Lots of reasons to ride in Canada
Hardly — all the home comforts are here. French is the first language in some provinces, so a bit of the lingo can be useful if they’re on your route.
Generally very good with the majority of routes blacktop and well maintained. Minor routes are usually hard-packed gravel. Harsh winters can leave potholes and other damage behind though, with lots of subsequent repair work.
You’ll need good road-riding skills and some European touring experience. Even if you’re not planning to hit the trails, some basic off-road training will also help when tackling roadworks or gravel tracks to hotels and campsites.
What’s it like to ride there?
The scenery, the wildlife and just the sheer scale of the place will take your breath away. From the Rockies in the west, through the Central Prairies to the Northern Forest, Canada is vast, with seemingly endless roads of all varieties — there is every type of riding for every type of rider in Canada.
Once out of the main cities, traffic is light though in the summer season, you’ll find lots of RVS. You also need to watch out for wildlife on the roads — buffalo, moose, wolves, black and brown bears for example. Fuel stops can be few and far between once off the beaten track, so plan your stops carefully. It’s the law to slow down to the posted speed limit through construction zones, and when passing emergency vehicles. Fail to do so and you’ll be fined heavily.
Unless you have at least a month or more, then it’s best to focus on either the west coast area — British Columbia, Alberta and The Yukon Territory — or the eastern areas of Newfoundland, Labrador and Nova Scotia.
Ride the Top of the World Highway connecting Tok in Alaska to Dawson City, a frontier town founded back in the gold rush days. Take a trip to Diamond Tooth Gerties or try a ‘Sourtoe’ Cocktail Ride the twists and turns of the Stewart Cassiar Highway in British Columbia and don’t miss the famous Icefields Parkway: one of the most scenic road journeys in the world See the stunning Cabot Trail on Cape Breton Island and then head to Newfoundland and the small town of St Johns and Cape Spear — the easternmost point in Canada For more remote riding, try the Translabrador Highway to Happy Valleygoose Bay or the Dempster Highway to Inuvit in the Northwest Territories.
Getting your bike there
If you’re going for longer than four weeks, or plan on heading to the States or to Alaska, use your own bike. The cost of airfreighting a medium-sized motorcycle into Canada is around £1500 one way. For shorter trips, bike hire is available but as the season is short, prices are high — around CAD$200 (£117) per day for a BMW R1200GS or $175 a day for a Harley or Indian, from Eaglerider (www.eaglerider.com)
When to go
The riding season is generally May to September. In September, you get to see the magnificent colours of the Fall. From October onwards you can get snow at any time.
"The sheer scale of the place will take your breath away"
Fuel stop on the Alaska Highway in the Yukon