Marco Bieri poses by his bicycle in Sicamous following a five-day ride, done largely over trails and backroads, from Vancouver between July 24 and 29, 2020. (Contributed)

Marco Bieri poses by his bicycle in Sicamous following a five-day ride, done largely over trails and backroads, from Vancouver between July 24 and 29, 2020. (Contributed)

Vancouver to Sicamous: a backroads journey by bicycle

Marco Bieri discovers backcountry via trails, logging and mining roads

Instead of a drive, Marco Bieri chose to make his recent trip from Vancouver to Sicamous a journey.

That journey began with the idea to do something he’d been considering for a long while: a bike ride from his current Lower Mainland residence to his parents’ home in Sicamous. But instead of using the Coquihalla and Highway 1, he would endeavour to stick to logging roads and trails, and see parts of the province in the periphery of his usual drive.

He was inspired in part by a YouTube video he saw of a person who did a three-day ride from Vancouver to Vernon, including a stretch along Douglas Lake Road that stretches east from Merritt to Falkland.

For the trip, Bieri purchased a gravel bike (similar to a road bike, but with a more formidable frame and specialized tires), bike bags and light camping gear. He also prepared for the trip by doing some 100-kilometre rides around Vancouver.

The journey began on July 24, a 160-kilometre ride from Vancouver to Hope – the longest ride Bieri had ever done.

“I think the most I’d done before was 120, like once, but somehow, when you’re in the saddle, you kind of just keep going,” said Bieri. “I set it for Hope for no reason except that I wanted to get off the highway on Day 2.”

In Hope, Bieri said he found a random creek and pitched a tent in the bush. From there he found a different trail network. He rode a part of the Kettle Valley Railway trail as well as the Great Trail, followed by numerous logging and mining roads.

“I just followed Google Maps as well as I could, with the main objective being to not go on the Coquihalla Highway,” said Bieri.

Read more: Hot tub boat ready to set a record

Read more: Sicamous man pleased to have made small contribution to historic discovery of Higgs particle

Read more: Dreadnoughts set sail with concept album

Being an avid problem solver, Bieri found plenty to keep him busy with the best paths recommended by technology not always being in synch with reality. And the occasional trail or road washout meant for some frustrating backtracking.

“One morning I had a few things to say in multiple languages,” said Bieri. “I missed one of the signs saying the trail was washed out, but on Google Maps it said the trail was functional. I saw one washed out area, I climbed down the bank with all my stuff, pitched a tent, in the morning climbed up the bank… and then you go less than 10 minutes and there’s another wash out. Then you… go back where you came from and try to find a plan B.”

But these moments were blurred by the peace and beauty found along back- and less-travelled roads like Coquihalla Lakes Road between Hope and Merritt.

“I ran into quite a few quadders and even horseback riders,” said Bieri. “It’s like a whole different road even though it’s along a road you’ve travelled many times.”

Even in the Shuswap, Bieri found paths he’d heard of but never taken.

“The Salmon River Road, that was awesome,” said Bieri who, during the final stretch, also discovered the Larch Hills Traverse.

“I rode about eight kilometres on Highway 1 which was terrifying and then went up a forest service road, I think it was number 10 and then connected to the Larch Hills Traverse and that’s how I got to Sicamous,” said Bieri. “That was a beautiful trail, but definitely harder than – you know, in the pictures, it has a bunch of six year olds on bikes overlooking the lake, and that’s definitely not what it is. I thought it was going to be a plateau with a boardwalk.”

Bieri arrived at his parents’ home on July 29. Knowing what he knows now of the route, he figures he could cut down from five days to three. And though he says he would do it again, he chose to catch a ride with a friend for the return trip to Vancouver. Still inspired, however, he’s planning a ride with a friend from Vancouver to Earls Cove on the Sunshine Coast.

For anyone considering bike-packing, Bieri said apps like Trailforks, or even Google (satellite) are good for plotting a course. However, to learn if you’re ready for a long trip, he advised an overnight excursion closer to home.

“Even around Sicamous, I tell everybody to do just an overnight trip close to home so if it sucks, you can always leave or call somebody to pick you up,” laughed Bieri.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Sicamous

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Old English design elements can be seen in the sign of the Summerland Farm and Garden Centre in 1993. The guidelines are no longer in place, but some downtown businesses still show aspects of the days when Summerland had a theme in place. This photo was taken by Summerland photographer Dan Dorotich. (Photo courtesy of the Summerland Museum)
Summerland’s Old English theme has been abandoned

From the 1980s until the early 2000s, Summerland had design guidelines in its downtown

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
110 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Provincial health officers announced 1,005 new cases throughout B.C.

Residents of Rural Keremeos, Olalla and Hedley are being asked to give feedback for the first Official Community Plan for the area. (Brennan Phillips - Keremeos Review)
Survey on RDOS Area G OCP open until April 30

The area’s first Official Community Plan is in the early stages of development

Nominally 'flushable' wipes caused one of Keremeos lift stations to shut down, damaging the pump inside. The Village is asking residents not to flush anything that isn't human waste. (Black Press)
Keremeos reminds residents not to flush wipes after pump damaged

‘Flushable’ wipes caused the pump to seize up and burn out

Black Crow Cannabis is just one of Vernon's many pot shops now open in town. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Kelowna has highest cannabis fees in Okanagan

Vernon’s 14 stores pay second highest business licence fees

Flow Academy is located at 1511 Sutherland Avenue in Kelowna. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Black Press Media Weekly Roundup: Top headlines this week

Here’s a quick roundup of the stories that made headlines across the Okanagan, from April 11 to 16

Mervin Mascarenhas giving one of his pens to Honorary JP-MP. Premier David Burt of Bermuda. (Image: Mervin Mascarenhas)
Kelowna man who made $90K ‘Space Pen’ recognized by dignitaries, sheikhs

Mervin Mascarenhas is the first Canadian to grace the cover of Millennium Millionaire Magazine

The funeral of Britain’s Prince Philip in Windsor, England, on Saturday, April 17, 2021. Philip died April 9 at the age of 99. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP)
PHOTOS: Prince Philip laid to rest Saturday as sombre queen sits alone

The entire royal procession and funeral took place out of public view within the grounds of Windsor Castle

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. health minister says delay in Moderna vaccine ‘disappointing’

‘The sooner we get vaccines in people’s arms the better, and inconsistency in delivery is a consistent problem. This is simply a reality and not an issue of blame,’ Adrian Dix said Friday

(Police handout/Kamloops RCMP)
B.C. man dies in custody awaiting trial for Valentine’s Day robbery, kidnapping spree

Robert James Rennie, who was on the Kamloops RCMP’s most wanted list, passed away at the North Fraser Pretrial Centre in Coquitlam

Photos of Vancouver Canucks players are pictured outside the closed box office of Rogers Arena in downtown Vancouver Thursday, April 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canucks games against Leafs postponed as team returns from COVID-19

The team has had 11 games postponed since an outbreak late last month

Penticton bylaw officers tore down a “pretty significantly sized” homeless camp underneath the bridge near Riverside Drive Friday, April 16 morning. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Penticton bylaw tears down ‘significantly sized’ homeless camp under bridge

Many residents had made complaints about the camp before it was torn down

Danita Bilozaze and her daughter Dani in Comox. Photo by Karen McKinnon
Island woman makes historic name change for truth and reconciliation

Becomes first person in Canada to be issued new passport under the TRC Calls to Action

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Most Read