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Messages - tsteven4

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Gear Talk / Re: Neo-Retro / Tour Canti Combo
« on: February 17, 2014, 05:53:44 pm »

I have run Paul touring canits F+R on my BG BLT for many years.  The original circa 1997 LX cantis howled.  The Pauls worked much better, but I did originally have some trouble that was rectified by Paul shipping a specially toleranced part.  I have used these extensively on loaded tours starting before the photos on and I used them today.  I have been satisfied with their performance.

However, I have shimano BR-R550s on my BG R&R EX.  These are the best brakes I have ever had and perform superior to the Pauls on the BLT, they have amazing stopping power.  Perhaps it is something to do with the setup or differences between the bikes, but the 550s are excellent.  But they are no longer made although you can find some on ebay.

The one issue with the 550s is that it is very difficult to pop the straddle cable which is a nice thing to do to get the tire out for repair.  The Pauls error in the other way, it is easy to misalign the straddle cable where you pop it in.  It never caused me a problem but I never tested it under extreme braking.  I have found them to be misaligned at least once.   This is an operator (or mechanic) error, but there is something to be said for not risking this potential failure mode.


I fixed the link for the colorado cycling map details in my previous post, it should work now.

I agree with John when he says you should be prepared for cold, be ready for nights around freezing.  Winter park is near Berthoud pass

We had a far worse experience in the North Cascades one June, about freezing and raining all day, we would have been much better off if it was a bit colder and snowing!

And a secret about the Rockies, they generally aren't steep but the can go on.  Some training is recommended.  You also might want to take a day or two after arriving from sea level to acclimate before moving up higher

I wouldn't worry to much about the Coloardo roads, it should be pretty obvious when you get here and then you can decide.  We start riding to 9,000-10,000 feet as early as the beginning of March and never later than the end of April, but we can pick the days.

Af far as Trail Ridge being open you couldn't count on it but it might be open, From the national park service in 2012:
Trail Ridge Road historically opens on Memorial Day weekend; last year, due to historic snow accumulation, the road opened on June 6. This year's opening is the third earliest day that Trail Ridge Road has opened since the road was completed in 1932. The earliest day was May 7, 2002. In 1963, the road opened on May 11. Trail Ridge Road is the highest continuous paved road in the United States, climbing to 12,183 feet and connecting the towns of Estes Park and Grand Lake.
and from a local paper in 2013:
Trail Ridge Road historically opens on Memorial Day weekend; last year the road opened early on May 14. The earliest the road has opened was on May 7, 2002; the latest June 26, 1943.

You can browse ACA routes here, I doubt you will go through Steamboat Springs.

It is possible to ride up the I70 corridor to Idaho Springs, then you can pick up the Great Parks South.  Willow Creek Pass on 125 is nice.  It is very unlikely that you wouldn't be able to ride Idaho Springs,  Berthod Pass on US 40 Granby, Willow Creek Pass on 125 and on to Wyoming in May, these roads are open year round except during avalanche control or heavy snow storms.  Lookout Mountain, from Golden, would be a good way to start up, this is how we started the Western Express from Boulder.  You cannot ride on US 6.   I live in Boulder and ridden most of these roads multiple times.  I would still do Trail Ridge if it was open, and the above route if it wasn't.  If you do Trail Ridge I could suggest routes to get there, we had historic flooding last year and some of the canyons are still a mess.

Colorado cycling maps are available here:
They will mail you a paper copy,
For a hard copy of Colorado State Map, send your name and mailing address to

As far as getting across Denver I would be tempted to get on a bus!  In general the RTD has bikes racks, although at the airport they might put your bikes underneath, if so you wouldn't want to unbox them before the bus.  I imagine you could ride from DIA, but in 30 years of riding in the area I have never headed in that direction, it seems so much better to head up and west into the glory of the Rockies.  I used to look unfavorably on this sort of thing, but a few Russian cycling clubs in Moscow taught me that it can be best, they always take the train out of town.

Hi Lauren,

I have been on the PC twice in June/July.  I think it will be fine.  It is a very beautiful route.  The ACA route winds around a bit in Oregon and the extra turns are worth it.

Starting from Denver I would want to go over Trail Ridge Rd in Rocky Mountain National Park which is an alternative on the Great Parks Route.  When we rode Seattle to Boulder it was the best day, the North Cascades lost out perhaps due to non-stop rain and the accompanying clouds.  However, it is a little less direct and typically opens in late May.  If it is open I think it is much prettier than the I70 corridor and Berthod Pass on US40.  I am not sure how I would get from DIA to Boulder, but after that I could give you turn by turn directions.


Gear Talk / Re: Replacement for Continental Top Touring Tires
« on: December 15, 2013, 05:15:26 pm »
When the TT 2000s dried up we switched to Continental Contacts.  The 700x37s work well on pavement(90%) and dirt(10%) roads.  They don't have the longevity of the Specialized Expedition tires of the 80's (5000 miles loaded!), we general get ~1700 loaded miles + 500 unloaded out of a pair.  They have now been replaced by Contact II, which we haven't tried yet.  I wouldn't recommend the Conti  Travel Contacts - after two loss of traction crashes.

GPS Discussion / Re: ACA GPS files on Google Earth problem
« on: December 03, 2013, 05:33:02 pm »
With any of the routes from you can look at the elevation profile one section at a time by selecting the section in the Places panel, right clicking, and selecting "Show elevation profile".

If you pass the kmz file to gpsvisualizer it will show an elevation profile for the entire route, BUT it assumes the sections are sequential.  This is almost never true with the ACA routes.  For example, west of Austin NV there are two choices of the route.  This leads to discontinuities and incorrect distances.

As regards to your decision all the choices are great.  The WE is the most serious (but an excellent route), in the summer it can be quite hot and the distances between places where you can get water is often a days ride.  Another possibility is a combination of the Northern Tier and TransAm, see
I think I posted more detailed route descriptions of this on this site.

General Discussion / Re: Homemade Fork Spreader Ideas?
« on: July 08, 2013, 05:43:39 am »
I think the easiest thing would be to get one from a bike store, but I have used one I made from a piece of dowel and a couple of lag bolts and washers:

Highway 50 reopened as of 8pm Thursday, 6/13/2013.

There are faster road updates available at

They still indicate
"ClosedView Map
US 50 Eastbound / Westbound CO 9-Canon City (Milemarker 269-276)

US 50 is closed in both directions between CO 9 and Canon City due to wildfire. Road closure began June 11th, 2013 at 4:43pm. Alternate route is North- US 24; South- CO 67/CO 96/CO 69."

The route is closed due to the royal gorge fire.  You can get the latest information at  As of 1pm Tuesday June 12 "U.S. Highway 50 is closed in both directions from the Canon City Water treatment plant (1st Street) to Highway 9. Temple Canyon road has also been closed."

General Discussion / Re: North Nevada & Utah in summer
« on: June 04, 2013, 05:53:48 am »

When we were there their was a hiker biker site on Lake McDonald named Sprague Creek, I recommend it and a swim in the lake.  With a reasonably early start you shouldn't have a problem making it to the top of the pass in time.


General Discussion / Re: North Nevada & Utah in summer
« on: May 09, 2013, 05:10:55 am »

Have you considered the train from Portland to Mt Vernon?   We took this train from Seattle to Mt Vernon with our bikes last year.  If you do this I would highly recommend you make a reservation for your bicycles using the "Walk-On Bicycle Service".  With this service you do not need to disassemble or box your bicycle in any way.


General Discussion / Re: North Nevada & Utah in summer
« on: March 20, 2013, 04:50:31 pm »
Ciao Andrea,

sf, ca to pueblo co, western express, pueblo,co to yorktown, va trans am.  this will be a bit shorter, but you can hit extreme heat.  On this route in Utah in July we hit 115 degrees F = 46 degrees C.  Our strategy on the western express was to leave between 2am and 5am, and try to finish by noon or 1pm.  At times we had to carry 8 liters of water per person.  The western express is a beautiful route, but you need to be prepared to enjoy it.

you can see all the ACA routes here
western express, with waypoints here
trans am, with waypoints here


General Discussion / Re: Question: Highway Troubles?
« on: March 02, 2013, 04:17:41 pm »
Easily.  You might want to consider the adventure cycling route network.  I can think of a few places on ACA routes I have done were you had to be on the freeway for a stretch, but I would guess it is less than 1% of the distance.

Routes / Re: Traffic on the California section of the Pacific Coast Route
« on: February 18, 2013, 05:43:30 pm »
I have done variations on the PC twice, both times we did the Northern California part in early July.  It was remarkably less busy than I expected.  I would recommend high visibility clothing, specifically a visibility vest.  In 30 years of cycle touring the PC was the first time I wanted one.  The fog can really limit visibility.  We did have some issues with weekend traffic.  If you are touring on a three day weekend you might want to park it until it is over.  The Sunday of the fourth of July weekend was a particularly bad time to take 199 (off route) to Crescent City.  The ride across the Golden Gate Bridge into S.F. is about the best finish one could ask for.  You will be on a sidewalk protected from motor vehicles, but there are a lot of oblivious pedestrians and bike rental clients.  Overall it is a fantastic route, enjoy.

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