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Messages - adventurepdx

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General Discussion / Re: Question: Highway Troubles?
« on: March 03, 2013, 12:14:31 pm »
In most places bicycles are forbidden to use Interstate and other limited access highways.  The only places that allow bicycles on them are where alternative roads either don't exist or are considered so far away they are impractical.  When you have to be on an Interstate it's because there is no good alternative.

Not always so. In a lot of western states, bicycle riding on Interstates anywhere outside of urban areas is perfectly legal. In Oregon, for example, I can legally ride the length of I-5 from near the junction of I-205 south of Portland all the way south to the California line (with the exception of a section through Medford). And I can ride 84 east of the Portland Metro area east to Idaho.

But I agree with everyone else who says try to ride on the Interstates as little as possible.

Routes / Re: Great Divide South-to-North Start.
« on: January 29, 2013, 11:59:18 pm »
You can also take Amtrak to El Paso. You'll be able to box your bike and take it with you on the train as long as your origin station has checked baggage service.

Routes / Re: Duluth MN to Madison WI
« on: January 29, 2013, 11:56:56 pm »
I've biked between Duluth and Madison, though in separate stages over the span of several years.

Getting out of Duluth, a great way is the Munger Trail, a rail trail that's about 70 miles long. It heads southward to Hinkley:

From there, you can ride on 61 south to North Branch, and pick up another trail, the Sunrise Prairie, which parallels 61 south for about 17 miles to Forest Lake:

At this point, you are in the Minneapolis-St. Paul suburbs. You can bypass the Twin Cities and hook up with the Northern Tier which will bring you south through the Mississippi Valley, or take WI 35 down to Marshland and hook up with the Great River Trail. This is the start of a series of four interconnected trails totaling 100 miles in length, and includes the La Crosse River,  Elroy-Sparta (the Grandaddy of all rail-trails0, and the 400. 

This will bring you to Reesburg, WI, which is about another day of riding to Madison on back roads. I don't exactly remember the routing from there (and probably didn't take the best route) so I'll let someone else follow up.

Routes / Re: First time Los Angeles to Vancouver
« on: December 05, 2012, 09:33:26 pm »
What staehpj1 says. If you dig through enough threads here and on other forums like Bikeforums, you'll find a lot of confirmation of said conventional wisdom.

That being said, May is a pretty transitional time on the Pacific Coast in regards to weather, at least north of San Francisco. You can get some nice days and some rainy days. Stormy weather can also mean the prevailing NW wind can turn and come out of the south, meaning headwind.

Can you fly into Vancouver instead?

I like the Northern Tier route, too, but I wouldn't sell the Trans-Am short, at least the Oregon section from Eugene to Hell's Canyon. Quite a bit of mountain passes as well. No "four passes in four days" like the NT, but there is the "three passes in one day" section from Prairie City to Baker City. McKenzie Pass is great if you time it so you can cross it, and the Painted Hills country near Mitchell? I don't think there's anything quite like it on the NT through Washington.

So to complicate things, I'll throw out yet another routing option: Head south from Vancouver BC and pick up the Sierra Cascades route and take that until you intersect with the Trans-Am route in Central Oregon. I haven't done all of SC through this area, just parts (Sierra Cascades overlaps the Northern Tier from Sedro-Wooley to Twisp).

Options, options. A lot of things to think about.

PK, how much time do you have to play with?

Using the ACA Pacific Coast Route to get from Vancouver to Astoria is a viable option. The first half or so will go through the Puget Sound region, which is nice. The second half, from around Shelton, WA to Astoria, is doable but as noted by others is not particularly thrilling.

The other routing option would be to use one of the routes outlined in the "Bicycling The Pacific Coast" book:
The book has two routes: an inland route following the Puget Sound/Hood Canal, and the Peninsula route that goes the long way around the Olympic Peninsula. That area will most likely wet in mid-June, but it's worth it if you take the time to make the side trips into Olympic National Park. (If you don't, I would recommend the Inland Route.)

If you don't feel like biking, you can take Amtrak from Vancouver to Portland and then either take the Point bus to Astoria:
Or you can ride to the coast.

Routes / Re: Calgary to Banff
« on: November 19, 2012, 01:28:24 pm »
I rode Calgary to Banff and it's not all that interesting except to see the mountains getting closer.

I didn't find the route boring, but it's no Banff, for sure. I think the key is taking 1A, which goes through some nice countryside before entering the park itself.

General Discussion / Re: Step thru frames
« on: November 19, 2012, 01:26:58 pm »
Make sure she rides this bike on enough long rides before she starts (with her gear) to be sure it'll be comfortable enough. To me, that's a much bigger issue.

Very good point. Is there anywhere nearby that can be a good overnight camping destination? Can she go on a short tour (3 days or so) before the big one?

General Discussion / Re: Step thru frames
« on: November 19, 2012, 12:07:22 pm »
pzyduck, my two cents: I'm a big proponent of "ride what you got", especially if you have no choice. And I understand being broke.  She might get through the ride with not a lot of major issues and have the time of her life. People have toured on worse.
Or, she may scrap the ride after a week because of discomfort and mechanical failures, and never want to tour again.

You're already talking about replacing wheels, and show concern for the frame. With all that, I would advise getting a different bike. It doesn't have to be a brand new touring bike, there are plenty of good used deals out there that wouldn't set her back that much. Is there any local bike co-ops around her? She may be able to get a good deal and learn how to work on her bike.

General Discussion / Re: Step thru frames
« on: November 18, 2012, 03:20:41 pm »
The traditional American Woman's frame with two parallel downtubes and no effective top tube is very flexible and unsuited to carrying heavy loads.  Whatever strength it has comes from heavy wall tubing so it will be very heavy and very few if any came with good components or suitable gearing.

The "parallel top/down tube frame" for women's bikes are not exclusive to US bikes, as there were many British bikes that had the same design, and European countries had some variation on the theme.

Speaking of "Step-Thru Frame Touring", back in June I ran into a German woman touring the Pacific Coast with her very Euro step-thru frame bike.

If I were to look for a step-thru style frame, I'd definitely go for a mixte frame.

General Discussion / Re: The TransAmerican for a beginner?
« on: November 15, 2012, 03:38:07 pm »
I crossed the North Cascades W-E in October one year in the pouring rain. Climbing was OK, the exertion kept me warm but descending from Rainy Pass to Mazama I came close to hypothermia.

Heck, I came close to getting hypothermia due to rain on Sherman Pass (along Northern Tier in Washington) in June!

General Discussion / Re: adding pictures
« on: November 15, 2012, 12:45:12 pm »
Forrest, to make a photo smaller, use a photo-editing program and reduce size. Something like Photoshop works. Photoscape is a free program you can download which works ok.

Or, you can upload your photos to something like flickr, Picassa, or photobucket and link the photos.

General Discussion / Re: Advice on Heading South in Winter
« on: November 14, 2012, 05:33:17 pm »
Haven, if you use the Amtrak provided box, you won't have to "strip parts" or any of that business. All you need to do is remove pedals and turn bars sideways. (Note: if your bars have enough flare, this may cause issues.)

You may be able to use the kitty litter panniers as check on baggage, but I've never done it so I can't speak from experience. When I've taken Amtrak, I usually check a couple of my panniers with checked baggage, and bring two on board as "carry-on". (When I have full panniers.)

More on Amtrak bicycle/baggage policies here:

Routes / Re: Calgary to Banff
« on: November 05, 2012, 10:08:52 pm »
Hey Christian-

My girlfriend and I biked from Calgary to Banff last year. There didn't seem like any easy way of biking out of the city. We used Hwy 1A, which is basically a freeway getting out of town (legal to ride). 1A remains a wide divided highway with ample shoulders until Cochrane, and from there it becomes a two lane with decent shoulders and low-moderate traffic, as most through traffic is on Trans-Canada (Hwy 1) to the south. There is about a 10 or 20 mile section of 1A that is shoulderless. We were warned about this section, but there was barely any traffic, so it wasn't much of a worry in that department. The pavement is crap on that section, however. 1A will lead into Canmore, the town on the outside of Banff National Park, and from there you can take a bike path all the way into Banff townsite. (It parallels the Trans-Can.) Not too much in the way of services on this route, besides Calgary, Canmore, Banff, and Cochrane there is some stuff in Exshaw. You could do it in a day, but it'd be a long one. Hotels in Cochrane and a provincial campground at Ghost Lake.

General Discussion / Re: Tales of Calamity and Woe
« on: October 31, 2012, 03:24:06 pm »
I once snapped my handlebars on tour.

Thankfully, it happened on an off day, when I was riding around town unloaded. And the snapping happened right when I started to pedal after the light turned green. It could have been a lot worse.

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