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Messages - geegee

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GPS Discussion / Handlebar map
« on: August 31, 2007, 10:46:08 am »
I used a Minoura Space Grip to mount my GPS on my bikeFriday which
has absolutely no room to put anything after my handlebar bag mount
is on.

I placed the Space Grip on the stem which has quite a large diameter.
I had this Space Grip on another bike and lost the larger metal band so
I modified a metal pipe clamp instead.

Nice thing about the set up is that it positions the GPS closer towards
your eyes, making it easier to read. Also it is simple to loop the lanyard
around the base of the Space Grip, just in case the mount lets go.
I have ridden this bike off road and the set up seems rock solid.

Routes / Pacific Coast Route Camping
« on: December 22, 2008, 05:37:16 pm »
Just make sure you arrive at the Amtrak station in advance to check in
your bike. They can refuse unboxed bikes.

I had a terrible experience in Whitefish MT when I showed up at the
station 45 minutes before departure but there was a long lineup at the
baggage counter and the guy took his sweet time checking people's
bags in. I was the next one in line when the train pulled in (15 minutes
before departure) and he closed the window on me and said I had to
wait for the next train, which was in two days! I was so mad, after
riding in the cold wet Montana autumn that this pencil-pusher
nonchalantly expected me to wait out a couple of days in an expensive
town just because he could not spend an extra few seconds writing me
out a tag  for my bike (which was lready preped for packing). Livid, I
hauled my bike up to the coach and refused to budge because I had a
paid reservation for both me and the bike. I explained my situation to
the conductor, and he ordered the baggage guy to reopen the counter
and write my tag. Of course he did it slow and said I had to buy a box,
and probably snickered as I barely made it into the baggage car
struggling with the bike and the box separately. I never boxed the
bike, as I got into the baggage car the train pulled out of the station
and I just secured it inside the roomy box car.

Routes / Orlando FL to Houston TX
« on: December 16, 2008, 09:20:10 pm »
Thanks for the great advice, I really appreciate it.

A question about cycling in the towns -- are cyclists in the south
harassed to use the sidewalks when there are no bike lanes? I rode in
Alaska last summer and I was surprised when I got to Anchorage after
the freedom of the highways, that cyclists there mostly used the
sidewalks (a motorist actually yelled at me to get off the road at one

I'll try to stick to ACA routes west of Mississippi but I'll be tempted to
find shortcuts here and there. I will only have 2 and 1/2 weeks to do
this. Is tenting a bit chilly in early March?

Routes / Orlando FL to Houston TX
« on: December 12, 2008, 10:34:18 pm »
I'm supposed to attend a family gathering in Houston in mid-March and
I'm thinking of getting there the long way by flying to Orlando at the end
of February then riding west. I've never to this part of the US. How is it for
riding, and at this time of the year? Any advice and suggestions

Routes / La Route Verte
« on: December 12, 2008, 08:58:14 pm »

I took the north shore route that time because I had gone down the
south shore three times before and I was looking explore something
different. In retrospect, no, I have no regrets, but I would never do that
route again! I have done the south shore route again since, and I now
enjoy looking at the other side of the river even more :)

The south shore is quite pretty and the sunsets are incredible. The
towns and villages in Bas-St-Laurent have more amenities and it is
cheaper. In contrast, the Charlevoix has sparsely spaced conveniences
and places to eat and stay tend to book up or close early.

To get out to Nova Scotia, I've done both the St John River valley route
through the interior of New Brunswick, and along the Acadian shore.
The shore route is beautiful, but getting over the Appalachian ridge is
easier via Edmundston along the rail trail. The shoulders on the
highway through the Matapédia valley to Gaspésie are intermittent,
even though it is part of the Route verte. New Brunswick has excellent
roads with extra wide shoulders.

This message was edited by geeg on 12-12-08 @ 8:01 PM

Routes / La Route Verte
« on: November 30, 2008, 09:14:56 am »
While going around Lac-St-Jean (Veloroute des Bleuets) is easy,
getting there from Quebec City is quite hilly, especially if you decide to
stick to the north shore. Be prepared for some steep climbs in the
Charlevoix and Manicouagan sections. I did this ride several years ago
and I made a somewhat foolish decision to go though the north shore,
which is not part of the Route verte. While the scenery is stunning, the
climbs were the steepest i've ridden. I rarely walk my bike but I had no
choice on a 3 km 22% grade getting out of Sainte-Irenee!

The Veloroute des Bleuets (blueberry bike route) is probably the most
organized part of the Route verte. Along its 250km loop, there are
regular rest stops, bike specific signage and services. The provincial
park at Pointe-Taillon even has bike in campsites. Excellent homey
B&Bs and hearty food (the special Lac-St-Jean Tourtiere is a must-try)

As for other routes, the Gaspesie is quite nice, going around the south
of the peninsula then taking the train back to Quebec City is doable on
your schedule. If you like having urban experiences mixed in with your
tour, the Ottawa/Gatineau-Montreal-Quebec City route is not bad.

The publication look for is
Cycling in

Routes / Gaspe Peninsula
« on: February 04, 2008, 02:02:32 pm »
Here are photos of one of the smaller hills. You'll be up and down a quite
few of them in a day.

This message was edited by geeg on 2-7-08 @ 6:48 PM

Routes / Cleveland to Toronto OR Cleveland to Michigan
« on: January 16, 2008, 08:23:10 am »
You can apply for the cheaper Passport Card:

It's $45 ($35 for children) if you are applying for the first time. If you
already have a passport that needs renewal, the card is only $20.

Routes / Gaspe Peninsula
« on: December 31, 2007, 02:02:27 pm »
I've biked much of the Route Verte system, including the entire length
along the St Lawrence. It is quite good to Sainte-Flavie/Mont-Joli and
becomes a bit spotty heading into to the Matapédia valley (Amqui-
Causapcal) and improves along the southern Gaspé Peninsula.

Personally I would not recommend the northern part of the peninsula
as the hills are very steep between Matane and Gaspé town -- climbs
of over 10% are common and one after another -- and there are no
shoulders on much of the highway with lots of trucks and RVs. It can
also be quite windy --  Québec's largest wind turbine farm is at Cap-

When you say heading "out to the East coast" do you mean you will be
continuing farther into the Maritime provinces? New Brunswick is an
underrated cycling destination in my opinion. The highways can be
quite good there, sometimes with shoulders as wide as an extra car
lane. It is less touristy, as it lacks the draw of Percé Rock (Rocher-
Percé), but it has its quiet gems like the salt marshes of Kouchibouguac
(it's worth the mouthful). Prince Edward Island is also next door, and
there is a bike shuttle across the 17-km Confederation Bridge.

You can catch a train back to Montreal with your bikes from Gaspé
town or  Percé, or if you are in the Maritimes from Bathurst, Moncton
or Halifax.

This message was edited by geeg on 12-31-07 @ 12:07 PM

Routes / Atlantic Coast route--headwind question
« on: April 09, 2006, 03:33:09 pm »
In my opinion, it would be best to go South to North. You are bound to
have tailwinds on the nice days. Heading north on the east coast means
you are really heading northeast most of the time, which is the direction
of the Gulfstream and therefore the general direction of the prevailing
weather patterns. I once cycled south on the Jersey shore from NYC to
Philly and the headwind was awful.

Also, considering the time you are going, it is better to be in the south
around May and in the north towards August, avoiding the excessive heat
of summer.

Routes / Quebec
« on: January 03, 2006, 09:49:42 pm »
An additional note regarding the Ontario side of the itinerary I
mentioned above:

The villages along the Rideau Canal system between Ottawa and
Kingston are much more interesting than the St-Lawrence Seaway
towns. Many of these villages, Perth in particular, were settled by the
Scottish stonemasons who built the historic canal locks over 150 years
ago, and have wonderful old architecture. One classic ride that takes
you to the points of interest would be Ottawa-Manotick-Kars-
Kemptville-Merrickville-Smiths Falls-Perth-Westport-Kingston. County
Road 10 (the "Old Perth Road") between Perth and Kingston would
make a great end to your ride.

MapArt's Eastern Ontario Map (#0 66770 20222 8) shows all the small
roads. Add the Laurentides map (#0 66770 20313 5) and a map of
Quebec City and Ottawa, You'll have most of the info you'd need in 4

Routes / Quebec
« on: January 01, 2006, 04:14:37 pm »
There are many ways beyond the Route Verte (RV) to go from Quebec
City to Kingston. My personal preference would be to follow Highway
138 (part of the RV) from QC only up to Saint-Sulpice, then skip the
urban sprawl of Montreal by following the l'Assomption River on small
rural roads parallel Hwy 158 to Saint-Jerome then continue to Lachute.
From there, continue west along Hwy 148 (also part of the RV) through
Montebello to Masson where you can take a ferry across the Ottawa
River to Cumberland, Ontario. From there find your way towards the
riverside bike paths that will take you straight into downtown Ottawa.
From Ottawa, take any of the scenic routes along the Rideau River all
the way to Kingston. This route in my opinion will provide a wide
variety of scenery compared to just following the St-Lawrence River,
and would take 1 week at 100km/day, to 2 weeks if you want to stop
and smell the flowers.

MapArt sells some detailed maps of
Eastern Ontario and Quebec regions that show the quiet rural roads.
They also sell a good Quebec road atlas, if you dont mind carrying the

Let me know if you want more info on this route.

This message was edited by geeg on 1-3-06 @ 7:56 PM

Routes / Canada route help!
« on: April 09, 2006, 04:35:21 pm »
VIA Rail will take bikes on trains with baggage cars only. There is a flat
fee of $15 ($30 for tandems) regardless of any transfers you have to
make, so even if you have to switch trains in Montreal, there is no extra
charge. The problem is that not all trains have baggage cars all the
time and your bike may have to wait for one. The "Ocean" which runs
from Montreal to the Maritimes always has one.

The steep hills in Quebec City are pretty short. You can "avoid" them by
sticking to the bike path on the rivershore to the lower city and walking
up to the upper city or by riding up the gradual incline on the Grande
Allée which could be quite busy with traffic.

The Petit-Témis is part of the
Route Verte. As for cycling along the Saint-John river valley, just follow
Route 144 to Grand Falls, 105 to Fredericton, 112 to Moncton, 134 to
Shediac. Take the coast road (950/955) towards the bridge to PEI. The
admin building where you take the bridge shuttle is on that road
towards Bayfield, just past the overpass at Hwy 16 (do not go on Hwy

NS route 7 is really pretty and offers classic Nova Scotia views of coves
and lighthouse points, much like route 3 to the south but quieter. No
shoulders mostly but the drivers are careful.

I'll be riding most of this route again from Ontario in late July as I'm
heading off to a highschool reunion in Cape Breton.

Routes / Canada route help!
« on: July 19, 2005, 01:35:03 pm »
A bit more on preferred routes:
Between Montreal and Quebec city, the north shore of the St Lawrence
River is the way to go. I've biked this several times and it is quite flat
except the approach towards Quebec City. There are some steep hills
within Quebec city but there are ways around them. Past Quebec City,
take the south shore route by taking the ferry across to Lévis.

You can get to New Brunswick in two prefered routes, depending on
the experience you want.
1.  From Rivière-du-Loup you can take the Petit-Temis bike path which
is an old converted railway (so the grades are gentle) and then you can
cycle the interior of New Brunswick via the St. John River valley
2. You could cycle farther downstream on the St Lawrence to Mont-Joli
and take the Matapédia valley via Causapscal to Campbelton, NB, then
cycle along what is called the Acadian shore or the Northumberland
strait - this is a pretty area of sand dunes and French fishing villages.

Nova Scotia organizes it routes in "themes". i.e. the Lighthouse route,
Evangeline Trail, etc. The tourist office will give you detailed info on

If you are going to Prince Edward Island, don't get ideas about cycling
the 17 km Confederation Bridge.  There is a free bike shuttle from the
administration building. Some cyclists try to sneak and bike across but
they end up sending a truck to pick you off the road and possibly fine
you. Too bad, the bridge has nice wide shoulders, but I guess it gets
too windy that it can be dangerous.

Routes / Canada route help!
« on: July 17, 2005, 09:02:37 pm »
It's good that you've already looked into the Route Verte. Quebec is the
only province to have such a comprehensive network of bike routes. As
with the roads in the Maritime provinces, what you see on the map is
what you got. However, New Brunswick has great highways to bike on
with really wide shoulders, much better than Quebec's. Nova Scotia's
highways are mostly coastal, with very rare shoulders but drivers seem
to expect cyclists on them and are very courteous. Likewise with PEI.
Most of the larger towns have decent services throughout Eastern
Canada and free-camping opportunities abound.

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