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I want to discover my country, Canada up close. What better way than by bicycle? In the past, I have experimented with bicycle touring, camping style. At the age of fifteen I went on my first overnight trip, with my friend Mike, from Ottawa to the Rideau Lakes, a distance of 85 miles (137 km) in a single day. In the way of wheels we each had a one speed bike with old fashioned coaster brakes. We had no baggage racks, no fenders, no panniers, no lights, but only a small canvass backpack in which to carry our things. In the way of camping gear we had a pocket knife, an army surplus canteen and a blanket. Mike had the luxury or a rubber ground sheet to keep him dry. A tent was not affordable, too heavy, and we had no way of strapping one to a bike anyhow.


That night my buddy and I slept on our blankets on the front lawn by the lake shore of Mike's uncle's cottage. I will always remember the sky that night, illuminated with stars I had never seen in the light-polluted sky of the city. I could see the Milky Way like I had only seen in books before. For a long time, we talked and joked and watched the shooting stars light up trails in the sky before falling into a profound sleep. 

At the age of fifteen I could put up with the hardship of having no camping equipment and I could cope with a one-speed bike on gravel roads and still enjoy bicycle travel. Today I'm 77. I never dreamt I would reach that age and still be able to ride a bike long distances and camp along the way. Much of this is thanks to the invention of the electric assist bicycle.

Since then, of course, I've done a lot of camping, and can now afford the best of modern gear. The good quality equipment I now enjoy help me cook better meals, sleep more comfortably and keep dry during heavy rainfalls in an easy to erect, lightweight nylon tent. In order to make up for the receding strength of a 77-year-old body, four years ago I bought an electric bike, which will allow me to continue cycling until I'm really old.


There is, however, one piece of equipment that doesn't yet exist, and that is a decent bicycle trailer, capable of carrying all of the basic comforts a guy my age needs. That is why I built my own trailer. The addition of a solar panel is an added benefit, which is mostly for fun, although it will extend my range somewhat. I used the trailer that summer for a few trips, but then though that it would be nice to have a slightly larger trailer that I could sleep in.

So the following year (2018), I built my Bériault Bicycle camper according to a design I took a year to imagine and to create.

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