I'm travelling to British Columbia this summer and I have a few questions. I hope some local or anybody in the know can shed some light.
The general idea is a 4 week, one way trip starting in Vancouver and getting back there by trip end, cycling north to the Bella Coola valley and taking the ferry down to Port Hardy. Then more cycling southwards if there's time to eventually take a bus to return to Vancouver. On to the little questions:
Hwy 99 Vancouver to Lillooet through Whistler: I believe it's very scenic but busy, is it worth it cycling it?
Backroads (those that are a thin, un-numbered line in a general BC road map at 1:250.000): any general word on these? Paved, good quality dirt, muddy when wet? Are grades doable for a loaded bike? Are junctions signed at all? Like, for example, the backroad along Harrison and Lillooet lakes (a reasonable alternative to the Whistler road)
I know everything is painfully beautiful in BC but I wonder about the inland, highland area between, say, Lillooet and Williams Lake and just west of Williams Lake, is it somewhat monotonous to cycle?
Helmet law: I know it used to be mandatory, I also read recently this law was recalled... how is the situation? is it actually mandatory? Urban streets, just out of towns, everywhere? Is this actually enforced for non-racing riding (like touring)?
Ferry from Bella Coola to Port Hardy: website advises to book in advance, how important this is? We could book a few days before the actual trip when we actually know when it'll happen, is it advisable to book earlier than that? Is it reasonable to expect to find tickets on the same day?
Same question for the Port Hardy to Vancouver Bus, is advance booking needed/advisable?
I understand taking the bicycles (we are two) in the Bella Coola Ferry will be no problem but I welcome specific info on this. I'm more concerned about the bus ride from Port Hardy to Vancouver: Greyhound says bikes are welcome in a cardboard box: I'd also welcome first hand info on how easy/difficult it is to take your bike on this bus.
Other than that, any information that could feel useful is welcome. Thanks a lot in advance!