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Messages - geegee

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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 :)

Routes / Re: Washington Parks Route - a few questions
« on: March 06, 2010, 10:23:40 am »
I rode from Victoria BC down to Portland (via the Olympic peninsula) then through the Columbia River gorge to Whitefish MT several years back. I remember mostly tailwinds on that trip. so I would say counter-clockwise. You'll get headwinds heading back to Vancouver, but it's mostly downhill.

General Discussion / Re: Money money money!
« on: March 04, 2010, 07:41:46 pm »
Budget-wise, though, you should account for much, much more than that. There's the odd time you'l want to check into a motel when it is miserable out, or splurge on a good dinner. Then there's other things you'll want to do, admission fees to pay to see things...after all there's more to touring than just pedalling. There's also spare parts, inner tubes and other consumables you'll have to buy. Factor in that you are a foreigner and there will be things you'll find that you cant get at home. Personally, after I add up all the bills, often times it averages out to about $40 to $50 a day.

General Discussion / Re: Fly a bicycle Sweden-US-Sweden
« on: February 20, 2010, 06:37:39 pm »
I am wondering what components would be on a Swedish bike that you could not get in America. Could you describe your bike? The majority of bicycles have standard, interchangeable parts installed on proprietary frames. Aside from the associated fees, flying with a bike should be no big deal, just ask your airline about their requirements ahead of time. Some airlines let you register your bike when you buy your ticket.

Routes / Re: Jasper to Banff Alberta Canada
« on: February 05, 2010, 04:59:32 pm »
I rode from Edmonton to Vancouver last summer and passed through the Icefields Parkway. Lots of campgrounds along the way, most of them rustic (no showers or flush toilets) except the ones that are close to towns (Jasper, Lake Louise, Banff which have complete services). There are a few basic hostels along the Parkway at 2, 6, 32, 85, 111, 142, and 206 kms from Jasper. There are motels and restaurants at the following points from Jasper: 54 kms at Sunwapta Falls, 103 kms at the Icefields Centre, 153 kms at Saskatchewan River Crossing, and 196 kms at Bow Lake.

General Discussion / Re: Florida
« on: February 02, 2010, 01:01:42 pm »

Sounds like a Jihadist curse. I hope I never cross your path and I'm glad I'm not in Florida while you are there.

Routes / Re: X-Country Route w/ the Easiest Grades
« on: January 31, 2010, 11:15:48 am »
I haven't done the Southern Tier route yet (maybe sometime real soon like in April) but here just to suggest in something completely different, albeit not entirely in within the USA. A Pacific to Atlantic route that involves the least climbing would probably start in Prince Rupert BC (you can get there via Alaska Ferries from Bellingham WA) then travel on the Yellowhead Highway to Jasper and Edmonton, Alberta. From there do a diagonal route through the Prairies and connect with the Northern Tier route to upstate NY, across on NY 5 to Albany, then down the Hudson Valley to New York City.

I'm not sure if the remoteness of rain forested northern British Columbia is relative to that of the desert areas of the southwest, but it will be cooler if you intend to travel in the summer, have more water, and tailwinds will be more consistent blowing you eastward through the Rockies. The highest pass/elevation on this entire route is a mere 3,780 feet (1,152 metres) and is surprisingly not in the Rockies but heading into the prairies in Obed, Alberta.

General Discussion / Erie Canal with kayak in tow
« on: January 28, 2010, 01:40:24 am »
I'm contemplating doing something different this summer, and do a tour partly cycling and partly kayaking. I've done afternoon trips of 40 kms cycling and 10 kms paddling with this set up and I think I'd like to try doing extended tour with it. I've rigged up my other kayak (a more stable sit-on-top) with a fork rack so I can load a bike on it like this and be able to do a contiguous journey. Since I'm lucky enough to live in a region of North America that is rich in historic canals (Rideau, Erie, Trent, et al), it will be fun to slowly explore them all this way in the future.

One of the itineraries I'd like to do is to head down from where I live in Ottawa to upstate NY and hook up with the Erie Canal to Buffalo. Although I live within a few hundred miles north of the Erie Canal, I've never really been on it. I'd like to hear from others regarding cycling and paddling along this route. I'd like to cycle the parts to avoid big water (like Lake Ontario), and paddle sections that are scenic and to avoid busy roads towing a long load. One stretch I will most likely have to cycle is the Seaway Trail from Cape Vincent (where I cross the border) to Oswego (NY 12E, 180 and 3) — how busy is this route? I looked on google and it doesn't seem to have a consistent shoulder.

My other option (which I can save for another time) is to head east towards Albany and possibly loop back up to Canada from there. Which part of the Erie Canal is more interesting?

Routes / Re: Mexican excursion from Southern Tier
« on: January 22, 2010, 11:29:34 am »
I would imagine though that many make a jaunt into Juarez when they get to El Paso? Is it practical to cycle in and stay there for the night, or is it better just to walk in for the day?

General Discussion / Re: Australian Thinking Great Divide
« on: January 01, 2010, 01:50:04 pm »
After you've had a few bear encounters, you'll quickly realize they are a far overrated danger. I went on the Kettle Valley trail last year and came across at least one bear a day. While bear spray is OK to have as insurance, a more useful thing would be an air horn. A quick harmless horn blast would be enough to get a bear on the path ahead of you scrambling into the bush. If you follow recommended procedures when camping (hang your food, keep a clean site, etc.) you should not have any problems.

Cougar/Mountain Lion attacks are extremely rare, and they usually target children smaller than their size. Cougars are reclusive and stalk their prey from behind, and like most cats, hate the idea that they are being stalked themselves. When I stop for a break in cougar country, I make a habit of doing a 360˚ turn acting as if I were stalking something in the woods, making loud noises. I've been told that this illusion of being aware and aggressive can foil a cougar's plan of stalking you. If anything, it's fun and silly thing to do in the middle of the wild :)

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