Cycling on the Trans Canada Highway
The coast to coast Trans-Canada Highway is one of the world's longest highways. As a major highway, there are wide paved shoulders along most of it that we can take advantage of. Cutting through major cities, parks, rivers, mountains, forests and prairies, all cross-country tourers will travel on it at some point.
Unfortunately though, the highway is not entirely uniform. Funding is provincial based and some provinces place less importance on this trade route than others. Some stretches have beautiful paved shoulders, others narrow and gravel-filled and others still are cracked up from winter frost heaving.
Construction detours and busy stretches
The best up-to-date information on local TCH conditions can easily be found during your tour; in nearby gas stations, from coffee drinking locals in Tim Hortons or the police. In most places a parallel, less travelled road can be suggested. This is especially true when approaching cities, when traffic gets heavier. Ask anyone for a quieter route in.
No Cycling Permitted...in some places
Some stretches have a very high volume traffic, the highway is divided and cyclists are not welcome:
- Highway 1 in BC’s lower mainland between Lion’s Bay and Hope [ see BC Bicycle Restrictions page ]
- Highway 417 in and around Ottawa [ see Ontario Cycling and The Law ]
- Quebec’s highways 20 & 40 from Ontario through to Quebec City.
- A summary of the regions that the TCH crosses can be read on this About.com Geography page.
- The Going by Bicycle page on the TransCanadaHighway.com website lists detailed route detours and helpful elevation charts so you can "plan your rest stops appropriately."
- A Macleans Magazine special - A Trans-Canada Highway we must take for granted.
- Visit our maps page for a TCH map - Biking Across Canada Maps.