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Messages - adventurepdx

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16
General Discussion / Re: Bike shops near Seatac airport
« on: March 06, 2016, 01:38:12 pm »
A logistics suggestion from someone who tries to get out west every year and ships his bike: Are you going to be spending the night somewhere in Seattle? If so, you might want to consider looking for a shop that is close to where you will be staying rather than one close to where you will be landing. Seattle has a nice HI hostel in the thick of the city...Also, the hostel is about 2.0 miles from the Seattle REI. Some REI stores will receive and assemble bikes for people who are about to start tours...
If you decide to go that route, I would call sooner than later and get on the schedule. The Missoula REI wanted to have the bike in their hands at least 10 days before my arrival because it gets very busy around that time. I would also make hostel reservations early. When I stayed there in late May of '99 and '00 the place filled up. They are in a different location now, so it may be larger, but I wouldn't chance it.

All good points. I'll add that you can take light rail from SeaTac into central Seattle. The HI-Seattle is just a block away from the lightrail station. And yes, book your stay as early as you can!

17
General Discussion / Re: Rain gear in the summer: Why carry it at all?
« on: March 06, 2016, 01:34:48 pm »
OK, I'll bite! Here's why ditching rain gear wouldn't work for me, or why I wouldn't do it:
  • I've been on a bike tour in the middle of the continent (so not an oceanic climate) and dealt with at least one day of all day rain, if not more.
  • Sometimes there's no handy shelter available.
  • Sure, I could try to set up a tent fly. But what if we're talking about a good stiff wind? And setting up a tent fly takes longer than grabbing a rain jacket from a bag.
  • And most importantly, good rain gear is an extra layer for when things get cold or go south. When touring on the North Cascades Hwy a few years ago, we got rained on early into our ascent up Sherman Pass, which we never really dried out from. At the top of the pass which is 5575 feet, there was a roadside thermometer reading 40F/4C. Descending from the pass for the next several miles was cold enough, but would have been a lot worse if we didn't have the raingear for warmth and windbreak.

I know raingear seems useless if there's no rain, but it's great to have it if/when you need it!

18
Routes / Re: TransAm Summer 2017
« on: February 25, 2016, 09:40:52 pm »
To the OP: I think two months is plenty of time to do a really good (and far!) tour at a 60 mile a day pace (plus a break day at least once a week.) You could head west from your home and hook up with the Northern Tier, which is a bit faster than the Trans-Am. And the scenery in the mountains is no slouch, either!

I think the concern shared with myself is others is: We want you to have a good time. A bike tour in itself is hard enough, so there's really no need to make it even harder than it should be. If anything, we want to make sure you enjoy yourself, and come back again at some point for another tour. Trying to do about 150 miles a day may mean you ride a few days, get frustrated, then go home, vowing never to tour again. I don't want that. I want you to get out there and see stuff by bike!  :D

19
Routes / Re: TransAm Summer 2017
« on: February 24, 2016, 03:29:51 pm »
Yeah, I agree with John and Nyimbo.

To the OP, if you look at the travelogues of those who have toured cross country, you'll find few that average 100 or more miles a day. They are out there, but they are not the majority. And those that you find will be more on the low side, say 100 or 110 miles a day. Not many who would push 150 miles a day. I remember reading about someone who did, but he was like an ultramarathoner or something and also travelled light. Going fully loaded would be quite the burden going that speed.

And you'll find very few that did 100 or more miles a day AND did the tour as an out-and-back. In fact, the guy John mentions is the only one I ever heard that did it.

So what you are proposing isn't technically impossible, but you should realize that what you want to do is very tough. And while though you could train for it between now and next summer, realize that what you want to do is more in the realm of endurance athletes.

I've been commuting by bike each day for 15 years, and touring for over 10. I shoot for an average of 60 miles a day, which is what many folks do. I have pulled 100 mile days, but that's not every day.

20
Routes / Re: Canada to Mexico from mid february, which way?
« on: February 20, 2016, 02:22:47 pm »
Maybe rather than just look at the weather today, go back and look at the climate normals for each city/region...Also check out any stations you can find in the higher elevations (e.g., Banff or Canmore just west of Calgary) if you are looking to cross any mountains. Probably not advisable from about mid-October onwards for the northern Rockies.

I did look at the weather, but it doesn't help me well. I saw only sun and rain no snow, around 9°C. Rain like 2mm it's not that much, so anyway it give idea but nothing like real information from local.

Yep to that. Look at what the normal weather is for a particular place for a particular month. Wikipedia is a good spot, since they usually have climate summaries for major cities.

For example, for February, the average high in Vancouver, BC is 8.2C/46.8F, the average low is 4.9C/40.8F, and average rainfall is 98.9mm/3.894in. Not horrible, but not great either. Here in Portland, OR, it's slightly better with an average high temp of 51F/10C  and an average 3.68in/93.5mm of rain.

Factor in short days where it may rain on and off all day, ending up at a wet campround by 4pm so you can set up before dark, long dark nights, and gear and clothing being damp all the time because you'll never get enough time to dry them out. I ride all year in Portland, and I don't mind riding in the rain, but I end up in a warm and dry house every day.  ;D

Also, another thing to note is that the inland cities will be DRIER than the actual coast. That's because the Coast Range/Olympic Mtns/Vancouver Island mountains block a good deal of the precipitation from hitting the inland. But the coast gets the brunt. For example, Astoria, Oregon is on the coast about 160km/100mi from Portland. The average high temp for February is 51F/10C, but the rain is 7.19 in/182.6. That's DOUBLE of what you'd see in already damp Vancouver! And Forks, WA on the Olympic coast gets 10.35 inches/262.9mm in February!

And finally, the prevailing wind along the coast in the winter is from the southwest. If you head south, it means you'll likely be getting a headwind the whole time.

This is what you'd face with a bike tour down the Northwest Coast in February. Sure, you will get some good days, but the odds are that you will see more bad days.

21
Routes / Re: Canada to Mexico from mid february, which way?
« on: February 18, 2016, 09:48:11 pm »
...Its upper 40s for high temps and rain a few days.  About what you can expect in Vancouver from November to February.  Maybe a bit colder in Vancouver and little more snow that rain.  Vancouver is on the ocean so gets the warming effect from the ocean water.  Vancouver hosted the winter Olympics in 2010 so they must get some kind of winter weather.

Vancouver is a lot like Seattle and Portland in the winter. Freezes are on the rare side, along with snow in the lower elevations. It's going to pretty much be rain going along the coast. There is the chance of hitting snow in the mountains, even the relatively lower ones. For instance, it snows fairly frequently at the low elevation passes going from Portland to the Coast.

(And if you are wondering why they'd hold a Winter Olympics in a place that doesn't really see snow, it's because the mountains with lots of snow are so close to Vancouver.)

22
General Discussion / Re: State Park Camping
« on: February 13, 2016, 01:43:20 pm »
Are you sure that's true, even in Michigan? Have you seen that policy in writing?

Adventure Cycling talked about Michigan's (and other state's) no-turn-away policy on the blog:
https://www.adventurecycling.org/resources/blog/top-5-successes-for-bicycling-in-state-parks/

23
General Discussion / Re: Juneau - Seattle
« on: February 13, 2016, 01:35:16 pm »
Anyone cycled BC much? I was hoping to check out Whistler for some downhill as well to be honest...I've done a couple of big tours (Transam, Pacific Coast) so know the day to day issues with touring but BC is really drawing me in...

I haven't done that much touring in BC besides the coastal areas. That's definitely a cool place with a decent amount of services, but don't know if that's what you are going for. If you are set on BC, then that's what you should aim for! But it is possible to incorporate the Icefields Parkway into a BC tour, if you started from Jasper, then headed south, then west. And as said previously, the Icefields are nice...

24
General Discussion / Re: Juneau - Seattle
« on: February 06, 2016, 01:12:33 pm »
PS - You can ride the Canadian Rockies staying in hostels every 30 miles/50 km.

Yep, you can do that! I did that when I toured the Icefields in 2011. Most of them are spaced 20 miles apart, though the longest stretch was about 40 miles. But most of the hostels are very rustic, with outhouses, no electricity, or showers. And while there are some private rooms, they are mostly bunks. You do need to book in advance, though, as those hostels fill up regularly during the short summer.

The Icefields Parkway and the rest of the Canadian Rockies are a beautiful spot to tour.

25
General Discussion / Re: Juneau - Seattle
« on: February 06, 2016, 01:06:19 pm »
Again that sounds like a good idea. It would be nice to travel somewhere on the ACA routes as they tend to be the most tried and tested. 3 weeks is probably the maximum I could get off work and even this will be a push. Plotting my original journey on google maps has yielded some positive results in terms of a possible inn-to-inn journey but as you say, they are few and far between if I suffer mechanical failure etc.

Have you done much lightweight touring? I'm still unsure if I should go for a tripple chainset or not, some of the climbs can a bit too much and I have seen a lot of people injuring knees this way.

I haven't done lightweight touring, but did parts of the NT there on a fully loaded bike, using a classic touring triple. While there weren't many steep-steep grades on the route, those mountain grades are l--o--n--g. You'll be grinding away at a 5-7% grade for hours and hours. So having low gears helps.

There should be others here that did inn-to-inn tours along that section of the Northern Tier. You should check out Crazy Guy on a Bike. And maybe start a new thread here, because with the subject "Juneau-Seattle", those folks who did a credit card NT tour might not look here!

26
General Discussion / Re: Juneau - Seattle
« on: February 06, 2016, 12:15:14 pm »
That's quite interesting. To be honest I didn't have my heart set on that particular starting point as it's still in the idea phase at the moment. It looks like it would be a great ride if I was to go Inland from Prince Rupert and make my way to Prince George and head south that way. How is the cycling in BC?

I have never been up that way, so I have no personal experience. Everything I've seen and heard, however, says it's a rugged and remote ride. And you'd have to go far inland first to get south.

But a tour like that doesn't look like it goes along with your preferences. You say in the OP that you want to try to do this tour as an inn-to-inn. This is an area with few/no services, and towns spaced widely apart. I wouldn't want to do a tour in this area without camping.

Are you just looking at a three week tour with nice scenery, mountains, and services? Doing something like the Northern Tier from Anacortes to Glacier National Park would be a good choice, and possible to do without camping if you plan ahead. If you're travelling fast and light, you could do it in three weeks, and then have time to spend at Glacier. You could also catch Amtrak out of Whitefish to get back to where you need to.

27
General Discussion / Re: Juneau - Seattle
« on: February 05, 2016, 08:52:54 pm »
Okay, I'm not an expert here, nor have I ever been to Alaska. But one important bit of info about Juneau, if you want to ride a bike there. This comes straight from Wikipedia:

"Juneau is rather unusual among U.S. capitals in that there are no roads connecting the city to the rest of Alaska or to the rest of North America (although ferry service is available for cars). The absence of a road network is due to the extremely rugged terrain surrounding the city. This in turn makes Juneau a de-facto island city in terms of transportation, since all goods coming in and out must go by plane or boat, in spite of the city being located on the Alaskan mainland."

So, you're going to need to ferry or fly in/out of Juneau from somewhere else. And you wouldn't pick up the Pacific Coast road until Lund, British Columbia (about a couple hundred km from Vancouver). Though from Prince Rupert you could take a ferry to Port Hardy on the north tip of Vancouver Island.

28
General Discussion / Re: Routes North from San Diego in Feb
« on: January 28, 2016, 03:38:43 pm »
(We) are heading to San Diego mid February to bike from there to Canada. Originally we had considered going along the coast but the prevailing winds might be a problem. We are now looking at the Sierra Cascade route with a possible detour into Utah or towards the great parks south route.  My questions are
1.  Would that be too early to climb some of the passes in California?  Are there possible alternate routes around these passes?

I'm no expert, and haven't done this route, but I would say, yes, way too early for the Sierra Cascades. Others will weigh in soon.

As for the coast, the predominant wind is generally out of the south during the winters, so if there is ever a time to head south to north on the coast, February would be it. Be prepared for rain and storms, though.

29
Thank you everyone for the responses. I've been scheduled to TA for a marine bio course at Friday Harbor for the second week of my break, so I may see about touring around the San Juans or Victoria for the first week.

You really can't go wrong with the San Juan/Gulf Islands plus a bit of Vancouver Island! And you might luck upon some decent weather, esp. since we're having an El Nino this year!

30
Routes / Re: Great Parks North - Canadian Camping
« on: December 18, 2015, 02:06:01 pm »
Thanks for the report! Sounds like a good trip.

Yep, I can vouch for the expensiveness of food in the Canadian Rockies. It's because it's a tourist area, and trucks also have to come from long distances away. It's quite a sticker shock to go into a store and find items double or even triple the price you would pay elsewhere! Reminded me of touring Big Sur and finding $2 candy bars (in 2006). The best bet is to stock up in Banff and Jasper, but being on a bike, you're not going to be able to carry all the food you need.

Sorry to hear about the weather. Yeah, in the higher elevations, you can hit snow anytime. But that's a drag about the low clouds. I remember it being pretty much overcast the entire time I was in the Canadian Rockies on my tour in July 2011. Thankfully, the clouds were usually higher, so I got to see a lot. And also rain only happened a couple times. But I think it's rare to get lots of clear sunny days.

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