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Seegs 11-24-2015 02:08 PM

Anyone Cycled across BC??
Hey folks.
I am slowly getting into the planning stages of my next trip and seeing if there is anyone who has any tips or suggestions that might help. My plan is to fly to Calgary with my bike and then cycle back home to Vancouver. I will be doing this in mid July and have picked out the route, which is Hwy 1 until Kamloops, then Hwy 5 to Hope, then Hwy 7 back to Metro Vancouver. Any tips would be greatly appreciated!


brcollette 11-24-2015 07:39 PM

Hi Seegs, while this is not quite what your route is looking like at this point, below is a link to a utterly amazing cycling trip. Maybe you could alter your route to mimic some of this fellows ride. This was a very impressive post that he put up:

alexcanuck 11-24-2015 10:43 PM

Absolutely you should take the old highway (5a) from Kamloops to Merritt, then Coldwater Road as far as you can before joining the main highway. Far more scenic and much less climbing. As a rule, anytime there's a smaller road that parallels the highway, often on the other side of a river or lake, it's worth taking. Beware the ones that take you away from the highway though, sometimes they're great, sometimes they take you up 1000 meters and straight back down.

Seegs 11-25-2015 12:42 PM


Originally Posted by alexcanuck (Post 683466)
Absolutely you should take the old highway (5a) from Kamloops to Merritt, then Coldwater Road as far as you can before joining the main highway. Far more scenic and much less climbing. As a rule, anytime there's a smaller road that parallels the highway, often on the other side of a river or lake, it's worth taking. Beware the ones that take you away from the highway though, sometimes they're great, sometimes they take you up 1000 meters and straight back down.

Thanks alexcanuck. I checked that span of highway out. Def, a better choice. Will do!


Shade 11-25-2015 08:31 PM

Yes about 100 years ago :) Biked from Hope to Jasper and back with my dad when I was 15 or 16. We tented on the side of the road most nights. Ate a lot of canned Irish stew and cream of wheat which I don't think I've ever eaten since or will eat again. I see the traffic out there now and it seems a lot less safe now to be out on the road. From Hope we took Hwy 1to Kamloops then Hwy 5 to Tete Jaune Cache, then Hwy 16 to Jasper, Hwy 93 to Lake Louise then Hwy 1 back to Hope. It was a grand adventure :)

mtnview 11-26-2015 02:29 AM

In the 1980's I cycled from Vancouver to Calgary. We first cycled into the states on the i5 then headed east at Burlington over highway 20 thru the Cascades then to Winthrop (a cool old west town) then highway 97 up thru Osoyoos then up the Okanagan to highway 1. The route to highway 1 was the best. Once we hit highway 1 and headed east to Calgary there was just soo much traffic that it took away from the experience. My recommendation just pound the pedals on highway 1 and head south into the Okanagan highway 97 then consider highway 20 in Washington State.

WestCoastPaddler 11-27-2015 03:22 PM

This past summer, my daughter and I took our bikes on a train to Jasper and rode back to Vancouver. We did the trip over 18 days with 14 days of riding.

Our route was through the Rockies to Lake Louise, Hwy 1 to Golden and Salmon Arm, then through the Interior to Vernon, Kelowna, and Penticton, and then to Keremeos and through the Hope Princeton Hwy. From Hope we rode south of Hwy 1 passing close to Cultus Lake, through Abbotsford and Langley. See attached image (yellow dots indicate where we stayed overnight).

We rode as much as we could off of main highways whenever possible (not often) -- some stretches of Hwy 1 are quite scary -- the 10-15km stretch east of Golden was probably the worst although Hwy 1 from Sicamous to Salmon Arm also has a lot to be desired.

I don't think I'd recommend the Coquihalla Hwy as it would be brutal. Huge hills and nothing along the way but fast moving, high speed, noisy, high volume traffic. I can't see it being much fun. The Fraser Canyon may not be a great choice either as it's narrow in many places but the scenery would be better, there's much more along the route, and there is way less traffic than Hwy 5. Our route along Hwy 3 was a bit sketchy in places but it was interesting and for the most part, quite pleasurable. Unfortunately, whichever route you decide on will not be ideal but I think Hwy 3 is the best choice (and why we took it).

We stayed mostly in Provincial and Federal campsites along the way, a couple of nights on the side of the road (one night in a free forestry service campsite), a couple of nights with friends, and spent three nights and had great experiences using the website -- a site that lists people who let you stay at their homes (either in their homes or camping in their backyards).

I've been working on a website about our trip but it's not quite yet ready. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.


CraigH 11-27-2015 05:04 PM

If you want to get off the highway and ride off road, the KVR and other rail trails are another option:

To get to the start and end you can use the Trans Canada Trail:

alexcanuck 11-27-2015 09:28 PM

Oh yeah, also take Othello Road for the final stretch into Hope, and do check out the majorly cool tunnels if you've never seen them.
Don't be too worried about the Coquihalla, you skip the entire Kamloops to Merritt section on 5A, and out of Merritt you actually skip a big chunk of the climb on Coldwater Road before joining the main highway 5. Coldwater is hilly with wasted climbing as well as needed elevation gain, but at least it's very pretty and non-highway. I would imagine you've heard that there's a few mild uphill sections on the route already and aren't terribly put off by the idea? No:crying:?

If the Fraser Canyon is interesting, check out Kamloops to Merritt on 5A, then Hwy 8 to Spences Bridge. My choice over Hwy 1

SarcasticMarmot 11-28-2015 12:25 AM

I've never biked from Calgary to Vancouver but I have driven all available routes multiple times and I concur with others that biking Highway 1 would be scary. Would you consider biking along highway 3 through the Crowsnest Pass? Its a much quieter road with less traffic and fewer elevation changes so I imagine it would make a nicer bike ride. I would recommend Highway 22 (The Cowboy Trail) from Calgary to the Pass, its a beautiful road, I have biked it and enjoyed it immensely.

Dru 11-29-2015 01:34 PM

If you don't mind biking the Duffy (stupidly long and steep hill climbs either way) the Jasper to Kamloops via Blue River, Hwy 1 to Cache Creek, Hwy 99 from Cache Creek to Vancouver route is another good option.

Grey Hair 12-17-2015 06:23 AM

My husband and I took the train to Jasper and rode back to Vancouver in May 2014. The most scenic and memorable sections were the back road portions: Little Fort (south of Clearwater) to 70 mile on Highway 24 through lovely ranch country, and from Clinton over the Pavilion Range to Pavilion. This road is unpaved after Downing Lake, and it runs across the Diamond S Ranch. 950 km in 10 cycling days and one rest day.
How much time do you have? Perhaps you could ride from Calgary to Banff, then Jasper, then our route from there?

P.S. More bike touring ideas here

Seegs 12-18-2015 05:09 PM

Thanks for sharing Grey Hair, Curious, roughly what was the train cost, which one did you use??

Grey Hair 12-20-2015 01:51 AM

Hi Seegs,

I recall we paid something like $120 each on Via Rail to Jasper, plus $25 for each bike. There are various deals if you leave on a certain day or book early, and we are over 60 so it's a bit cheaper for us. They give you a box that is easy to get the bike into. You only need to remove pedals and turn bars. This is simpler that the usual boxing process for air travel, and means you can ride to the station. It leaves Vancouver in late evening, and gets to Jasper in early evening, but no need to get a berth for the overnight because there are usually extra seats.

I think Rocky Mountaineer has taken over the Vancouver to Banff run. They are an expensive tourist trap and probably cannot deal with bikes.

If coming across BC further south, I think a Kootenay route of Creston-Kaslo-Nakusp-Needles would be nice, with two free ferry rides across scenic lakes, and two hotsprings. I've driven this but never cycled it, but I think it would be a nice ride. There's even a tiny (gravel?) road from just north of Cranbrook to just north of Gray Creek, which is east of Nelson. I think it's only open (I.e. Snow free) in summer months.


WestCoastPaddler 12-22-2015 11:54 PM

My daughter and I also rode Via Rail from Vancouver to Jasper last August -- it cost us $130 each (slightly more than Grey Hair's price) plus $25 per bike. We were told ahead of time that we'd have to arrive a bit early to box the bikes but when we got to the station (at Main and Terminal) they told us we could just roll our bikes onto the train, sans panniers (which we checked as baggage) -- it was nice not having to fiddle with handlebars and pedals when we arrived in Jasper. Our train left Vancouver at @ 8:30PM and we arrived the next afternoon in Jasper at around 4:15PM which gave us time to ride to the campground, set up our tents, and then ride a short distance back into town for some dinner at a restaurant. If you're planning to head out on the road early the next morning there are a couple of decent sized grocery stores in Jasper that are open until 10:00 PM each night which makes doing a grocery shopping fairly easy despite the late afternoon arrival.

A word of advice for the train -- sleeping wasn't too terribly bad if you're fine sleeping on an uneven surface (the seats don't fold completely flat, nor are are they long enough to stretch out fully) and it's a good idea to carry a sleeping bag with you as the train is quite cold at night despite warm August daytime temps -- makes sleeping a bit easier if you're warm. Something to use as a pillow is also a good idea. We also took some food and snacks with us for the train ride -- there is food service on board but the selection is not very good. It's a fairly long trip (most of it in the dark) so you'll want to take along some reading material, movies on an iPad, or something to keep yourself occupied.

Grey Hair, I looked through your site -- you've done some really interesting trips.

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