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OT: Cool places in BC?


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Hi all, here's a travel-related question.

If all goes according to plan/hopes, I'll be able to take about 3 weeks to cycle tour this August. I'll be departing from Vancouver BC, and I'm in lousy shape now, so I'll realistically probably only be able to go 700 miles or so.

What's 700 miles from Vancouver that's worth cycling to?

Possible destinations: National parks, good microbreweries (are there any in Canada?), interesting cities, ski areas with good summer activities/facilities or ???

Thanks for your suggestions!

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Hey Dan:

I did a trip from Vancouver to Calgary back in '95. I went with a group and the route was pretty straight forward. Basically, "Get on Canada 1 and ride east for 700 miles until you hit Calgary".

Riding on the highway wasn't nearly as hairy as you might think. Other than a few tunnels in the first couple hundred miles, there was plenty of shoulder to be totally comfortable.

There weren't really any boring parts, though, of course, the highlight was the days in and around the National Parks. Banff, Jasper, Yoho, and Glacier are awe inspiring. You could easily kill 10 days of riding just around the parks.

We went in early September and had *mostly* good weather, however, I believe we were fairly lucky. The weather in the Rockies can be unpredictable from what I've heard.

We did the 700 miles in 10 days. I was fairly fit at that time and didn't have any trouble endurance wise. However, the day we climbed Rogers Pass it was torrential rain all day. Of the 15 in the group, 3 of us even got on our bikes that morning. Up was hard in the rain, but down the other side was miserable. I thought, many times, that I wouldn't make the next turn due to wet rims and frozen fingers. I just couldn't work my hands well enough to really slow down...

Even if you're on a budget and camping mostly, treat yourself to a room and a bed occasionally. A real shower does wonders.

With a bit of hunting, I could probably track down the detailed route sheets we used. Let me know if you're interested.

Oh, one other thing. Don't try to be a hero and do any realy touring with a double crank. I was young and dumb, and my knees let me know the error of my ways. I would have given my first born for lower gears on some of the climbs.

Where ever you go, don't get so wrapped up in "getting there" each day that you forget to look around. The best part about bike touring is the fact that you see, hear, smell and feel a whole lot more at 10-15mph that you could ever dream of experiencing in a car. As the saying goes, it's about the journey, not the destination.

Enjoy the ride and post up some pics when you're done. Think about it in 10 years and you'll be amazed about the details you remember...



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The #1 is one route, the other possibility is to take the Hope-Princeton highway and then cycle through the Okanagan valley. You mentioned beer, but if you also like wine there are lots of good wineries there, you can kill a day or two doing the tours. You'll still end up getting to cycle Roger's Pass and Kicking Horse Pass as the two routes meet up somewhere around Osoyus (sp?) if memory serves. Unless you meant 700 miles round-trip, in which case you'll have to turn back after getting to the Okanagan.

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Or go up the sea-to-sky highway to Whistler, then North past Pemberton to the back of beyond (Lilouet?), then across to Cache Creek & kamloops. I think I'd prefer that, or the Okanagan route, to the main drag with all the lorries.

It depends what you like. Warning: there's nowhere decent to eat in Cache Creek.

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Thanks for all the suggestions - I really appreciate it, and I think I'll head for Kamloops.

Just to clarify, I'm looking for a trip that's about 700 miles one-way - the return will be bus and/or train.

Mark, thanks for the offer of route maps - I won't know for sure whether I can go or not for a few more days, but if it turns out that I can go, I'd definitely like to see them.

I cut my cycle-touring teeth in SE Asia, riding solo from Singapore to HK in 1999, so I'm not too worried about handling the daily grind of finding food and potable water and riding the miles. I'm a little worried about crossing mountain ranges (never had to climb anything taller than 1000 feet or so on a loaded bike), but hopefully I'll be in shape by the time I hit the mountains: I'll be biking from PDX to Vancouver if things work out the way I hope.

And Mark - I totally agree that spending time on the road is one of the most relaxing and positive experiences around. It's so liberating to be away from phones/e-mail/mail... Whenever I come back from a long tour, I'm a much more relaxed, friendly, pleasant person for a week or two - too bad it wears off and I go back to my customary cussedness. :-)

Anyway, thanks to everyone for the input and I'll post again to let y'all know how things turn out.

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