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Messages - Bclayden

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Routes / Re: Advice about routes please
« on: June 29, 2014, 03:29:02 pm »
Hello Stringcat

Western Express route is manageable but you should expect 80-90 mile days without services during the Nevada stretch.

For your motel planning during the Nevada crossing ...not many options and Baker, Eureka and Austin fill up fast with summer highway construction crews so book early. 

Gear Talk / Re: Best foot wear for touring?
« on: June 22, 2014, 08:16:36 pm »
Flip flops.  Very light, pack easily….stylish too!

Routes / Re: Bakersfield California to Darby Montana
« on: June 22, 2014, 07:04:01 pm »
Sounds like a fun trip.  I can add some input for a small portion of your route I am very familiar with:

Highway 41 leaving Fresno gets quite busy with boating and RV traffic heading to Sierra destinations.  Speed limit is 55 and there are some narrow shoulders too.  To get around some of this suggest turning at N. Fork Road to bypass Coursegold and Oakhurst.  This is a nice country back road which joins Teaford Saddle Rd to Bass Lake.  Stop at The Forks for a great lakeside lunch.  You can pick up 41 again soon after.  This is a mellow and very pretty detour and doesn't add much if any mileage.  No services though.

Suggest avoiding 41 into Yosemite during the weekend or any summer weekday afternoon.  Traffic is heavy with many RVs along this road.  Get a super early start and you will be glad.

Have fun!


Routes / Re: Adirondacks and Green Mtns
« on: May 13, 2014, 10:08:11 am »
As mentioned plan for wet for at least part of your ride.  I rode the Adirondack Loop last May and it was quite wet much of the time..not cold but wet.  Also, traffic is light during the week but weekends are busy especially Memorial Day weekend….RV traffic.  Still, a very nice riding area. 

Routes / Re: Western Express in July
« on: April 20, 2014, 10:47:09 am »
To add....

I agree it's critical to start early to avoid the heat and gusty winds.  I started WE/Nevada each day before 5am which got me halfway to my day's destination before things warmed up each day.  The Nevada portion of WE is mostly on very quiet roads with little to no traffic to worry about when riding in early morning darkness.  I recall leaving Austin, NV and riding for 2 hours before the first car drove past me. 

Also important to factor the elevation.  This is High Desert country and you will spend your days between 4000' and 7000' with about 3 mountain passes to deal with each day in Nevada.  Not steep climbs, quite mellow actually, but something to consider during your planning.

Routes / Re: Western Express vs. Trans-Am time and suggestions
« on: April 06, 2014, 05:14:11 pm »
Also Ben...Yes, June is a good month for the Nevada crossing. 

About your emergency contact ability...Not sure about your carrier but I went 3 days without service while crossing Nevada (T-Moblie) but carried the SPOT Tracker.  SPOT uses direct satellite communication so no need for cell service.  Not 2 way capable but will send a distress signal and your friends/family can track you on Google map too.  Unit is about $130 and annual service fee another $100+ but well worth it for peace of mind...not yours but your family's.

Routes / Re: Western Express vs. Trans-Am time and suggestions
« on: April 06, 2014, 11:04:19 am »
I too rode the WE from Sacramento to Baker, NV where I left that route to head NE.

Regarding the Nevada crossing specifically-  I managed fine with a 3 liter Camelback and 2 full water bottles each day during those several long days crossing Nevada with 80-100 miles of riding and no place to refill during the day.  I brought water purifying tablets for emergency use but frankly I don't remember seeing any running water crossing Nevada.  The days in this section are long with an average 3 summits per day but the climbing is generally easy in the 3-4% grade range. 

I travelled CC style so can't speak to camping but if you do camp you will want to start your day with a full load of water and not sure you will find any unless in a town.

Good strategy is to try and avoid the afternoon heat, wind and thunderstorms.  Get an early start...before sunrise...and you will finish your day by early afternoon.

The Nevada section of the cross country ride was my favorite due to it's remote and solitary nature and it felt like a "real" adventure.  I look forward to doing ti again one day.

Routes / Re: Sacramento-Auburn, CA route advice please.
« on: November 24, 2013, 12:23:48 pm »
...Neil ... 

Thanks for the advice.  The American River Trail was a good call.  Not usually a big fan of rec trails when trying to cover 30+ miles but the River Trail is a good route  Scenic of course and quiet in most places as you suggested.  Once a few miles from Sacramento and until a mile or so from Folsom little to no foot traffic perhaps due to the weather that day.  The day was VERY windy but riding among the trees along the river bank was only slightly breezy at ground level....until Folsom Reservoir and the exposed Auburn-Folsom Rd.   The road has a good shoulder though and the route is recommended.

Auburn has at least one excellent bike shop, Victory Velo.  Super nice guys...helpful and knowledgable too.  They helped me route my next day's ride to Tahoe City.

Routes / Re: Transam Motels around Jeffrey City, Wy?
« on: November 17, 2013, 02:33:45 pm »
Janawani-  Thanks for the Jeffrey City story.  Very interesting.  I had some idea of its unique history before I passed through in July but wish I had seen your article beforehand.  What a interesting bit of modern American history.

Likely most travelers passing Jeffrey City don't even give it a glance as they drive by. 

Routes / Sacramento-Auburn, CA route advice please.
« on: November 16, 2013, 08:08:35 pm »

Any Sacramento area riders out there?  Can anyone advise a good route from Old Sacramento to Auburn, CA?

 I know it's only about 40 miles but it ends a long day riding from the Bay Area so my day will be 140 miles...about 9 hours.  I am planning to ride Nov  22 and it gets dark at 5pm so I'm looking for a quick and efficient route through Sacramento.  Not particularly interested in the scenic American River trail, although it's very nice, it meanders too much and is slower than I would like.

Seems to me Folsom Blvd to pick up Auburn-Folsom Rd is a straight shot but what about riding conditions?  Anyone with a better idea?

Thanks in advance for your input.

Routes / Re: Transam Motels around Jeffrey City, Wy?
« on: November 16, 2013, 07:56:38 pm »
I rode through Jeffrey City in July.  Jeffrey City was about the mid-way point of a long day riding between Lander and Alcova.  Definitely no motel in JC...and if there was you wouldn't want to stay there but be sure to stop and check it out.

Jeffrey City is a very unique modern ghost town and worth a few minutes to explore the deserted old buildings, dorms, etc.  It was abandoned in the early 90's after the Cold War ended and the uranium mine was shut down.  THe only place I found open is a sketchy bar with a couple of hard core locals.  Still, the drinks are cold. 

Jeffrey City is a creepy place but not soon forgotten if you have the time to stop.

Routes / Re: Best way to build a route from scratch?
« on: October 25, 2013, 09:44:34 pm »
I've planned many long distance rides both in the US and in Europe using a combination of resources.  Google maps is a good start but the "Bicycle" feature isn't much help once you've left the city.  Most states' DOTs publish bicycle friendly and recommended routes, ACA routes of course are good when they align with your route, and even the AAA map can be very helpful.

What is invaluable for planning is Google street view.  Once you've established the route you can see what the shoulder situation is, familiarize yourself with navigation cues, and of course determine if your route is in fact a gravel one. 

This forum has helped me many times too.  Once I've established a route I throw it out there for advice and always get knowledgeable and helpful answers...even for Europe trip planning....struck out with Hawaii route advice though.   Most recently I put out the "Ride across Nebraska..." question on this forum a few days ago and already have some helpful replies.

Just remember, planning is important but you'll still end up with some surprises and these, in my experience, are the best memories.

Good luck.

Routes / Re: Ride across Nebraska route advice
« on: October 25, 2013, 12:36:58 am »
Great stuff.  Thanks all for your input.  Yes, I experienced the goat heads in July coming down the slope from Wyoming and into western NE.  3 flats one day near Casper.  Goat heads a problem in May too?  Not sure.  Then there's the extreme NE weather to work around in May but that's a different story. 

Jamawani....great info.  I will follow your route advice.  My quest to follow the Pony Express route is of the semi-casual variety.  I would much rather lose the route for a day or 2 to enjoy a quiet country road than stick to the route and end up with thick traffic.

The route so far from California to western Nebraska has had limited route options often with only one road available for many days. Having a choice of routes will be refreshing.

Routes / Ride across Nebraska route advice
« on: October 22, 2013, 10:57:25 am »
Hello everyone.

This site, and specifically the Routes forum, has been super helpful to me during planning of my Pony Express Route solo ride...Sacramento, CA - St. Joseph, MO.    I have broken the 2000 mile ride into 3 X one week segments to ride 1 segment each year.  Sacramento to Salt Lake City last year and SLC to Scottsbluff, NE this past July all went very smooth thanks to the careful planning and a bit of good luck.

I am planning the final phase of this trek for next Spring and looking for any good advice as to Nebraska riding conditions, good roads and roads to avoid.  I am not camping but traveling Credit Card style so anybody with info about where to stay or not stay is also helpful.  Currently in the initial planning stages so my route can be adjusted a bit but to stay true to the original Pony Express route it looks something like this:

Day 1- Scottsbluff, NE -Julesburgh, CO   
Day 2- J'burgh - N. Platte, NE            
Day 3- N. Platte – Kearney            
Day 4- Kearney –Nelson      
Day 5- Nelson – Marysville, KS         
Day 6- Marysville – St. Joseph, MO   

Thanks in advance for your input.


Routes / Re: Edinburgh, UK route advice?
« on: September 13, 2013, 10:21:29 am »
Follow-up for those interested-

Completed about 300 miles from Edinburgh in a clockwise loop through the Highlands and back to Edinburgh.

Started out trying to follow the National Cycle Network routes but soon bailed from that.  The NCN is a fabulous concept and useful to many but I struggled with the random nature of the cycling conditions.  Although well marked it's still very tricky to navigate along them through the big towns...lots of back streets, canal towpaths, parks and random turns.   Very slow going.  In order to cover 100 miles per day I eventually found it easier to use the roads. 

Also the NCN routes I followed often run along unimproved roads, sometimes Jeep tracks, and totally unsuitable for a road bike  While using roads I caught up with parts of the NCN here and there and some of it was fine for my skinny tires but once the route veered off into the woods I would pick up the nearest "B" route. "B" roads are much better for road bikes...mostly nice country lanes with light traffic.

I was excepting the NCN routes to be like the ACA routes...good cross country routes for the distance cyclist... but it seems it's geared toward a totally different kind of cyclist..much like riding on your local recreation trail.  Once out of the developed areas the NCN routes were very nice in spots but not what I was expecting.  My mistake I suppose.

In the Scottish Highlands there are many great climbs if you're into that sort of thing and pretty good but slow descending on the narrow roads.  Gotta watch out for the numerous loose and very sharp rocks washed down from the most recent rain and sheep everywhere including lying in the road.

All in all a good ride with some scenic villages and nice places to overnight  Got wet here and there and overcast nearly the whole ride but generally dry  Best part?  A nice pint at the end of a long day. Worst?  Several pinch flats one day due to many sharp rocks in the road and sheep poop all over the tires during tube changes. 

Haggis with neeps and tatties make a nice meal at the end of a long day.   

All-in-all I recommend riding in the Scottish Highlands but for the serious cycling tourer who wants to cover 100 miles in a day stick to the mellow back roads.   A mountain bike would be more suitable for the NCN in the Scottish Highlands.

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