Six Wheels Across Canada

Crossing Canada (and we’re not even going
coast to coast) isn’t a little trip.

Next summer we’re aiming for the family cross country trip.  If you live anywhere except one of the largest countries in the world that might not require too much forethought, but it takes over 2000kms and 3 days just to get out of the province we live in, then there are another four provinces to cross before getting to the family reunion in British Columbia.  The thought of doing this on a bike is both invigorating and a bit overwhelming, and besides, I’d like to spend some time in the car with everyone soaking up the views together.


What to do?


Is it possible to get a vehicle that would get us across Canada reasonably comfortably but would also allow me to drop two wheels down when the roads demand it?


I’ve had the van itch before, but is there a vehicle that could carry the three of us and a bike well?


Guy Martin’s Transit Van fascination has long been an influence.  It turns out you can buy a special Guy Martin Proper edition these days in the UK.


Choices for North America aren’t that special, but you can still put together a custom enough van that might be the Swiss-Army knife of a vehicle that I’m looking for.  What’s interesting is that on the UK site they talk about using a Transit as your 24/7 vehicle like that could be a thing, but North Americans would find Transits impossible to live with (because North Americans are just too precious?)


The long wheelbase, medium roof Transit will handle four seats with room enough to comfortably swallow a Triumph Speed Triple as well.  With a finished interior it’d be a comfortable way of making the epic cross country trip and could handle all the luggage we could throw at it.


In cross country mode it’d have the four seats in and plenty of room to stretch out and cover big miles.  I’d be tempted to swipe some of the “Proper” Transit and sporty it up a bit, but the main idea would be to have a modern, efficient van that is able to do many things.


With the bike out we’d be able to stretch sleeping bags out in the back, and there are some other interesting options I think I’d explore.  The Aluminess Roof Rack turns the whole roof into a patio, which would be handy on trips for photography, as a base for drone filming operations or as a vantage point when the van is taken to events.  It has a cool LED spot light bar on the front too.


There are a number of interior finishing options available.  I’d take the van to a finished interior, but I don’t know about a private jet on wheels, I’d want it to keep some of its utilitarian appeal.  Being able to rotate the front seats would have obvious benefits though.  A number of companies finish these vans, from use based needs to full on camper conversions.


The medium roof, long wheelbase version of the Transit will take in about 163 inches long in the cargo area – a Triumph Speed Triple is about half that, so it’d fit behind a second row of seats.  Maximum load width is almost 70 inches, the Speed Triple is less than half that wide at the handle bars and much less elsewhere, so it’d fit comfortably on one side of the rear cargo area.  Maximum load height is 72 inches, the Speed Triple is less than 50 inches tall.  Even a big bike like my Tiger (54 inches tall, 34 inches wide, 89 inches long) would still comfortably fit in the Transit.  Since a Transit will take close to 4000lbs in payload, the thing could easily handle a pair of big bikes without breaking a sweat.  One bike, 3 people and a pile of luggage wouldn’t make it break a sweat.




The ten thousand kilometre odyssey across Canada would be a lot more fun with such a comfortable, spacious and capable vehicle… and being about to ride the Rockies and the West Coast west and then back east again would be spectacular.


Almost four thousand kilometres of Rocky Mountains and West Coast?  Magical!  Having a vehicle that can deliver it together AND on two wheels?  Bazinga!


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