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Messages - zzzz

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General Discussion / Re: What's an 'average' day?
« on: August 11, 2015, 11:12:05 am »

From your original post / question I'm guessing that 1800 miles could be done in 3 weeks, give or take a day.

I'm similar in cycling background to you (though probably older at 56 y.o.). Started taking the month of September off and taking a long solo ride / tour four years ago. I typically do between 600-700 miles a week though I've had days when the wind was up that I maxed out at 50-60 miles. That said, I'm pretty well beat at the end of every day in a way many people would equate with the trip being a grind rather than a pleasure. We all do this for our own reasons and my reasons have a large component of the trip being a physical challenge.

I don't see anywhere on your post how much weight you're carrying and weather you are camping. I primarily "credit-card" tour and sleep in hotels and eat in restaurants and ride a Ti road bike so my entire rolling weight (except water) is around 35lbs. Thats not a big shock to the system the way going from a racing bike to a touring bike w 30 lbs of gear would be. There's a excellent article on packing light over at Crazy guy on a Bike by Pete Staehling (sp?) who answered your post a couple of spots ago, I suggest you read it.

Also if your camping/ cooking you have a smaller daylight window to ride in although that's somewhat offset by the fact you can camp at many more places than you can find a hotel.

One thing that I had to get used to mentally was that if you got a big wind in your face, there's a real good chance you will be dealing with it ALL day (& maybe for several days on end). Previously to taking up the touring rides I would ride a loop or an out and back ride where the wind would only be against you for one part of the ride.

Lastly, I'm not much of a social sort either and a big part of these trips for me is the hours on end of a clear head but as others have noted, some of the people you meet the way really adds to the trip. And it's all completely effortless. It may just be someone in the booth next door in the diner, the guy who runs the rural hardware store where you're trying to cobble together a fix for your stuff, or someone at the top of a pass where you've stopped to change out of your sweat soaked jersey for the big descent, these little 10 minute conversations end up being some of the trips highlights for me.


I took this route last year and the amount of logging truck traffic on the road into Quincy was pretty astounding and I would never discourage anyone from taking Pirate's advice.

But I do have to say, that at least on the day I was there, every truck that passed me was driven professionally and responsibly and while there were times it was tight, I never felt in danger. When I stopped at the Quincy bike shop and was talking to the owner he claimed that there was a lot of political pressure on the guys who employ the truckers to keep them from endangering the cyclists on that stretch of road and that it had gotten much better in the last couple of years.

So if your thinking of doing this route, I'm going to disagree w Cyclesafe. Take the bus if you want for this short piece, or ride it (I would still ride it if I was to do it again), but don't be dissuaded from this route over this little stretch of road. It's a truly fantastic route.


I can only comment on #3 question.

I rode in the other direction from Canada down to LA and I CC'd the whole way except one late afternoon going up a pass in Washington that a storm blew in and I decided to stop at a campground rather than chance getting caught in it.

And I will agree w/ Pete that wind direction is not a predictable issue on this route. At least last September when I went I had 6 straight days of big headwinds out of the south from Mt. Shasta all the way to Monitor Pass.


General Discussion / Re: Green-lighted to go cross-country! (questions)
« on: February 16, 2015, 08:06:34 pm »
A couple of years ago I did the WE then skipped the plains and did the balance of the Trans Am for 3000± miles. I regret that I was not able to do the whole thing but I only had 30 days so I had to make choices.

I loved Nevada. And riding 50 from Baker to Fallon won't be intimidating once you have that many miles under you. You will probably find, and I certainly did, that the toughest section is actually in Utah from Blanding to Hanksville.

If you're a day's ride from Philly where do you live? I'm up in the Lehigh Valley, I'll take a couple of hours and go through my stuff from the trip with you if you're close by.


Routes / Re: Great Parks North - Canadian Camping
« on: February 06, 2015, 09:26:59 pm »
I would normally email you this info as I'm sure it's not of general interest but I see I'm at 99 posts, I believe I'm upgraded to a "World Traveler" w one more.

First day was a half day as I left Jasper after lunch.

1) Jasper to Sunwapta Pass - 65 miles
2) Sunwapta Pass to Lake Louise- 80 miles
3) Lake Louise to Inveremere - 92 miles
4) Inveremere to Jaffrey (w detour to Cranbrook)- 116 miles
5) Jaffrey to Pincher Creek - 108 miles
6) Pincher Creek to Rising Sun - 77 miles
7) Rising Sun to Big Fork - 99 miles
8 ) Big Fork to Seeley Lake - 87 miles
9) Seeley Lake to Missoula (54 mls) then to Hamilton - 102 miles

It was a Sunday when I got to Missoula and things looked pretty dark at the ACA ranch so I got a sandwich, watched the comings and goings of the street fair that had taken over main street and rolled out of town. Then on to the TransAm route (east) and some stuff in Colorado for the balance of the trip.

Routes / Re: Great Parks North - Canadian Camping
« on: February 06, 2015, 08:23:54 pm »

I did this trip starting 9/1/2013 in Jasper and I can't speak to your concerns about camping as I stay in hotels but I can address a couple of other items here.

I too was concerned about leaving in September and possibly getting caught in some early winter weather, but I got on the web and looked for the historic earliest snow fall for Jasper and Banff and the earliest snow dates were in mid September and typically first snow was in October.

You may want to revisit your start date. I found September ideal, traffic had really cleared out. Most particularly in Glacier where Going to the Sun Rd is normally nose to tail cars. I left from Rising Sun Inn at dawn and got passed by maybe 15-20 cars on the 11 mile climb.

The second thing is that the ride can definitely be done in 2 weeks. I was in Missoula before lunch of my 9th day. I have the advantage on you in that I'm very likely to be traveling lighter (around 7 kilo's) since I have very little camping gear and no cooking stuff. But in Sept. 2013 I also did most of the Sierra Cascade route (Bellingham to LA) so I know what you hit there, you should be fine for time.

You see a ongoing difference of views on this site about pace on these trips. And I'm quite sure I've missed a lot great stuff along the way, but you will still see plenty of incredible scenery from the road. Even better than the SC route, I think.


General Discussion / Re: How picky are you?
« on: February 05, 2015, 10:01:54 am »
I can fix the small stuff but I'm not much of a mechanic and since I have Campy stuff it's pretty unlikely a rural bike shop will have replacement parts for me. After having a couple of close calls where I had to kluge myself through, I now repack every bearing & replace every wear item on the bike a couple of weeks before I leave. That gives the cables time to stretch and if anything was defective or installed improperly time to show itself.

I'd call it cheap insurance but that would be a lie. It's expensive insurance. But the peace of mind is worth it to me.


General Discussion / Re: Waterproof printer paper
« on: January 27, 2015, 10:26:50 am »
This topic is perfectly timed for me as I will be taking my first trip w/o the benefit of being on a ACA route this coming summer and I was getting ready to tear pages out of the map books I bought.

I have a question that comes to mind ; Is the standard ink for a ink jet printer or copier not water soluble? I had thought it was.


Routes / Re: Sierra Cascades Route - Vertical Gain
« on: January 15, 2015, 09:04:09 am »
it's the same as the northbound ;). (sorry, couldn't resist)

I can't give you a precise number both because I didn't do the whole route and nothing but the route and because I added up the elevation gain a few months ago and did not write it down. I incorporated McKenzie Pass into my trip as well as some other misc. climbs that added elevation and then I got off route at LA instead of going all the way to Mexico so that subtracted probably a equal amount ±. The number I remember coming up with was 165,000'.


Routes / Re: Canada to Mexico through California
« on: January 07, 2015, 04:21:15 pm »
I like going on September rides. The worst of the heat is usually gone, many fewer tourists in their RV's on the road, you're very unlikely to get snowed on in the passes like you might later in the fall. But it is prime fire season in the western US.

My strategy is cross my fingers and hope for the best, there's nothing else to do. Your danger of being immolated is 0%. What your concerns are is smoke and road closures. I think there is almost always a way around although you may be adding a considerable number of miles to your day. The smoke is unpleasant to ride in but for a limited time I haven't found it that bad. Sensitivities vary of course.

Also keep in mind that geographically, this is a huge area. Even a really big fire is unlikely to be in your immediate path. The smoke can blow for a 100 miles or more but it's only going in the direction of the wind so you can probably vary your route and get away from that if needed.

It has rained (and snowed) a lot in California this fall and that's really good news. The entire state looked prepped to go up in flames last September. Even if it doesn't have another substantial rain again this year it should be better in 2015.

As far as water is concerned, don't count on the stores in towns w/ small populations (<500±) to be open. They appear to be under significant economic distress. Carry enough food & water to make it to the next decent size town no matter what the map or the web may say about what's there and you'll be fine. And if worse comes to worse and you are in some trouble, like you're out of water, you can always get help by asking a passing motorist or stopping at a residence along the way. Nearly everyone I've ever dealt with on the road has been great.


Routes / Re: Canada to Mexico through California
« on: January 07, 2015, 07:32:00 am »
Your resume makes me feel you will be fine. And your September start date means you should miss to worst of the heat. And if it keeps raining in California the draught will be good and broken which will make the possibility of fire smoke much less.

Have a great time.


Routes / Re: Canada to Mexico through California
« on: January 06, 2015, 11:25:28 pm »

staehpj1's post made me want to add these thoughts to my previous comments.

Whenever I read a post like your original post I think that I'm reading someone who likes to approach these trips the way I do. That is, I like to set up a ride thats at the edge of what I can physically do while going by some amazing scenery. This is a unusual way to approach a bike tour. There is another possibility and that is when someone posts a schedule like you have, they are being optimistic or even naive.

If what you want is in line with my approach, you 3 are experienced  riders, and you are traveling light for the first 2 weeks of your trip as a CC tour, and you will be supported during the last 2 weeks so you really shouldn't be carrying anything then except snacks and water, and if it's windy you'll keep a nice tight pace-line, and you are ready to deal with it if it's hot, or raining, or you're doing your second (or third) really big climb of the day and it's late in the afternoon, you should be okay as you've laid out your schedule.

Just keep in mind you are likely to be beat to exhaustion most every night. I certainly was on my trip over this terrain on a similar schedule. And while I saw a lot of cool stuff there was no time to explore places like Yosemite. So do the trip you want but make sure you're going into it w eyes wide open.

Changing gears....

"You just have to decide whether you should wait in line with the cars or skirt around them. You kind of have to read which is better at the crossing."

In September of 2013 I crossed from Canada into the US at the Waterton Lakes NP into Glacier NP border station. For those not familiar with that road it's a pretty good climb up to the border and that September day it was raining pretty hard and in the 50° range. When I got to the crossing itself as I was waiting between 2 RV's I started to get pretty cold and thought it made a whole lot of sense to walk over & wait my turn under the shelter at the border-cross building. The 2 guys working the crossing did not think much of that idea. It got pretty ugly, pretty fast. As a matter of fact, I think I can say it was the most unpleasant,most unprofessional encounter w a law enforcement agency I've ever had.

Ahhh, my tax dollars at work!

I'm not saying you will have a similar experience, I believe these two agents were exceptional. But take John's advice seriously about getting a read on the situation before breaking any kind of protocol, it may mean a much more pleasant introduction to the US.


Routes / Re: Canada to Mexico through California
« on: January 02, 2015, 08:39:34 pm »
Hi Martin:

The advice you asked for sounded more like a request for fine tuning that what I'm going to suggest but here's something to consider:

Last September I rode (solo) the "Sierra Cascades" ACA route in 28 days as a credit card tour which is similar to the inland portion of your trip and I was riding at a similar pace. I'm going to suggest you consider heading east while still somewhere along the Oregon coast and pick up that route.

I would make a left in Reedsport and get on 138 and take it in to Crater Lake which is one of the most spectacular sights you will ever see. And from then on for the rest of your trip I would follow the balance of the SC route (maps 3,4,& 5). It will take you through Tahoe,Yosemite, and Big Bear Lake like your route but you'll also see Shasta, & Lassen, & Kings Canyon and (the highlight of the trip for me) Giant Sequoia, indelible sights one & all.

Alternatively, you can head east earlier around Florence and go over McKenzie Pass (second coolest pass in the country) and then down into Sisters or you can head east at Gold Beach and head into Ashland but anyway you do it I think you'll get the best stuff to see on the SC route over what you've got laid out currently for your trip.

In particular I'm looking at that 300 miles of 395 in SoCal and I hear it can be quite lovely but that's a pretty major highway and over the ridge line is (mostly) quiet rural roads and some of the most beautiful landscape in the country.

The only negative thing I can say about the SC is that while all the roads are paved, you will run into some that could really use to be resurfaced.

Think about it....


And BTW: Make sure you're in really good shape before you leave because whether you take my suggestions or you stick with your original route, doing that in 26 days is going to be a test.

Gear Talk / Re: Seeking Feedback on new gear system
« on: December 28, 2014, 06:53:32 pm »
I realize this reply is a little late and I'm unlikely to be in your target market but....

I think you should film a new video with pedals attached to the crank and a rider on the bike. If it was hooked up to a trainer it would be still enough to film it and show the mechanical action. As was previously commented on, the cadence looks really lumpy on your current video but you're turning the cranks by hand. With the leverage and strength of a rider on board I would think it would have to look smoother.


Routes / Re: Southern Tier, highway 78 Glamis to Palo Verde, Ca
« on: November 20, 2014, 11:45:00 am »
The poster Westinghouse has laid out quite the scenario here for bicycle harassment.

And he has doubled and tripled down on it in his postings now so I'm sure these are deeply held beliefs.

And I have never ridden the Southern Tier route.

And over the 40 years and 100,000+ mile I have ridden a bike I have run into my fair share of drivers of every stripe that were clueless or malevolent and what I am about to say in no way exonerates drivers who put a cyclist's life in danger because they are clueless or stupid or psychotic.

Having qualified all of that, What he has described here does not remotely pass the sniff test.

The claim that over a course of 5 states and 2000± miles there is a cabal that lies in wait (I can only presume for hours) for passing cyclists, while in coordination with another driver coming in the other direction, just so they can pass said cyclist simultaneously on a bridge or some other tight spot for some mysterious motivation is simply not feasible. If for no other reason then the majority of truck drivers are paid by the mile they are not going to sit by the roadside in wait for a rider just to get there jollies(do they throw camouflage netting over their trucks so you won't recognize what is going on when you ride by?).

Everyone is entitled to believe what they want and I'm quite sure Westinghouse will continue believing very strongly that this is happening. But I am writing this for anyone who has not spent much time on the road and wants to know if it's safe out there. You will always be somewhat more vulnerable on a bike than in a car. But the take away I have had and you hear again and again and again from people when the come off a tour is that these long rides reinforce a belief that the vast majority of people are decent and  you will run into a number of people whose kindness will stay with you forever.


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