your interesting information denotes a lot a person like me and much more to my peers. Thanks a lot; from all of us.

  8. off white
    29th July 2022 at 9:05 pm #

    I have to voice my respect for your generosity in support of individuals that require guidance on the matter. Your personal dedication to passing the message all over became extremely significant and has consistently enabled guys and women much like me to arrive at their ambitions. Your entire informative tips and hints means this much a person like me and a whole lot more to my office workers. Warm regards; from all of us.

  9. golden goose sneakers
    23rd August 2022 at 11:20 am #

    I wanted to send you one very small word to help give thanks the moment again on your extraordinary solutions you have shared here. This is really wonderfully open-handed of you to offer extensively just what numerous people would have advertised as an e book to end up making some profit for their own end, primarily considering that you could have done it in case you wanted. The guidelines additionally served to be a great way to understand that some people have a similar dream just as mine to figure out good deal more related to this matter. I am certain there are millions of more enjoyable sessions up front for individuals that scan your site.

  10. mp3juice
    9th October 2022 at 11:21 pm #

    This is a topic which is near to my heart… Thank you! Where can I find the contact details for questions?

  11. off white
    24th October 2022 at 12:15 am #

    I wish to point out my appreciation for your generosity in support of individuals who must have guidance on that study. Your special dedication to getting the solution all through had become really informative and has truly helped regular people like me to achieve their pursuits. Your new insightful guidelines indicates a lot to me and extremely more to my peers. With thanks; from everyone of us.

  12. kyrie 6 shoes
    24th October 2022 at 12:16 am #

    I precisely desired to say thanks once again. I do not know what I might have tried without the actual solutions contributed by you about such a problem. It previously was a real depressing problem in my view, but seeing a specialised avenue you treated the issue took me to cry with contentment. I’m just happier for the guidance and hope you really know what a powerful job your are undertaking educating some other people with the aid of your website. Most likely you have never come across any of us.

  13. golden goose sneakers
    24th October 2022 at 12:16 am #

    I wanted to compose you one little observation just to thank you so much once again for your personal remarkable pointers you’ve contributed above. This is certainly remarkably generous of you to supply openly all many of us could have offered for sale for an ebook to get some bucks for themselves, most importantly since you might well have tried it in case you desired. The creative ideas in addition worked as a great way to comprehend other people online have the same dreams just like my own to see significantly more with regard to this issue. Certainly there are a lot more pleasurable sessions in the future for individuals who read carefully your site.

  14. Inge Colosimo
    24th October 2022 at 6:12 pm #

    Is anyone here in a position to recommend Plus Size Wedding Night Collection? Thanks xx

  15. curry shoes
    27th October 2022 at 3:12 pm #

    I wish to voice my passion for your kindness supporting those who should have help on in this idea. Your personal commitment to getting the solution all around turned out to be exceedingly good and has surely encouraged some individuals just like me to achieve their targets. Your own informative recommendations indicates a whole lot a person like me and even more to my fellow workers. With thanks; from all of us.

  16. curry shoes
    27th October 2022 at 3:13 pm #

    I must get across my appreciation for your generosity for men and women who should have help with this topic. Your special dedication to getting the solution around turned out to be definitely powerful and has consistently permitted men and women like me to reach their endeavors. Your warm and helpful tutorial signifies so much to me and somewhat more to my colleagues. Regards; from everyone of us.

  17. golden goose
    3rd November 2022 at 3:24 am #

    I wish to express my respect for your generosity giving support to folks that need help on that subject. Your special commitment to passing the message along had been wonderfully valuable and have continuously encouraged women just like me to achieve their goals. Your entire insightful tips and hints entails so much to me and additionally to my office workers. With thanks; from all of us.

  18. Dunman Grand
    16th November 2022 at 3:21 am #

    I appreciate you sharing this blog. Much obliged.

  19. kyrie 9
    19th November 2022 at 1:50 am #

    I wish to point out my gratitude for your kindness giving support to those individuals that should have help with this important issue. Your real commitment to passing the solution throughout became definitely informative and has helped employees like me to realize their endeavors. This insightful information means a lot to me and extremely more to my office workers. Many thanks; from each one of us.

  20. kyrie 7
    19th November 2022 at 3:02 pm #

    I wish to show some thanks to the writer for bailing me out of this particular matter. Because of checking through the search engines and finding recommendations that were not productive, I thought my entire life was well over. Existing without the presence of answers to the problems you have fixed as a result of your entire post is a crucial case, and the kind which may have negatively damaged my career if I hadn’t encountered your website. The capability and kindness in playing with every aspect was helpful. I am not sure what I would have done if I hadn’t come upon such a thing like this. It’s possible to at this moment look forward to my future. Thanks for your time very much for your reliable and effective guide. I will not hesitate to recommend the sites to anybody who requires tips about this subject matter.

  21. bape outlet
    19th November 2022 at 3:02 pm #

    I needed to write you that very little word to help say thank you the moment again for the great opinions you have shared here. It is so extremely generous of you to make unhampered what a number of us could possibly have supplied as an electronic book to generate some money for themselves, precisely considering that you could possibly have tried it if you ever decided. The smart ideas additionally acted to be the easy way to be aware that most people have similar fervor similar to my very own to understand lots more around this condition. I’m sure there are lots of more enjoyable moments up front for individuals that see your site.

  22. supreme clothing
    19th November 2022 at 3:02 pm #

    I simply had to appreciate you all over again. I do not know what I could possibly have achieved in the absence of those tactics provided by you on that subject. Entirely was a very fearsome condition for me, but taking note of the professional style you solved the issue made me to leap with fulfillment. I am happy for your support as well as pray you are aware of a great job you are providing educating people today thru your webpage. I am certain you haven’t got to know all of us.

  23. air jordan travis scott
    1st December 2022 at 8:09 pm #

    I precisely desired to thank you so much once again. I’m not certain the things that I would have taken care of in the absence of the actual concepts shared by you directly on this field. It had been a real hard matter in my position, however , spending time with a new specialised fashion you managed that took me to leap for contentment. I’m happy for your service and thus believe you find out what a powerful job that you are accomplishing training people via a site. I am certain you have never encountered any of us.

  24. Tawana Minon
    4th January 2023 at 1:24 am #

    The difference is all the time. Appreciate your complimentary test

  25. fear of god
    21st May 2023 at 12:58 am #

    I needed to put you the little note so as to give thanks once again for the striking techniques you have shown above. It’s surprisingly open-handed of you to supply without restraint all a lot of people might have made available as an ebook to end up making some profit on their own, most importantly now that you might have done it in case you desired. The inspiring ideas as well worked like the fantastic way to fully grasp that the rest have similar fervor really like my very own to realize a lot more pertaining to this condition. I believe there are millions of more enjoyable opportunities ahead for people who see your blog post.

  26. graliontorile
    21st May 2023 at 7:37 am #

    You are my breathing in, I have few blogs and infrequently run out from post :). “‘Tis the most tender part of love, each other to forgive.” by John Sheffield.

Leave a comment