A South Surrey man wasn’t going to let COVID-19 cancel his vacation plans, and instead he upped the ante.
Elgin Park Secondary and UBC grad Rajiv Dhaliwal, 25, secured a permit to hike the Pacific Crest Trail last May, which starts in B.C. and travels south to California. With the coronavirus putting those plans on hiatus, Dhaliwal made the spontaneous decision three weeks ago that he would instead mountain bike 12,000 kilometres from Crescent Beach to Newfoundland.
He plans to dip his rear tire in Crescent Beach Wednesday (July 15), signalling the start of his trip, which he expects to take three months.
“My bike came in the mail literally two days ago. And my plan was to leave as soon as my bike came in the mail. So I just quit my job and I’m planning to leave Wednesday,” he said.
Salsa Cycles agreed to supply him with a bike and Bikepacking.com agreed to support him with an adventure grant. Dhaliwal said he planned the trip at the last minute, and it’s only possible with the help of the two companies.
“I reached out to these companies on a whim. I wasn’t really expecting them to actually get behind me. As soon as they said they were on board, I said I’m going to do it. It was pretty last-minute. I’m literally just running back and forth the last couple of days trying to get gear.”
The trip marks his second long-distance bike journey. Last year, he bought a $250 bike and rode it from Banff to New Mexico.
Dhaliwal says he’ll take the Great Trail, formally known as the Trans Canada Trail. He says the trail is made of dirt and gravel, but there are sections that are linked to the highway.
“I’m going to try and use Google Earth and figure out detour routes because my goal is I don’t want to ride anywhere on the highway,” he said.
He’ll pack all of his supplies on his bike and try to camp in the backcountry for as many days as possible, he added.