Making bucket list plans for Canada’s ice roads

©TIMB - Rider considering ice road adventures in the Northwest Territories

©TIMB – It was a cool spring day when we discussed the best of winter cycling in northern Canada. Note the life vest … necessary when you paddle to work from your houseboat before the final bike ride.


“The best thing about winter riding is summertime. No, the best is riding on the lake. In winter there is an ice road. But when the ice is too thin for cars, even where there is no road, you can take a bike. It is thick, but hard for cars to get on.

So the entire lake is mine and it is on my bucket list to bike to Hay River. It is 400k on the road. It won’t be so far if you go straight across. Where cars cannot go – that is the best part of winter cycling.”

Photographer’s notes: I have tried to imagine ice road riding for two or three consecutive days. The smooth surfaces, the slick as ice conditions with tires equipped with studs and the like. The ease of speed.

And then, the wide open spaces where the slightest breeze could be an immense headwind – a headwind with sub-zero likelihood.

I can still imagine the journey, but it would be so dependent on weather conditions.

The ride would be almost direct, an incredible experience. The isolation would be sublime (knowing it would end soon).

Great Slave Lake is the water being discussed. The direct line from Yellowknife to Hay River would be about 300kms. The entire lake is just 3,000 square kilometres less than all of Belgium. When Yellowknifers talk about a ride on tube lake, they can be talking about huge spaces.

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