Long before the first pedal stoke…..I was planning and getting started on a dream come true – cycling across Canada!
Planning a Round the World trip can be a daunting endeavour – but if it is in your cards, I highly recommend it. It may just be the best thing you ever do – it certainly was for me!
Half the battle is getting started…what do you want out of the trip? how much time do you have? and of course, the dollars and cents of it all! There are plenty of posts out there about financing a RTW trip. (Nomadic Matt, Go Backpacking and Everything-Everywhere have good tips on planning, budget travel options and gear.) I won’t cover that aspect of my adventures here. This series is more about the voyage – from getting started and planning to dunking that tire into the Atlantic in Halifax at the end! It has been a number of years since I cycled across Canada – but it still remains one of my proudest accomplishments.
How it started?
As suggested in my previous post, it started when a friend from my Australian cycling club proposed a trip to South America. Ever willing to travel, I jumped at the chance. I looked into airfare and quickly determined that a short trip to South America just wasn’t feasible – a Round the World ticket would only be a few hundred dollars more. The hitch – I had to quit my job. I could not go around the world in 4 weeks and really accomplish what I wanted. Heavy duty research and planning underway, and my adventure was starting to take shape.
One year – what did I want to do? I didn’t want to waste a moment, and having to put my career on hold and rent out my house – I owed it to myself to make the most of it! Questions floated in my head – what did I want to achieve? Learn Spanish in a Spanish speaking country, do a major cycling expedition and explore the world and different cultures were top of mind. Lofty enough goals. How would I handle the diversity of countries, climate and gear requirements. Afterall, hiking and backpacking had significantly different needs to cycling and cycle touring.
Packing my touring bike and gear through South America wasn’t an option. We would be hiking to Machu Picchu and exploring museums and cultures – the bike just wasn’t part of that itinerary. Buying a new bike in Canada also not an option. I had already invested too much money and time in my setup in Australia, having tested out the gear on a long weekend tour (see post Lessons from Sofala about cycling in Gold and Wine Country). Thank goodness for family – I shipped my bike and touring gear to my father’s attention in Canada and set out on my South American adventure, knowing that my bike would be ready and waiting for me when I needed it. All up, I shipped 90 pounds of bike, camping equipment and cycling clothing. In retrospect, I could have used less – but sometimes there are lessons that you just have to learn for yourself.
I was travelling solo and had objectives beyond Canada to consider. Weather was also a factor – I had no intentions of cycling in the snow. I was in for a summer of cycling bliss, plain and simple.
Fast forward through South America, bike and gear collected from home, I flew to Vancouver. Took a little diversion to Salt Spring Island for some kayak camping and Canada Day festivities in Vancouver and then it was time to get started….trans Canada – here I come.
Join me in my “Cycling Across Canada” series. I hope you will enjoy the ride. Share your comments or ask questions. Love to hear about it if you are heading out on your own cycling adventures.