June 22: “Cycling across Canada” part 1

Bingo word: The great plains begin!

Yesterday I left the mountains. Today I am on the prairies!

So the question I’ve been pondering today is, What does it mean to cycle across Canada?

I’ve run into cyclists and non-cyclists who have been willing to act as gatekeepers. Here is what I’ve been told so far.

1. You are booking into a hotel…if you’re really serious about cycling across Canada you would only camp.

2. You planned your route so that you’re riding with prevailing winds. That’s cheating.

3. You aren’t riding the whole way on the Trans-Canada…so you’re not really going across Canada.

4. You didn’t start in Victoria. So you’re not cycling across Canada.

5. You’re not going to Newfoundland and Labrador…so you’re not actually cycling across Canada.

Now, (1) is clearly a non-starter. Where and how one chooses to sleep is irrelevant to whether one actually cycles across Canada. Push the line of thinking in (1) hard enough and you can come to the conclusion that real cyclists don’t even sleep.

(2) is also a non-starter. But it does invite the question of whether there are actually “rules” which specify what counts as cycling across Canada.

On the face of things (3) also seems like a non starter: which roads one chooses to cycle on seems irrelevant. Further to that, cyclists are prohibited from being on sections of the #1 in B.C. So it’s not even legally possible. That said, restricting cycling across Canada to the #1 would solve the crucial question of what “across” means. You start at kilometre 0 and end at kilometre 7821.

I suspect the purists who assert (3) or (4) would also balk at a weaker claim that I’m cycling coast to coast. For them the real coasts are on the respective islands that I’m not going to.

More tomorrow.

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