Bikepacking, Canada

Mon grand sentier part 2

There is no reason to be scared, or are there? The trail is official, the government advertises it as complete, what am I afraid of? Not afraid, but just on the edge and trying to take good reasonable decisions. I carry way too much food and water, have clothes for all conditions and I packed a safety blanket and first aid kit.

I have already done a few bonus climbs (oups!) taking wrong turns, but nothing too bad. I had to check and recheck Garmin, Google, Trailforks, “the great trait” app a few times and always found my way. The trail is well marked, but the grades and level of difficulty are not that well advertised. I will shorten some planned days to make up for some varying trail conditions and take the time to enjoy them more.

I almost road off the trail into the river today (oups!). I was enjoying the reward of that 70km rail grade climb and going pretty fast downhill when the trail disappeared into the river. Trails have suffered this winter, there are a lot of land slides, rock slides and some flooded area.

I got to log in 2 days in a row of more then 130km on mostly trails with lots of climbing. It’s fun to vary the terrain and difficulty. The shorter more technical days were a different kind of fun and I would go back to redo these trails anytime.

Now that I am sitting in my hotel room and reflecting on the last few days, I realize how lucky I am to get to ride to all these remote places and enjoy all that amazing scenery.

Thank god for hotels and hot tubs! Don’t get me wrong, I like camping, but I love hoteling! After riding 130km of Gravel 2 days in a row, I think I deserve a bit of luxury 🙂

Bikepacking, Canada

Mon grand sentier part 1

It’s hard to really know what you are getting into until it’s too late and you find yourself pushing your bike up a greasy hill. It’s fun, soooo much fun! Awesome manicured trails, great climbs fun descends, amazing scenery, but some remote sections between Cultus Lake, Chilliwack lake and Silver lake were so difficult I thought of turning back, worried I wasn’t going to make it.

I told you, boring adventure, no search and rescue this time!

I now use a Garmin Inreach to stay connected and let loved ones know where I am at all times. Since I had no cell signal for 2 days in a remote area where I didn’t cross any humans, I was happy to be able to text my new plans to my partner since I had to shorten my route.

I started with 2 friends, but am now continuing solo. Angela having to get back to her family and Sigita decided to hit the pavement.

Honesty looking forward to the rail trail. I love climbing, but not a fan of hike a 🚲! My gearing is 40X 11/40, tried and tested ratio on Squamish and Swiss hills. The 18% grade for 12km defeated me ☹️

Back on the trail tomorrow and hopeful it is a bit easier and I can log more km.


Mise en garde

This adventure will not be exciting! Besides a few bonus climbs and discovery detours I will not get lost. 🐻 will stay away, flat tires and mechanicals will not happen. It will be a touristy visit of my country. All about 🚲 and ☕️

Very strong winds in Victoria, a tail wind to the ferry, but not mile 0 way. I had to go for my first of not too many touristy photos to come.

Not enough gravel for the first day, but still a beautiful ride to get to the ferry. It seems like the real start is tomorrow. Our van waiting on the mainland, where I have one last night with my partner spending it in a Walmart parking lot 🙂 It’s quite a contrast to the Fairmont Empress luxury we had the previous night!

Bikepacking, Californie, USA

I miss the coast!

The countdown to San Francisco has started, the signs on the 101 indicate that we are now less then 200 miles from destination. Even if we are still enjoying the ride, I can’t wait to arrive.

Yesterday was supposed to be an easy day, we had it all planned out; 100km from Klamath to Eureka have fresh legs for a longer stretch of 150km to Leggett, then 400km to San Francisco split in 3 days. Simple, but we had some issues.

The day started with a great ride through Redwood state park, but I pushed a little too much on the downhill and slipped, no big deal, hurting a bit 😦 Then head to the hotel I had booked in Eureka (Econolodge), just to find out it is home for drug addicts and sketchy people. We didn’t even stop it was too scary, even for Heidi who is the tough one. We rode a few blocs away, I entered the name of the next town in my super Garmin computer and we rode away as fast as we could, following the directions. NOT A GOOD IDEA! Garmin doesn’t want you on the freeway, even if it is the bike route. We ended up climbing a never ending hill of over 10km at grades varying between 10-20%. AAAAAHHHHHH….. I love climbing, but that was insane. We finally asked for direction and got told we would never make it to Fortuna taking that road.

We turned around back to Eureka and made it to another hotel (Comfort inn) with an amazing hot tub, where we could recuperate from that 140km day.

We saw a lot of poverty on our ride, but Eureka and Garberville were the worst. There were a lot of homeless people in the city and even on the sides of the freeway.

Today we spent 100km riding the 101 and an amazing 50km through the avenue of the giants. It’s not the first time I ride through that forest, but I still find it impressive to ride on there surrounded by these 1000+ year old trees. We made it to Leggett staying in a weird looking motel, but clean, nice people, hot shower and comfy bed 🙂

We will take highway 1 tomorrow, a big climb sitting between us and the coast. I can’t wait to see the ocean again!