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Messages - cgarch

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Gear Talk / Re: Selle Anatomica Titanico X
« on: March 19, 2013, 04:06:57 pm »
Big fan here. At 250 lbs for me, this is the best saddle I've ever owned. Have one on 3 bikes including the tandem, where I spend far more time on my butt. Wish I had had one on our first touring trip down the coast. On the negative side, I have broken the rails on one of them. But then I've broken rails on every saddle I've owned, and a few other parts as well. But overall, easily the most comfortable saddle I've owned.

On a sidenote, Tom Milton, the developer, was a frequent rider of the California Triple Crown, so he knew what it meant to spend long hours in the saddle.

Routes / Re: Traffic on the California section of the Pacific Coast Route
« on: February 20, 2013, 04:26:07 pm »
We traversed this route in 2009. As others have noted most of Oregon is a no brainer. South of Crescent City is another matter. 101 south is your only choice and the climb of about 3 miles is pretty hairy - there is no shoulder and the descent on the other side is very rough. Traffic depends on the time of day. An early start is a really good idea. After that it isn't too bad except for a short narrow stretch south of Orick. There is no alternative other than Newton B. Drury Parkway (following the ACA route). Once you reach Trinidad, there are numerous side roads and trails to keep you off the freeway.

South of Eureka, I had few problems with the route. Pay attention to the side roads on the ACA route and you will do fine. There's a narrow stretch at Richardson Grove. The so-called dreaded climb at Leggett isn't that bad. The one after that though is (not for traffic though). Start early. Logging traffic has diminished substantially in CA and CA 1 is much better south to Ft. Bragg. I would agree with other comments about that area. There's no getting around the fact that a lot of CA 1 is narrow with limited shoulders. By the time you reach this area, your confidence will be up and you won't be thinking about this. Thinking about it is much worse than the actual experience. And remember too that "Bicycling the Pacific Coast" is a little long in the tooth and things have changed.


P.S. consider having your blinker taillight on in the Humboldt Redwoods - even though the traffic speed is slow, the darkness of the area and the distraction of the tall trees makes for inattentive drivers. Be seen.

2. If your bike has a threadless headset, buy a Problem Solvers Locking Headset Spacer.  You have to remove the bars and stem to pack the bike and, without the locking spacer, the fork will want to fall out too.  The spacer retains the fork and keeps your correct headset preload adjustment.

4.  Park sells a small light pedal wrench (RW-1) that is a great take-along.  Otherwise a 15 mm cone wrench is also usable.  Pedals don't have to be that tight.

Couple of comments - I've traveled with our tandem on Amtrak several times. On Amtrak it is only necessary to remove the bars. I turn my 10 degree up threadless stem over so it fits in the box better. No retainer needed and it makes is easier to maneuver the bike into the box. No reason too that you couldn't spin it around and lash to the top tube. Now that Amtrak no longer takes tandems my investment in S&S couplers is paying for itself. Be sure you have the little clicking torque tool for the bars.

The S&S wrench includes a 15mm slot for pedals (in case you were wondering what that slot was for) . . no extra wrench necessary unless you have pedals that don't have a wrench face (some Shimano SPDs are like this). If you put the pedals on with this wrench, you will most likely be able to get them off.

Santa Rosa CA

General Discussion / Amtrak changes baggage and bike policy . .
« on: September 11, 2012, 01:32:56 am »

"WASHINGTON – Effective Monday, Sept. 10, Amtrak is implementing a "refined" baggage policy which reduces the number of free checked bags per ticketed passenger from three to two and raises the extra bag fee from $10 to $20. A limit of four bags may be checked, instead of six previously. This comes from an internal memo citing significantly higher baggage volumes as a result of increased ridership.

In addition, free checked bags will be limited to 75 linear inches, including length, width, and height, compared with a prior restriction of 36 inches on any one side. A $20 charge will now apply for items between 75 and 100 linear inches. Boxed bicycles as checked baggage will now cost $20 and tandem bikes and kayaks will no longer be accepted."
This is a deal-breaker for us tandem owners and really not acceptable. It is getting harder to move a tandem around without having one that comes apart. I'm lucky that our has couplers, but not many do.

Edit: see also this link - it appears that the bike charge is $10, not $20.

Santa Rosa, CA

Gear Talk / Re: Chain repair
« on: September 06, 2012, 02:39:57 pm »
Is it a Shimano chain or ? Need that info. If it's a Shimano 9 speed, then you can use a spare link and new link pins - PITA. If it's a SRAM then you can probably use a master link, but then it depends what breaks. My preference is for the SRAM chains as it is fairly straightforward to replace links. And I always carry spare chunks of chain for this reason.


Routes / Re: Newbie Advice / Western Express
« on: August 29, 2012, 11:27:57 am »
If you would like to 'see' what current road conditions are, take a look at this journal (June 2012) on CGOAB.


OK, but keep in mind that CA 44 is also closed between Shingletown and Viola. So that means you can't take I-5 to Anderson (or Redding) and then turn east on 44 to get to Old Station. But good news, they're saying 89 will reopen by 9 p.m. (the section above Greenville). So you could at least go that route and around. Best of luck.


Apparently 89 is also closed between Greenville and CA 36.


This positively sucks. It appears to me that you're left with having to take 70 (east) over to 395 to get to at least to Susanville. From Susanville head W on 36 to reach 44 to continue as previously noted.

Sources: Caltrans highway info:
Fires (USDA Forest Service):

Northbound - after leaving Greenville and making the climb (+/- 1000') to Lake Almanor, take CA 147 towards Westwood. Before you reach CA 36 (near Clear Creek Park), take a right at County Rd. A21 and continue through Westwood. After crossing 36 continue north to CA 44. Continue North/West on 44 until it intersects CA 89 at which point it rejoins the route. The only drawback to this is you will very likely be in the smoke plume from the fire - not the best. Suppose you could go further east before turning north at either CA 139 or as far east as US 395 (there's a fire out there too). CA 139 would take you to US 299 which you could then take to the west to pick up 89. It is a long way around and I cannot vouch for services on 139 between Susanville and 299. I've been studying the route but had not gotten to researching the services. There are some back roads in the 299 area that can keep you off 299 and headed NW. Services are few and far between once you're away from the main roads. I've ridden some of these roads, but not all. If you decide to go the 139 route I have a contact in Burney I can rattle to for some additional advice. Best of luck -from the incident page, it doesn't look like 89 through the park will open for some time.

Santa Rosa, CA

The great thing about this project is that it will eliminate the only and unnerving section of freeway riding between Cascade Locks and Troutdale. Beware too that there is quite the homeless encampment at the Moffett Creek bridge on the north side of the freeway. Westbound riders need to jump the vehicle access barrier when they see it, about 200 yds before the bridge. Someone painted an orange left arrow at the location - unless it fades, that's the spot to get on the freeway, for now.


Routes / Re: SF -> Yosemite in 2 days
« on: July 16, 2012, 07:09:45 pm »
A couple of comments, you seem to be mixing your highways and cities up a bit. CA120 runs out of Manteca -> Oakdale -> Yosemite. CA140 runs out of Merced -> Mariposa -> Yosemite. More importantly CA132 heads east out of Modesto ->Coulterville. I've driven (not ridden) all of these routes and would have these comments. 120 has some of the better shoulders and paving of roads in that area. I just drove it Friday. The only ringer is the climb at Mocassin to Groveland. Every highway leaving the valley seems to have one of these climbs but at least the grade, though long, is reasonable. 120 does have a fair amount of traffic.

140 is out of your way, pure and simple. It is a more exposed climb to Mariposa with little services. There is a great hostel though as the road drops down to the Merced River, Yosemite Bug. It would make a great overnight stop. The real drawback is that while you would have lower elevations to achieve to get to the park, you would then have to climb out of the park to at least 5000 ft. to make it to Camp Mather on the park road which does not have any shoulder - that is not attractive (to me at least). For this reason alone you would be better served to go 120. Not to mention that I doubt you could do this in 2 days on this route.

Your recently proposed route is an attractive option. While I've not traveled Keyes Rd., I have traveled CA 132 (Aug 2011) to Coulterville (which you will hook up on) and continued on to connect to 120 on J132. 132 has not seen much improvement since its construction but then it has little traffic. It is the classic undulating road to the Sierra. The kicker is that that nasty climb out of the valley here is much worse. The climb to Coulterville is steep (I'm going with 16%-20% grades) and exposed and the road that continues beyond has a similarly steep climbs in it. Again few services on this route.

For my money, I would take 120. And since you only have 2 days, 120 makes more sense.

Edit: I would think twice too about riding 140 up to Mariposa and then turning north on 49 to get to the Priest Grade climb. That just adds a whole lot more climbing (to 2300' on 140 or so) that you could avoid by sticking to 120 (gradual climb from Oakdale to China Camp to Mocassin), not to mention going the long way around.

Gear Talk / Re: Help. needed in Elma Washington
« on: June 25, 2012, 08:09:28 pm »
We made use of the LaVogue Bike Shop in 2009 (it helps to remember to stock your patch kit . . .). It is actually in Hoquiam, across the river. It is well stocked and at the least, an interesting place.

Routes / Re: Atlantic Coast Route - Dangerous Bollards installed
« on: June 07, 2012, 05:14:59 pm »
That . . is ugly. Painting them black is patently stupid. One thing to consider when you encounter a bollard installation that is questionable - check to see if it is 36 inches clear between the bollards. This is the minimum ADA clearance required by law. If it isn't you have a great case to make them remove them and install something easier to get through. I used this on Sonoma County (CA) to get them to fix 3 badly spaced bollards. They simply took the middle one out. ADA compliance is a great way to get pathways fixed for everyone.

California / Re: San Fran to Santa Barbara
« on: May 30, 2012, 06:36:18 pm »
This is a good suggestion. While you could make it from SF to Monterey in two days, there's little point in suffering some of the heavy traffic in between. Go for Salinas and enjoy the trip.


California / Re: Klamath River to Arcata
« on: May 14, 2012, 11:31:33 pm »
Hmm, very high quality as far as I'm concerned. 96 has generally excellent pavement, low traffic and some of the best views around. Supply stops are a tad thin, but from Happy Camp on, they're much better. Plenty of places to camp, the Klamath is drop-dead gorgeous, and there are some good side trips worthy of your time - e.g. turn up the road to Forks of Salmon from Somes Bar for a superbly scenic one lane road hugging a cliff. I have photos posted from a club tour last year here  Wayne's journal is highly recommended as he also covers the stretch of 299 from Willow Creek to Arcata (in 2011) - not the best riding after 96 but what the hey? and here's another one . The only drawback I can think of is that it can get really hot in the river gorges but since you're generally riding downhill, I doubt you'll find it too bad. Searching on Klamath at CGOAB should get you additional results.

Santa Rosa, CA

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