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Bikepacking from Cleveland to Montréal

Earlier this summer after quitting my job I had a two week window before a mandatory bachelor party in Vegas which I was determined to fill with something good. Thinking of all the places I could visit within just two weeks, Montréal seemed like the best option. But since Montréal is only a single days car ride, I thought I could make it interesting by biking there. Seems doable right? Two weeks, 700ish miles? Plus somehow getting back? Challenge accepted!

It was about twenty miles from my parents place to downtown Cleveland. I thought the Free Stamp would make a good official starting spot for this adventure.

I put almost no thought into my route. I knew the general direction in which Montéal was, so my only goal was to maximize the amount of unspoiled scenery and tranquility by taking the least traveled roads.

Getting to Niagara Falls was a big moral booster for me. Up until this point, it had been almost entirely farmland and random small towns. This isn’t a complaint by any means, it’s just hard to judge distance and feel motivated about getting closer when everything looks somewhat the same. Niagara Falls provided that major waypoint I was looking for.

By far the most enjoyable and relaxing bit of the trip was when I was riding along the Erie Canal in upstate New York. I picked it up serendipitously after seeing a random sign for it just after leaving Niagara Falls. No traffic, no noise, and minimal wind thanks to the trees on either side. Plus I could camp where ever I wanted. This is exactly what I needed after almost four years without any real vacation.

After two days of tracing the Erie Canal, it was nothing but backcountry roads and farmland.

The last day of biking was the longest at roughly 90 miles, but it was almost completely flat so it was smooth sailing all the way into Montréal.

After three days of roaming around Montréal it was time to head back. It took a little over a day to get to Burlington Vermont where I got a rental car and drove the ten hours back to cleveland. Overall, this trip was definitely a good one and planted the seed of addiction for more bikepacking trips.

Just for fun, I went ahead and created a map using the GPS output from Strava.