Sunday, September 30, 2012


For the past few weeks we've been following well-marked bike routes, often on separate paved paths. The terrain has been mostly flat, following rivers and canals. We've watched freighters and cruise ships slowly sail past us on the wide river. Every town has a dominating Catholic church and a cafe serving local beer. The weather has been a bit wetter and chillier than we'd like, but overall pretty pleasant for cycling.

Holland? Québec?
Bike lane in Köln? Or in Montréal?

Eurovelo 6? Route Verte 2?
This description of our time in Quebec could just as easily have been of our first month riding through Germany. The 'Route Verte' system of bike routes is impressive and as easy to follow as any we found in Europe. Cycling along the St-Laurence river into Quebec City seems a very fitting end to our bike adventure.

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Day on the Road: Camping

For the past five months, we have spent almost every day outdoors, and most nights too. Wherever we set up out tent, it feels like home.

Often, there have been so many campsites that we don't have to plan much in advance. In the early afternoon, we just check the map or GPS and pick a suitable distance.
Penned in between RVs
Many of these sites are little more than RV parking lots, so we would sometimes go out of our way if we knew that a particular campground would be of the small, family-run variety. These sites are more fun as we usually hang out with the owners and other campers.
Great little family-run campsite in Montenegro
If the only options are 9000-site bohemoths with no character, or if there's no other option at all, or if we just feel like it, we also "wild" camp. This means finding a spot for our tent, anywhere that's not officially a campsite.
Our first wild camp, along the Danube
In a vineyard overlooking the Adriatic Sea
We've slept in fields and orchards, on beaches and riversides, beside rest areas and monasteries, and recently at campsites that are already closed for the winter.

In an olive grove / Behind a fish-processing plant
On the beach of a Greek island
Typically, we keep an eye out for small paths that leave the road, so that we're hidden from view, but sometimes we've also asked for permission first. After some initial worries that someone will find us and make us move on, we've found that wild camping is actually more pleasant than most paid campsites. We have the views and experience all to ourselves.
Wild camping beside a small village, with other cyclists
Wild camping spots in Canada even have toilets and picnic tables (at a rest area)
With less than a week to go before we reach our final destination of Quebec City, there are only a few nights of camping left and we'll soon be packing away our little home for the year.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Fall is here...

After a seemingly endless summer of blue skies and hot days, autumn is finally upon us. The leaves are turning many shades of yellow, orange and red. Flocks of birds fly south overhead. And the lakes and villages are calm as most tourists and cottagers have returned home.

Of course there are the less-romantic elements of fall too... We have biked through cold rain, found some campsites are closed for the season and woken up to frost on the tent.

But, all in all, we're looking forward to cycling through beautiful crimson forests for the next few weeks.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A new side of Ontario

We have spent much of the past three weeks seeing friends and family around Ontario. While we have been visiting familiar towns and cities, it has been surprisingly different to travel between them by bicycle.

For four years, we studied in Kingston and our frequent travels to/from Toronto were usually a three-hour slog along the 401 expressway. This time, by bicycle, the trip took us three days, but our route took us through some beautiful landscapes. Prince Edward County (south of Belleville) is especially nice, and perfect for cycling - flat with strong tailwinds.

Similarly, we discovered some great Rail Trails (former train routes, now converted into gravel bike paths) from Kingston to Ottawa.

We are now going to head further off the beaten track, taking a very circuitous route from Ottawa to Montreal.