CANADA BY BIKE
ANNA'S INCREDIBLE ADVENTURE
7,200 KM IN 77 DAYS!
CANADA BY BIKE
ANNA'S INCREDIBLE ADVENTURE
7,200 KM IN 77 DAYS!

PLAN YOUR OWN TRIP

WHAT TO PACK

Are you thinking of going on a bike adventure? I'm sure you thought about the basics but there are couple of things that will definitely come in very handy. Consider packing these items that I found essential during my journey. Make sure you have:
  • Bright clothing - I highly recommend wearing fluorescent orange or green shirts and sweaters. You can also get reflective stripes and attach them to your clothes. Many highways, especially in British Columbia and Ontario have very narrow shoulders and you will be riding next to fast moving cars and tracks. They don't always notice cyclists till last minute and may not be able to pass you properly. Wearing bright colours will help with being noticed.
  • Flag - This simple addition will strike a conversation or curiosity and many people may invite you to spend a night in their guest room. It is always nice to sleep in bed and hot shower feels amazing. People often provide some food and even donations. Don't pass this opportunity.
  • Whistle - Should be attached close to your head so you can easily use it. This may help you to scare some wild animals that you may encounter on your journey. Wild animals get scared with loud and high pitch noises. Whistle may also help when you get pushed off the road and end up in a deep ditch, you can make noise to bring attention and let people know you are injured.
  • Well-equipped first aid kit - If you are on a solo trip you really have to be prepared for anything and must count on yourself. You just never know when help may arrive. I cover what I brought with me in another section, so please take a look.
  • Scarf or light fabric - You may need it for first aid (stopping bleeding or supporting broken bone). You may use the fabric to block the sun when riding through prairies and creating your own shade. Depending on the season you are riding, there might areas full of black flies which will get under your helmet and chew your skin. I used scarf to wrap my head which totally prevented the bugs from biting me. Light scarf will come in handy even for carrying things or using it as a rope.
  • Duct tape - You never know what can break during your trip and duct tape may just hold things together till you get to a city or a place where you can have it fixed. Good strong tape is a must.
  • Bungee cords - These stretchy ropes always come in handy even if you just pack one or two. There might be something you need to tie into your bike, you never know.

TOP 15 PLACES TO EXPLORE

Riding across Canada is a one time life experience and you want to experience it to the fullest! I suggest getting off your main path and visiting few incredible parks that Canada has to offer. Mother Nature is world's greatest architect. These are my top 15 places and the ones with stars is an absolute must:
  • Kennedy River and Lake, British Columbia
  • St. Leon's Hot Springs, British Columbia
  • Glacier National Park, British Columbia
  • Banff National Park (glacier lakes), Alberta
  • Drumheller and Royal Tyrell Museum, Alberta
  • Whiteshell Provincial Park, Manitoba
  • Panorama Amethyst Mine, Ontario
  • Ouimet Canyon, Ontario
  • Lake Superior Provincial Park, Ontario
  • Le Nordik Spa, Gatineau, Quebec
  • Quebec City, Quebec
  • Fundy National Park, New Brunswick
  • Prince Edward National Park, Prince Edward Island
  • Dungeon Provincial Park, Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland and Labrador

NUTRITIOUS PLANTS OF CANADA

Getting healthy and fresh food can be challenging when on the road. I found Nature abundantly provides us with nutritious and delicious sustenance for free. I selected 10 common plants that you can easily find and add them to your daily diet. For the rest of the wild and edible plants you can get my book and learn more. Make sure to read the following section on plants that you absolutely must be careful of. This will help you arrive safely at your destination. Now, see if you can find:
  • Alfalfa (Medicago sativa)
    • EDIBLE PARTS: Flowers, Buds, Young Leaves, Seeds, Sprouts
    • CAN BE EATEN: Raw or Cooked
    • FLAVOR: Mild
    • BEST SERVED AS: Steamed with other vegetables, added to pesto, sprouts added to salads, roasted sprouts sprinkled over sandwich, dried young leaves made into a green powder, tea from flowers.
  • Bunchberry (Cornus Canadensis)
    • EDIBLE PARTS: Flowers, Leaves, Berries
    • CAN BE EATEN: Raw or Cooked
    • FLAVOR: Berries are mildly sweet, leaves are mildly bitter
    • BEST SERVED AS: Berries can be served raw, added to yoghurt or dried and ate as a snack. They can be made into jelly and jam as well as various sauces. Leaves and flowers can be made into a tea, also can be eaten raw in salads or sandwiches.
  • Chicory (Cichorium intybus)
    • EDIBLE PARTS: Flowers, Buds, Young Leaves, Seeds, Sprouts, Root
    • CAN BE EATEN: Raw or Cooked
    • FLAVOR: Bitter
    • BEST SERVED AS: Leaves and flowers are often added to salads, enriching the flavor and nutrient level. Roots are roasted and used as a coffee substitute. They don't contain any caffeine yet the flavor is similar to the coffee. Flowers make great nibbling food on hiking trails.
  • Clovers (Trifolium spp)
    • EDIBLE PARTS: Flowers, Young leaves, Sprouts
    • CAN BE EATEN: Raw or Cooked
    • FLAVOR: Mild
    • BEST SERVED AS: Flowers are made into a tea or can be added to salads. Sprouts and young leaves are often added to salads or sandwiches. Flowers can be made into wines and elixirs.
  • Fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium)
    • EDIBLE PARTS: Flowers, leaves and seeds
    • CAN BE EATEN: Cooked or Raw
    • FLAVOR: Mild
    • BEST SERVED AS: Flowers can be dried and made into a tea. Young leaves can be added to salads or steamed and served as vegetable. Flowers make a nice garnish.
  • Heal-all (Prunella vulgaris)
    • EDIBLE PARTS: Flowers, leaves, roots
    • CAN BE EATEN: Cooked or Raw
    • FLAVOR: Mild
    • BEST SERVED AS: The entire plant can be chopped and added to salads, sandwiches and green smoothies. It can be also steamed and served as vegetable, just like spinach. Flowers can be made into a tea or also chopped finely and added to salads.
  • Mullein (Verbascum)
    • EDIBLE PARTS: Flowers and leaves
    • CAN BE EATEN: Cooked
    • FLAVOR: Mild
    • BEST SERVED AS: Flowers are made into teas or can be used to infuse oils. Leaves are also used in teas and make delicious teas on camping trips. The flavor is quite tasty and it doesn't even require any honey to make it more flavourful.
  • Plantain (Plantago Major)
    • EDIBLE PARTS: Leaves, seeds
    • CAN BE EATEN: Cooked or Raw
    • FLAVOR: Mild
    • BEST SERVED AS: Eaten raw and fresh in salads, stews, lasagnas. Leaves can be used like lettuce in sandwiches. It can be served as a tea, in tincture form and as an external compress. Seeds are soluble in water, expanding and becoming mucilaginous when wet (just like chia seeds). They can be added to shakes, and desserts. Seeds can be added to soups (as a thickener), sprinkled over salads. I also like to dehydrate the leaves and make them into powder. I add ½ teaspoon of green powder to various soups, and smoothies.
  • Rose (Rosa rubiginosa)
    • EDIBLE PARTS: Rose petals and rosehips
    • CAN BE EATEN: Cooked or Raw
    • FLAVOR: Mild
    • BEST SERVED AS: Rose petals can be eaten raw, added to salads, garnish food. They can be added to ice-creams. Rose water is added to cakes, drinks and even cosmetics. Rose petals can be made into wines, elixirs and tinctures. Rosehips can be eaten raw, and they can also be made into jams. They make delicious preserves. They can be also dried and made into flour which later can be added to pancake mixes, muffins and breads. Rose makes delicious tea both petals and rosehips can be used.
  • Shepherd's purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris)
    • EDIBLE PARTS: All parts, including roots, stems, seed pods, leaves and flowers
    • CAN BE EATEN: Cooked or Raw
    • FLAVOR: Mild
    • BEST SERVED AS: Leaves can be eaten raw and make delicious salads. They can be also cooked and served similar to spinach. Seeds can be dried and crashed into flour and later added to breads. Roots can be used as a substitute for ginger. The fine grey ash left by burned plants is high in sodium, potassium and other salts.

6 POISONOUS PLANTS TO BE CAREFUL OF:

Canada is full of nature and beautiful plants, however not all plants are meant to be touched. While cycling you may want to take a sudden break or choose a campsite when it is dark. Be careful when choosing a spot to rest. These plants grow in all parts of Canada and must be avoided at all costs. Familiarize yourself with what they are and you will have a pleasant trip:
  • Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum)
    This is the most dangerous plant in Canada! Do not touch it. The plant contains furocoumarins (psoralens) which produce changes in the cell structure of the skin reducing its protection against the effects of UV radiation. These can be released from the plant simply by brushing against it. Exposure to sunlight after contact causes severe skin rashes and/or blistering and burns but the effects may not start until about twenty four hours after contact. It can take several years for the skin to return to normal looking during which time any renewed exposure to even quite dull daylight will produce new burns. If you did come in contact with the plant wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and COLD water as soon as possible. Keep exposed area away from sunlight for 48 hours. If blisters develop you should consider visiting a hospital for treatment.
  • Hemlock (Conium maculatum)
    This plant is not only poisonous but it causes severe skin reaction. Be aware especially when taking a break from cycling or resting in shade. All parts of this plant contain toxic alkaloids that can be fatal. These alkaloids can affect nerve impulse transmission to your muscles, eventually killing you through respiratory failure. Touching this plant may result in blistering and burning.
  • Poison Ivy, Poison Oak and Poison Sumac (Toxicodendron radicans, Toxicodendron diversilobum and Toxicodendron vernix)
    These three plants aren't poisonous but must be left alone. They have a sticky, longlasting oil called urushiol that causes an itchy, blistering rash after it touches your skin. Even slight contact, like brushing up against the leaves, can leave the oil behind. The rash develops between 12 and 72 hours leaving area red, severely itching, blistering and oozing. When scratching the rash you may spread it to other areas on your body. Make sure not to touch your mouth, eyes or private parts at all cost. If you had a contact with any of these plants, wash the area with soap and lukewarm water, wash your clothes too. Apply Jewelweed plant juice, calendula cream or polysporin. It takes several weeks for the rash to heal. Depending on the severity of burns, hospital treatment may be required.
  • Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica)
    Stinging Nettle is a medicinal plant highly sought after due to its nutrient dense composition. However it produces unpleasant stinging rash when being touched. The rash doesn't last long (few hours to 24 hours), no hospitalization is required unless someone is allergic to this plant. If you like to pick it to make a tea, wear gloves. Tea will make your pains go away and help you to have a good night sleep.

WHOLISTIC FIRST AID

No doubt you will encounter unexpected difficulties that will require prevention, attention or after care. Be prepared for anything by bringing these essential and natural remedies along your standard first aid you can buy at the pharmacy.
  • Essential oils:
    • Peppermint - Apply few drops on your temples to relieve a headache. You may apply few drops on a rash to relieve itching skin. By sniffing it you may calms the nerves and relieve anxiety.
    • Lavender - Apply few drops on mosquito bites, sunburn, rash to relieve the pain or itch. It helps to heal the skin faster.
    • Jasmine - Have a few sniffs to relieve anxiety and trauma.
    • Clove - It is an anesthetic, antibacterial agent anti-inflammatory and antifungal agent. It can relieve a toothache or an infection.
    • Tea tree - Is used topically for various skin infections, fungal infections of the nail, lice, scabies, athlete's foot, and ringworm.
  • Ointments:
    • Calendula cream - It can be applied to the skin to reduce pain and swelling (inflammation) and to treat poorly healing wounds, rashes and leg ulcers. You can use it on cuts, bites, and rashes.
    • Arnica cream - It can be applied to the skin for pain and swelling associated with bruises, aches, and sprains. It is also applied to the skin for arthritis, muscle soreness and cartilage pain.
  • Natural Bug Spray:
    You may consider making your own bug spray. There is a very effective essential oil combination that works really well for 15-20. Since the oils evaporate you need to reapply. However this solution is natural and it is good for you and nature. Use this oil combination and enjoy being outdoor: Lemongrass, Eucalyptus, Rosemary. You can dilute them in vodka.
  • Homeopathic Remedies:
    1. Aconite - Great remedy for the first symptoms of cold due to exposure to cold weather. Symptoms it may relieve: violent fever, fear/anxiety, cold sweat, heavy pulsating headache.
    2. Apis - This remedy helps with swelling, stinging and burning pain. It works well on insect bites, ear pain/infection, joint swelling.
    3. Arsenicum Album - I use this remedy when
    4. Arnica - First remedy to be given after an injury or surgery. It relieves pain and stimulates the healing process. Arnica works well on bone bruises, concussion, sprains and strains.
    5. Belladonna - Amazing remedy for headache and discomfort in head area. It relieves hot, throbbing and heavy head pain. Works well on ear pain/infection and fever.
    6. Bryonia - Relieves head, joint and other aches around the body. Helps with constipation and dry stools. It can be used for dry coughs, helps with dehydration.
    7. Chammomilla - Calms the mind and the body. Helps with relieving diarrhea and abodominal pain/cramps. Calms the nerves and allows for good sleep. Helps with toothaches and gum issues.
    8. Coffea - It unwinds the mind instead of revving it up, and is most often used to combat sleeplessness and racing thoughts which prevent us from falling asleep.
    9. Glonoinum - Great remedy for hot flushes, heat and sun strokes. It works well on headaches and migraines caused by heat.
    10. Ignatia - First remedy to think of when a person experiences trauma, post accident or after receiving bad news. It helps to maintain clarity and prevent the anxiety and panic attack. It helps coping with grief. Ignatia relieves nausea and digestive issues. It helps with good sleep.
    11. Ledum - Used for muscle and joint pain. For punctured wounds, produced by sharp-pointed instruments or bites particularly if the wounded parts are cold. It is recommended to be taken after a tick bite.
  • Supplements:
    Vitamin C, B- complex, Magnesium Glycinate and Zinc.
  • Make your own Power-aid:
    • 2 L of spring water
    • 1 lemon (juice)
    • 3 tbs of raw honey
    • ¼ tsp pink salt
    • Directions: Mix it and enjoy
  • Healthy Nutrition:
    1. Foods high in electrolytes into your diet:
      • Banana
      • Coconut water
      • Watermelon
      • Avocado
    2. Foods high in antioxidants:
      • Chaga mushroom
      • Wild blueberries
      • Dark Chocolate
      • Goji berries
    3. Foods high in protein:
      • Organic fish and poultry
      • Green vegetables (kale, alfa alfa, spinach, broccolis, brussels sprouts)
      • Lentil, bean, legumes
      • Spirulina
      • Dried bolete mushrooms
    4. Foods high in iron:
      • Grapeskin flour
      • Spinach
      • Legumes
      • Organic poultry and fish