Moped Trip website

How I Did It

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This section explains in detail how I accomplished the trip. There's lots of information about the moped, the gear I took, costs, distances traveled, how I lived on the road, and so on.

Please note that I no longer own a moped. I gave away the moped that made this trip quite a number of years ago, due to lack of storage space for it, and I haven't owned a moped since. Therefore I am unable to answer any questions about current moped brands, features, prices, etc. However, I welcome any other comments that you have about this trip and moped riding and traveling. Please email me.


Page 1: The moped. Preparations for the trip, Trip and route planning.

Page 2: Photos of moped with gear on it. Arrangement and storage of gear.

Page 3: List of spare parts. List of tools. General notes about the moped.

Page 4: General traveling and riding notes. Riding on unpaved roads. Technique for riding up steep hills. Fuel mileage. Most commonly asked questions while on the trip. Some photos.

Page 5: Overview of maintenance and repairs done on trip.

Page 6: Detailed list of repairs and maintenance done on trip.

Page 7: Food. Water. Cooking. Accommodations. Wild Animals (Bears). Washing. Overall Travel Philosophy. Weather. Costs.

Page 8: Distances and dates traveled - overview. Detailed itinerary.

Page 9: Advice

Please also see "A World Record."



The Moped


I used a 1978 Mobylette moped, purchased brand new before the trip. I took one test trip on it before the main trip. I left Toronto with 755 miles on it.

However, I had put about 21,000 miles on my previous moped over a period of 3 years traveling around Ontario and eastern Canada. It was also a Mobylette.

I took this older moped apart for spare parts and left them at home, ready to be sent to me if needed.

See "Preparations", below...



Preparations for the Trip


Prior moped experience:

I first started traveling by moped in 1975. I traveled about 6000 miles that summer and the next, all over southern and northern Ontario. In 1977 I spent the entire summer traveling by moped in the eastern provinces of Canada (Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island).

Altogether I put about 21,000 miles (33,600 km) on my first moped. It was the same brand and model that I took on the 1978 trip to Yukon, Alaska and NWT.

Those three summers of traveling by moped gave me the practice and knowledge I needed to make the 1978 trip. I learned how to repair the moped, what parts were most likely to break down or cause trouble, and what tools I needed to bring.

Prior camping and traveling experience:

In 1973 I spent most of the summer on a work project in a Native Indian community in northern Ontario. I slept outside most of the summer.

I had made several long distance bicycle trips around Ontario prior to 1978 (in addition to the numerous moped trips).

In 1974, when I was 17 years old, I bicycled 800 miles up to northern Ontario. From there I hitchhiked for 4 months: west to British Columbia (Vancouver, Prince Rupert), Yukon and Alaska, and back across Canada to Nova Scotia, and then back to Ontario in October. I also gained a lot of hitchhiking experience on later trips.

In 1976 I started to travel a little by car as well. But the moped remained my preferred method. And I still preferred to camp.

As well, by 1978 I had made numerous backpacking and canoeing trips in Ontario's wilderness.

Overall, I loved being outdoors and on the road, and I loved the sense of uncertainty and adventure that comes with that. It was when I was traveling outdoors in the wild areas that I felt most alive. I also enjoyed the simplicity that came with traveling light, with a minimum of belongings.

So all in all, by 1978 I was no stranger to camping, traveling, and being outdoors!

Support system:

Prior to leaving on the 1978 trip I dismantled the old moped and labeled and catalogued all the parts. The parts that I didn't take as spares I left behind at home, ready to be shipped to me as needed wherever I was on the road. I also asked a couple of friends to be willing to buy new parts and ship them to me if needed.

The local moped dealer where I lived was very helpful. They got me the specialized tools I needed to be able to be fully independent and service every part of the moped myself (in the remote areas where I was headed there would certainly be no Mobylette moped dealers!). They also got me a parts and repair manual for the bike. The trip would not have been possible without these items (ie, I could not have been fully independent).

I received no sponsorship from Mobylette or their distributor in Canada. I asked for a discount on the new moped I purchased for the trip and was declined. But I did the trip just fine without that!



Trip and route planning

Generally speaking, I preferred to stick to the back roads wherever possible, as long as they were paved. Sometimes I had no choice, and I traveled on the main roads, or on unpaved roads. I preferred these "back roads" for several reasons: Less traffic, they were quieter, I was closer to the land and the country I was passing through, and I was more likely to meet local people along the way.

To plan my routes I simply used the official provincial and state highway maps published by each province/state. These maps show secondary highways, which are really the "back roads" that I refer to.  And they were free.

If you travel by moped I advise you to stay away from expressways. Not only is it usually illegal to ride a moped on such highways, it can also be dangerous.

I generally did not plan where I would end up each day. I preferred instead to just allow the trip take me wherever it led each day. I liked to take each day as it came, particularly when I traveled. That's part of what traveling is all about: freedom from schedules and other similar constraints. I would of course have a general idea of what was up ahead, and also have a general direction or eventual destination in mind. And I would not head into an area in the evening that was devoid of places to camp. Sometimes I would stop earlier in the day if I found a really nice place to camp and hang out. It's no fun riding into dusk, still searching for a campsite! I did that a number of times, however, when I couldn't find a place to camp earlier, or took a chance and continued riding when I should've stopped earlier.

I would also be open to advice from people I met along the way, both fellow travelers and locals, about what roads were best to take for various reasons, and places to see or avoid. If I had bound myself to a route and schedule, I would have missed out on a LOT!

So, overall I would say, when traveling: have a general direction and goal in mind, but above all enjoy the trip. Be open to change and leadings along the way.

Please also see the "Advice" section on Page 9.


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