Biking Because

"Bikes are the cars of the future" – Sean O'Neill.

Tag: British Columbia

Over, for now…


Beginning the Dalton Highway, Alaska

Being able to ride the entire Sea to Sky highway on a bicycle is a privilege, the road is nothing short of a scenic paradise. Anyone who lives in Vancouver has probably driven to Whistler, but if you haven’t continued past Whistler, on through Pemberton and up to at least Lillooet you are missing something really special. It’s a totally separate microclimate within the same relatively small region. From Cache Creek to just south of Lillooet is dry, desert-like landscape complete with cougars, rattlesnakes and very little rain. Small pockets of cultivated green pastures seem out of place and stand out literally, like an oasis in the desert.

Sea to Sky

North of Lillooet

North of Lillooet

North of Lillooet

The highway approaches Lillooet from the north, high above the town with a great view of the valley below. I camped in Seton Lake campground, just south of Lillooet. Close by is a park with breathtaking views of the lake itself. The terrain through the mountains and into Pemberton is winding steep climbs followed by huge downhills. Clocked 72km/h on one of those descents, not bad for a fully loaded steel touring bike. The road was quiet compared with the previous weeks, mostly tourist traffic. Trying to get to Vancouver before some predicted heavy rain, maybe I wasn’t as aware of my surroundings as usual but the journey from Pemberton to Vancouver was fairly uneventful. I arrived back in Vancouver accompanied by my own private internal fanfare, the best kind. I decided I should probably digest what I’ve experienced on this trip and condense it into some tangible conclusions.


Seton Lake

Firstly from my limited exposure, doing solo travel of this nature has reminded me of one thing: that people are inherently good. I experienced enough acts of kindness to absolutely reinforce that statement. I’ll jot down a few examples. Setting up camp in Mt Shadow park, the owner offered me a cabin for nothing. A bear had been around all day and he didn’t want me sleeping outside. People I didn’t know welcomed me into their houses. Strangers I met along the road offered me meals, water, cooking fuel, beer, fruit, etc. …. I was often offered lifts, tempting as it was I never accepted. The second blatantly apparent observation is not so positive. The total distance tracked from my bike GPS was 4561Km (about 2800 miles). I witnessed more traffic and development than I’d ever imagined, the impact of human activities on almost every inch of the most remote piece of wilderness is disturbing. The scale at which mining, logging and construction is progressing in northern BC is staggering. I won’t get into a rant about pipelines, cars, pollution, etc. What I will say is that change is going to happen for better or worse. And much thanks to anyone who took the time to read this. Here are some photos…….


Bridge over a creek, BC


Sea to Sky Hwy, BC.


Chilcotin sky, BC.


The Dalton Hwy, Alaska


Lillooet, BC


Alaskan Hwy, Yukon


Tetlin Refuge, Alaska


Gas Station outside Tok, Akaska


Cassiar Hwy, BC.


The Christians, Everywhere.


Cassiar Hwy, BC.


Crystal clear lake, BC.


The Hazelton Ranges, BC.


Dalton Highway, Alaska


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Meziadin Lake, BC.


Kluane, Yukon.


Atigun Pass, Alaska


Dot Lake, Alaska


Sandhill Cranes near Anchorage, Alaska


Coastal Mountains, BC


Delta Junction, Alaska

The Road Well Travelled

The Yellowhead Highway or Hwy 16 is the main artery from coastal Prince Rupert to central Prince George. Known locally as the Highway of Tears for its haunting past. Over the past number of years many local, predominantly native women have disappeared while hitch hiking along the road. Its hard to put into words the eerie feeling you get, there’s a tangible cloud of tragedy or loss that hangs in the air. Its pretty striking the number of memorials and crosses dotted along the roadside.

Sign On the Road

Sign On the Road

An array of huge mountains towering to the south welcomes you onto the Yellowhead, the Rocher Déboulé Range. The largest of which is …. Brian Boru Peak. I did a double take at the map, but sure enough there it was. A mountain in central British Columbia named after the most notorious High King of Ireland and like myself a Clareman.

Brian Boru Peak

Brian Boru Peak

Its big farm country here. I’m noticing for the first time isolated farm houses and fencing around fields, not the norm up until this point. Huge logging trucks roll by, a couple every hour. Massive machinery is transported north for mining operations on the Cassiar and further north. Industry is booming and that’s very evident. On through the Hazeltons and towards Smithers where I stayed for a few days. It’s a picturesque place with a smart, rustic downtown. Really liked this little town. I stayed with a doctor who is about the leave the profession and embark on a bike adventure of his own which will last a couple of years. We connected via the bike touring equivalent of


Farm country

Prince George, what can I say. Industry pumps a layer of pollution which sits just above the city clearly visible from my approach. Not much in the way of cafes or bars, its a busy town where people in their spare time seem to prefer an escape to the country. Stayed with my buddy Sean, I was glad of the comforts of home for a few days. The route out of town is the Cariboo Hwy, a straight shot from Prince George to Cache Creek.

Strange cloud over the Cariboo/Chilcotin

Strange cloud over the Cariboo/Chilcotin

From here down its all about big highways and big trucks, not conducive or designed for riding a bike and the wildlife is noticeable by its absence. This stretch of the trip is one which is very much touched by the industrial arm of humans. Next is the Sea to Sky Highway where I’ll welcome narrow roads, significantly less traffic and the route to Vancouver …. nearing the end.