Across Canada by bike-the trip of a lifetime

  • Sep. 8, 2004 2:00 p.m.

By Mariah McCooey–Port Clements resident Nancy O’Higgins just completed a feat most of us put into the ‘impossible!’ or ‘insane!’ category – 7,800 kilometres across Canada under human power – by bicycle.
“It was the trip of a lifetime!” she told the Observer on Monday, from a payphone on Lasqueti Island, where she and her husband also have a home. She will be back on the islands in a few weeks, she said.
The group of fourteen people (with an average age of 63) took 81 days to get from the west coast to St. John’s, Newfoundland, camping and staying at university residences along the way. They finished the trip just last week, after starting in June. A van accompanied them with supplies and food. She said that she didn’t mind the camping at all – and joked she now prefers to sleep on her Therm-a-rest on the floor. “My husband says that it’ll take a while to re-civilize me,” she said.
Ms O’Higgins said that the bonding experience was especially memorable, starting out as total strangers, and ending up with stronger bonds than family. The oldest person in the group celebrated his 77th birthday while on the trip, and apparently had no trouble keeping up.
Ms O’Higgins didn’t get a single flat tire until they arrived in St. John’s, but said that she ran into several other mechanical problems. The biggest day, she said, was 157 kilometres, but the group tried to take one day off per week – which didn’t always work out, depending on the distance to their next destination.
As part of the training for the trip, she said she biked over 2,000 kilometres on the islands, from Port Clements to Tow Hill and back, and from Port to Charlotte and back, over and over. She said it was good training, except that it’s ‘pretty flat’ here.
“The Rockies didn’t matter,” she said, in terms of difficulty, what really slowed them down was not the hills but the headwinds, which were a real challenge. “The prevailing winds are from west to east,” she said, but it turned out that they were head-on into the wind for much of the journey.
Is she ready to hunker down and relax for awhile? Not likely. “I want to do a trip from the top to the bottom of Britain,” she said, “or maybe from here to Mexico!” She also plans to cycle from Lasqueti to Port Hardy, then take the ferry to the islands, arriving back in Port Clements in a couple of weeks.

Just Posted

Gwaii Haanas Report: Talking About Everything plan

By Victoria Leslie A dinner of crab legs and clam fritters, halibut… Continue reading

CHN seeks injunction against logging at Collison Point

Weeks after ordering an end to a blockade there, the B.C. Supreme… Continue reading

Marijuana to be legal in Canada Oct. 17: Trudeau

Prime Minister made the announcement during question period in the House of Commons

Talking toads on Haida Gwaii

Researcher to share the latest on protecting Haida Gwaii’s only native amphibian

Divided worldviews at play in debate over ocean fertilization

New study looks at attitudes that shaped reaction to controversial experiment off Haida Gwaii

In reversal, Trump signs executive order to stop family separation

President had been wrongly insisting he had no choice but to separate families apprehended at border

B.C. ‘will be ready’ for marijuana legalization

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth says some stores open by Oct. 17

UPDATED: Polygamous wife appeals conviction in B.C. child bride case

Emily Blackmore was found guilty of taking her underage daughter to U.S. to marry church leader

B.C. sets deadline for Indigenous salmon farm consent

All 120 operations will need agreements by 2022, province says

Family of 4 from Oregon believed to be missing in northern B.C.

RCMP, Search and Rescue crews searching area where vehicle was abandoned

B.C. creates public registry to track real estate owners

The first registry of its kind in Canada aims to end the hidden property ownership

Police watchdog called to Kelowna after car destroyed in crash

A motor vehicle incident has closed Highway 33 in both directions

BC SPCA receives 400 reports of dogs in hot cars so far this year

Society is again urging people to leave their pets at home if they can’t keep them safe in the heat

8 B.C. communities rank as the friendliest in Canada

Eight B.C. communities can claim they are the friendliest in the country.

Most Read