A weekend of bike packing in Gaspésie

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It was a whim that made this wonderful getaway possible, and it was my first bike packing experience, EVER!

The idea was to go meet friends by car during the Bleu Bleu music festival in Carleton-sur-Mer on Thursday night, and then continue the adventure by bike.

Friday: Day 1 – 182 km, 1,300 m D+, average of 27 km/h, 4,800 calories burned, four ice creams eaten, and a lot of fun and freedom on two wheels!

The idea was to leave Carleton-sur-Mer where I had parked my car and drive to Cap-Chat where my B&B was located.

Don't miss the Brulerie du Quai coffee shop in Carleton-sur-Mer (A really good coffee!) and the Cantine Cartier in Ste-Anne-des-Monts for the generous lobster rolls and the delicious poutine (and for the ice cream!)

For my first bike packing experience, I opted to sleep in a hostel. I would like to do some self-sufficient trips soon, but this time it was simpler and more comfortable but also reassuring - especially since I was missing too much equipment for camping.

What to bring

The bare minimum. I had a 15 L saddle bag that I filled halfway with:

  • A pair of jogging pants
  • A warm sweater
  • A raincoat
  • A second set of bike clothes (This was a luxury, not a necessity, which noted for my next trip!)
  • Cell phone chargers, GPS, lights and external battery
  • Toothbrush, deodorant, soap, sunscreen, hair band
  • A cap
  • A plaid shirt, an absolute must for the bike packer look
  • Lots of jujubes and soft bars (I like Xact nutrition)

Travelling light was a luxury I could afford since I slept in a lodge. 

Even so, I noticed that my weight on the bike was heavier than usual and there was an adjustment period, especially when climbing and riding out of the saddle.

I had fun picking flowers on the road to put in my front pocket and hanging on my handlebars. Seeing the flowers flying in the wind gave me a feeling of lightness, in both senses of the word. In bike travel mode, there is no rush. I went at my own pace, observed the landscapes, and stopped to eat ice cream and try all kinds of jujubes available in the Gaspesian convenience stores. It was the good life, especially since I was very lucky with the temperature, a nice 20 degrees with sunshine over two days.

Upon arrival at Cap-Chat, I ate a huge lobster roll with a poutine at the corner canteen. I couldn’t resist eating lobster in Gaspésie!

I slept in a B&B called La Maison Verte. Two very nice elderly people welcomed me with open arms into their home. I recommend this place to anyone passing by Cap-Chat. The woman told me it was a place where people came to “heal”. I don't really know what that means, but her words touched me. The shower was divine, and I slept like a baby! The next morning, the couple cooked delicious pancakes and we talked about spiritual things. I loved it. It made me dream. I loved sleeping in a place like this and meeting all kinds of people that I wouldn't have had the chance to meet if I hadn't been there.

Saturday: Day 2 – 137 km, 1,080 D+, average of 24.5 km/h, 3,646 calories burned, lots of Auval beers and a nice seafood pizza.

Today, I was going to Petite Vallée to sleep in a hotel where some friends were staying. They would then bring me back to Cap-Chat, my starting point.

The trip started with a daunting hill to climb after only 12 km. Yes, it was going to be that kind of day where anything goes. No stress, we take our time, that was my motto for Day 2. Everything went well, so much so that at the end I was giving everything I had to try to reach some milestones on Strava. I must tell you that the last 14 km was horrible, “It was not going to end.” I was completely toasted. There was nothing to do. I finished in survival mode, but once I arrived, I felt so good. Challenge accomplished! Rest and meal well deserved!

When it was all over, I concluded that sometimes you must seize an opportunity for adventure when it comes along!

When is the next trip?

-Krystel Thibault-Lauzon, Cycling Avenue Ambassador