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Messages - oldgroundhog

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1
General Discussion / Re: The North Star Tour
« on: December 11, 2013, 08:15:07 pm »
I did this ride several years back, plus several thousand miles more in the Canadian Yukon and Alaska.  Ended up at 5,000 miles.  A great ride, but prepare for remoteness.  I used the MILEPOST book to prepare for the trip, which contains a wealth of knowledge.  I still have my route guide, town listings, and available grocery places if it would help you. 

A couple of things about Northern Canada and Alaska to consider in planning:  It's never dark in the summer.  In late July in Fairbanks, I could read a newspaper at 2am.   Many roads are gravel/dirt, though the Cassiar Hwy last summer was mostly paved now.  The mosquitoes can be torturous at times.

If you seek adventure, this is a great ride. Just go prepared and enjoy the beauty!

2
General Discussion / Re: Bicycle Touring vs Backpacking
« on: December 17, 2012, 12:40:10 pm »
It's been interesting to read these replies.  Thanks to all who's posted.  I've found in the last decade a marked distinction between the two travels.  I prefer cycling, but places to camp now are becoming increasingly more difficult to find.  School grounds and ball fields once welcomed touring cyclists.  Now I'm called a 'potential terrorist' and turned away.  Churches once welcomed touring cyclists also.  Now I am a 'liability issue' and turned away. 

There are exceptions, but from my experience, policemen also have a negative view of touring cyclists.  I've been called a 'vagrant' and 'homeless' simply because I ride a loaded bicycle.  This is obviously a topic for another post, but I hope there becomes more trust in the bicycle non-community towards us who travel on two wheels.

So for awhile, I'll just keep the boots laced up and hike the Appalachian Trail.  Thanks again for all your inputs.


3
General Discussion / Bicycle Touring vs Backpacking
« on: December 07, 2012, 04:39:35 am »
What are your thoughts on the advantages of bicycle touring over backpacking, or vice versa?   I've hiked the Appalachian Trail and made several Pacific-Atlantic cycle tours.  I'm frequently asked which is best and why?  I have my thoughts on the subject, but was wondering yours?  So if you are both a backpacker and a cycle tourist, what do you say?

4
General Discussion / Re: Overcoming butt pain
« on: October 05, 2012, 09:53:35 am »
If you really want to overcome butt pain, then ride a recumbent.  The Tour Easy and Rans Stratus are the tourists dream bicycle. 

5
General Discussion / Re: Affordable/free camping idea
« on: March 09, 2012, 05:11:21 am »
Camping options have drastically changed in three decades.  On my first Pacific-Atlantic crossing in '78, camping was never a problem.  Free places were abundant.  School yards, churches, city parks, ball fields, fire and police stations were frequently used.  Even an occasional cemetery.

But today our culture has changed.  There is a lack of trust by most everyone.  As a retired professional, I'm now called a 'transient' and a 'bum' when I ask to camp at a police station.  You can forget school yards completely.  I was called a 'potential terrorist' by the town mayor of Fargo, GA last year when I asked permission to camp behind the school in the ball field.

Almost all city parks now have signs saying "No Camping". I find the "affordable/free camping" subject both frustrating and discouraging.   Finding stealth campsites is increasingly more difficult.  As others have mentioned in this subject, you certainly can't camp on property with 'No Trespassing' signs. I don't relish meeting an angry landowner.

Free camping is virtually a dinosaur.  It is a relic of the past when your neighbor could be trusted.  It's still possible, and I still try.  Always I ask politely. And always to leave a clean, no trace camp when I'm permitted.

I'd like to see this subject continued and expanded from others who like to 'free camp'.  Where do you stay?   
 

6
Routes / Robert Campbell Highway
« on: January 11, 2012, 05:59:23 am »
There is a dirt and gravel remote 360 mile highway from Watson Lake, Yukon to Carmacks, Yukon called the Robert Campbell Highway. 

I'll be taking it on my route to Alaska this summer, but would really like to talk to someone who has ridden it.  Years ago, ACA used this road on their North Star route.

Is there anyone out there?? 

7
Gear Talk / Rain Gear (yet again...)
« on: December 20, 2011, 05:16:17 am »
A search of 'Rain Gear' provided a pletheria of ideas again for this subject.  Some prefer a basic poncho.  Others like high end GoreTex.  I've cycled with both.   Has anyone toured with 'Frogg Toggs'?

They seem cheap enough but lack of ventilation is a concern.  Summer travels will find me back in Alaska and NW Canada.  Good rain gear is a requirement there.

If I must shell out the big bucks for GoreTex, does anyone have a 'top shell' they'd recommend?   Something that has held up for several tours.

Groundhog

8
Gear Talk / Re: Arkel Panniers
« on: October 27, 2011, 07:12:39 pm »
Look at the Arkel Utility Baskets. (under urban / communting)  I've been touring with them for a decade.  Solid, durable, excellent construction, and a pound lighter than the XM28 panniers.  The cargo size is virtually identical to the XM28 panniers.  They have no pockets which is why they are lighter.  Just one very large cargo compartment.

Bought the wife a pair two years ago and have never had any trouble with them at all.  Here's the website location for the Arkel Utility Baskets.  Check into them and happy riding.

http://www.arkel-od.com/us/all-categories/laptop-bicycle-pannier/utility-basket.html

9
GPS Discussion / First GPS / Phone suggestions
« on: October 19, 2011, 05:16:54 am »
I have no GPS, Ipad, or even a cell phone.  I'm perhaps one of the last hold-outs in the country to still use pay phones when on tour (which are rapidly disappearing.)   I've cycled coast-coast a couple times, Canada, Alaska. 

My question to all is this.  If you were buying a 'first' gadget for use on the road what would it be?   My riding next summer will be back in the Canadian Yukon and Alaska.  From being there several years ago, I can tell you that there is no internet or phone usage out in the wilds of the Robert Campbell, Cassiar, Dempster, or Top of the World Highways.

A nice feature of this gadget would be to have elevation charting ability.  To be able at the end of the day to plot a graph of the day's ride from automatic elevation 'tickers' made each mile.  Then reset for the next day.  When internet access is available I could call home with this gadget.

Is there really 'one gadget' for both phone and gps?   Can a gps be programmed for elevation charting?   
Other suggestions?

Thanks for the input.   




10
Gear Talk / Alcohol Stoves
« on: July 04, 2011, 06:26:16 pm »
I'm looking for a lightweight cooking stove.  I've tried both Whisperlite and Coleman backpacking stoves, but feel there are just too heavy.  I've heard good results from folks using alcohol stoves such as the Trangia and Tatonka.  But having no experience with either, I'm not sure of their cooking / heating results.  If anyone out there is using an alcohol stove, I'd appreciate some feedback on what you have and how the stove works out for you.

OldGroundhog

11
General Discussion / Town Camping and Police
« on: August 16, 2010, 06:17:20 am »
From my fellow touring cyclists, I'd like inputs on how you town camp and deal with police.  I've toured 40K+ miles across the USA and Canada.  In the last decade, when my wife and I have asked to camp in the town park, ball field, or school yard, there has been a noticeable hostility from local police in medium/large towns.

Just last month on a 1,000 mile tour we were called "undesireables" by the police in Millinocket, Maine when we asked to camp in town.  His  exact quote was "We run a clean town and don't allow undesireables.  Don't let me find you camping here."

Small town police are typically more friendly toward cyclists.  But still there always seems the apparent issue that we who travel and camp by bicycle are problem people.  So... what do we do and how have you dealt with this issue??

12
Routes / Re: The Green Moutain State
« on: July 31, 2010, 05:49:21 pm »
My wife and I just cycled 1,100 miles in VT, NH, and ME this summer.  The easiest routes go North-South in Vermont.  Crossing the state East-West requires several steep crossings of the Green Mountains.   Brandon Pass, a typical pass was a 12% grade for 4 miles.   We used a VT highway map, and it showed all the covered bridge locations.  Happy cycling!

13
Gear Talk / Cycling Sandals
« on: April 16, 2009, 06:01:51 pm »
Well, it's time for a new pair of cycling shoes and I'm considering giving sandals a try.  My riding is cross-country touring, not racing.  For those of you who ride in sandals... what brand do you prefer?   I've looked at Lake, Exustar, Shimano, and the generic Nashbar brand.  Seems all of these accept standard SPD cleats.  But which brand feels and performs better?         THANKS!!    Groundhog

14
General Discussion / Re: Lodging in Bar Harbor
« on: February 13, 2009, 05:50:46 pm »
Register at warmshowers.org.  This is a worldwide website of families that host touring cyclists in their homes.  Once you register to be a host, you can access any family you want to stay with across the USA or world while you cycle.  I just checked and there is a family in Ellsworth, ME which is the entrance to Bar Harbor.  I've stayed with many host families over the past years while cycling North America.  All have been wonderful experiences!    GROUNDHOG

15
Gear Talk / New 29er Bikes
« on: October 17, 2007, 04:13:46 pm »
Buying a new bike to ride the Great Divide in '08 and getting a lot of buzz that the new 29er bikes are now the best way to go for mountain bike touring.

Was wondering if anyone has ridden with this new bike style.  Seems like the larger wheels of a 29er would give the bike better handling overall.


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