A Ride to Saskatchewan’s Gabriel Dumont Bridge

We rode 100km northeast from Saskatoon and camped along the South Saskatchewan River, just south of the Gabriel Dumont Bridge.

Bicycle Adventurers: Jason Forest and Keith Kingsbury

Where: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

When: August 20–21, 2016

Accommodations: Camping by the South Saskatchewan River

Distance: 180km over two days: 104km on day one and 76km on day two

Bonus tip for this adventure: Just north of where we camped is a historical site that dates back to 1885 and the Battle of Batoche. The bridge 3km north of camp is named after Gabriel Dumont, a Metis leader who fought with Louis Riel during the 1885 rebellion. The bridge replaced Gabriel Dumont’s ferry which he operated during his time at Batoche.

Day One

Leaving Sasakatoon, I headed down highway 41 to meet my friend Keith in Aberdeen, 30km away, before continuing to our campsite near Gabriel Dumont Bridge over the South Saskatchewan River. Great weather with a little tailwind boosted our spirits on this relatively flat route with only a few mild climbs. We took a shortcut down a grid road to save eight kilometers of travel, but the road was not the best and really burned my legs out at around kilometer 75. The last bit of the ride was tough.

About an hour after setting up camp, a family showed up to launch their boat, fish, and do some swimming.

For supper, we made succotash: corn, canned tomatoes, beans, onion, rice, jalapenos, and it sure hit the spot after a long ride. Unfortunately, It started to rain just as we were getting ready to eat, so we ended up eating in the tent. The rain lasted for about an hour and got our firewood wet, but we managed to start a fire with a citronella candle. Tip for anyone wanting to make fires: bring tealights. 

At night, we could hear a pack of coyotes howling, likely on the hunt, and fish jumping in the river.

Day Two

By morning, birds were singing, ducks landed on the river, and pelicans hunted for fish. We saw a hawk carrying a fish in its claws, a frog by our site, and a muskrat swimming.

We used an MSR Miniworks EX water filter and SteriPEN to refill our water jugs. The water wasn’t the cleanest looking in the river, but after filtering and hitting it with UV light from the SteriPEN, it tasted better than the tap at home — no chlorine taste. I had to wade out a little into the river to get flowing water and small fish would peck at my feet while standing in the soft sand. 

We made are way out from the river after crossing the bridge and headed to Rosthern. Day two was a bit of a test as my legs had nothing in them, so we made a few stops along the way and had lunch at Hague. Luckily, the wind was in our favor again, pushing us along. 

Making it back was bittersweet and l’m already planning next year’s small tour.

Your favorite local bike shop? The bike shops are all pretty good in Saskatoon. Bruce’s Cycle Works has always given great service and plays a big part in Saskatoon’s bicycle community.

Bike overnight tips and tricks?

  • A MSR Miniworks EX water filter and SteriPEN were the best items we brought. 
  • Tea lights to start wet wood worked very well. 
  • A travel chair was a nice luxury item to have after a long ride. 
  • My mini Bluetooth speaker was nice to have while sitting around. 
  • Thermacell worked really well, keeping mosquitoes at bay. I’m not a big fan of DEET.

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HOW ABOUT YOU? Inspire others by submitting your own bike overnight adventure!

2 responses so far ↓

Stephen Kelleher - Jan 23, 2017 at 9:19 PM

Fantastic! I grew up in Aberdeen but moved away well before I ever thought about cycle touring. I'd love to go back and try out this trip one day.

Emile - Jan 24, 2017 at 8:26 AM

Sounds like a great trip with lots of scenery and wildlife. Photos are a great way to identify the places were you went. Thanks for the tips. Keep it up Jason.

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