Paul Touzin, Inuvik to Ottawa

paul_touzin_inuvik_ottawa

 

His voyage begins on the most northern road in Canada, along the Dempster Highway. Paul Touzin flies from his home in Ottawa, Ontario to an airport in Inuvik, Northwest Territories, with nothing but his bicycle and a few supplies.
Don't be too quick to judge. The man of 50-something is nothing short of prepared and experienced.
His first real biking trip was a ride through British Columbia in 1976. Paul fell in love with the adventure and has continued to ride through Canada almost every year since.
It took Paul 12 grueling days to pedal through the 736 kilometers of gravel on the infamous Dempster Highway. If the road is completely dry, it should take eight to nine days. Paul wasn't as lucky, as the rain was a hindrance.
He stopped at Dawson City in the Yukon Territory, then down the paved Klondike Highway to Carmacks, YT. He met up with the Robert Campbell Highway which was back to gravel. If that wasn't enough, he faced a 13km stretch of construction. That Highway meets up with the Alaskan Highway, which Paul rode all the way to Fort St. John, B.C. He then made his way over to Manning, Alberta, to Red Earth Creek, and then Slave Lake. From there, he rode to Edmonton, and took Highway 21 south to Calgary. Once he had visited the city, he back-tracked to Three Hills so he could take Highway 27 east to Saskatchewan. He plans on visiting Saskatoon, then making his way up to Flin Flon, Manitoba. From there, Paul is homeward bound into Ontario, eventually reaching his home in Ottawa.
When Paul was spotted in Three Hills, on the weekend, he was taking a bit of a break from cycling to tend to maintenance on his bike. The 27- speed features drum brakes in the front, and disc brakes on the back. It is titanium metal, making it light-weight, about 100 pounds when loaded with supplies.
The experienced rider knows how to pack light. He carries only one extra set of clothing, a tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, cooking fuel, and a first aid kit. He also has a map, a journal, two water bottles, an air pump, some food, and an odometer/ speedometer.
When he started, at Inuvik, his previous mileage was 15, 331km. At Day 56 of his trip, in Three Hills, his odometer read 19, 992 km. By the end of this years trip, Paul expects to have put on 10, 000km.
As imaginable, Paul and his bike have encountered their fair share of treacherous roads, and massive hills. The largest being the Bella Coola Hill in B.C. Paul has set himself some personal rules. He never accepts rides, his bike must remain on the road, and he never walks his bike on a paved hill.
Paul accomplishes an average of 100km a day. His record is 175km in one day. He gets up no later than 7:30 am, rides until mid-day when he stops to tour around for a few hours. He then hops back on until dark. Although his bicycle is equipped for night riding, Paul seldom does.
Most of us wish we could experience something like this. Paul is lucky enough to be his own boss, literally. Unmarried, he is an Occupational Health Nurse by profession, and owns his own company, Multi-Trek, in Ottawa.
During his years of travel, he has experienced unconditional hospitality. He mostly sleeps in his tent, and rarely in a hotel, but there is usually plenty of people who offer a place for him to stay.
"It's such a wonderful way to meet people, and see things," comments Paul, which epitomizes the entirety of his travels.