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Messages - hirundo

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General Discussion / Re: Fantastic Commuting Infrastructure
« on: May 31, 2014, 09:59:49 pm »
Read a blog called The Washcycle for up to date info on bicycle infrastructure in Alexandria/DC. Life for cyclists is much improved and people are working hard to make things better. But out in the hinterlands very small and incremental changes have many activists with little to show for our efforts. Bike riding is still fun and safe dedpite the lack of government assistance.

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General Discussion / Re: Cycling in Alaska
« on: May 29, 2014, 09:08:42 pm »
The Backpackers Inn a few blocks from the Alaska Railroad statiom is an ideal low cost place to stay. There is a chain hotel down the street with a good sit-down breakfast.

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Alaska/Hawaii / Re: AK Bike Routes
« on: October 20, 2012, 08:29:52 pm »
I just recently found  this part of the forum. Not sure how I missed it 'til now.
Our tour plan starts the way the Alaska Randonneurs Big Wild Ride starts: Railroad to Whittier from Anchorage, ferry to Valdez, tandem road bike up the Richardson to Paxson, the Denali hwy to Cantwell, on to Denali Park. railraod back to Anchorage.
 You Alaska hands can answer a few questions I hope.
What is the grade up to Thompson Pass? Calculation from the topo looks like 8%. Any other noteworthy grades or road features? What should we not miss? How bothersome are the mosquitoes? Where should we eat or avoid--recognizing of course the limited choices? Kackona (sp?) is on our list. And we plan on staying in lodges, etc, not camping. Our daily mileage looks tobe in the 50 to 60 mile range, somewhat less on the Denali Hwy. No  rest days alotted yet. Suggestions for a great place to spend an off day? A great place is priority over the need for a day off the bike.
Recent phone calls to several places on the route have raised our enthusiasm.
Any  thoughts on gear, planning, bike shops, sights to behold,availability of water, prevailing winds would be valued.
Thanks

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Routes / Re: ACA Denali route?
« on: September 27, 2012, 08:58:55 pm »
Hi, Good info. We plan on taking the train from Anchorage, the ferry to Valdez, Richardson Hwy, Denali Hwy, Parks to Denali, train back to Anchorage. Mileage may vary, as they say. This is a once in a lifetime tour so we have to do Denali and I have been drooling over the Denali hwy since reading of the AK Randonneurs brevet on that road. Mileage on the Denali would be in the forties, or inn to inn distances. We ride in the mountains of Virginia and know rollers and long climbs. Your detailed knowledge of the terrain and local areas would be invaluable. Can I contact you off-line?

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Routes / Re: ACA Denali route?
« on: September 16, 2012, 10:45:29 am »
You are very right about being limited to a schedule defind by the availability of lodging. We learned that doing the ADK loop on out own this summer and had great weather and well-spaced choice of lodging. We would not have wanted to meet our schedule in driving rain storms. But such events are part of the game. We have mapped out a route from Valdez to Denali that has 60 mile legs between lodging. Very reasonable for experienced riders. We have found the availability of lodging to be less of a problem than suggested. Good long range planning is a must. So we are already contacting motels. B&Bs.etc. and choosing our gear for weather more like our early Spring Virginia weather. Likewise, we routinely contact bike clubs or friends of friends to get the low down.

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Routes / Re: civil war routes on virginia??
« on: September 15, 2012, 11:54:51 am »
Try the DC Randonneurs web site.  They just ran their (9/8/12) Civil War brevet and the cue sheet and ride description are posted.  I never travel anywhere by bike without checking out the randonneuring sites or those of any local club.  Great resources.

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Routes / Re: Blue Ridge Parkway / Skyline Drive input
« on: September 15, 2012, 11:49:19 am »
Early October might just beat the peak time for leaf viewing of Fall foliage, but expect lots of traffic on both roads, especially on weekends.  Local cyclists know what to expect and find alternate places to ride.  Expect bumper to bumper traffic getting in and long skeins of cars and motorcyclists, RVs and tour buses throughout the park, be especially careful around overlooks where people can pull off to view vistas.  Ride early and get off the road by noon, when city people have finally gotten to the parks and beaten the back ups at the entrance stations.  These are not quiet country roads with only local traffic.  Wear bright colors, use both head and tail lights, wear your helmet, keep as far to the right as "practicable."
While the grades are not particularly steep they are long. The North entrance to Dickey Ridge is a five mile climb with 4-6% grades and more of the same along the full 108 miles of Skyline.  The descents can be wonderful, of course, and make the climbs worthwhile.  BUT we locals know that both wildlife and traffic are significant hazards on fast descents. Deer are very common, unhunted, tame and are unpredictable.  If you see a deer (or bear) by the road do not assume it will not step into your path. If you want to enjoy wildlife along the road then ride early in the morning.  As I said, deer are common, but bear and wild turkey can be frequent early. Far less traffic, too.
I'm not sure when we turn the clocks back an hour so keep in mind the amount of daylight you have to get from place to place.  Lights are required by law after dusk and low light conditions will prevail during inclement weather. Use lights that illuminate the road ahead as well as make you more visible.  Fog is common on these roads.  It will be chilly at night and in the mornings and if it rains.  I have never encountered a nice warming rain on Skyline; it always gets cold.  Going fast downhill when soaked to the skin has its own perils. Dress for heat and cold.
On the other hand, with the exception of some forever to remain unnamed roads, Skyline and the Blue Ridge are two of America's best bike tours, deserving of their reputations as beautiful and challenging. Savor every mile.

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Alaska/Hawaii / Re: AK Bike Routes
« on: August 19, 2012, 11:34:45 am »
My Milepost (2005 edition) shows several lodges on the Denali Hwy: Tangle River Inn mp 20, Maclaren River Lodge mp 42 and Gracious House at mp 82. They offer the cycling tourist overnights.  There are camp sites, too.

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Routes / Re: ACA Denali route?
« on: August 14, 2012, 08:48:02 pm »
Thanks for the responses.  I get it. So here is how I might begin planning a route: go to the Tour Itinerary for the Denali Adventure, read the description of start and mileage for each day, read Milepost for area, go online to see what there is to do...

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Routes / Re: ACA Denali route?
« on: August 12, 2012, 12:24:02 pm »
Okay, so the ACA Denali trip route is not published.  Why not?  Why make members plow through the Milepost ( I have the 2005 edition) in order to build a route along what are probably the same sets of roads?  I could build a route using the Alaska Randonneurs web site or pester the friend of a friend for route suggestions.  Or I could simply buy the ACA route map just as I did for the ADK maps and I'd get the benefits of ACA experience.  I'm not interested in an 11 day self contained tour in July, but I would like to be able to ride for five days, camp or not, take advantage of cool places without sticking to a rigid schedule, ride in June or August, mix the ride with the Alaska Railroad, etc.  Still a lot of planning, but the ACA route is a great starting point.
Thanks

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Routes / ACA Denali route?
« on: August 09, 2012, 09:03:21 pm »
We plan on riding tandem in Alaska next summer and are interested in using the route laid out by ACA.  Is this route published? We have in mind doing the same route, but not camping, if possible.

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Routes / Re: Adirondack Parking
« on: August 09, 2012, 08:57:46 pm »
My wife and I recently finished on our tandem an altered version of the ADK Loop, starting in Saratoga Springs.  Yes there is lots of free public parking downtown off Broadway, the main drag. Our car sat for five days.  We chose that start because of the town itself and greatly enjoyed starting and ending there.

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Routes / Re: TransAmerica from DC, but I need to go east first.
« on: April 23, 2012, 08:26:17 pm »
One reply suggested the W&OD to Front Royal, Va.I drive the route over the mtn on rt 50 or rt 7. Both are major high speed commuter routes with narrow to no shoulders. I cringe with horror when I see a touring cyclist on these roads. I have considered stopping to offer a ride up and over, but there is NO place to pull over. There are safer times to ride these routes, but still expect high speed traffic.

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Routes / Re: ACA roads to avoid in the Adirondacks?
« on: April 23, 2012, 07:28:44 pm »
Thanks to each for taking time to respond. We are more confident in the route now. Still, google maps bike routing has a very tantalizing route from Speculator to Sarasota Springs, via Edinburg and it allows us to schedule a nice short day on the bike and a bit more time hanging out.
Thanks again.

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Routes / ACA roads to avoid in the Adirondacks?
« on: April 22, 2012, 07:29:26 pm »
We are planing an unsupported tandem ride using the Adirondack Park Loop maps.  Several roads appear to be main connections between towns and might be busier than we like.  The route from Caroga Lake through Broadalbin to Saratoga Springs look to be busy secondary roads.  I'm betting there is a better route from Speculator to Edinburg to Cornth to Saratoga Springs via small county roads.  Are there ACA riders familiar with this loop and can provide information?
Thanks

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