|The James Bay Road is paved for its entire length. However,
the road surface can be rather bumpy in sections, so be watchful of this.
The main challenge for traveling this road is its remoteness. There is
only one place to get gas, at km 381. If you have mechanical problems you
are a long way from help. Traffic can be sparse at times, which is
of course good for riding!
The North Road is gravel for its entire length. There are many
extensive sections of loose gravel. It is a remote road, with little
traffic. Should you have a mechanical breakdown, you will have a real
problem. Gas is available only in Nemascau (10 km off the road at km
The Trans-Taiga Road is unpaved for its entire length. There may be
extensive sections of loose gravel. Traffic along this road is very
sparse (better for riding), and it is
extremely remote. Please don't underestimate the
remoteness of this road! If you
have mechanical problems, or experience other difficulties, you will be a very long way from help and
may be in very real trouble. Gas is available only at certain places, and only
during specific hours.
Generally speaking, fall and winter come much earlier here than
down south, and spring and summer come much later. Be prepared for cool
weather at any time of the year. It also rains a lot, as the whole
area is in the lee of James Bay. It can snow in September.
On a bicycle, your main challenges will be the remoteness;
specifically, food and water. You will need to carry
food for several days. The only stores along the James Bay Road are at the
beginning and end, 620 km apart! There is a simple canteen at km 381. On the other roads,
there are very limited food services, if any, and there may be no stores,
except perhaps on the North Road at Nemaska (10 km off the road at km
296). On the Trans-Taiga Road there are only two places you may
be able to obtain food.
Camping is a must. You will need a good bug-proof tent as
the mosquitoes and blackflies are very
plentiful all summer.
Water: You will need to either drink the water from the streams
and rivers as is (not recommended) or carry some sort of water
purification device. Take note here that "most" water
from streams & rivers of the James Bay region are drinkable without
Rupert River water is better than some bottled water (in July,
August, September & later).
Same for the Natastan, Broadback, Marteen & Nemiscau Rivers.
About "chlorine purification" ... about the only thing these devices do is add a bad taste to good
water! BUT ... giardia may be present, so in the end, a good
water filter is a good idea.