Unicycling Across Canada

Hello Unicyclist Community

Next month I will be leaving for Ottawa, Ontario, from Victoria on my 36" to raise funds and awareness for Invisible Children.

As the plans stand, I’ll probably be leaving Ottawa either this coming Thursday or the Tuesday after on the train for Vancouver. I’ll be in Victoria for about a week to visit friends and family and get back into shape after four days on the train.

Invisible Children is a great charity dedicated to ending the longest running war in Africa, between the Ugandan Government and the LRA. Please check them out, it’s a really important cause.

I’ve been planning for this since about Christmas, and I’ve been training since the end of last month. I’m feeling good about my physical condition; if it weren’t for the Rockies I don’t think I’d train much anyway. I’m not trying to break any time records.

Things I’m working on:

  • Places to stay - Anyone in Canada want to put me up for a night?
  • Equipment - I've got a list on my website, please check it out and share any ideas.
  • Water - It's heavy, takes up space. At this point I've got my two water bottles (~600ml each) and I'm thinking that taking one 2L bottle will be fine for most days, perhaps two for days when I might need more or won't be around civilization. Thoughts?

I’ve got a 36" Bedford Coker from a few years ago. My T-7 is on order from unicycle.com and will meet me in Victoria. I’ve got one large sturdy backpack, which most of my stuff will go in; I want to strap as much as possible to the uni itself.

The other part of this trip is the online aspect. I’m bringing a “Spot Device” which will let me keep a live online GPS track. I’ve got a blog set up that I’ll be updating over the trip, and I am also bringing a video camera. I’ll be documenting it all, and actually editing and posting segments up on route. It’ll cost me an extra 8lbs or so but I want to do it.

The website is up at it’s temporary domain, unicyclecanada.adjacentfilms.com . It’s still very much under construction, but the blog is going at this point. I’m inquiring with several local hosting companies about getting a .ca domain for it and having it hosted. Does anyone have any suggestions of places that might be willing to support my by providing this service?

http://unicyclecanada.adjacentfilms.com (Adjacent Films is my film company)

Anyway that’s everything I can think of for now. If anyone wants to ride with me any of the way please let me know, it would be really awesome.

I would be real weary of using an unmodified T7 for a trip like this. You should get someone to reinforce the front plate for you before leaving on the trip so it doesn’t break. Over all I think you are a little unprepared for a trip like this since you have not tested out your handle system and how you are going to carry your stuff. April will be a hell of a time to do a trip like this too. Here in SK april could mean anything from +20 to -20˚ and the mountains could be interesting. Expect lots of snow.

I will probably be living up north so won’t be able to put you up for a night but I might know people in either Saskatoon or Regina that could depending on which route you decide to take.

I might be able to ride part of Saskatchewan with you but I will have to know dates and if I am working on the fire-line there is no guarantee that I can get time off.

Good luck with your trip and hope you have a successful trip! keep us updated.

Thanks for the reply.

I know I come off as a little unprepared. It’s not my first long distance trip - I’ve done many day trips, as well as a 250km ride to Kingston. I’ve done a ton of reading, research, and talking to people who’ve cycled it. I don’t think I can really be 100% prepared, but I’m feeling good about being prepared enough.

The weather is a concern. I’ve been watching temperatures in the Rockies for a while and the lows are staying above -10 so I think I’m ok. I actually like cold weather, especially for riding.

The T-7… are they really that bad? I’m not heavy, 138lbs. With the gear I guess that goes up a bit… There are a number of comments like yours around so maybe it’s something I should be worried about.

Best of luck!

I think you may be in need of more water for the days. Maybe not because you’re a lot lighter than I am but I go through water like it’s my job on long rides.
What are your plans for dictance covered each day or are you just going to go with how you are feeling each day?
Also are you just heading back to Ontario after you reach the west coast or coming out east? If you’re making you’re way through Nova Scotia I’m sure I can lend a couch for you for a night or two. Just drop me a line!
Good luck again!

I hope it goes well! Sorry I can’t help you with a place to stay, but I hope you sleep in relative comfort where ever you go. :slight_smile:

Crazy. I’m doing pretty much the same thing, though not for a charity, more just to do it.

I’ve got a 36 guni ordered, I’ll be bringing capacity for 4l of water, cooking supplies and a sleeping bag. I’m also using a seatpost rack and a t7 handle.

I was thinking of leaving at the end of april and starting from vancouver. Perhaps we should meet up or something :stuck_out_tongue:

nobody’s done this ride since wally watts did it ages ago, might be neat to have someone to follow along with, who knows?

I was thinking of doing something like this in a year or so for cancer research… I might be able to help you with hosting, PM me about it. I might be out of touch for a few days just so you know (in the process of moving from Quebec to Arkansas, and am still enroute with the UHaul ;)) Good luck!

magnustudios- best of luck with an ambitious trip. I did a similar self supported trip here in Australia -2000km from Canberra-Melbourne-Adelaide for a charity in my university holidays last year.

Here are a few tips that i got from my experience.

-Carry a spare tube (not just puncture repair kit) and METAL tire leavers- plastic ones were not able to take off my TA from an airfoil rim.

  • To save space in your pack buy a 3L water bladder. Makes it possible to drink while on the go without having to unpack. Also, never, i repeat never pass up a chance to fill up your water supplies.

-Get at least 2 good pairs of Cycling nics with the padding, combine it with a KH freeride seat for the most comfort. You will need to wash them each night with some antibacterial wash (otherwise you will get all infected and pussy)

-Be visible. I wrapped my backpack with a high vis vest, had a flashing red LED on the back. Also, i would suggest investing in a helmet mounted mirror. You need to know what traffic is coming up behind you especially on roads without much of a verge, or if it is really windy.

  • if you want free lodging, when you first enter a town go to the pub for a beer and usually one of the locals will be cool to put you up (or the pub if it does accommodation)- have some info on your charity ready so they know your legit.

  • i used the t7 without any trouble on my trip but others have had issues with breakages at the rail area. Its up to you if you want to reinforce it.

Thats all i can think of at the moment. I will attach some pics of my setup for you to consider. If you have any questions feel free to ask,


a hydropak is a great way to save space and cut weight, and i would recommend it, however another possibility is using disposable plastic bottles. they are generally available in any size you could want and weigh much less than reusable ones. they should last you the entire trip, however you can just get new ones if they happen to puncture. lately i have been doing that for hiking because i don’t feel like having to clean my camelbak, lol. however for a trip like that i would probably prefer a 2-3 liter hydropak, and a nalgene or similar bottle for hot beverages and soups, and they already have good markings on the side for measuring water for cooking. it is a nice idea to have at least one bottle with measuring lines on the side (you can easily mark a disposable bottle w/ a marker if you are not using a bottle with lines already on the side).

this is big. Especially if you’re using a 29er tube in your coker to save pedalling weight, having a ripped tube makes your patch kit look pretty useless. I found that the blue park plastic tire levers worked really well even on my stubborn nightrider rim/tire, and didn’t scratch the heck out of my rim.

This is also huge. I have a semi-frame pack which holds 35l, and has a pouch for a camelbak, which is great. You’re dehydrated once you feel thirsty, and I find that having something to sip on right there while you’re riding makes you drink anyways, keeping you hydrated and riding strong. It also keeps the weight of the water really close to your centre of balance making it feel much lighter as well.

I’ve put a lot of distance on a coker at this point, though not as much as some, and unsupported multi day trips are a different animal I think. I guess it all depends on how independent of civilization you want to be. You can save lots of weight if you don’t need to bring overnight gear, but it also means you’re trapped between towns.


In terms of water, one interesting thing I’ve found: lately on my training rides I’ve barely been drinking water. Even when I get back I’m not really thirsty. It’s strange because every other time I’ve done distance rides I can’t get enough water. Maybe I’m just not sweating with this cold spell we’ve got in Ottawa right now.
In terms of distance, I really have no idea through the Rockies. It’s an alien terrain for me. I’ll be taking it day-by-day doing what I can. After the rockies I figure somewhere around 80k/day. that’s 5 1/3 hours at 15k/hour, so maybe 6 or more with breaks. That’s what I’m using for my estimates.
I would really like to go the whole way out east. Unfortunately I’m not going to have any money after this and I’m going to university next year so I need to work for a few months for that. If for some reason I am able to do the whole thing your hospitality would be most appreciated.

Thanks for the tips! There’s some really useful advice there. heh, is the drinking age 18 in bc/ab/sk/mb?
Cool pics, by the way. Do you have a blog or photo gallery somewhere?

Hydropaks cost money… I’ll check them out when I’m in MEC, but I think I’ll be using empty 2L bottles for most of the water. Good call marking it for measurement.

Dave Cox:
What I did when I went to Kingston was keep my small water bottle full, and hold it while I rode (no handlebar or bottle holder). When I took breaks I would refill it from the 2L bottle. I was never dehydrated except for the day I ran out of water… refilled at someone’s farm who filtered out the sulfur treatment just before drinking… sulfur water is one of the most awful fluids I’ve ever drank, but it kept me alive.

Thanks all for the comments and support! It’s very encouraging.

Hey Dave, good to hear from you again.

Let me know when you are going to be in Sask, I should be able to re-pay the favor of a couch to sleep on somewhere along the way. It won’t be mine but it will be a couch. If you are staying south I could probably get you couches to crash on in Regina and Melville or if you are going through Saskatoon I could probably get you couches in Saskatoon and Bruno. Maybe Humbolt as well. If I am around I will even buy you a beer :slight_smile:

Have either of you checked out couchsurfing.com? Lots of great people on there that would probably help you out with a place to stay with no obligation to re-pay the favor or anything. I wish I knew about it before doing my road trip out east.

Wow!! Sounds like an amazing, epic, journey!!:smiley: And for a good cause!!

Are you going to post an itinerary? When you pass through Hope (small town with every highway possible passing through) in BC, 2hrs driving outside Vancouver, I’d love to watch you! I also bet I could get a ton of people to donate!

Good Luck!

magnustudios- here is a thread from my trip with some other good advice from experienced riders and links to some of the pics of my trip.

There is also a youtube video of pictures from my trip which you can find here-

best of luck, keep us up to date on how it goes,

yep, I’m pretty optimistic about using couchsurfing.com. I found out about it a few weeks ago and it looks really promising.

Thanks! I will be passing through Hope for sure. I think almost everyone who cycles the country does… speaking of which, do you have any ideas where I could stay a night in Hope? By current forecasts I might be there around the 10th or 17th.
If you can help getting people to donate I would be most honoured! I will be setting up the website to collect donations very soon, and putting up the press release when it’s ready. All that should be within the next few days.

That looks like an awesome trip. Probably was a very smart thing to get a support car for the first bit… I don’t think I can work that out but apparently I’ve got an enthusiastic checkpoint in Hope.
Just skimming your thread I can see there’s some good info there. I’ll be reading it tonight.

I did some math today… 4700km works out to about 1.6 MILLION 36" wheel revolutions. Maybe it’s better not to know some of the stats…

Your NOT going through the Coquihalla? I guess Bikes cant get there? Odd that you live in Ottawa and I never… ridden with you? Sorry I cant help with the… lodging…

Hope all goes well. Best of luck.

You…type…like William Shatner … probably would. :smiley:

Im hesitant in my… words…

heh, is the drinking age 18 in bc/ab/sk/mb?

18 in ab 19 in bc sk & mb

Hey UniKid2, I’m out riding every day until Tuesday next week (when I leave), if you want to ride with me. Where are you in Ottawa? I’m in the east end, Beacon Hill.
Coquihalla… as in Highway 5? I’ll look into it but setting google maps to “walking directions” avoids that road, which usually means cars-only… just checked and this map says hiway 5 at that part is signed to allow cyclists. I guess I’ll have to update my route.

I guess I can use naplam’s tip for finding places to stay in AB.