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Messages - MrBent

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Routes / Re: Great Divide MTB Route options?
« on: April 14, 2015, 12:27:01 pm »
Hey, Wayne:

From our experience doing the paved Divide, do your best to avoid paved Montana.  That was, overall, the low point of the tour because of poor shoulders and sometimes very heavy traffic.  Wyoming was good, Colorado okay to good but only because we went through so late in the year--late Sept/early Oct.  Mid-summer might be a different story.  New Mexico has some really good paved cycling, at least on the routes I've taken.


Routes / Re: Great Divide MTB Route options?
« on: April 14, 2015, 08:56:51 am »
Hey, Wayne:

I hear you, but we've already done the Divide on pavement, which is what's got us itching to do it dirty style.  We'll see what happens.  We still got a couple of years before I can get the time off.



Routes / Re: Great Divide MTB Route options?
« on: April 04, 2015, 10:27:05 pm »
Hey, SandLizrd!

Thanks for the pep talk.  Yeah, an epic is the point.  I'm thinking of constructing harnesses for pulling the trikes up hill, which I think might be easier than bending over to push.  I don't think Heidi had to do a lot of pushing.  The mud in NM worries me, but one gets through what one must, mustn't one? Heh.


Routes / Re: Great Divide MTB Route options?
« on: April 03, 2015, 01:16:05 pm »
Good pt. re. speed, John.  I think we should be able to manage 30+ miles per day of riding, which should make it possible.  Yeah, we are wicked slow on climbs.  I've got a route mapped ( that we'll try next year using my proposed GDMBR setup.  This route involves some substantial dirt portions, so we'll get the feel for time/distance calculations.  We've toured a lot on a Greenspeed tandem trike, so we're no strangers to slow.

Routes / Great Divide MTB Route options?
« on: April 03, 2015, 12:06:22 pm »
Hey, Riders:

Doing some dreaming and scheming about the GDMBR.  I know my plans are a bit whacked, but they are not without precedent.  My wife and I are thinking about attempting the GDMBR on recumbent trikes.  It has been done this way once before--see Heidi's blog on Crazyguyonabike--so we know it's possible.  Our particular wrinkle will be taking our faithful hound along if he's fit enough, which seems likely.  Our ride is still a full two years away, so this is very preliminary research.

Some background:

In 2012, my wife, our hound, Django, and I pedaled the Great Divide following almost exclusively paved roads.  I tell this sordid tale in my book--Cracking the Spine:

That was a tough trip for sure, but on the times we got off pavement, we had some serious fun.  It was hard, of course, but the virtual absence of traffic and the overwhelming quiet were addictive.  We ended up doing about 30 miles or so of dirt between Bozeman and the Yellowstone River and another stretch of dirt leading to Ute Pass, which I've found is part of the official GDMBR. These went well, and our rigs were not customized for dirt, my wife in particular pedaling a trike with 20" wheels--pretty dang low!  For a bigger dirt adventure we'd upgrade my trike--currently 26" in the rear and 20" in front to a 29X24 config. while my wife's would be 26X24.  We'd use 2+" rubber all around.  The dog trailer is the best available, a Cycletote, which we'd likely upgrade to 26" wheels.

So here's my thinking about the route so far: 

We'd have to use the now alternate south of Sparwood in BC--the "Fernie Alternate" as "The Wall" seems a no go with trikes? Everyone portages, but the trikes couldn't even be pushed up that from what it seems.  We'd be fine on the Fernie route, however.

The next crux comes at Richmond Peak above Rt. 83 in Montana, a section we grew to hate because of the traffic.  Instead of Richmond Peak, which Heidi did successfully, here's an alternate I've mapped using Google, so I'd like some Montana locals or other experienced riders to comment:

From satellite views, the route seems to follow consistently well developed logging roads.  We'd have to ride SOME of 83, but not much.

The other crux would be Fleecer Ridge.  Again, Heidi rode this somehow, but we'd likely do the simple alternate.

From my reading, it seems like everything else is workable, especially on jacked trikes with fat tires.  If I had my way, I'd go with a suspended two wheeler, but my wife is a confirmed triker, so this is the way we'd do it.  We have insanely low gearing, so I suspect that many stretches that two wheelers push, we'd crawl up steadily on our three wheelers.

Besides the expected--DON"T DO IT, YOU FOOL!--comments, what do you think?  Any other sections that have workarounds we should know about? 



General Discussion / Re: coast to coast touring 30 days?
« on: October 10, 2013, 08:43:33 pm »
You're getting good advice.  I think it will likely come down to a suffer-fest, which is fine if that's yer cup o' tea.  You'll need to put in monstrous saddle time before seriously considering it.  I'd want to try a few double centuries, certainly train up to it.  You'd want to be comfortable with hitting a century each day of the weekend, and more, of course.  As one poster said, most of us here are for a take-it-slower pace.  My own cross country pace was about 65 miles per day, give our take.  For what it's worth, a friend who did 90+ miles every day on his crossing regrets going so quickly and thought my pace was a better choice.  The pressure to finish would be immense at the pace you suggest.  I'd think the tour would become more like a job.  BUT!  And this is a big "but."  People are different.  Maybe training for and undertaking such a challenge is what will make you happiest.  For me, having time to meet some locals, check out different places, linger over coffee in the morning or a cold beer after a hot day, those are some of my most cherished moments--not the days I packed in the miles.  To each his own.

General Discussion / Re: December Tours
« on: October 10, 2013, 08:33:13 pm »
Hi, Tehrara:

Being the dark, cold month, the desert is the only reasonable choice.  I've done a lot of riding around Death Valley in the dead of winter, and it can be great.  In fact, this year, for the third time, my wife and I will be cycling from Lone Pine to Las Vegas via DV.  Some parts of this tour can have lows below 20 deg. F. in mid-winter, but the highs are often in the mid-60's.  When weather comes in, it's usually strong winds out of the north.  And they can kick some ass, I'll tell you.  One of the all-time great tours of North America is the Lone Pine to Palm Desert run:  This gives you the best of the Mojave Desert--Death Valley, East Mojave Preserve, and Joshua Tree National Park.  Go prepared for long distances between water/resupply points, be ready to camp in wild, isolated places at times, and expect the greatest, grandest desert fantastica anywhere.  I LOVE this tour.  You need to work out transport.  One way would be to leave a vehicle in Lone Pine and rent a Uhaul in Indio or Palm Desert to take you back.  Check it out.  Bad. Ass.

Routes / Re: Reno to Yosemite
« on: September 25, 2013, 09:07:46 am »
Hi, Scooper:  Heading up the west side of the Sierras is much more complicated and, generally, considerably more traffic clogged.  California has as many people as the entire country of Canada, and I swear that on a weekend especially, they all seem to be out in their cars in the "Gold Country," which is the western slope you'd have to traverse to get to the Tahoe area/Western Express, which has its own problems.  Hwy 49 is the main west side road and, because of that traffic load, pretty nasty at times.  There are other back country roads, but I'm unfamiliar with them.  These would offer some brutally difficult riding, however, and some sections might be dirt.  Others on this board will likely know the country better than me.  On the Western Express, I was really unhappy with the Placerville to Fulsom section.  If you end up heading up the west side, at Plymouth, head up into the mountains towards Fiddletown Rd/Shake Ridge Rd. to connect to 88.  This will be steep but have FAR less traffic than the standard Western Express.

Hit Google Maps and have a great adventure.


Routes / Re: Reno to Yosemite
« on: September 18, 2013, 09:05:22 am »
What Gnarlydog said.  I've ridden the East Side (395) quite a bit.  One tight section to be wary of is just south of Topaz right around the CA/NV border.  No shoulder, tight curves, not a lot of fun, although there has been some road work in recent years, so the situation may have improved.  Current situation, Gnarlydog?

One workaround involves some tough cycling but also some of the best riding anywhere:  From the Minden area, go into the Sierras a bit and over to Markleeville then over and down Monitor Pass (that's the tough bit!).  It's super, super beautiful, and there's a fantastic campground just outside of town, which has a little market and a couple of restaurants.  Be warned, Monitor Pass is tough, but soooo beautiful.  Once you drop down to 395 you're past the narrows and the shoulder generally improves, although you will face a couple of narrow spots along the Walker River, as well.

Have a blast.  This is one of the great roads of North America.


General Discussion / Re: MN to AZ
« on: September 18, 2013, 08:57:38 am »
Congrats on taking control of your life.  A big tour will be one of the next best things you do in this life.  Study those links, do a little test riding, an overnight or two to checkout systems, then just go.  Bike touring is like sobriety:  It's best taken one day at a time.  Tourists sometimes burnout when they try to cover too many miles, do too many back-to-back days.  Try to set up the tour so you're not so tied to a schedule that you can't enjoy it to the fullest.

Get out there and ride--and report back.


General Discussion / Re: complete newb, GDMBR in 2014
« on: August 25, 2013, 08:18:14 pm »
Actually, Matthieu:  I think even ACA guided tours have had just this problem with trailers on fully suspended bikes.  Maybe some are more robust than others, and this would not be a problem, but this HAS been an issue for some--as in order a new frame from a town and wait for it to come and reassemble the bike kind of issue, and I would be very careful about setting out with rear suspension and a single-wheeled trailer for nearly 3,000 miles of dirt.


Routes / Re: What's the best cross-country route in the US?
« on: August 25, 2013, 03:13:32 pm »
Starting from Sante Fe in early November should be perfect.  It can still be warm by the time you hit the low desert in Phoenix, etc., but in general, you should have quite pleasant riding conditions.  Go do it.


General Discussion / Re: Complete newb, TA in 2014
« on: August 25, 2013, 03:07:57 pm »
+1 Novara Safari.  I've got a friend with one, and he really likes it.

I'm curious:  Why do you write off recumbents?  Good used ones can be had for the price range you're talking about.  Saddle sores, sore wrists/hands/neck will be a thing of the past.   I'd do a little more homework first.  I wouldn't have done two 3+ month rides now without one. 

Here's a good resource:

Whatever you ride, have a great trip!  It's one of the best things I've done in my life.


General Discussion / Re: complete newb, GDMBR in 2014
« on: August 25, 2013, 03:00:57 pm »
Why do you think your Specialized isn't up to the task?  If anything seems worn or in need of replacing, I'd do that and go for it as long as the bike fits you well and you're generally happy with it.  It's a hard tail?  If so, a BOB trailer would be the way to go for carrying gear.  I'd probably want a front shock, however.  Don't use a BOB if you have rear suspension.  The torquing will destroy the bearings and such--not cool in the middle of nowhere.  If you can, consider shifting the ride to late summer into fall.  You're more likely to avoid t-storms in NM that cause the Super Mud on the roads/trails.  Looks like nasty stuff! 


Sadly, chip seal is becoming a fact of life on a lot of US roads.  In riding the Rocky Mtns. from Jasper, Alberta, to Mexico, we encounter long, long sections of the stuff, sometimes with pretty large, sharp little boulders.  It flat out sucks.  It's cheap and fast, so get used to seeing more of it.  There was a HUGE outcry when Caltrans laid down a 20 mile stretch of this junk between Ragged Pt. and Cambria on the Pacific Coast route.  Supposedly, they're looking at ways to smooth it out.  Every official who okays a chip seal job should be forced to walk it--on his knees.  That would change things pretty quick.  Arrrrgh.


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