Remi Vande Weghe is just a young man riding his bike back home with his dog, the long way.
The bicycle tourist, originally from northern France, now makes his home in Quebec, along with his dog Maya.
”I’m biking since I’m 12 years old,” said Vande Weghe in his strong French accent. His lifelong love for cycling, concern for climate change and love of travel combined to make cycle touring a natural way to see Canada.
So he tried out bike touring for some short two-day trips around Quebec and a four-day trip to work out the kinks and packed up his bike, his camping gear and his dog and came to Vancouver, where he started his tour.
The tour had so far taken him and Maya two weeks to come up Vancouver Island, then across on the ferry to Bella Coola and then east to Williams Lake. The pair were going to head south via Dog Creek to make their way down the province.
Their route will be circuitous, returning north to Jasper from Penticton via Clearwater, along as many smaller back roads as he can find which make for quieter and safer travel.
Vande Weghe’s entire route he has planned back to Quebec will be over 7,000 km.
While cycle tourism is a growing trend and cycle tourists travel all over the world to experience different cultures by bicycle, not many of these travellers take their dogs along for the ride.
But Vande Weghe said taking his dog was “obvious to me because I don’t have my family here to take care of her.”
“I felt like I was able to take her and she would enjoy the trip.”
After two weeks, he said Maya was liking it so far, and while she spent a lot of time tucked into the Thule trailer for safety, she usually spent about 10 kilometres a day running alongside him and the bike —usually on the uphill sections.
Vande Weghe moved to Canada to study forestry and did an internship on northern Vancouver Island, so he was familiar with some of the landscape through the island. It was the trip from Bella Coola which he said was his favourite to this point along the journey.
“The landscape was always changing and so gorgeous.”
As a forestry professional, he loved seeing the change from coastal rainforest to interior dry pine and then the Douglas fir forests as he moved east.