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Messages - Bclayden

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Routes / Re: Latest possible date to start northbound Sierra Cascades?
« on: October 03, 2016, 08:09:41 pm »
You don't say how many miles/hours you expect to be riding each day but June is a good time to get a very early start..begins to get light at 5am..and after 6-7 hours in the saddle it is only noon and your done!  Viola!  I used this technique crossing Nevada in June a couple of year ago and covered 100 miles each day but finished by early afternoon.  Hot?  Yes...but only for the last couple of hours.

Also, the early start can help to avoid the daily afternoon gusty desert winds and possible T-storms.

Connecting ACA Routes / Re: Salt Lake City to Kansas City
« on: June 28, 2016, 02:29:10 pm »
There is a 5-10 mile stretch on I-80 leaving Evanston..not too bad...otherwise all good backcountry and mostly quiet highways.
The route I mapped out (day 1) left SLC up Emigrant Canyon Rd. Joined Rte 65, Echo Dam Rd, Chalk Creek Rd (several miles packed dirt) into Evanston, WY. The next 2 days: Rtes 189/28 to Lander where you can meet the TransAm.

Midway Between Kemmerer and Lander is the very small community of Farson, WY which offers 1 rough motel and a diner next door.  That's the only overnight option for 150-200 miles as I recall.

Connecting ACA Routes / Re: Salt Lake City to Kansas City
« on: June 28, 2016, 10:48:26 am »
An alternate...Not sure if this is much help but I covered your route entirely without riding along any ACA routes and it was excellent. From SLC on the Emigrant Trail my route went up into Wyoming and picked up the Platte Rivver to cross Nebraska, met the Missouri River at St Joseph and then down to KC. Nice riding conditions, no major climbs once past the Wasatch Range but most riding in WY above is 7000' msl...crossing Continental Divide would have been unnoticeable if not for the sign marking it. 

Each riding day at 90-120 miles with motel overnights in Evanston, Farson, Lander, Alcova and Douglas, WY... Scottsbluff, North Platte, Kearny, Nelson, NE...and Marysville, KS. 

My goal was to follow, from Sacramento, CA-St Joseph, MO, the historic 1860s Pony Express horseback mail route hence its roundabout nature. The route also follows several emigrant trails, Oregon Trail, Morman Trail, etc., which typically followed the easiest path across the vast American West.  Not direct but without major obstacles.

Some of the towns in WY are quite far apart but this route offers solid and safe riding conditions if you enjoy solitude and long days in the saddle.

Routes / Re: Katy Trail riding conditions?
« on: May 24, 2016, 09:10:07 am »
I am the OP. This is a follow up message:

I just completed about a 200 mile stretch of Katy Trail. Spent 2 days between Boonville and Machens, MO.  Conditions were excellent but for the last 14 miles east of St Charles.  Heavy recent rain had me concerned but even after only 24 hours of dry weather trail conditions were excellent.

I tour on a Trek Madone road bike with skinny/100 psi 700x25 tires. Some said not do-able on Katy Trail buy I say no problem.  Totally rideable even on skinny tires...and fun!. Expect a slightly slower pace though. I covered 110 miles between Jefferson City and St Charles in a day, took an additional hour, and legs were more tired than usuall.

Katy Trail is a unique and awesome riding experience. Thanks to all whom contributed to this really helped.

Routes / Re: where can I buy aca maps.
« on: April 23, 2016, 01:01:20 am »
I have purchased ACA maps to download to iPad which I tour with  You can get them at the speed of light. In my experience the electronic version not as easy to use out on the road as a proper map (I used the electronic version on the Adirondack Loop route) but at least it's available to anyone, anywhere.

Routes / Re: Fort Knox,KY restricted?
« on: April 01, 2016, 09:40:40 pm »
Thanks for the input. I actually have to end up at the Louisville airport and you are correct, Google map sent me along Dixie Highway. I will avoid Dixie and make the Brandenburg crossing as suggested. Sounds much better. 

To be faiir, while I don't use Google map to navigate it can be a useful tool in initial route planning. Fine tuning with street view, asking questions on this forum and of local cyclists while on the fly and a bit of luck have helped but Google map can be a good place to start. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and sure, I know my local routes better than Google (who doesn't?) but it can get you a rough idea of an unknown route.  Of course any prudent traveller will confirm this route with other resources however.  Trust but verify.

Thanks again for the routing advice. I will avoid Kentucky 31W and Dixie Hiway.

Routes / Re: My route for cross country 2016, ideas?
« on: March 20, 2016, 01:16:59 pm »
Looks like you plan to take the ferry to cross San Francisco Bay.  Certainly a fine way to go but if you would rather cycle across there is one bike friendly bridge: Dumbarten Bridge/Rte 84 at the south end of the bay.

Also your route crossing San Juaquin Valley could be simplified and more scenic. Have a look at favorite way to cross the Big Valley:

After crossing Sierra Nevada make your way to Turlock.  Cross the valley to Patterson and join Del Puerto Canyon Rd to Mines Rd to Livermore. Remote and very scenic. From Livermore you can find your way to 84 and Dumbarten Bridge any number of ways.  Check it out.

Word to the wise... As with any metro area best to avoid cycling during commute hours. Not fun and way more treacherous.  SF Bay Area has some nasty traffic so once in Livermore or wherever you arrive in the Bay Area and all the way to SF you will be subject to thick traffic if you don't plan to avoid. Weekends always good and weekdays between 9am and 3 pm is manageable. Otherwise DANGER!

Have a great ride! 

Routes / Fort Knox,KY restricted?
« on: March 20, 2016, 12:57:17 pm »

My cross country route has me entering and exiting Fort Knox, KY on route 60/31W on the approach into Louisville.  I am not entering the fort proper, just using the highway to cross the base. 

Q: are there restrictions or restricted times or days to crossing Fort Knox on route 60/31W as there often are with other U.S. Military bases?

The Army website is not very helpful except to say I need government photo mention of restriction but I want to be sure I don't have a nasty surprise when I arrive.  Anyone know about this? 

Thanks in advance for your reply.

Routes / Re: Western Express West to East, August?
« on: March 11, 2016, 12:05:50 pm »
I too have ridden the WE during summer and agree with what Zzzzzz says.  I did it unsupported and solo and stayed in motels.  People freak out about Nevada in August and yes, it can get hot but if you get rolling by sunrise you will be finished for the day by mid afternoon and hopefully before the thunderstorms get cranked up.  August is monsoon season in CA/NV desert area and the afternoon weather can get nasty.

WE sports a few long days with no where to re supply or get water so be prepared to support yourself with drink the entire day. Middlegate-Austin, Austin-Eureka, eureka-Ely and Ely-Baker are spectacular days but desolate.   Also, limited motels in Austin, NV so book early as they do fill up (with highway construction workers mostly). You will enjoy.

Of all the cycling adventures I have done the one I will most likely duplicate one day is the Nevada crossing of WE route. Nothing else quite like it. 

Routes / Katy Trail riding conditions?
« on: January 23, 2016, 09:04:24 pm »

The Missouri segment of my cross-country ride will take me along the Katy Trail. I am planing to join the Katy Trail in Boonville, MO and head eastbound 'til it ends near the Mississippi River...about 170 miles. I tour on a stock Trek road bike with no panniers (motels) and use 700X25 touring tires. A lightweight and solid setup but not super rugged. I am OK on packed gravel but not rough or deep gravel.

How is the Katy Trail?  What are conditions like?  On flat pavement I pace about 16 mph. Will I be able to keep this pace on the trail?  I know there are some washouts here and there but this ride is in May so hopefully all good by then.

Any advice is helpful.   Thanks.

Routes / Re: Looking for a good Manhattan - Westchester County, NY route.
« on: September 13, 2015, 03:20:22 pm »
TokyoNose, not too late.  Thanks for the detailed route advice. Local knowledge is always best.  Much appreciated. 

Routes / Looking for a good Manhattan - Westchester County, NY route.
« on: September 01, 2015, 01:31:01 pm »
Can someone suggest the best route from Manhattan (Hudson River Greenway) to join the Old Putnam Trail/S. County Bikeway in the Bronx?

I understand the Broadway Bridge is the only cycling friendly bridge crossing at the north end of Manhattan?  Is that right?  What is the best route approaching the bridge from the West side/Hudson River Greenway and once across, through the Bronx to Van Courtland Park where the trail begins?

I see many Google route options and various roads..some with bike routes and others without..and can pick my way through but, as we know, local knowledge is better than any Google search/Map will come up with. 

Thanks.  -Ben

Routes / Re: Tips for a Rollerblader going coast-to-coast
« on: May 03, 2015, 02:53:02 pm »
Sounds like a great adventure.  Blazing a trail.  I know nothing about road surface conditions required for rollerblading.  How smooth does the surface need to be?  As any touring cyclist can tell you a trip across the country, across state or across town will find many different qualities of road surface.  A newly paved stretch of asphalt is supreme but a rare exception. The typical daily ride is more often a mix of road quality and often times  things can be pretty rough.  Interestingly I have noticed road surface construction materials, quality of maintenance and position of rumble strips often changes at the county line.  Sometimes better, sometimes much worse.

As mentioned earlier you will learn a lot from a 2 or 3 day shakedown ride.

Your adventure sounds epic and good luck with the planning.

Specifically Patterson to Merced.  Then Merced to Oakhurst.

I know this is an obsure route (actually it is part of a much longer journey) but there are a myriad of road options and none look very good to using Google Map. Options in the valley all appear to have either No riding shoulder, heavy traffic, unpaved roads and the rest. Options in the Sierra foothills are numerous and round-about. Surely there is an optimal route?  Roads to avoid are just as useful.

I can live with having no riding shoulder or some truck traffic...just not at the same time.

This forum has helped me with this type of thing in the past so hoping someone has a suggestion.

Routes / Re: Route from Sacramento to San Francisco
« on: January 18, 2015, 07:36:13 pm »
Doesn't the Western Express route use the ferry to cross SF Bay?  Certainly a viable way to go as cycling routes from East to West SF Bay are roundabout and full of sketchy roads if you are not familiar. 

If you are not in a hurry suggest Westbound from Winters (west of Davis) over to Napa Valley then to Sonoma Valley.  There are various good back country roads that are fairly quiet.  From Petaluma south there are a variety of bike paths and good roads leading to Sausalito and the Golden Gate Bridge.  There are also roads that should be avoided due to heavy or high speed traffic..and sometimes both.  Avoid the temptation to cut the corner from Vallejo to Novato on Route 37 is one. 

Another option is to make your way to Concord or Walnut Creek and jump on BART to SF...or take the ferry from Vallejo of course. 

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