Grand Gaspé Cycling Tour

Gaspe logoThis is our most ambitious cycling tour yet. It is likely to be a once in a lifetime trip, given its extensive duration.

Now that we are both retired, we decided to take a trip that would not be possible within the narrow confines of vacation allowances in the working world. The general plan for this trip is to cycle 2,000 miles and we have allowed 2 months in which to do it – all of August and September 2013. That’s a generous time frame, even at our planned pace of 60 miles a day with one rest day per week. So there is plenty of opportunity for detours, longer stopovers at interesting places and sightseeing. And even our end date is negotiable.

We plan to follow a circle route in the Canadian Maritimes, hugging the coast as much as possible. The first week we will cycle up the coast of Maine, accompanied Gaspe V3by our son, Carl, and my high school friend, Myra. That much is scripted, with daily destinations predetermined and motel reservations already confirmed. At the end of that week, Rich and I will enter New Brunswick, Canada and continue cycling. We have a basic route mapped out, but will make it up as we go along. Already we are planning a detour over to Grand Manan Island, and possibly taking the ferry to Nova Scotia.

For lodging we will combine small inexpensive motels with camping and Warm Showers, an organization for cyclists who host other cyclists. We are bringing just enough camping gear to manage in the event we are between towns when night falls – the ultimate in flexibility. Meals will be in restaurants or food purchases as we travel, in order to limit what we need to carry.

It’s sure to be an adventure, and both Rich and I will blog along the way. With such a lengthy trip, we will spare our readers the daily details and instead focus on periodic updates to convey the highlights and memorable experiences from our travels. We hope you will follow along with us!

Here are the progress reports from our trip:
Pre-trip Announcement: Gaspé – The Ultimate Cycling Tour
We’re leaving!: Gaspé Prelude
An introduction to the cyclists: Grand Gaspé Tour – Cast of Characters

Week 1 – Maine
The cycling tour begins: Off with a Bang!
The first half of Maine: Hugging the Coast of Maine
Hiking in Acadia National Park: Acadia Rain or Shine
Cycling 75 miles in the rain: A Soggy Ride
Reflecting on week 1 with our Maine Cycling Buddies: From a Cycling Foursome to a Duo

Week 2 – New Brunswick and Nova Scotia
Touring Grand Manan by car: The Angels of Grand Manan
Daily cycling has its challenges: The Ups and Downs of Cycle Touring
Our intro to Nova Scotia: Hello Nova Scotia!
Cycling without gear for a change: Day Tripping
Here’s what our typical day is like: A Day in the Life of Cyclists

Week 3 – Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick
The beauty of PEI: Loving Prince Edward Island
Wonderful cycling trails on PEI: PEI – A Haven for Cyclists
My take on what it’s like: The Realities of Cycle Touring
How are we doing after 1,000 miles?: 1,000 Mile Check-up
Dinner with a lobster fisherman: Lobster – From boat to our dinner plates

Week 4 – New Brunswick coast
Cycling up the New Brunswick coast: Following the Acadian Coastal Drive
Some background on the French in the Maritimes: A little Acadian history
Spending a day in history: The Acadian Village
Thoughts about heading out the Gaspé Peninsula: Looking forward to Gaspé
Our day took an unexpected turn!: Hidden Adventures

Week 5 – Gaspé Peninsula
Carefree cycling while it lasts: Honeymoon Period in Gaspésie
Rich and I have different styles: Vive la Difference!
Seeing the sights and avoiding hills too!: Percé – A Jewel in Gaspésie
Reaching the namesake of our tour: We Made it to Gaspé!
The big hill that defeated me: W-A-L-K is not a Four Letter Word
The weather and terrain have changed: Is this the same trip?

Week 6 – The St. Lawrence Seaway
Leaving the hills behind: What a Gift!
Things sometimes go awry: Misadventures and Happy Endings
Wearing out our electronics, but not our bodies: Equipment Failures
What a difference a day makes: A Tale of Two Days
Too cold and rainy to continue: We Bailed!
Trying to figure out the weather: Forecasts and Fickle Weather
Seeing the sights up close: The View from the Seat of my Bicycle

Week 7 – Quebec City and South
Traveling light: So What’s in those Panniers Anyway?
A chance meeting 1,000 miles ago: Old Quebec with Local Cyclists
Heading south from Quebec Farewell Seacoast
Putting our French to good use: Parlez Vous Francais?
Returning to the USA: Uphill to the Border and Down
Energy needed for the trip: Eat, Eat, Eat
Warm, sunny cycling weather: Summer into Fall in New Hampshire

Week 8 Vermont and New Hampshire
Saturday activity: Vermont Village Life
Not wanting it to end: Slowing Things Down
Rails to Trails through the mountains: A Day Without Cars
Cycling the last few miles: The Final Stretch
A range of emotions at the end of the trip: The Finish Line

Post-trip wrap-up
Fun facts and figures:  Gaspé Tour by the Numbers
Staying in host homes:   A Tribune to Warm Showers
Writing as we cycled:  Blogging on Two Wheels
It’s good to be home:  Home at Last
In memory of a gracious host:  Farewell to a friend and cyclist

Here are additional posts about our trip:

Molly’s blog posts – All blog posts related to the Grand Gaspé Cycling Tour, including those leading up to the trip and after thoughts.

Rich’s view of the trip – He posts to the Crazy Guy on a Bike website, which is a widely used portal for long distance cycling trips. Scroll down to page to Table of Contents to find the individual posts.

One thought on “Grand Gaspé Cycling Tour

  1. Hello,
    I happened upon your blog and Rich’s blog yesterday and really enjoyed reading them both. My family is planning a similar trip to Quebec, PEI, Cape Breton Island and down Nova Scotia with the starting and finishing stop being Schenectady, NY. I will be traveling with my husband and 2 kids, ages 12 and 16 during the months of August and September. I was wondering if I could ask you several questions about weather, hotels, costs, shoes, and handlebars – although I am sure I will come up with several other topics. My email address is Lsheats@gmail.com. I would love to hear from you.
    Thanks,
    Leslie

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