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Messages - tsteven4

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General Discussion / Re: My TA has begun
« on: May 04, 2012, 06:22:57 pm »

Congratulations on reaching Colorado.  If you decide to head uphill from Cortez some of the most beautiful mountains in the state await you, lizard head on 145 or molas,  coal bank, red mountain on 550.  Best wishes whatever way you choose.


Routes / Re: Northern Tier: Change of route May 2012
« on: April 30, 2012, 01:46:28 pm »

The revised GPS data for sections 3 and 4 are now included in the download at the web site.

You can look at on online map or download a google earth version of the revised northern tier at

Routes / Northern Tier is intact again
« on: April 20, 2012, 07:28:10 pm »
ACA has updated the northern tier route, and it is once again contiguous.  Thanks. Thanks. Thanks.

You can see the entire route including the changes in North Dakota here:

Gear Talk / Re: Need a large lightweight bag
« on: April 14, 2012, 04:31:45 pm »
You may want to consider checking your bike, with any bits that you can't carry on, e.g. a knife, and carrying on the rest.  we usually put one nearly empty front pannier in the box with the bike holding the restricted items.  be sure to tie the pannier to the bike in case the box gets ripped.  We usually put the tent poles and blue foam sleeping pad in the bike box also.  Don't overstuff the bike box, try to keep it as light as you can.  Then we carry on the other front pannier, and the two back panniers snapped together. we stuff our sleeping bags and tent into one of the panniers.   wear your helmet.  wear your bike shoes.  wear your coat.   you may be at the carry on limit, but we have never had a problem.   we evolved to this system after years of putting the panniers in their own box and checking them.  the only trick is finding a bike box for the return flight.

General Discussion / Re: Campgrounds and bear boxes
« on: March 15, 2012, 08:39:01 am »
Certainly not.  There are fairly common, but not ubiquitous, in the Canadian and U.S. National parks.  One of the campgrounds on the icefields parkway we stayed at didn't have boxes, but they did have cables rigged to a high crossbar that worked just as well.  Also be aware that not all the campgrounds on the icefields parkway have drinking water, we had to filter ours at some.  The icefields parkway is fantastic, we tried to ride extra slow to make it last longer.  Outside the national parks, even in Montana, boxes are rare and you will need to fend for yourself.  We got by fine with a rope that weighed a lot less than two pounds.

WE is a great route, but be prepared for serious heat and lack of support and water.  115 degrees when we did it one summer.  I remember hearing weather reports that Phoenix was even hotter.

General Discussion / Re: overseas travel
« on: March 05, 2012, 03:17:36 pm »
The airlines will sell a bike box to anyone who wants one.

Russ,  As far as I can tell airlines selling bike boxes was something from the good old days.  Do you know of any airlines that still sell bike boxes?  I haven't got a box from an airline since the mid 1990s.  It sure made things easier on the return leg, although we often found that they wouldn't have any when we got to the airport to pick them up.  If I am just looking at the wrong airlines I sure would appreciate knowing it.

Routes / Re: Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes
« on: March 01, 2012, 02:33:21 pm »
Be prepared for some very steep sections going over Dobson.

Well that settles it.  We managed Sonora Pass a few times fully loaded, I welcome the steep!  Bruce put some good gears on our bikes, front/rear = 22/30 and 22/32.

Routes / Re: Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes
« on: March 01, 2012, 08:40:55 am »
Thanks to everyone for their ideas and information.  I am intrigued by the Lewiston grade commuter mentioned, a.k.a. the old spiral highway,_Idaho#Highways.  I may have to turn this trip around and go east so we can climb this (and have much more favorable winds along the Columbia).

For future reference Rick Shaffer, the "Prime Minister" of the Friends of the Coeur d'Alene Trails had the following ideas. You can reach him through

Ideas- take Rte 200 from Missoula to Paradise to Thompson Falls; come over the divide to Murray and Rte 456 over Dobson Pass to Wallace which is 7 miles in from the e trailhead of the Trail of the Cdlens.   All good road.

#2 per my knowledge, you can get most of the way from Missoula to St. Regis on the frontage road Along I-90.  Then take the 17 mile ride to Paradise and follow the above.

If you have tires that will take dirt, u can go all almost all the way from St. Regis to the Silver Valley on a frontage road.

Also from St. Regis, you can take a great ride over Gold Creek Pass to Avery – St. Marys.

More- after doing the trail of the Coeur d’Alenes; you can ride up 95 to Coeur d’Alene and jump on the bi state Centennial Trail into Spokane.

Of course, wider tires allow for more options.

Gear Talk / Re: Shimano 8-speed
« on: February 22, 2012, 07:12:02 pm »
I have had plenty of luck removing and reinstalling 8 and 9 speed SRAM links.  All my links have had this done ~twice before I retire the chain. With a dirty chain you can use this trick
SRAM Master Link Removal:
Squeeze side plates together with thumb and index finger, and pull ends of string (which may take two more hands!)

Routes / Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes
« on: February 20, 2012, 08:14:25 am »
I am interested in possible routes from Missoula that use the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes and then go west to Seattle.  Some possibilities I am considering are a connection with the Northern Tier in Sandpoint or connection with the Lewis & Clark at Lewiston or another point to the west.  This seems like a rather large deviation to pick up the 70+ mile Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes, but that trail looks very nice.  I am fine with the extra miles if the connection can be done on roads that make for good cycling.

General Discussion / Re: Short colorado ride.
« on: February 04, 2012, 12:35:05 pm »
Wait for spring.

36 is unpleasantly busy between Lyons and Estes Park, especially going uphill.
7 is much nicer.  South St. Vrain canyon is scenic and not very steep.  There are nice views of Longs Peak before the top of Wind River Pass (9130).

If you are continuing up from Estes Park you can take Trail Ridge or the unpaved Fall River Road after they open.

Routes / Re: A California Tour (Pleasanton CA to Mono Lake CA)
« on: January 23, 2012, 07:35:32 pm »
Go Tim.  Sonora Pass is one of my favorite rides in CA.  Having done it both ways (loaded/unloaded) and both directions I can say an advantage to being loaded is your front wheel stays on the pavement!  You will notice the contrasts between the Sierras and the Rockies on your upcoming ride.

Fred, I think the west side is the steepest, 26%.  I seem to recall the east side was ONLY 23%.

See, the over and back is a KICK!  My gearing advice would be ~22/24 front with a ~30/32 rear cog.

P.S. with respect to your statement "But then I think about what Utah & Colorado will be like.", UT and CO will be quite a bit easier.

General Discussion / Re: Crossing Canadian Border
« on: January 16, 2012, 01:40:42 pm »
The only trouble I had was coming back into the US from Canada in Blaine, WA.  We were in line with the cars, close to the front, when someone suggested we could go to the building beside the road and get through with our bikes.  Big mistake.  Agents appeared from the shadows and would not let us return to the inspection line.  They absolutely would not listen to anything we said.  We were forced to wait inside for over an hour as darkness approached.  No bathrooms were available.  Cell phone use was not allowed.  When we finally got to the front of the line inside the agent asked why we were in the line!  Welcome home indeed.

General Discussion / Re: hip pain
« on: September 30, 2011, 07:46:06 pm »
My wife had two total hip replacements this year.

In her case riding was nearly pain free before the surgery, but she had difficulty mounting and dismounting.  The pain was such that we hadn't been able to hike for a few years before the surgery.  She would have sudden pains that would cause her to scream when rolling over in bed.  It was difficult for her to get in and out of the shower, carry heavy items, or walk up and down stairs.  The weight of a normal pair of shoes would cause her hip pain when walking.

Before the first surgery the surgeon said he would allow her to ride without restrictions 3 months after surgery, but she would not be able to do our usual 50-60 mile training rides that include 5000-6000ft of climbing until 6 months after surgery.  The reason for the extra 3 months was because it was anticipated that she would not be strong enough.

After the first surgery the surgeon allowed her back on the bike for limited riding about 1 month after surgery.  She was not allowed to ride with cleats.  At 3 months and 3 days we did one of our previously described rides.

The second surgery was 3 months and 1 week after the first.

After the second surgery the surgeon allowed her back on bike after 3 and a half weeks.  At 2 months and 2 days we did one of our previously described rides, and have continued to do one every week thereafter.

I think her experience is on the extremely good side, perhaps 1 in 1000 cases or better.  She was in the hospital two nights for the first surgery, and one for the second.  The nurse stated she had NEVER seen a THR go home in one night.   My wife would advise you to get in the best shape possible before surgery.  Her hips were pain free immediately after surgery.  Her recovery involved getting the muscles nearby to feel and function normally again.  PT was invaluable.  She still is working through muscle stiffness.

Colorado / Re: Dolores to Pueblo CO
« on: September 26, 2011, 08:15:10 pm »
Nothing bad can be said about Lizard Head Pass or Wolf Creek Pass(10,850), I just think the Million Dollar Highway edges them out.  All three are quite nice.   I agree that May is a bit early, but I think it will be doable, and we are talking about a U.S. Marine.

Here are some records for the state of Colorado:
Highest Average Annual Precipitation         45.35                       Wolf Creek Pass 1 E
Record Maximum Winter Snowfall               807.0         1978-79       Wolf Creek Pass 1 E
Highest Average Annual Snowfall              434.8                       Wolf Creek Pass 1 E

Good call on cedar breaks valygrl, almost 10,600.  A deviation from the Western Express may be required, the road may not be open.

Also note that Red Mountain Pass is not 8,970 as I stated before and the CO bicycling map erroneously shows, it is 11,018.

Tim you can see photos of all three of these variations here:

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