|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 296).
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
any treatment. 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.