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Messages - MrBent

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Routes / Re: Pacific Coast in the Summer?
« on: May 28, 2013, 09:17:35 am »
I understand your concerns, but most of this route is reasonably safe.  I've ridden from Sonoma County to Santa Barbara three times, all in the summer.  It's one of the great bike tours of North America.  If you're daughter is an experienced cyclist, she should have no problems.   There are, of course, always risks, but knowing how to deal with traffic, wearing bright clothing, riding defensively are all skills she should have before setting out on ANY ride.  She'll encounter other riders and stay in hiker/biker campsites and have a blast.  The problem with alternatives at that time of year is that virtually all of them are bloody hot.

Here is an alternate that I've ridden several times, too.  The route begins and ends in Bishop, but in July, riders would want to start from Bishop on the first day VERY early to do most of the first climb before the heat sets in.  After that, the ride is at a pretty high altitude for much of the way, which keeps temps more reasonable.  The climb to Monitor Pass on Hwy 89 can be hot, too, so an early start is recommended there, too.  Most of this route has excellent shoulders and good services.  It's also perhaps one of the most beautiful rides in the country.  Keep in mind, however, that it is a good deal more challenging than the coastal ride you're talking about.  Check out the elevation profile.  I've typically done the ride in late May/early-mid June:

All the best!


Sorry to rain on your parade, but I've found 89 north of Truckee to be a dangerous, scary road.  There is often little shoulder and the truckers can be nasty!  I know of one cyclist killed on the route so far.  It's also the main run for Oregonians hot for the casinos in Reno.  Frankly, the route is beautiful, but I'd NEVER ride it again. 

Here is a work-around that I've mapped but yet to ride:

I warned Adventure Cycling about 89, and they weren't interested.  The Sierra-Cascades HAD to go over Mt. Lassen.  By using Google satellite imagery and maps, you can figure out variations to my route and check for viability of lakes/streams/etc.  My variation involves some dirt--but nothing extreme.  It will be wilder than 89 but quieter by a huge degree.   I'm really looking forward to riding it.  Monitor Pass and that area is GREAT, so go for that.  I've ridden it several times fully loaded.  Shoot for a wonderful forest service campground right near the town of Markleeville, although it will likely be packed on weekends--no hiker/biker sites.  There are a couple of good restaurants and a market in town.  I've ridden virtually all the route you're talking about from Bishop to Mt. Shasta.  It's just that bit between Truckee and McCloud that's the problem.  Do some work on Google, and you'll be amazed at the options.  A water filter is recommended for the remote areas I'm talking about.

Go for it and report back!


General Discussion / Re: Tents
« on: May 20, 2013, 04:51:48 pm »
Unless you're traveling with a good buddy or girl friend/wife, a single tent is nice, a little private space at the end of the day.  I carried this tent on my cross country ride and use it still for bike touring and solo backpacking--great tent!  Can often be found for $150 or less:

Sierra Designs Light Year 1--3 lbs.  Needs only three stakes.  I'm 6'4" and it has plenty of room.


Routes / Re: N. CAL hwy 36 from Redding to coast
« on: March 21, 2013, 10:26:44 am »
My wife and I cycled a big portion of this some years ago, although we came in via Rt. 3 from Weaverville/Hayfork.  From where 3 hits 36 to the coast was truly fantastic.  I don't know about current logging activity, but at the time--about 7 yrs ago--it wasn't too bad.  Expect little traffic but challenging riding--one big pass after another.  Not many services.  We did find a burger joint/cafe in Mad River but have no idea if it still exists.  This is a two lane road, no shoulders to speak of, but light traffic compensates.  The route can be bloody hot in the summer.  We did it early June and had pretty good conditions.  The road you want to avoid is 299, which seems to be the main east/west line in that part of the state--lots of traffic, trucks, nasty. 

Have a great ride!

General Discussion / Re: recumbent steering tiller versus linkage
« on: March 15, 2013, 09:24:25 am »
I would talk to Rob over at Lightfoot to get his opinion.  I'm not sure the conversion would do a lot of good.  I owned a dual 26" Lightfoot (diff. model) for a while and found that the long wheel base and big front wheel made the rig a real handful on slow, steep climbs, more, ultimately, than I wanted to deal with for the long haul, so I sold the bike, although it was very well made and worked well with the exception of a poorly designed/placed idler.  Bogiesan owns an Easy Racer's bike that has a 20" front wheel, and it's my experience that while that design doesn't handle quite as well as the short wheelbase bikes I favor, the smaller front wheel was a definite improvement.  The Tour Easy was one of the best touring rigs I've owned.  Unfortunately, by butt could not adapt to the lower bottom bracket.  I'm a confirmed high bottom bracket guy at this point.  As Bogiesan says, do lots of hills and the bike will get easier to control.  Practice, practice, practice.

Best of luck with the new bike.


General Discussion / Re: Bicycle Touring vs Backpacking
« on: February 23, 2013, 01:12:35 pm »
@Jama:  You're certainly right about going dirt.  It's especially nice, I noticed, that some through roads with dirt lose virtually all the traffic.  We experienced this in riding County Rd. 3  south from Sulphur Hot Springs to get to Ute Pass--great riding!  And the dirt was so good it practically qualified as pavement.

Routes / Re: Traffic on the California section of the Pacific Coast Route
« on: February 17, 2013, 03:36:19 pm »
Yeah, parts are pretty darn busy but probably no worse than the Oregon coast.  However, many sections won't have the consistent shoulders that Oregon seems too have.  My favorite part of the Cali coast is from Sonoma County to Santa Barbara.  Big Sur is great.  Too bad you have to end in San Fran.  If you want truly quiet roads, you'll have to skip the coast.  The early part of the day is best.


General Discussion / Re: Bicycle Touring vs Backpacking
« on: February 17, 2013, 01:29:58 pm »
Touring East vs. West:  My experience is based on my 2007 cross country tour.  I was so impressed with the numerous road options I was seeing.  Granted, I was away from all the big cities as I followed the ACA Norther Tier route as far as Muscatine, Iowa.  Then I took the Great Rivers south to pick up the Katy and, eventually, the TransAm route as far as Salida, CO.  Then I followed my own route the rest of the way, dropping down through Colorado and NM as far south as Socorro where I headed due west again with, of course, a lot of zigs and zags.  I've also crossed, now, N--S, a big chunk of Alberta, Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado.  For pure light traffic, wild touring, New Mexico has proven to be one of the best states so far--paved riding, that is.    Since I'd never ridden back east or the Midwest, I was very pleased with the riding and the ACA route.  In the Midwest, although often boring, the riding was bliss with nice roads between fields and virtually NO traffic---like private bike paths.


General Discussion / Re: Bicycle Touring vs Backpacking
« on: February 10, 2013, 03:22:32 pm »
Thread drift:  Hell yes, Johnson!  What the hell is it with people knowing almost nothing about where they live?

OP:  I like both but these days I'm leaning towards the quiet of hiking, although as I can see spring coming on, I can feel myself itching for the bike, too.  The only downside to backpacking is the pack itself--even ultra light there's some discomfort there, but I suppose cycle touring has its analogous aches and pains.  I'm working on developing a lighter pack.  I've done almost all bike touring for the last ten years, and now I'm excited about hiking again.  I'm envious of people back east and in the Midwest for all the paved cycling options.  The West is more congested with fewer options.  Still, I ride.

General Discussion / Re: Traffic burnout?
« on: January 25, 2013, 09:53:37 am »
Yeah, parts of the coast in summer get 5,000 to 10,000 cars a day.  Ugh!!!!


General Discussion / Re: Traffic burnout?
« on: January 25, 2013, 08:58:16 am »
Cool, John.  I'll be 51 in March.  I love biking, but hiking and climbing are biggies in my life, especially the rock.  It satisfies in a way that biking never can.

@Bogiesan:  Yes, Oregon--except for the coastal route--has lots of great cycling options, especially the eastern portion of the state.  I did a tour last year that came into Oregon from NE Cali near Lava Beds Nat'l Monument then cut east to Lakeview then over the Warner Mtns. and south.  That big loop, about 500 miles starting and ending in Susanville, CA, is one of my favorite tours of all time.  Very light traffic.  We rode it in late May.  That is a route I'll likely repeat.



General Discussion / Re: Traffic burnout?
« on: January 21, 2013, 08:15:44 pm »
Yeah, I get dirt.  The few sections we did on our Great Divide trike tour that were dirt were a a lot of fun--if slow and difficult on such rigs.  I think if I ever do a long tour again, it will be the Great Divide Mtn Bike Route on dirt.  These days I'm getting back into rock climbing--an original passion of mine--and I'm thinking about long-distance back packing, too.  NO cars on wilderness single track!


General Discussion / Traffic burnout?
« on: January 20, 2013, 01:44:28 pm »
Hey, cyclotourists:  My wife and I recently concluded a Canada (Jasper) to the Mexico border tour of the Rocky Mtns.  We did this on two recumbent trikes with our dog, Django.  It was a very strenuous but rewarding trip: Divide by Three  To be honest, however, after riding coast to coast in 2007 and now border to border, in addition to many other tours up to three weeks in length, I feel fed up in dealing with cars.  It's not that I ride in mortal fear of my life all the time.  I'm just sick and tired of the noise, the lack of consideration, and, to be honest, at least some of the risk from bad/aggressive/inattentive drivers.  Do others here lose the motivation to get out there for these reasons?  I'm still going to ride, but in the West, with so few road options, it seems all the traffic gets funneled onto a few roads, routes that cyclists must follow, too.  My experience back east and in the Midwest was much more pleasant than western states in many/most cases because of the different roads available.  Of the western states I've toured, New Mexico is the best with generally very light traffic.  Unfortunately for my touring, I live in California.  The best touring here is in the desert in winter--very quiet and enjoyable.  Thoughts on burnout?

Cheers and ride safely.


Routes / Re: az: show low to globe on rt. 60?
« on: October 23, 2012, 07:31:20 pm »
Hey, Valygrl:  Just the person I most wanted to hear from--yeah!  Here's the deal:  We're currently holed up in Springerville having just finished the traverse from Socorro.  We have a rest day tomorrow--thank God--and we plan to motor Rt. 60 to Show Low the day after.  I've done the high route to Show Low before and want to try 60 this time.  My wife and I are traveling pretty heavy and slooooow on recumbent trikes with our doggie--Django the Wonder Dog.  On the route from Globe to Show Low, what was your experience about places to camp, access to water, etc?  I'm thinking we might need two nights out on that section even though we only have six thousand feet of climbing.  Thoughts, ideas?  Thanks so much for responding.



Routes / az: show low to globe on rt. 60?
« on: October 18, 2012, 10:30:43 pm »
Anyone ridden this? There is no way we can make it in a day.  We are on tour now--in NM--and working our way west.  Looking for options other than the ACA route through Safford, etc.  For the 60 rt., what are camping and water options? I understand that the Payson-- Phoenix run is crazy w/traffic.  Any help would be great!



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