Canadian Road ADV! / The Cabot Trail Dual Sport and Adventure Motorcycle Guide
Meet Colin MacEachern of Trail Trash ADV, Nova Scotia’s source for dual sport and adventure motorcycle rides.
According to his website, Colin and his friends are typical of the Canadian East Coast cycling community – they’re just people who love to ride. He really enjoys sharing his hilarious driving experiences, opinions and outright adventures through videos and GPX tracks. Trail Trash ADV’s latest project is the Cabot Trail Dual Sport and Adventure Motorcycle Guide.
ADV: What is the Cabot Trail Dual Sport and Adventure Motorcycle Guide?
A bite for sure! This is a trail guide and route map for any competent off-road, dual-sport, or adventure motorcyclist visiting the Cabot Trail. There are several amazing places labeled Points of Interest (POI) in the guidebook that most people pass without knowing or have never heard of. Most of these points of interest are only accessible to vehicles capable of handling off-road conditions. The guide will start in Baddeck and circle counterclockwise around the Cabot Trail before ending in Port Hawkesbury.
ADV: What are you trying to do in Cape Breton, and why?
The objective remained the same. Create a guide for dual-sport and adventure riders with an open forum to provide trail and route feedback so the guide can evolve as riders and trails do. Maybe you decide to stray from the official route and find something worth sharing with the next cyclist – let us know, and we’ll consider including it.
ADV: Has it evolved since your last attempt to launch in June 2021?
It is an ever-evolving guide. At first I started sharing videos on what became Trail Trash ADV. I provided a GPX track and a Google Map link on the Trail Trash Tracks playlist so my friends could follow the trail themselves and know what they were waiting for. These maps and tracks have evolved in the first version of the guide. The initial course was good, but I felt it lacked some challenging sections for advanced dual sport and adventure riders.
ADV: How is he progressing?
I could spend my life working on this and not have a complete guide. We finalized the 2022 itinerary in November 2021. Although I was hesitant to commit to a date after the first delay due to an unspecified virus of unknown origin, I can confidently say that it will be available to the public by June 2022. You will receive the 2022 itinerary and the building blocks to make it something world class that will benefit everyone.
ADV: What is the format?
I think this will surprise a lot of people, but I can’t reveal all my secrets yet, stay tuned to the Trail Trash ADV Youtube channel. Free access to YouTube, Google Maps, Google Drive, TrailTrashADV.com, and most importantly rider feedback will be the glue that holds it all together.
ADV: Who is working on the project?
I was lucky to have my friends Jeff and Colin come on a few trips to help with location scouting and filming. Those who watch the Trail Trash ADV YouTube channel know them well. A sincere thank you to both of you.
ADV: Who is the guide for?
Anyone comfortable riding off-road on a dual sport or adventure bike will want to check it out. Maybe you’ve hiked the Cabot Trail on the sidewalk before, or maybe you’ve come from another country or province to experience the Cabot Trail for the first time. There are also trails for expert cyclists who can’t find a mountain they haven’t conquered. Check Video of Lowlands Cove 2021.
AV: Why? What prompted you to work on this project?
It was a coincidence and a passion, I guess. I am an advanced care paramedic and was an elite athlete in my youth. Early in my career, I realized that I desperately needed to do something about my mental health. I was riding a street bike at the time and got hooked on off-road adventure after buying a friend’s dual-sport. Then, in 2019, I embarked on a mostly off-road, solo journey to the terminus of the Trans Taiga Trail, an extremely remote route leading 666 km east almost to Labrador, with almost no settlements or city. It was an amazing experience, but outdated information led to some uncomfortable situations that, without planning months before, would have left me in a bad spot. When COVID-19 caused Nova Scotia to lock down interprovincial travel, I immediately focused on Cape Breton and searched online for off-road options.
ADV: How many options did you find?
Much to my disappointment, I couldn’t find any off-road guides or directions for the area around the Cabot Trail. At that point the gears started to turn and I plotted the first scouting trip for the Cabot Trail Dualsport and Adventure Motorcycle Guide in 2020. One of my first thoughts about this guide was: “ it doesn’t exist yet? Really?!”. If a pandemic hadn’t forced me to look a little closer to home, this probably never would have happened.
ADV: Why this delay?
There are a few contributing factors. Nova Scotia had community travel restrictions in place just days before the confirmation trip I had planned before June 2021. I had to decide whether to release an unconfirmed itinerary or accept that the pandemic doesn’t make a release practical in 2021. I chose the latter. It worked out well because I spent most of my summer in Nunavut with a new job and came back with enough resources to get a brand new KLX300 for scouting.
ADV: Will it cost riders?
I’m a “for the people” type, so there won’t be any official fees or costs to access the Cabot Trail Dualsport and Adventure Motorcycle Guide. On that same note, please acknowledge the hard work the local ATV club volunteers do to keep the trails safe and passable by purchasing a trail permit from MTB ($75) and Membership NSORRA ($30). These funds help support trail maintenance, repairs and advocacy for off-road riders. I am not affiliated with any of these organizations.
ADV: How can people better participate or share routes/tracks?
Build the guide, explore and send us your videos and GPS tracks! If you encounter an obstacle or trail that is not what you expected or not worth including, please contact us. There will be a submission form on our website in June, but for now anyone with questions, comments, concerns or suggestions can email me at [email protected]. Please attach a GPX file if you wish to submit a course for review.
ADV: What do you think?
I am terrified and excited that this will finally fall into the hands of the public. This project was a huge undertaking. I wanted this to be a free time project, and I sincerely appreciate the encouragement I received from those who patiently waited. When I publish the guide in June, it may seem sketchy to some, especially local runners. It is by design. I’m keeping it simple to minimize the tech load for those who just want to ride, while simultaneously releasing a guide that we’ll all continue to build together. Anyway, that’s the dream.