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From southern to northern Quebec in 10 weeks

Yanick Michaud — Le Journal Saint-Francois
Translation by Sarah Rennie

The southernmost point of Quebec is located in Elgin. It is from there that adventure cyclist Simon Pierre Goneau of Lévis left on Feb. 15 with hopes of reaching the northernmost point of the province, Cape Wolstenholme, at the tip of the Ungava Peninsula, in eight to 10 weeks.
“It’s 2,800 kilometres, including 1,500 on the road and 1,300 kilometres off road on sea ice along the coast of Hudson Bay. It’s quite a challenge,” explains Goneau, who will be using a ‘fat bike’ with oversized tires to complete the journey, which he’s calling l’Expédition Québec Plein Nord.
“It’s an idea that first came to me 12 years ago and I’ve been putting it off ever since. But last year, I decided it was time,” says the avid cyclist, who is also a mechanical engineer.
Now, you don’t embark overnight on an expedition that will bring you into contact with polar bears, wolves, extreme cold, ice and solitude. “As for the cold, I decided to take up my challenge in winter because it will allow me to ride on frozen lakes. Otherwise it would have meant a much longer detour. I’m going to use the ice on Hudson Bay to avoid the forest and its many obstacles,” says Goneau, who intends to travel 80 to 100 kilometres per day over the first few weeks. His pace will slow to around 25 kilometres per day once he hits the sea ice.

 

Starting from Elgin the southernmost point of Quebec on Feb 15 Simon Pierre Goneau intends to reach the provinces most northern point by the end of April PHOTO Eric St Pierre

Another challenge will be to ensure he reaches his supply points. “I’m travelling with the minimum load between each supply point. When I get to the Bay, there are six Inuit villages where I have contacts to be sure I will be welcomed in each community,” explains Goneau.
Another point to consider was crossing bridges. “From Elgin, to get to Valleyfield, I couldn’t simply cross the Larocque Bridge. I had to get an RCMP escort. There are a lot of details to think about,” he says. Goneau will also be sleeping in a tent while winter camping.
On hand in Elgin to send him off were his wife, his two children, aged 7 and 9, and friends. “They put up with me, but we’re definitely going to miss each other. They know I’m an adventurer. We’ll be even happier when we see each other again. My boss agreed to grant me this leave. I have generous sponsors and great support,” Goneau says. The goal is to reach his final destination by the end of April.
After completing his journey, he will fly back to Quebec City as the first to have accomplished this crossing by bike. “It’s never been done and I know there are challenges. But I’ve done my homework. I’m prepared, and I know I will succeed,” he concludes.
Goneau will be keeping a logbook so those interested may follow along on his site: www.expeqcnor.com.

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