We have put two new drawings on the website.
You can see all those who have been selected so far here .
We have put two new drawings on the website.
You can see all those who have been selected so far here .
We are in Smithers today after a week when we cycled a lot (85 miles/day on average). We enjoy this small town at the foot of the mountains before starting the Stewart-Cassiar Highway which will lead us almost to the Yukon. Summary of the last week.
16th July: Jasper-Creek River
Pretty efficient for a morning, we are actually on the bikes at 6:15. The highway we cycle on just outside Jasper will have to get used to our faces, we have more than 600 miles to do on it. Pretty good conditions and one very good surprise; we enter into british columbia (we were in Alberta for a week) and therefore, we change the time on our watches: it is like we left at 5:15! We cycle at the foot of Mount Robson, highest point in the Rockies (12 000 feet high). 2 small things to mention: clever as ever, I understand I forgot one of my water bottles in the toilets in the morning (2 pieces of information being one too many for my brain at the moment going to the toilet and filling my bottle was impossible). Not the end of the world but it is so hot that I will really miss it and will have to manage my water resources carefully. Moreover, we stop in a very small petrol station to get some water and an angry dog high as my thumb jumps around and barks as strongly as it can. I do not change my way and result, it bites me. You would need a microscope to see its teeth so that was not bleeding all over the place (far from it) but I will be careful now, bears and moose are not the only threat. After 75 miles we stop on a rest area.
17th July: Creek River-Dome Creek
Mosquitoes all over the tent in the morning, it drives us aboslutely mad: they are everywhere. We jump on the bikes as soon as we can. Typical conditions for a boring stage of Le tour de France: flat, not much to see. Result: the first 2 hours are done at an average of 16 miles per hour. Then things start to get harder, much harder. It is not particularly steep but it is climbing all the time. Several deers next to the road, we are careful when going down, it would be a pity to hit one of them. On the way, we meet Dave from South Africa who is cycling from Prudhoe Bay (Arctic Ocean) to Patagonia. We will meet several people cycling the same route in the following days but it is pretty impressive anyway: 16 months on a bike… After 85 miles, we stop on another rest area with far less mosquitoes this time. 900 grams of pasta carbonara disappeared in our stomachs in a very short period of time that night.
18th July: Dome Creek-Prince George
The deal is clear: 80 miles to do and we will be in Prince George. Not much to highlight really. We cycle in the mist in the morning, the road is still pretty dull: long, very long straight lines and pretty hilly. We can feel the tireness: we stop to talk to another cyclist in the afternoon and I forget to unclip one of my feet (our feet are clipped to the pedals). I fall under my bike and look like a tortoise on its back moving the legs in the air…. And we are doing this trip just for fun! We arrive in Prince George in the rain and go camping after our first visit ever in a Wal-Mart: pretty weird given the way we have been living for 3 weeks. But we buy some extras there and enjoy chocolate, sweets and Pringles in the evening…
19th July: Prince George-Vanderhoof
After a late start, we head in direction of Vanderhoof. This is the worst day so far. Dull, dull and dull again! Heavy headwind, climbing most of the time and no paved shoulders, so lorries are overtaking very closely. We arrive exhausted in Vanderhoof after 60 miles just to discover that the campsite in town is flooded (funny climate…) and there is no way we go any further. Nicolas asks to the police station a spot to pitch the tent in town and we end up with 3 offers to stay. We finally stay with Deirdre and Todd. Deirdre is a biker and she will cycle around Slovenia in a couple of weeks. We have a really good chat with them and with Todd`s children. We fall asleep late but relieved after such a day.
20th July: Vanderhoof- Burns Lake
We start the morning with an amazing breakfast cooked by Todd: pancakes, fruits and jam, heaven!!!! Travelling is great in particular for human encounters. this one was very special and we will not forget it. Thanks again to you 4 for this great moment. We leave Vanderhoof in a great mood. Nothing special on the road. we meet 2 great Canadian girls, Elena and Beth on a rest area (we are like drivers, we stop on rest areas!!!) and Elena gives us a wallet made from recycled fruit juice box: environmental friendly and waterproof! Cheers. We stop in Burns Lake at the municipal campground. Very dodggy place with police arresting 2 guys next to our spot. Tomorrow morning will be welcome.
21th July: Burns Lake- Smithers
We know that, once in Smithers, the rest day will be for us. So 93 miles in the day (longest so far) and hop, job done. The road becomes sceneric again. We cycled a lot in the last wek but we have now finished with the dull part. Tomorrow, we will cycle to Kitwanga where the Stewart Cassiar highway, main road to whitehorse, starts. Pretty remote (no grocery for 250 miles) but obviously fantastic. Now, it is time to chill out. Take care.
Pictures of the third weeks are available here
Following a question from a pupil in Scotland, we decided to keep a record of the main animals we see on the way. So, so far, we’ve seen:
-2 black bears
-2 mountain goats
I am still looking forward to seeing a moose (less sure regarding a grizzly!!!)
We finally uploaded the pictures and videos of our trip. This is not as organized as we wanted them to be (yet), but this is a first step. Videos are highly compressed so that everyone can see them. If you wish to have them in better quality, please tell us.
Videos are available here:
Biking in the bushes
Pictures are available there: http://www.arctic2007.org/photos/weekly/
Hello there, We are now in Jasper (Rockies) where we take our first real rest day. Pretty long day yesterday (90 miles) with a long pass but we have now done 700 miles since Vancouver and we are pretty happy. The legs start to be fit and we really enjoy riding in such amazing sceneries. Tomorrow, we will head north west, direction Whitehorse in Yukon …… 1300 miles away!
Please find below what happened in the last week:
9th July: Three Valley-Revelstoke, 20 miles
We just cycled in the morning before stopping in Revelstoke to have some rest: we ate burgers and steaks like ogres. Nothing special happened (rest day by definition!) except the fact that Nicolas had his first puncture when we were eating (???) in a restaurant.
10th July: Revelstoke-Roger’s pass, 40 miles
a 40 miles climb, in the heat wave, with lorries overtaking us pretty closely, not easy to cycle in these conditions… But we see our first glaciers next to the roads, the sceneries are awesome and we know we are getting closer from the Rockies, so good mood in the evening once camping just below Roger’s Pass.
11th July, Roger’s Pass-Yoho National Park
We reached the summit of the pass first thing in the morning and enjoy the downhill. 4 avalanche sheds and one tunnel on the way, one shed in particular is long, dark and has a bend inside…. a wee bit scary! We enter a new time zone (in the wrong way, it is suddenly one hour later and the consequence is we will stop late tonight again, we are not happy). We stop shopping in Golden (as the name tells, it is a former town developed during the gold rush), it is more than 30 degrees in the shade and we still have a massive climb before stopping, it is hard to find the motivation, but once on the bikes it is getting better especially when we cycle under a massive viaduc currently being built. We stop in Yoho National Park where we meet a family from Ontario. The father used to work in fire control so he is used to deal with bears…. Good chat. Moreover, he offers us some fruit juice and a couple of beers, what more could we ask? we fall asleep as babies, the bodies start to be tired.
12th July, Yoho National Park- Mosquito Creek, 60 miles, average speed 11 miles
Just after the start, new pass (il looks like the tour de France) 6 kilometres with some part with a 9% slope, but we are so motivated that in 40 minutes, we are on the top and we go downhill to Lake Louise. Psychologically speaking, it is an importamt step: Lake Louise is the end of the first stage of the trip, we are in the Rockies and we will now head northwest to Alaska. After a massive lunch (that is the case everytime we meet civilisation), we decide to go to see the Lake Louise without knowing there is a 4 kilometres climb to get there. I am struggling so much, Nicolas is flying… My motivation is low but when I see a black bear next to the road, I suddenly go faster, do not know why…..The lake is awesome and we then start cycling on the Icefield Parkway before stopping in Mosquito Creek (no surprise in the name, mosquitoes are everywhere!).
13th July, Mosquito Creek-Rampart Creek
We stay in bed (well, in sleeping bags, which is a wee bit different) until 10 before hitting the road. There are glaciers, brith blue-green streams everywhere, we are happy and are cycling in a good mood. We meet Ben on the way, he is also cycling to Alaska so we stop together in the evening. We go to bed early, the plan tomorrow is to wake up at 4….
14th July: Rampart Creek-Jasper
I do not know if it is because it is a particular day for French people but we are absolutely flying, 90 miles in the day with a 6000 feet high pass (Sunwapta pass) on the menu. We finally left the camp at 6, saw an eagle and reached the Columbia Icefield. On the way down after the pass, I reached the record speed so far: 45 miles/hour. With all the equipment on the bike, I look like Don Quichotte on a mad donkey at that speed! We reach the 1000 kilometres (620 miles from the start) and are happy.
We admire the sceneries a last time and stop in Jasper where for the first time in a week, we meet a shower. As it is 14th July, we put clean clothes, use a deodorant and use the soap (hard to do when washing ourselves in lakes as it is bad for water resources!).
To be absolutely accurate, our soap is not a lavander perfumed one but a multi-use thing which also cleans dishes and clothes. As Nicolas says, it is closer from an oil for early twenties aeroplanes than from modern soap, but we can’t ask too much.
15th July- REST DAY
Nicolas and Jean
Hi there, first contact with internet for 7 days (we have been cycling on gravel roads in the middle of nowhere and camping in the wild most of the time). Everything is absolutely amazing. We are at the foot of the Rockies after having done more than 600 kilometres (400 miles). You will have a very detailed update in the next couple of days, we promise and we can tell you there are some good stories coming…. Hope everyone is in good mood. Take care.
EDIT (mumu) I put the translation of the french post that “LTonton” (the uncle of the two heroes) kindly did
We apologize for giving no news but till today, we had very few contacts with civilisation. This first week was an opportunity to give us an idea what next two months will be like. We cycled on highways, pedalled up sandy tracks, crossed rivers and saw the wonderful landscapes of British Columbia. We’ll send photos and videos asap.
2nd July : Vancouver – Abbotsford, 90 km/h, average speed (avs) 19 km/h
Departure 10.30. Everybody recommends Lougheed Highway (very large speedway) to get out of Vancouver but we’re a bit scared planning it as we’re heavily loaded. Panic comes with the first ride : our front saddlebags are so loaded that any change in direction makes them swing and pushes the handlebars from left to right.. We find out that there’s a cycle lane on the highway, which is not that crowded after all, and that drivers do pay attention to cyclers. It’s not that bad ! First true fright : we have to cross over 2 highway lanes to reach our exit. Second fright : the shoulder suddenly disappears and we find ourselves on the right lane. Then, we’re kind of sandwiched between the 6 lanes of the Transcanadian and the 4 lanes of the Loughheed Highway (see here, right in the middle of the two highways). Third fright : on a bridge, the shoulder is 80 cm wide, cars drive at full speed and, at our low speed, handlebars shake like mad. The camping where we had planned to stay overnight being closed, we start again at 17.15 having ridden 75 km. We finally arrive at 19.00, after 90 km altogether. A camping resident, Nancy, kindly gives us buffalo burgers, pecan and strawberry tarts. We eagerly swallow the whole lot in fifteen minutes. We aren’t fully aware yet that this is the first day or our two and a half months tour.
3rd July : Abbotsford – Kettle Valley Railway Trail, 109 km, avs 19.7 km/h
We keep on heading East. At the end of the morning, we meet a couple : Emma, swedish, and Scott, American. Both practice competition raid (Scott was a member of the US team). We do not feel under pressure at all !… Luck, Scott is Environmental Economist and Jean can chat. The day ends on a disused railwail trail which crosses wonderful gorges and tunnels we cover in complete darkness. We finally find a nice place where to sleep, next to a river. We’ve entered the land of the bear and our sleep is lightened.
4th July : Kettle Valley Railway Trail, 48 km, avs 11km/h
Departure 12.30, very sunny… Hard job, right from the start : 6-8% slope on a soft sand track. Jean’s anti-bear water bottle keeps falling nonstop and, once we’re stuck, it’s rough getting started again because our tyres keep skidding in sand. At the end, we’ve climbed 200 meters but are exhausted. We start wondering what we’re here for. The rest of the day will be nothing but steep slopes, soft sand, gravels. In the afternoon, Scott and Emma start ahead while we fix again Jean’s water bottle on his bike. While trying to catch up with them, we pass two bear droppings on the track. Nicolas kindly laughs at Jean singing to keep bears away, but does starts singing together with him soon after seing the first dropping. We’ll have climbed 1400 meters this day . Tough ! …
5th July : Kettle Valley – Nicola Lake campsite, 98km, avs 18km/h
Departure 9.30. After riding a while on a track, where we crossed a river carrying our bikes, we leave Scott and Emma who will follow the Kettle Valley Railway Trail right to the end. Tired of this track, we get back on the highway at the speed of 40km/h with a nice rear wind. We leave the highway after a 4 km downward slope, which allowed Jean to reach 65km/h (Nicolas, wiser, didn’t exceed 57 km/h), to take a small road towards Merritt. It’s hot, we lack water, the road keeps sloping upwords almost nonstop, it’s hard… One of our smartest acceleration was due to a rottweiler running after us. Jean takes advantage of one of the rare downward slopes to improve his record at 67km/h. We reach Merritt to find a seedy town of 3000 inhabitants. Therefore we decide to ride another 20 km to camp on the shore of Nicola Lake. This portion of the road will take place at dusk, with no shoulder, and trucks driving inches away from us. Nicolas discovers an instrument measuring Jean’s stress : his speedometer. Jean cycles at the speed of 37 km/h, on flat ground, no rear wind, even though we have done 80 km. We go to sleep worn-out.
6th July : Nicola Lake campsite – Douglas Lake campsite, 52 km, avs 16km/h
A comparatively short, but exhausting day (dirt track again under a blazing sun). We spend the night on a lake shore after crossing an Indian reservation. Life’s beautiful.
7th July : Douglas Lake campsite – Salmon Arm, 94 km, avs 19.6 km/h
Departure 8.30. The track is OK and we feel like riding along. While going downhill at more than 50 km/h, quite busy avoiding potholes, Jean sees a big dog crossing the road and we slightly slow down to let it reach the other side. We do need a bit of time to realize that we’re seing our first bear. It’s not a slight breaking anymore but a panic skidding which follows. From then on, we use our bear horns at each bend. At the end of the track, we stop in a general shop to eat. Jean notices samples of cakes to taste on the desk. He tastes one of them.
“-How do you like it ?”
Jean, who finds it a bit tasteless answers evens so “-Mmmh , it’s good.”
“-It’s for dogs.”
We then decide to leave quickly
Nothing special about the afternoon ride, but we’re put up by an ex bear hunter. We enjoy his conversation and laugh when he says that his main game is to approach behind a bear that’s just finished hibernating and shout “Bouh !” to see it run away.
8th July: Salmon Arm – Three Valley, 95.6 km, avs 15.3 km/h
Departure : 7.15 after waking up at 6 am. After 50 km of tarmac till Mable Lake, we get on a track. It’s 11.30 and, not being at all aware of it, we start a 32 km climbing on a stony track, in the scorching heat. The 3 km ride downhill after the pass is pure happiness. We’re camping on a lake shore, mountains all around, alone. We’ve started a week ago, rode 587 km (most of it on tracks) and we do appreciate this very moment, proud of ourselves.
We’re approaching the Rocky Montains
We arrived safely in Vancouver on Friday (Jean has obviously been lucky to be able to leave Glasgow). The last two days have been spent buying the last bits of equipment and visiting Stanley Park.
We will leave Vancouver tomorrow, heading east. We intend to reach Banff in the Rockies in the next ten days. The only way to leave Vancouver by bike is on the highway (that is obviously what everyone does around here). We have some apprehension but we are very happy to start this great adventure.
We will give you some updates as soon as we can.
See you soon,
Nicolas and Jean