Posted by: Silver | September 25, 2011

Thunder Bay to White River

Thunder Bay to Nipigon:
Distance: 98 km
Ascent: 616 m
Cycling time: 5 hours, 33 minutes

Nipigon to Terrace Bay:
Distance: 105 km
Ascent: 1175 m
Cycling time: 6 hours, 45 minutes

Terrace Bay to Marathon:
Distance: 78 km
Ascent: 969 m
Cycling time: 6 hours, 50 minutes

Marathon to White River:
Distance: 81 km
Ascent: 588 m
Cycling time: 5 hours

Many apologies for the lack of entries recently, but between back-to-back days of cycling, gear problems and the almost impossibility of finding any kind people anywhere in southern Ontario, time has unfortunately been in even shorter supply than usual just lately. 😦 The journey itself has still been going well though, with some truly captivating scenery to enjoy as I’ve made my way around the north shore of Lake Superior. The weather has looked kindly on my cycling days, my legs seem to have remembered what ‘hills’ mean without complaining (too much…), and several drivers have given me very enthusiastic honks of support as they went past: even some members of that breed so often portrayed as so deeply intolerant of cyclists – truckers!

Not timing things quite as conveniently as last time though, Ranger unfortunately waited until just after I’d left the large-and-well-equipped-with-bike-shops city of Thunder Bay before deciding that his gear shifter was going to break. On the bright side, however, it was actually only the indexing that died, so in the end, my journey was only delayed by a mere couple of hours, while I rang a bike shop in Sault Ste Marie (the next town of any real size) to confirm that it would be no problem to simply friction shift my way over to them and get things sorted out when I arrived. And it was just as well that I still had access to all my gears, as the next two rides were back-to-back days of endless hills that added up to the greatest amount of ascent I’ve climbed in any two-day period of the journey so far!

It is certainly only a very small and select group of people that gets to enjoy the beauty round here on a regular basis – Marathon, with a population of less than 4,000, was the largest town I visited on this stretch – but what they lack in size, they certainly make up for in kindness and enthusiasm. Being on the extremely well-beaten path that everyone who is ‘crossing Canada for charity’ has to take*, I was prepared for the locals to all be thoroughly sick of seeing cyclists talking about some charity or other, but it seems that people did realize that what I’m doing is really rather different from the standard ‘cross-country’ deal that’s so commonplace over here, and took both me and SOS Children’s Villages to their hearts in a most touching and uplifting way. Southern Ontario may be looking like worryingly unfriendly territory at the moment, but the north has been truly lovely. 🙂

* the Trans-Canada Highway is basically the only road between Manitoba and southern Ontario, and there are apparently somewhere around 200 people at this moment doing the one-side-of-the-country-to-the-other thing for some charity or other – usually cancer, it seems…

The tiny community next to Nipigon is called Red Rock, and I have a sneaking suspicion I know why...

Nope, certainly couldn't complain about the views, even under heavy cloud

Turns out I wasn't the only one making a re-fuelling stop here, but this little fellow had his back to the view!

Just like being on the ocean. 🙂 There were many sandy beaches along the shores of Lake Superior, but here in Marathon, there were 2 km of beautiful multi-coloured pebbles instead

Just in case you're wondering: yes, it is entirely deliberate that I'm in this part of the country at this time of the year, and if I'm really lucky, I will get to follow the fall foliage colours all the way down the province 🙂



  1. Ah, White River, the location with the “Coldest Temperature ever recorded in Canada” sign. Next comes the big goose!!

  2. Hey, Silver:
    You’re doing great!
    Can you give me the names of some Towns you want to visit?
    Maybe my Rotary connections can help find a contact or two.

  3. Stunning photos, again. Many thanks for sharing such wonderful views.

  4. I’ve seen Ontario in the fall and it is just a spectacular blaze of color. Can’t be beat. Thanks for sharing, Tana, and if Ontarians aren’t too friendly, wait till you get to the east coast. Their hospitality is what they are best known for, I kid you not.


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