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Messages - Bclayden

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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. 

Routes / ACA Green Mtns Route in early Oct?
« on: August 23, 2014, 09:34:22 pm »
Thinking of spending a few days riding the ACA Green Mts route in Vermont early Oct to catch the fall colors and 200-300 miles on the bike..  Any local advice?  I will use camping.  I imagine the weather is unpredictable and will plan accordingly but what about the route and is this a good/bad time to ride in Vermont?

Thanks in advance for your replies.


Routes / Re: East to West or West to East
« on: June 29, 2014, 09:53:00 pm »
Hi John.

Interesting data. I just rode from Torrington, WY (Beginning June 2) Eastbound across Nebraska and Kansas to Kansas City, MO (June 9) and found a steady 10-15 mph headwind nearly all day and every day heading SSE.  Only 1 day of 7 did I have some help with the wind. 

Let's just say the only predictable thing about June wind in the Plaines is that it's always blowing.  From where is not certain.

Routes / Re: East to West or West to East
« on: June 29, 2014, 03:43:45 pm »
Wind is a non-issue for planning a US crossing. Friend or foe?  Depends on the wind which is, of course, undependable.

Now, the only way I have learned to avoid wind is:

I always start to ride at dawn. I should say that I don't camp but stay in motels so am always starting my day from town. 100 miles takes 5-8 hours and, if eastbound, by the time I am out of town and the road starts to get busy the summer sun is high enough where drivers aren't blinded by it.   Also, most commute traffic is headed into town so not much of a problem. 

The advantage of an early start?  ...done by early afternoon and heat and wind and thunderstorms and sunburn are avoided.  Early much better for this rider.   Disadvantage?  Sometimes I miss the crap "free" breakfast at the motel.

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!

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