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Messages - geegee

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General Discussion / Re: What to wear in the rain?
« on: May 07, 2010, 06:01:19 pm »
I've made it a habit to bring a pair of waterproof bike sandals with SPD-cleats as my second pair and off-bike footwear (great for going to the campground showers). They are great to wear in the rain, and if it is cold I just slip on a pair of neoprene socks (you can find good ones in kayaking stores). Your feet will still get wet, but like the way a wetsuit works, your feet will only have to warm up the water between your skin and the neoprene. If your feet get numb with cold, you can even pour some hot water in the sock before slipping it back on — I think divers do this to their suits before going into frigid water.

Routes / Re: Nova Scotia with five year old on piccolo
« on: April 27, 2010, 03:14:43 pm »
If you do go to PEI, cross by ferry.  The bridge is LONG and exposed. 

Cyclists are not allowed on the 17-kilometre Confederation bridge anyway (many attempt to, seeing it has nice wide shoulders, but are quickly caught because the bridge is well monitored and are promptly picked up, not sure if there is a fine). There is a shuttle for hikers and cyclists ($8 for cyclists) which is a van with a bike trailer.

The Confederation Trail is a 400 km rails-to-trails system that meanders through the island. The PEI railroad was a folly that bankrupted the island colony in the mid-1800s and forced it to join the Canadian confederation for a bail out.

Canada / Re: Field to Vancouver route options?
« on: April 22, 2010, 08:46:53 pm »
My recommendation would be to stick to Hwy 1 to Hope and then Hwy 7 into Vancouver. I rode the length of the Kettle Valley Railway (which is part of the TransCanada Trail) and it would be murder on a Bike Friday (I own one but took a Trek 520, which had a hard enough time). The TCT is barely doable on a mountain bike in some sections.

Hwy 1 (the TransCanada Highway) is a bit busy up to Kamloops but has decent shoulders. The ride over Rogers Pass is beautiful and if you want a break, Canyon Hot Springs has whitewater rafting and hot pools to soak in. West of Kamloops though Cache Creek it is much quieter and quite scenic. I rode this back in 2003 heading east, though. You'll get headwinds, but on the plus side you're heading mostly downhill.

General Discussion / Re: (Ireland to...) Vancouver to San Francisco
« on: April 19, 2010, 04:12:12 pm »
They widened the Sea-to-Sky highway to Whistler for the Olympics and I have not ridden it. It is supposed to have good cycling shoulders. BC's highways in general are great for cycling. The problem with going up to Whistler is you'll have to ride back. Maybe you could take the bus out there and ride back (meaning you'll be on the cliff edge for full dramatic effect).

General Discussion / Re: (Ireland to...) Vancouver to San Francisco
« on: April 19, 2010, 02:58:43 pm »
The easiest ferry to get to from downtown Vancouver would be the Horseshoe Bay—Nanaimo route. See map below. Getting to Tsawwassen involves catching a bus through the Massey tunnel where bikes are not allowed. Biking from Nanaimo to Victoria adds a bit of time but it is worth it and you'll get to see a nice part of British Columbia. There are at least two ferries between downtown Victoria BC and Port Angeles WA

If you like taking ferries so much and have time on your hands, an island hopping route is possible:

General Discussion / Re: (Ireland to...) Vancouver to San Francisco
« on: April 18, 2010, 09:41:21 am »
I would highly recommend taking the ferry to Vancouver Island and hopping into Washington state from there. The route around the Olympic Peninsula is much more peaceful than the inland route if dropping by Seattle is not important to you.

You will never be turned away from a state park along the coast if you are on a bike. The hiker/biker sites are usually large open areas with enough capacity to handle the peak season.

Make sure you take good protective eyewear with you. Wood chips and sawdust flying off the frequent logging trucks can be quite annoying.

General Discussion / Re: bike security while sleeping
« on: April 16, 2010, 11:15:35 pm »
In the odd times that I've been worried and there is no tree to secure the bike to, I lay the bike on the ground with one of the wheels partly underneath the tent so I can feel its presence, and then I peg the tent fly through the frame. With a cable lock through the wheels, there would be no way anyone could run off with the bike without disturbing me from my sleep.

Routes / Re: Circumnavigating Lake Ontario
« on: March 27, 2010, 01:47:04 am »
Have you checked out the Waterfront Trail's website? They have detailed maps of the entire north shore of Lake Ontario.

General Discussion / Re: Money money money!
« on: March 26, 2010, 01:50:06 pm »
Personally, after I add up all the bills, often times it averages out to about $40 to $50 a day.
Out of curiosity is that counting only daily expenses or are you counting airfare, shipping the bike, maps, and other stuff bought pre or post tour?  Personally I can't see myself spending that much, but some spend more.

I think if you count buying the bike, racks, and panniers and also count airfare and other pre or post tour expenses we still came in at good bit less than that on our Trans America.

On my spring tour I didn't cook, ate restaurant food most of the time, and stayed in a motel half the time.  Not counting air and train fare I think it came in at a bit under $30 a day.  That was in Kansas where motels are generally real cheap.  Being a cheapskate, I think that is about the max I am likely to spend.

My calculations are for daily expenditures for a solo rider. I'm not an extravagant traveller, I free camp once in a while, but when I'm cold and wet, I'm well off enough to buy my way out of a miserable night :)  To spend $20-$25 on food alone ($5 in breakfast, $7-10 on lunch and dinner each) and budget the same for lodging (sometimes free, sometimes $10 for camping, sometimes $50 to $60 on a motel, which averages out) is about my norm. I find realistically budgeting $1200 to $1500 for a month of travel is better than scrimping to the point of not enjoying or coming home broke. I think I spent way more than that when I rode up to Alaska.

On your spring tour you say you spent under $30 a day while staying in motels half the time. Are motels in Kansas really less than $30?

On free camping, personally, I am less inclined to do it outside of my home country (Canada). I am just more comfortable knowing I have rights as a citizen when I am doing it. I find people are increasingly protective of private property, especially in scenic areas where most of the real estate have claims.

I guess my primary reasons for going on a bike tour are it's a great way of travelling and seeing the world, it's a beautiful way to experience different cultures and taste new food, and it keeps me healthy. Well worth twice the price I pay. As for my exercises in frugality, well, I do them mostly when I'm home :)

General Discussion / Re: Novice cyclist's math
« on: March 22, 2010, 10:44:59 am »
In order to really enjoy a bike tour, it's best not to think about and over-analyze these things. There are so many things that affect the level of effort you need to exert in all kinds of terrain and weather. The most important thing is to go with an adjustable attitude  ;D

Routes / Re: Planning my first bike tour
« on: March 20, 2010, 07:45:26 pm »
Personally, I have a lot more fun planning my own route rather than following someone else's route. As for amenities and supplies, as long as you carry enough for emergencies, I think you'll be alright no mater what route you take. Go for it.

General Discussion / Re: Google Maps Bicycling
« on: March 12, 2010, 05:22:26 pm »
What is happening with mapping software is that they are starting to put specific codes on road/path types, and as a result they are able to specify characteristics that define "bikeability". In the future it would be great if they could be specific as to the width of shoulders, so that for example you could ask your GPS to prefer routes with a minimum of 2 or 3 foot shoulders. Google maps probably have a most basic setting, simply eliminating freeways and adding some bike paths for routing under bicycle mode. For example, under directions, ask for a route between Pittsburgh PA and Cumberland MD by bicycle and it will now show the Great Allegheny Passage, something it would not have done in the past.

General Discussion / Re: Amtrak & carry on luggage
« on: March 10, 2010, 06:14:51 pm »
Don't bother with a suitcase or duffel bag for your panniers. Last time I took Amtrak I just strapped/bungied my panniers and tent bag together and took it as carry on. You could also stuff them in a large plastic bag, like a heavy-duty garbage bag (this is what I do when I take the plane so that straps and bits don't get caught in the conveyor belts) or bind them together with cling wrap.

Routes / Re: Kettle Valley Railway
« on: March 06, 2010, 11:14:39 pm »
Last year, I rode the entire length of the KVR (and the C&W) from Castlegar to past Brookmere. The conditions of the trail vary from great to terrible. The best part is the short section in Myra canyon which is hard packed, and the rest has a lot of loose gravel and some soft sandy stretches. I strongly suggest that you get the widest, fattest tires that your bike can take. I did this trip in a loaded Trek 520 as a tail end of a longer trip that began in Edmonton and ended in Vancouver. I switched to cross tires for this section and I got a lot of pinch flats -- practically one a day. If I were to do this trip again I would take a 29er front suspension mountain bike. I was spinning my wheels and skidding a lot in the sandy parts, and there are plenty of rocks ("baby heads" in MTB-speak) that made other parts quite jarring.

I stayed at the Tamarack Lodge in Beaverdell which caters well to cyclists. The facilities are a little shabby but their meal portions are generous and they'll even pack you a lunch for the next day. I did the gruelling stretch from Beaverdell to Chute Lake in day, but there is another lodge in between if you choose to go slower, giving you time to really linger at the spectacular Myra Canyon. The restaurant in the Chute Lake camp closes early, so if you want a hot meal at the end you need to time it well.

On the descent into Penticton, I opted for a bit of paved road because I wanted to stop at a winery for lunch, which was a nice treat.

Routes / Re: Nova Scotia with five year old on piccolo
« on: March 06, 2010, 11:09:29 am »
For Nova Scotia, pick a route with the least traffic since most coastal roads have no shoulders and you have a child in tow. My suggestion for a 7-8 day trip would be to fly into Saint John, New Brunswick then take a ferry to Digby NS. From there, ride around the southern tip of Nova Scotia to Yarmouth and up towards Halifax where you can fly out. This coastal route (#1 and #3) is super scenic and historic, and the traffic is really light because the regular trucks and commercial traffic use the larger highways (#101 and #103). There is kayak rental at the Seaside Adjunct of Kejimkujik National Park where you can explore a large protected bay. Some interesting towns are Shelburne, an old privateers (pirates) centre, and Lunenburg, a UNESCO site. heading into Halifax, you can detour on the 333 to Peggy's Cove, which is an awesome place despite the tourist traffic, but again the road has no shoulders.

Riding in PEI can take a week in itself, so you may have to plan a separate trip. Same goes for Cape Breton, which I would save for a time when the kids can pedal their own weight up the hills :)

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