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Messages - Bclayden

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1
General Discussion / Re: How to transport bike box?
« on: December 08, 2016, 07:22:58 pm »
Some good advice above. I'm often challenged with this sort of thing and have had much luck with cardboard bike boxes and shipping via BikeFlights. No bad experiences so far.

I always begin my touring rides at a hotel near the airport so I ship to the hotel.

What I've found works best for me is packing the bike up myself at home then shipping the bike (via BikeFlights and FedEx Ground) to the hotel at the start of the ride to get there a few days ahead of me. Marriott at least has always been accommodating with this sort of thing. Not sure about other brands. This requires self-assembly after unpacking but if you're up to that then you won't have to coordinate your arrival during bike shop business hours and it will save some $.

If you're cool with some dissembly/re-assembly there are some good YouTube vids showing how to pack a bike properly for shipping. There's more to it than simply throwing the bike into the box but it isn't difficult.

At the other end of the journey I have found it best and easiest to end at a bike shop who can pack and ship the bike for me and I make the BikeFlight arrangements and print shipping label for them (at the hotel) so I'm sure it's done right.

I've never tried to check bike as luggage on the airlines but have heard TSA has been known to pull the bike out of the box and not repack properly. I have avoided checking via airline.

2
Routes / Re: Louisville, KY-Virginia Beach,VA route advice.
« on: October 31, 2016, 11:10:16 am »
Thanks for the helpful advice so far folks.  I will see what else rolls in and make my plan in the New Year.

Pete, yes, I remember chatting with you about the WE route crossing NV in 2012! So glad your ride went well and that you've had other great adventures since. Since 2012 I have covered many miles on other touring rides, some ACA routes but most home-brewed,  but my Coast-to Coast ride has become a multi-year project. I've managed, so far, to balance life and touring successfully as I have a family and a job to attend to.  Logistics getting back and forth to the start/end points have become a challenge...I caught the train home from SLC after the first week, thought it sounded fun, but now it requires an entire day on the airlines to get to/from... I've been able to enjoy the ride for 4 years! 

I live in Santa Cruz, CA along the Pacific Coast ACA route..give me a shout (leave a message on this board) if you are out my way. 

-Ben

3
Routes / Louisville, KY-Virginia Beach,VA route advice.
« on: October 30, 2016, 09:52:53 pm »
Spring 2017 I will complete my coast-to-coast ride. Due to work and family obligations I have been making my way across the country in phases (1 week at a time). It's taken me 4 weeks to get from California to Louisville, KY.  1 more week will complete the trip at Virginia Beach, VA.

I am in the beginning planning stages for this last week from Louisville-Virginia Beach. I don't camp but stay in motels to help keep my load light and my daily mileage high (100+). I could pick up the Trans-Am route about midway across Kentucky or I could blaze a trail directly across Kentucky, W. Virginia and Virginia. I prefer to keep to the quiet country back roads.

I guess my question is why does the Trans-Am meander from Kentucky down to the N. Carolina border then NE again to Richmond, VA and SE once more to Virginia Beach and why is this the preferred route?  I understand the Appalachians must be crossed but there seem to be other options.

Apart from this being the traditional route is there a good or practical reason to follow it?  I have made my way 2800 miles by blazing my own trail (except portions of Western Express crossing NV and Louis and Clark crossing MO), I enjoy the detailed planning and the routing has been great so far. I'm happy to keep going on my own but curious what others have to say about TA.

Any advice as to pros and cons of this portion of TA is appreciated.  Thanks in advance for your replies.

-Ben

4
Routes / Re: Latest possible date to start northbound Sierra Cascades?
« on: October 03, 2016, 08:09:41 pm »
You don't say how many miles/hours you expect to be riding each day but June is a good time to get a very early start..begins to get light at 5am..and after 6-7 hours in the saddle it is only noon and your done!  Viola!  I used this technique crossing Nevada in June a couple of year ago and covered 100 miles each day but finished by early afternoon.  Hot?  Yes...but only for the last couple of hours.

Also, the early start can help to avoid the daily afternoon gusty desert winds and possible T-storms.


5
Connecting ACA Routes / Re: Salt Lake City to Kansas City
« on: June 28, 2016, 02:29:10 pm »
There is a 5-10 mile stretch on I-80 leaving Evanston..not too bad...otherwise all good backcountry and mostly quiet highways.
The route I mapped out (day 1) left SLC up Emigrant Canyon Rd. Joined Rte 65, Echo Dam Rd, Chalk Creek Rd (several miles packed dirt) into Evanston, WY. The next 2 days: Rtes 189/28 to Lander where you can meet the TransAm.

Midway Between Kemmerer and Lander is the very small community of Farson, WY which offers 1 rough motel and a diner next door.  That's the only overnight option for 150-200 miles as I recall.

6
Connecting ACA Routes / Re: Salt Lake City to Kansas City
« on: June 28, 2016, 10:48:26 am »
An alternate...Not sure if this is much help but I covered your route entirely without riding along any ACA routes and it was excellent. From SLC on the Emigrant Trail my route went up into Wyoming and picked up the Platte Rivver to cross Nebraska, met the Missouri River at St Joseph and then down to KC. Nice riding conditions, no major climbs once past the Wasatch Range but most riding in WY above is 7000' msl...crossing Continental Divide would have been unnoticeable if not for the sign marking it. 

Each riding day at 90-120 miles with motel overnights in Evanston, Farson, Lander, Alcova and Douglas, WY... Scottsbluff, North Platte, Kearny, Nelson, NE...and Marysville, KS. 

My goal was to follow, from Sacramento, CA-St Joseph, MO, the historic 1860s Pony Express horseback mail route hence its roundabout nature. The route also follows several emigrant trails, Oregon Trail, Morman Trail, etc., which typically followed the easiest path across the vast American West.  Not direct but without major obstacles.

Some of the towns in WY are quite far apart but this route offers solid and safe riding conditions if you enjoy solitude and long days in the saddle.

7
Routes / Re: Katy Trail riding conditions?
« on: May 24, 2016, 09:10:07 am »
I am the OP. This is a follow up message:

I just completed about a 200 mile stretch of Katy Trail. Spent 2 days between Boonville and Machens, MO.  Conditions were excellent but for the last 14 miles east of St Charles.  Heavy recent rain had me concerned but even after only 24 hours of dry weather trail conditions were excellent.

I tour on a Trek Madone road bike with skinny/100 psi 700x25 tires. Some said not do-able on Katy Trail buy I say no problem.  Totally rideable even on skinny tires...and fun!. Expect a slightly slower pace though. I covered 110 miles between Jefferson City and St Charles in a day, took an additional hour, and legs were more tired than usuall.

Katy Trail is a unique and awesome riding experience. Thanks to all whom contributed to this thread..it really helped.

8
Routes / Re: where can I buy aca maps.
« on: April 23, 2016, 01:01:20 am »
I have purchased ACA maps to download to iPad which I tour with  You can get them at the speed of light. In my experience the electronic version not as easy to use out on the road as a proper map (I used the electronic version on the Adirondack Loop route) but at least it's available to anyone, anywhere.

9
Routes / Re: Fort Knox,KY restricted?
« on: April 01, 2016, 09:40:40 pm »
Thanks for the input. I actually have to end up at the Louisville airport and you are correct, Google map sent me along Dixie Highway. I will avoid Dixie and make the Brandenburg crossing as suggested. Sounds much better. 

To be faiir, while I don't use Google map to navigate it can be a useful tool in initial route planning. Fine tuning with street view, asking questions on this forum and of local cyclists while on the fly and a bit of luck have helped but Google map can be a good place to start. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and sure, I know my local routes better than Google (who doesn't?) but it can get you a rough idea of an unknown route.  Of course any prudent traveller will confirm this route with other resources however.  Trust but verify.

Thanks again for the routing advice. I will avoid Kentucky 31W and Dixie Hiway.

10
Routes / Re: My route for cross country 2016, ideas?
« on: March 20, 2016, 01:16:59 pm »
Looks like you plan to take the ferry to cross San Francisco Bay.  Certainly a fine way to go but if you would rather cycle across there is one bike friendly bridge: Dumbarten Bridge/Rte 84 at the south end of the bay.

Also your route crossing San Juaquin Valley could be simplified and more scenic. Have a look at this...my favorite way to cross the Big Valley:

After crossing Sierra Nevada make your way to Turlock.  Cross the valley to Patterson and join Del Puerto Canyon Rd to Mines Rd to Livermore. Remote and very scenic. From Livermore you can find your way to 84 and Dumbarten Bridge any number of ways.  Check it out.

Word to the wise... As with any metro area best to avoid cycling during commute hours. Not fun and way more treacherous.  SF Bay Area has some nasty traffic so once in Livermore or wherever you arrive in the Bay Area and all the way to SF you will be subject to thick traffic if you don't plan to avoid. Weekends always good and weekdays between 9am and 3 pm is manageable. Otherwise DANGER!

Have a great ride! 

11
Routes / Fort Knox,KY restricted?
« on: March 20, 2016, 12:57:17 pm »
Hello.

My cross country route has me entering and exiting Fort Knox, KY on route 60/31W on the approach into Louisville.  I am not entering the fort proper, just using the highway to cross the base. 

Q: are there restrictions or restricted times or days to crossing Fort Knox on route 60/31W as there often are with other U.S. Military bases?

The Army website is not very helpful except to say I need government photo ID...no mention of restriction but I want to be sure I don't have a nasty surprise when I arrive.  Anyone know about this? 

Thanks in advance for your reply.

12
Routes / Re: Western Express West to East, August?
« on: March 11, 2016, 12:05:50 pm »
I too have ridden the WE during summer and agree with what Zzzzzz says.  I did it unsupported and solo and stayed in motels.  People freak out about Nevada in August and yes, it can get hot but if you get rolling by sunrise you will be finished for the day by mid afternoon and hopefully before the thunderstorms get cranked up.  August is monsoon season in CA/NV desert area and the afternoon weather can get nasty.

WE sports a few long days with no where to re supply or get water so be prepared to support yourself with drink the entire day. Middlegate-Austin, Austin-Eureka, eureka-Ely and Ely-Baker are spectacular days but desolate.   Also, limited motels in Austin, NV so book early as they do fill up (with highway construction workers mostly). You will enjoy.



Of all the cycling adventures I have done the one I will most likely duplicate one day is the Nevada crossing of WE route. Nothing else quite like it. 

13
Routes / Katy Trail riding conditions?
« on: January 23, 2016, 09:04:24 pm »
Hello.

The Missouri segment of my cross-country ride will take me along the Katy Trail. I am planing to join the Katy Trail in Boonville, MO and head eastbound 'til it ends near the Mississippi River...about 170 miles. I tour on a stock Trek road bike with no panniers (motels) and use 700X25 touring tires. A lightweight and solid setup but not super rugged. I am OK on packed gravel but not rough or deep gravel.

How is the Katy Trail?  What are conditions like?  On flat pavement I pace about 16 mph. Will I be able to keep this pace on the trail?  I know there are some washouts here and there but this ride is in May so hopefully all good by then.

Any advice is helpful.   Thanks.

14
Routes / Re: Looking for a good Manhattan - Westchester County, NY route.
« on: September 13, 2015, 03:20:22 pm »
TokyoNose, not too late.  Thanks for the detailed route advice. Local knowledge is always best.  Much appreciated. 

15
Routes / Looking for a good Manhattan - Westchester County, NY route.
« on: September 01, 2015, 01:31:01 pm »
Can someone suggest the best route from Manhattan (Hudson River Greenway) to join the Old Putnam Trail/S. County Bikeway in the Bronx?

I understand the Broadway Bridge is the only cycling friendly bridge crossing at the north end of Manhattan?  Is that right?  What is the best route approaching the bridge from the West side/Hudson River Greenway and once across, through the Bronx to Van Courtland Park where the trail begins?

I see many Google route options and various roads..some with bike routes and others without..and can pick my way through but, as we know, local knowledge is better than any Google search/Map will come up with. 

Thanks.  -Ben


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