Back to Québec

New Brunswick

This page covers the bike trip from Sayabec (PQ) to Cap-Pelé (NB).

Total Days: 4
Pedaling Days: 4
Total Distance: 583 km
Total Vertical: 2,476m
Average Speed: 30.6 km/h

Route summary: Hwy 132 in Québec to the border, crossing into New Brunswick at the town of Matapédia.  Hwy 11 in NB through Cambellton to Bathurst.  We followed the south shore of Chaleur Bay - basically Hwy 11 all the way around from Bathurst to Miramichi.  Continued on Hwy 11 south to Shediac, then headed east, hugging the shore of Northumberland Strait on our way to the Confederation Bridge to PEI.

Taking Hwy 11 the long way around the coast of NB was a great diversion.  It probably added nearly a day but it took us through the heart of Acadia, which was great to see.  The scenery along the Bay of Chaleur was great as well.

Click on a day below, or scroll down to go through day by day.  Click on any image below to get a larger view.  Click here to go back to the trip index.

  1. New Brunswick: July 27-30
    1. Wednesday, July 27
      1. July 27 – Sayabec to Dalhousie (NB)
      2. Confused in New Brunswick
      3. I got honked at here
      4. Reminiscent scenery!
      5. Crossing into New Brunswick
      6. Packed in
      7. Dalhousie Lighthouse
    2. Thursday, July 28
      1. July 28 – Dalhousie to Janeville
      2. The beach in Janeville
      3. Home on the water
      4. Rest stop on the shore
      5. Quebec across the water
    3. Friday, July 29
      1. July 29 – Janeville to Bartibog Bridge
      2. Churches
      3. The cliffs of Clifton
    4. Saturday, July 30
      1. July 30 –Bartibog Bridge to Cap Pele
      2. Boat near Shediac
      3. Number 100
      4. Gagnon Beach Campground
      5. Swimmable seawater!

New Brunswick: July 27-30

Wednesday, July 27

Bike log: 160.1km, 809m of vertical, avg. speed 31.5 km/h

July 27 – Sayabec to Dalhousie (NB)

Here we are in New Brunswick! We took a fairly sparsely traveled route into the province, crossing by bridge just past Matapedia, Quebec, and unlike every other border crossing so far, there was no “Welcome” sign immediately visible. We checked our GPS maps, and looked across the bridge to Quebec (which did have a Welcome sign up), and we were pretty sure we were in New Brunswick, so we pressed on and eventually found the welcome sign a mile or so down the road. I’m glad it was there – it would have been a bad sign for the famed east coast friendliness had we not been welcomed!

The road through the Quebec side alternated between extremely good and bone jarringly bad today, in about equal quantities. We hit some construction for about 5km though, they are definitely working to improve it. I found that the roads in Quebec were either terrible or fantastic. I think they do not do a very good job of patching them up, and wait until they are really bad before repaving. I have definitely hit the worst potholes so far here. But the good parts on the whole were much more common.

Confused in New Brunswick

For about the 1000th time, we were glad to have our Garmin GPS units. It is really useful to be able to see not just a map, but where you are on the map, and trust it! Sometimes the road signs do not jive with maps, especially off the major highways.

On the New Brunswick side, the roads seem to be OK so far, although the paved shoulder is not as common or well maintained. We are going to be on secondary highways for the most part so I guess we’ll see how it goes.

I got honked at here

I am not sure if they have the same positive attitudes towards cyclists here as they do in Quebec. Within about 10 minutes of getting into the province I was honked at (as in, “get out of my way”) by someone in Atholville. What do you call someone who lives there, anyway? Probably something similar to what I called Mr. Honk.

My rear view mirror finally exploded today – literally! I was riding along, hit a little crack in the pavement and it busted into about 50 pieces and fell off my bike. I guess the potholes in Quebec were too much for it! Just as well though, it was already worn out and wouldn’t hold it’s position when you hit a medium size bump, which was about every 2 seconds in many places!. Kind of a bummer considering I just bought it in April, but then again I do have more than 8000km on the bike since then (including my 2000km of training in April and May).

Reminiscent scenery!

It was a very scenic ride today. From our campsite in Sayabec, we followed the Matapedia river all the way down into New Brunswick. It was strangely reminiscent of the Similkameen river in BC, which we traveled along many weeks ago (June 3rd and 4th). Yep, we’re still in the same country as we started! This river is very popular for fishing.

Crossing into New Brunswick

There was only 1 car on the bridge when I crossed into the province. Not much traffic! From the Quebec side it did not even indicate that this headed to New Brunswick. In fact, the road sign indicator pointing towards Cambelltown, NB, which is the nearest city, actually urged you to go further in Quebec before turning down! I guess they are trying to keep people in the province for as long as possible.

Speaking of which, being from out of town (to put it mildly) I always check license plates, and in Quebec, even near the borders, almost all the plates were from Quebec. Very few visitors. Over the border in New Brunswick, there are many more out of province plates – lots of Quebec, a few more Ontario, and some American. This area seems to be quite bilingual – lots of french folks, but the signage is in english and french. Perhaps this opens things up a bit more for travelers. If you spoke no french at all, you might have a hard time in some of the places we have just been through…depending on what you wanted to do.

Packed in

We’re staying at the Dalhousie municipal campground (“Inch Arran Park” is the name of it, not sure who are what Inch Arran is yet). Fairly close quarters here as it is a full house tonight due to the celebration of the town’s centennial anniversary. The spots on the other side of the park are right on the water and look fantastic! They’ve got the flags of all the provinces flying – I tried to get the BC flag flying here but it was kind of flagging.

There’s a free concert here in the park tonight. About 50m from our campsite, as a matter of fact. They sound a bit like my dad’s band, “Just Us” when they went through their country phase. The sound quality is pretty bad, they could use a good sound engineer and some decent speakers.

Dalhousie Lighthouse

Today’s ride cut across the Gaspe peninsula, and we continued in New Brunswick onto the coast, overlooking Chaleur Bay on the Gulf of St. Lawrence. There can be no further question of it – we are in Atlantic Canada now. The towns have changed noticeably, as has the scenery. The towns do not look as old – maybe because there are more wooden buildings as opposed to the old stone ones in Quebec? And the maritime feel is noticeable – lighthouses and open sea. Should be some interesting stuff coming up!


Thursday, July 28

Bike log: 107.8km, 451m of vertical, avg. speed 31.2 km/h

July 28 – Dalhousie to Janeville

Didn’t cover a huge distance today because we got off to a really late start. The band played kind of late, and there were people milling about until even later, and that combined with the hour we lost due to crossing into the Atlantic time zone meant that we were not on the road until after noon! We are also a bit limited with camping options (once again) due to sparseness of campsites. Or, at least, sparse listings in the camping guide we have. 

The beach in Janeville

The campground we are in tonight is not listed in the official New Brunswick guide, it was recommended to us by a local at the tourist centre in Bathurst. It is one of the best (in terms of what I like in a campground anyway) we’ve been in for a while – beautiful spot right on the water, decent size lots, and nice and quiet. And cheaper than most as well! I am not sure who puts together the official provincial camping guides, or how they decide who gets in and what rating to assign, but they sure use different criteria than I would!

As planned we are staying off major highways and taking secondary ones (highway 134 and 340). There is not much traffic along the roads (with the exception of the area north of Bathurst) so it was a very enjoyable ride. The pavement is not great, but better than many parts have been. At least the patch jobs seem to help here, not like in Quebec when it looks like they just randomly fling tar from the back of a pickup using an oversized ice cream scoop!

Home on the water

We are doing a minor scenic detour, keeping to the northern New Brunswick coast for an extra 30km or so, and then cutting south. It is really beautiful along this coast, and today was ideal weather to see it in. Sunny and warm, but not too hot. It seems that most of the waterfront area is populated, although in places sparsely so. There are little (former?) fishing villages along the coast, and the houses have that distinctive Atlantic look to them.

This is Acadian country. As luck would have it, today is the 250th anniversary of the deportment of the Acadians from what is now Nova Scotia. Many of those people settled in this area and still remember their heritage. It seems that this part of New Brunswick is very bilingual, we are still hearing lots of french (and speaking a bit too).

Rest stop on the shore

We stopped here for a picnic, it was right beside a little marina. I have renamed this place “Unfavourable Wind Change Harbour” in honour of the fact that I had a tailwind all the way here, but it changed to a headwind from here on out. We also broke six eggs by mistake. The sandwiches, however, were delicious.

Quebec across the water

I am learning the geography of Atlantic Canada well. I never realized that the coast of northern New Brunswick goes so far out into the Gulf of St. Lawrence! All day today we were looking out across the water towards the Gaspe peninsula. Tomorrow we’ll cut in a more southerly direction.


Friday, July 29

Bike log: 149.8km, 500m of vertical, avg. speed 28.8km/h

July 29 – Janeville to Bartibog Bridge

Our scenic detour along the north shore of New Brunswick was well worth it, and I am glad we took it. The stretch of highway leading east from Bathurst to Grande-Anse was definitely the most scenic part of New Brunswick that we’ve seen so far. I am sure there are other excellent parts to the province, but getting a road that is close to it, with decent views, and is in decent shape with not too much traffic is a tough combination! It was only about an hour of peddling this morning, and then we headed south along the eastern coast.

From there on, it was much less scenic – basically a straight, flat highway through the woods. I had the weird sensation (I’ve had this before) that I wasn’t getting anywhere because the scenery did not change. The road was populated the whole way, and the towns were quite small – more like the density of homes increased slightly near the towns but the houses never stopped coming. It was also a headwind the whole way, which never helps! But the road was in very good shape, with a nice shoulder to ride on, and the weather was near perfect. All in all, a tough day but still enjoyable.


We passed through a number of tiny towns this morning as we set out – Clifton, New Bandon, Grande-Anse, Pokeshaw. It looked like there was some farming around, but also some of these places were once (maybe still?) fishing villages. I did not see too many fishing fleets but the maritime feel was definitely there. Some of the towns did not consist of much more than a general store, a few dozen homes scattered about, and a church! Some of the churches were small and cute…

...while others were massive and daunting!

I guess some towns had more money for the construction of the church. If you had a 100 years to do the trip we are taking, you would have the time to find out the story behind every interesting thing you see.

The cliffs of Clifton

There were some really interesting cliffs near Clifton, a well named town! The seagulls liked them too.

I have noticed the famous “maritime friendliness” as people here are very chatty and friendly. Today as we were filling the van up with gas we were chatting to the attendant, and he mentioned that he had just been to Hope, Cheryl’s home town, last year. He was out visiting some friends, who live in Hope had their summer home across the street from where we were filling up! Cheryl did not immediately recognize the name but no doubt the degree of separation is small as the town is not big.


Saturday, July 30

Bike log: 165.0km, 616m of vertical, avg. speed 31.1km/h

July 30 –Bartibog Bridge to Cap Pele

A good solid day’s effort today. We were on highways pretty much the whole way, which meant there was not too much scenery (other than trees and moose warning signs), but we did cover a lot of ground. The traffic was not bad at all, being Saturday. Yesterday we were on a secondary highway, but as I mentioned it was not particularly scenic as it is not close enough to the ocean to afford views, and people were speeding pretty bad on it anyway. So we figured today we would just take the main highway (highway 11) the whole way, and all in all it was fine.

There was a giant lobster in the “lobster capital of the world,” Shediac. I couldn’t resist the photo, as no doubt millions before me have as well.

Boat near Shediac

The town of Shediac is very pretty, lots of waterfront as it is right on a bay.

Number 100

Today was a milestone of sorts. I passed my 100th wheel bolt lying on the road. At least, it was the 100th since I started counting. Sometime a while back (I think in Saskatchewan) I started counting these things to help pass the time. I get a little bit of a thrill when I pass one. Sometimes I can’t remember exactly what number I was on, but I’m pretty sure this is number 100.

I always wonder how the bolt got here. Did it fly off a moving vehicle? Or did someone forget to put it back on after changing a flat tire? Both seem unlikely, you’d think you’d notice either way. Or maybe someone is driving down the road with a big bag of these, hurling them at cyclists? A mystery for sure.

Gagnon Beach Campground

I wanted to get as close as possible to the bridge to PEI today, making for an easy day tomorrow. The closer the better in case the weather is bad in the morning! We were fortunate to get a tailwind for almost the whole day, and it was a good thing too because we had to cover more ground than expected. This is a very popular tourist destination, and since it is a holiday long weekend most campgrounds were completely full. We were planning on staying in Shediac (or Parlee Beach Provincial Park) but all campgrounds there were full. The people at the tourist information centre in Shediac mad several calls for us and finally found us the last spot at a campground at Gagnon beach. One of many campgrounds not listed in our guidebooks! Anyway, it is in a fantastic location with a private beach on Northumberland Straight. 

Swimmable seawater!

The water is warm too – we went swimming upon arrival! It is very shallow, and there are sandbars that you could walk out to. It was still quite windy, and there were kids flying these cool kites. Very festive place, much nicer than some of the parking lot style campgrounds we passed by in Shediac.

Cross the confederation bridge onto Prince Edward Island