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Messages - BobG

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General Discussion / Re: ACA maps and crummy areas in big cities?
« on: March 17, 2014, 06:30:52 am »
I also question the safety of  Rock Creek Park,  the corridor for the Atlantic Coast Route through DC. Maybe times have changed, but having grown up in the area back in the 50's and 60's I remember that park as having a high crime rate. My mom and dad were even afraid to take me to the National Zoo!  :'(  This was long before the Chandra Levy murder. Can any DC area forum members update or correct me? The Park Service website calls it "relatively safe" but then goes on to suggest that hikers, runners and women travel in twos. 

Washington is so easy to approach or exit more westerly through rural Maryland and most road touring bikes can handle the lower 15 miles of the C&O canal. The C&O delivers the rider directly to Georgetown and the tourist areas of DC without crossing the whole city, albeit in a park setting.

General Discussion / Re: ACA maps and crummy areas in big cities?
« on: March 15, 2014, 07:55:19 am »
Thanks for the correction, Cyclesafe. I've re-worded my post above.

That motel may or may not have been listed in the ACA leader notes for that year, I don't remember. That list is indeed more of an edited list of both recommended stays and those to avoid. I probably added that motel to the "avoid" list in my leader notes for the trip. Some of my group were taken aback by it's state of cleanliness, repair and safety. Not sure if it's still on the map. That said, it's perfectly located right off the TransAm route in walking distance to the fun downtown. Staff also was friendly enough.  All of the big chain motels are on the outskirts, probably why it's listed.

Hmmmm.......Bramble Tree may be beyond crummy. This happened 2 years after our stay..........

General Discussion / Re: ACA maps and crummy areas in big cities?
« on: March 15, 2014, 06:21:51 am »
The ACA map service directory ('08 edition) did list a rather "crummy" motel in Pueblo CO, The Bramble Tree Inn. Our 2009 TransAm group stayed there for two nights for a layover. As leader of the group I chose that motel due to it's map listing along with convenience to the route and downtown restaurants. Upon arrival we learned that it served as a halfway house and had many residents. We had no problems but we were warned to keep our bikes locked inside.

edit- change map "recommendation" to map "listing"

Travelling with a boxed bike on trains is almost impossible, especially if you have other luggage.

If you ride all the way to the ticket counter, get the huge Amtrak box, pack it and check it, it's really easy. Re-assemble at the destination station and start your ride right from there. Yes, if you have to move your bike around from station to station still boxed it's a nuisance that may require a cart or assistance

Does anyone know how far this is on the atlantic coast route?

It's 144 miles from Memorial Bridge at DC to TransAm junction at Ashland VA via Atlantic Coast Route and an additional 17 miles to Richmond.

The Northeast Regional train #67 from Washington's Union Station at 7:30 AM to Williamsburg arriving at 11:15 AM does include checked baggage service for your bike at both locations. Train #95 at 2:30 PM does not. You could also board #67 at Alexandria, VA at 7:49 AM.

The schedule for Williamsburg station does not include the icon for baggage but if you click on station info you'll see that the morning train indeed has this service.  A phone call to Amtrak also confirms this.

Gear Talk / Re: Bear Resistant Canister
« on: February 21, 2014, 03:06:02 pm »
On recent trips I've lined my food pannier with an Ursack just to fend off the raccoons and squirrels. At night I tie the Ursack to the picnic table or a tree with food tied up tightly inside. It's also bear resistant but on the TransAm I've just used the campground provided lockers. There's only a few nights in bear country on that route as staehpj1, Cyclesafe and John have already noted. Mostly in Yellowstone/Tetons WY, Lochsa River ID and Breaks Interstate Park, VA.

Connecting ACA Routes / Re: ACA Northern Tier
« on: February 21, 2014, 02:28:14 pm »
The "field notes" carried by the leader described one campground as "combat camping at its finest."

Ha!........I remember that one near Damariscotta. The notes went on to say "This place is a cross between a world's fair and a campground."

John- Once you get away from the coast The ME Northern Tier section is mostly pleasant back roads.

General Discussion / Re: Need advice for my trip this summer
« on: December 08, 2013, 08:04:04 pm »

I think that any bikes you come up with will do the job. The wider the gear range the better. Mountain bikes with lighter tires should work just fine. Road bikes pulling trailers should work fine. Who keeps up with who probably will depend more of the fitness of each individual.

My first extended bike trip (over 2 weeks) was in 1968 when a high school buddy and I rode from Arlington VA to Land 'o Lakes WI. We had no bicycle travel experience aside from membership in our high school youth hostelling club which involved short overnight bike trips on the C&O canal and an occcasional week trip of hostelling in the PA Dutch country.

We just did it. There was no Adventure Cycling Association or Bikecentennial to go to for information. There was no internet with multiple discussion boards to ask others how to do it. We used whatever 10 speed bicycles we had. (10 speed then meant 2 chainrings up front and 5 cogs in the rear). I think I was riding a rather high end Schwinn Paramount with sew up racing tires, a Campagnolo racing crankset and a 14-24 freewheel. My buddy probably had a low end 10 speed Gitane or Frejus. That's all you could find those days in the DC area. We had a blast!

You haven't told us where you already have overnights planned so it's hard to give you route suggestions, but here goes.

You could take the ACA Atlantic Coast Route from Poughkeepsie to Millerton NY. Follow NY 22 & 22A from there to Poultney VT. I don't know from experience anything about it's cycling desirability or traffic volume. For round trip variety, pick up VT 100 in central VT for the trip back south. Wind your way back through the Berkshire hills of MA to the ACA route in CT or cut back over to NY 22.

Another option with added miles would be to return south down the CT River Valley through Westfield MA and re-connect with the ACA route in CT back to Poughkeepsie or pick a more direct route of your own back to NYC. Enjoy!

I deleted an earlier post I made with directions to eastern VT (Duh!)  ::)

I have coronary artery disease and have had 4 heart attacks in the past 20 years. I've also led the ACA TransAm tour 4 times. One of my heart attacks occurred within months of completing a trip. Two happened about a year after completion and another occurred during the tour. I had to leave that trip in Newton KS.

Maybe just coincidence, but I cannot help but suspect that the steady diet of pizza, ice cream, peanut butter, cheese, cookies, hash browns, bacon, eggs, biscuits and gravy may have aggravated an existing condition and contributed to the attacks. When traveling with a group it's easy to chow down with everybody else thinking your normal again for the duration of the trip when you still have CAD. It' easy to say "I worked hard today and I deserve this pint of ice cream!" Yes, I think one needs and burns off the extra calories but in my case the cholesterol kept rising despite the exercise.

In conclusion, I don't think long distance cycling is bad for your health, but a typical travel diet may be risky to some if you have CAD. If you're healthy.... eat, drink, and be merry. I agree with Windrath that the exercise level of cycle touring is not particularly stressful.

General Discussion / Re: Cyclists Yellow Pages
« on: June 21, 2013, 01:52:25 pm »
I'm wondering if that title has been changed to "How To Department" at the "Resources" tab?


I just wanted to let the OP know that she has chosen an excellent route for a September bike trip after our somewhat skeptical warnings about limited affordable camping. I'm in agreement with you on that.

Just my opinion, but I found the PCH from Florence to Astoria OR to be among the most stressful, noisy, and traffic clogged stretches of the entire TransAm route. (Yes, I know...north bound against the wind and ocean on the wrong side). A real anticlimax after the country lanes of VA, the open space of Kansas and the majestic Rocky Mountains. The only road worse was perhaps that 4 lane Kentucky Route 80 around Hazard.

On a subsequent TransAm we took the traditional route inland to hit the coast just above Lincoln City to avoid the mayhem of the coastal highway. Why the PCH has become a cyclist's destination is beyond my comprehension despite it's ocean vistas and abundant cheap camping.

I truly feel the OP has chosen a better, more tranquil bike trip regardless of past experience and pricey accommodations. Yes, the Atlantic route is poorly named as there is not much ocean to see.

Just my opinion, but...  While the Maine coast is nice, but the rest of the ride, you seem to be leaving some of the best touring (Pacific Coast) for a pretty mediocre place to tour (the East Coast). 

This I disagree with. It's a pretty cool back roadsy route with a lot of intrigue, at least the NE sections I have ridden.  Check out Indyfab's photos of the most "mediocre" stretch through NJ/PA Delaware water gap. I've done a more rural route through CT in the past than the ACA suggestion and could tweak their route off of most of US 44. I've also bypassed Philadelphia and Baltimore with back roads further west on past trips south to Washington and VA. But compared with the car drive down the Jersey Turnpike, the bike route is a different world!

The East coast is way less bike friendly and camping is generally scarce and expensive much of the way.

Indeed the Atlantic coast route is expensive riding solo. I just rode from NH to Poughkeepsie NY joining the ACA route in Granby CT. Was headed to VA but cut the trip short due to weather and expense. Some short days due to heat wave and my early season level of fitness. Here's what I paid for overnights-


N Woodstock NH................. $25
Ascutney Vt state park..........18
Vernon VT state park............ 18
Pleasant Valley CT.................30
Rudd Pond state park NY...... 20
Norrie state park NY............. 20 (Thursday night)
" " " ".................................... 25 (Friday night)


White River Jct VT.............$122
Westfield MA......................  75
Poughkeepsie NY............... 124

Check your Amtrak schedule carefully to make sure your train choice includes checked baggage service, or ship your bike separately.

Gear Talk / Re: Trailer Plus Bags
« on: April 15, 2013, 02:05:33 am »
On past trips I've used a BOB trailer combined with small front panniers  The only additional weight is that of the rack and bags. Contents have been transferred from the rear. It's just nice to have a little bit of weight on the front of the bike and a more convenient location for snacks and rain gear. I don't use a full size handlebar bag with all that weight up high. Just a small zipper bag for wallet, phone and glasses. I've recently retired the trailer and am back to 4 panniers.

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