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Canada, Cycle Touring, Cycling Across Canada

Cycling Across Canada: Northern Ontario Double Century

Northern Ontario provided me with my second double century while cycling across Canada – 220kms from Dryden to Upsala. Needless to say, this was no ordinary bike tour day.

The beauty of Northern Ontario – photo credit www.ontariossunsetcountry.ca

The double century was not planned – I was loving riding through Northern Ontario – the scenery was amazing and the summer heat was stifling.  I stopped often.  The summer road works program meant that I had a lot of construction zones and even better – brand new pavement!  Rolling along these smooth, fresh roads was great – my tired body could really feel the difference as the bumps in the road were all but gone.

A stop for lunch was in order and Ignace on Agimake Lake fit the bill – another slice of heaven as I rode through Ontario’s Sunset Country!  The are is a fisherman’s paradise – not what I was looking for on my cycling across Canada adventure, but you could not miss the fact that this was prime fishing country.  I slowly munched through my lunch over looking the water, daydreaming of splashing around and taking a respite from the heat.  It was only mid day and the desire to push on and cover more miles overrode the beckoning waters.  Finishing off my lunch with what could only be described at the most refreshing iced coffee (surprising drink choice for me – I am not a coffee drinker – but the icy cold drink tasted so good…) and I was on my way.

That may have been my first mistake of the day – the cabins would have been perfect, but I pushed on for English River, after all, English River was my planned destination for the night and I had read that there was a nice campground in town.  The heat of the day made me drowsy as I cycled but I was not concerned – my destination was not far.  I stopped in at the trailer park/campground and knew pretty quickly that it wasn’t the place for me!  Can’t quite put my finger on it exactly, or maybe I was imaging things, but I knew that I would not be camping there that night!

logging truck photo courtesy of the web

It became a race against the setting sun – it would be another 50kms to the next town – Upsala.  You see – in Northern Ontario – there are towns and stops along the way, but by bicycle, they sometimes seem few and far between, especially after a punishing day in the sun and 170kms in the legs!  My mind started playing tricks on me as I raced along the Trans Canada – thoughts of rogue logging trucks wiping me off the road with no one to see me disappear!  It was quite the relief when I came across the Upsala OPP detachment – I had heard of a stranded cyclist  camping outside of a police detachment before – maybe they would allow me to sleep behind the detachment for one night – what could be safer!  Turns out I was terribly mistaken – I was was told in no uncertain terms to move on – too bad about the dark roads and logging trucks!  Luckily, not far up the road was a campground, complete with showers – perfect for wayward cyclists and drivers who needed somewhere to pull over for the night!

I pitched my tent in the dark, battled the legendary Northern Ontario mosquitos.  On account of the risk of being eaten alive by the mozzies, I opted to skip dinner and chowed down on peanut butter and jam for before falling into an exhausted sleep – a double century in North Ontario was nothing to shake a stick at!

Cycling Across Canada: Northern Ontario Double Century stats:

Start Stop Distance (km) Time Riding
Day 24 Dryden Upsala 220 8h 42m

About Anita Mac

The bucket list just keeps growing! The more I cross off - the more exciting new destinations and activities I find! I have been fortunate enough to travel a considerable distance over the years. My love of many things, including travel, cycling, kayaking and photography fit together like hand and glove. I have to keep asking myself....where to next? I am happy to share my travels and photography through my blogs: http://traveldestinationbucketlist.com and http://anitamacphotos.wordpress.com Hope you enjoy them as much as I do! On to the next adventure!


19 thoughts on “Cycling Across Canada: Northern Ontario Double Century

  1. that looks like very beautiful country, i have never been there

    Posted by terry1954 | May 9, 2012, 10:49 am
    • The country side is stunning. Very rugged and natural. I believe the waters are pristine for fishing – it is quite the thriving business up there. When I visited a tourist office, they even had brochures for helicopter tours to take people to places far too remote for a car!

      Posted by Anita Mac | May 9, 2012, 6:26 pm
  2. 220 km on one day?? Wow! I m glad you found the time to take some nice pics for us 😀

    Posted by wolke205 | May 9, 2012, 12:01 pm
  3. Great post – sharing a dark road with logging trucks doesn’t sound fun so glad you made it in one piece.

    Posted by bikevcar | May 9, 2012, 1:53 pm
    • Me too!!! As the night was coming and it was getting dark, I started to feel rather uncomfortable! I had and used my lights and had no troubles – luckily there was very little traffic.

      Posted by Anita Mac | May 9, 2012, 6:27 pm
  4. Doing 220kms in a day tells me one sure thing………….you have a good comfortable saddle ;0) The cyclist’s best friend.

    Posted by Frank Burns | May 9, 2012, 3:55 pm
    • I have a number of great saddles – but one important lesson I learned – life is too short for cheap shammy! I always buy good quality cycling shorts now – makes such a big difference!

      Posted by Anita Mac | May 9, 2012, 6:28 pm
  5. Great post! It sounds like a huge workout. Northern Ontario is quite beautiful though.

    Posted by theplaceswevebeen | May 9, 2012, 7:05 pm
  6. I have no affiliation with Avon, but their ‘skin so soft’ lotion works wonderfully to repeal mosquitoes and ticks. If you weren’t aware of that little fact before, you might want to check it out. It still blows me away that Canada has a problem with mosquitoes to begin with. You’d think it would be too cold up there for the little (pick a word). 😉

    Posted by orples | May 9, 2012, 8:26 pm
    • I have heard that and am pretty sure I have also tested the skin so soft lotion. Northern Ontario is notorious for their man eating mosquitos – they just have a shorter season that the warmer climate mozzies! Luckily they were not nearly as bad as I expected – this was really the worst night in all of Northern Ontario.

      Posted by Anita Mac | May 9, 2012, 9:55 pm
  7. All mosquitos must die!

    Posted by themofman | May 9, 2012, 9:45 pm
  8. Home. Thanks for sharing.

    Posted by antarabesque | May 9, 2012, 10:49 pm
  9. I grew up in Northern Ontario and always thought the cyclists heading through on the Trans Canada were incredibly brave to be battling the big trucks and narrow shoulders! 220km of that in one day sounds amazing!

    Posted by Lisa @ Gone with the Family | May 10, 2012, 1:46 pm
    • I think it is worse in the imagination – most of the trucks were pretty good at giving me space. They are, after all, professionals. The roads were not too busy. I think the vacationers with the RVs made me more nervous as I went through the Rockies – narrow roads and twisty turns made me more nervous! All in all, I had a great experience on the road. Have more hassles at home on my road bike!

      Posted by Anita Mac | May 10, 2012, 6:12 pm


  1. Pingback: Cycling Across Canada | traveldestinationbucketlist - May 16, 2012

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