going for a pedal.
After being back in Grand Forks for only 2 weeks I was feeling restless. So I decided to take the touring bike I’m building for a test run to see how it and I would fare before riding it around India next year. I decided I would ride the (KVR) Kettle Valley rail trail as far as I could on the way to Squamish to visit some friends. The day I had planed to leave was very smoky from the forest fires burning across the border in Washington and there was an air quality warning advising against strenuous exercise. But I decided to head off all the same. Sadly the smoke hung around for the next 4 days while I pedalled past what I’m guessing would have been great views.
The first day went well and I passed Rock Creek where a very recent fire had destroyed 30 odd homes. There was smoke rising from a few spots on the hill side and people cleaning up what was left from their homes as I headed north on highway 33 because the KVR was closed off.
The next day was a slow steady climb up from Beaverdale past rivers and lakes to Myra canyon. This popular stretch features 18 trestle bridges and 2 tunnels and would have had some amazing views if not for the smoke.
It was a nice easy ride down to Penticton the next day and the first town to fill up on real food instead of 2 minuet noodles that was my staple on this adventure. I got a bit lost on the way out of Penticton but finally managed to find my way back onto the KVR for a hot sweaty ride out to Summerland. My speedo was telling me it was 44 degrees but I continued on until it was time to setup camp for the night.
After 4 days of riding and bush camping it was time for a proper wash and a night without worrying about being eaten but bears or cougars. So once I reached Princeton I found a great little campsite by the river and had a well earned shower followed by a very large pizza.
I stopped in at the info centre the next morning to find out about the track ahead as I had heard that there was a slip half way along. They were unsure if I would get over and said the main road would be better but was very up and down. I decided the slip would be easier to tackle than hills and I was right. There was a good size slip but nothing I couldn’t carry my heavy bike over. I made great progress and soon came to the Coquihala highway and the end of my rail trail adventure. From this point on I was on the road.
After about 500km of sandy dirt track it was great to be on smooth tarmac and I was flying. The kilometres just whizzed by for the next 2 days. I passed Merritt and headed along a nice quiet road to Spences bridge where I met the busy Hwy 1. This section was the worst of the hole trip with cars and logging truck flying by and very little shoulder in places. But I soon turned off at Lytton onto a quiet, hilly road going to Lillooet.
The weather until now had been great but things were changing and the forecast was for wind and rain. After weeks of drought I had sort of forgot that it rains and was totally unprepared. I had a waterproof jacket and one dry bag for my sleeping bag but that was it. Luckily there’s so much plastic on the side of the road that I could cover my bags to keep them dry. There’s also quite a few old barns along the road so when the wind got too much for my tent I found myself resorting to setting up camp inside with the old farm equipment and rats.
Once in Lillooet I had a big breakfast in a café before setting off to tackle the Duffey Lake road. I knew this was going to be the hardest day of the trip with over 1500m to climb on my heavy bike. It was made all the worse by the heavy rain that started just as I left town. This was the sort of rain that you would have your car wipers on full and still have to slow down because you couldn’t see. By lunch time I was getting cold but didn’t dare stop as I had no shelter and would freeze. Just as I reached the highest point on the road 5km before Joffre lake I saw a large shelter used for the grit in winter. I was wet through and it was only 6 degrees, I couldn’t feel my hands or feet so I was going to stay here even if it meant kicking down the door. Luckily I didn’t have to, but as I opened the door to check out the inside I was meet by a guy laying on the floor in a bivvy bag looking back. He was a French cyclist that had just ridden the same stretch as me and was also very cold and wet. After changing into dry warm cloths and a few cups of tea I began to warm up and spent the evening chatting to my room mate. The rain passed in the night and the next morning was a chilly 13km steep decent to get me started on my way to Whistler. I spent 2 night with a friend here (Thanks Chris) before the final wet 60km ride into Squamish where I spent the next few days relaxing and catching up with friends. (Thanks Sean &Sue)
After 904km and 9 days of riding I was sore but the bike had done well and I feel better about my up and coming trip riding in India next year.