Posted by: Silver | November 23, 2010

Lytton to Hope

For a while now, the one question everyone has been asking is, “What are you going to do about the winter?!” And so now you know the answer: “RETREAT!!” I’ll say more about my winter plans later, but first, let me tell any cyclists out there about the Fraser canyon, including – as promised – the tunnels…

Before I set out on this section of highway 1, everyone (including the local police, whom we tried to tap for advice) was very concerned about my safety in the seven tunnels that blast their way through the canyon between Hope and Boston Bar, but actually, they were fine. The five straight tunnels all have a sidewalk, which is separated from the main carriageway by bollards and which is, I can now confirm, just wide enough for a trike, and the two curved tunnels have a warning light which you, as a cyclist, activate by pushing a button, much like for a pedestrian crossing: as soon as you push the button, amber lights start flashing above the entrance to the tunnel to warn drivers that you’re in there – actually made me feel quite important! The tunnels couldn’t hope to count as the most pleasant part of the route, but I certainly never felt unsafe. Two possible issues to mention though, just in case anyone reading this is thinking of cycling the same route: the sidewalks are only on one side of the tunnels, so if you’re going in the opposite direction, you have to cross over the highway to get to them. Not a problem on a weekday in November, but a busy summer weekend might pose a bit more of a challenge… Also, there are road signs planted at each end of the tunnels, right in the middle of the approach to the sidewalks: if you’re walking or on a two-wheeler, I’m sure it’s no problem to weave around them, but on a trike – well, it’s tricky.

Quite apart from the adventure of the tunnels, highway 1 up the Fraser canyon is not the most enjoyably cyclable road ever created: the shoulder is extremely variable – sometimes impressively broad and smooth, but more often pathetically narrow, badly paved and/or strewn with gravel and debris – and the inescapable twists and turns make for worryingly short sightlines at times. But the hills are gentler than the ones that were thrown at me on Vancouver Island (generally nearer 6% than 12%), and there are often two lanes on the uphills, providing plenty of room for less incline-affected vehicles to pass in. And of course, there’s always the scenery (except when you’re in the tunnels, of course…)

Overall then, it was an enjoyable day’s cycling, although I don’t think my cycle computer coped with the tunnels quite as well as I did: apparently – according to the great Garmin – my top speed during this ride was just less than 91km/h. This would be scarily impressive enough, but, cross-referencing with the elevation profile, I discovered that I apparently achieved this mind-boggling speed whilst travelling uphill! Methinks the lack of satellite reception inside the tunnels confused the poor thing a little…

The entrance to the first (most northerly) tunnel: as long as all the drivers behind you can read English, I guess you're fine!

A deceptive bit of brightness down the valley gave me false hope that the weather was going to clear up a bit...

... but at least all the rain made for lots of very pretty waterfalls



  1. Silver, shall we get you a cape? At 91km/h, you might as well be a superhero! 😉

    • Yes please! As long as it’s black, of course 😉 I miss my cloak…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: