Lots of rea­sons to ride in Canada

RiDE (UK) - - Contents -

Cul­ture shock

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.

Road con­di­tions

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.

Ex­pe­ri­ence level

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.

Must ride/see

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

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