The Cross Canada Project
by Mike Beauchamp
We recently watched Mike Beauchamp’s documentary, The Cross Canada Project, about his 2009 solo bike odyssey. For anyone who thinks Canada is too big to cycle across, this film will prove you wrong. Or, if you are one of the crazies planning for a super long-distance tour, then this video will give you an idea of what life is like being stuck to your saddle for three or four long months.
Mike’s adventure begins when he dips his two wheeler in at Tofino, British Columbia and begins eastward. While watching Mike’s progress through the mountains and then the prairies, one thing was very apparent – Mike is a very friendly, personal guy. He has no problem stopping other riders on the road, sharing stories or asking if he can pitch his tent in someone’s backyard. It certainly doesn’t look as though anyone was ever put off by his very impressive playoff beard!
The documentary moves to a personal level when, in one scene Mike talks about how shitty he is feeling and the changes going on inside his body, while sitting on the can.
It was interesting to see how he attached his waterproof camera to the bike (with an extendable pole) and then how he designed an on/off switch for it, attached to his handlebar for easy access. Many times throughout his trip, the rain is pounding down hard. But Mike’s equipment appears to hold up just fine – except for that one shot when the camera gets blown over after he had just ridden past.
While seeing the prep work on the video equipment was great, I would have liked to have seen more of how Mike prepared for the trip – the type of training he did, the research and map planning. Although, perhaps there was a time restraint on how much material he could put in to the 62 minute film. The DVD does contain an extra footage section where in one clip, Mike explains what he eats on a typical day. In another clip, his good-natured attitude gains himself (and camera) access to a very posh 5-star RV – two different travelling styles indeed! The extra scenes are some of the most entertaining scenes of the documentary, so be sure not to skip them.
While one can read about the journey or find pictures on several cross-Canada blogs and websites, it was great to get a different perspective by seeing it firsthand in video. Mike’s determination to get across the country (even though it was apparent not everyone, including himself, thought he could do it) was impressive and watching his film is inspiring. So if you are considering doing this trip or touring any part of Canada, be sure to check out Mike’s website where you can watch the documentary online, or order the DVD to get the full experience (plus the extra scenes).