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Messages - zzzz

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General Discussion / Re: Lions and tigers and bears oh my!!!
« on: December 06, 2016, 01:07:13 pm »
At the risk of Soleboyy#1 cancelling his plane ticket, John makes a really good point. While it's easy and understandable to get caught up worrying about charismatic fauna like bears or lions or wolves or even poisonous snakes taking you out, something like a tick is a lot more likely to leave you with a lasting memory from your trip thats not a pleasant one.

In particular, here on the east coast we have something called "Lyme Disease" which is tick borne. And not just any tick, only deer ticks carry it and they are hardly bigger than a freckle. I live in a heavily wooded lot and I have had the misfortune of having it twice. So when you cross to the east side of the Mississippi start being careful for them, use the DEET as John suggests if you want to be extra cautious, I think they even make DEET infused socks you could use around the campground. And if you feel a tick that's dug in (it will be quite sore to the touch and a little rough bump like a small mole got torn free) look to see if a bullseye rash develops over the next couple of days. Even if a rash doesn't show, IF a tick gets bored in (it takes 24 hrs for it to transmit) go see a doc and get tested at the end of your trip. I don't think Lyme exists in England so if you started to develop symptoms when you got home they wouldn't know to look for it.


General Discussion / Re: Lions and tigers and bears oh my!!!
« on: December 06, 2016, 08:52:53 am »
Do yourself a favor, if you're going to burn the psychic energy worrying about your safety, worry about something else, like vehicular traffic.

I rode from Banff to Fairbanks Alaska last August. I saw many bears. They either ran off or were indifferent to my presence. You can look up all the fatal bear attacks in all of North America by decade on Wikipedia and it comes to about 1 a year. By contrast there are 50 people killed by lightening every year. Take the precautions when camping that others have outlined above and you will be fine.

Your results may vary but when I did the transam  I came across 1 dog in eastern Kentucky that struck me as actually vicious. The rest were just annoying.

As an aside, it's natural to worry about what could go wrong before you leave but my take-away at the end of each of my 5 long tours was that I just experienced one of the very best chapters of my life. Even the stuff that happened that seemed like a problem in the moment gets folded into the narrative and kind of disappears as a negative. You are going to have a great time.


Paris-Brest-Paris is a pretty stout ride, you should be fine.

I will give you a heads up about one more thing. "not camping" (aka credit card touring) in rural America, and particularly out west, can be rough on your schedule. That's the way I tour and there has been many days I had to stop at 60-70 miles when I still had plenty of gas in the tank because the next hotel was another 60-70 miles down the road. If you're not taking one of the ACA routes do lots of research before you leave of whats available in hotels or B&Bs or Warm Showers along the way. And as insurance an emergency bivvy does not take up a lot of room or weigh much and you may come to be very glad you have it.


Gear Talk / Re: (not so) Low gear on Bikepacking bikes
« on: December 02, 2016, 12:43:42 pm »

I'm doing the GDMBR next year and needed an appropriate bike and I was looking for a bike w/ specs pretty similar to what you are. I've decided I'm going to have something built for me by my local frame builder but before I took that step the closest I got to finding it was the Co-Motion "Siskiyou". It's got the 650B wheels and a 20" low gear. Biggest tires it fits is 2" which is less than you wanted.



How much are you riding now and what's your cycling background?

I did the WE to the TransAm 5 years ago and averaged a little more than a 1000k a week and I was pretty beat most of the time. Your going to have to average more than that and have an additional 500± miles to your trip at the end. There are people who can consistantly put in 1100k weeks, maybe your one of them.

That said, it's a terrific route and your timing should be okay, It will be hot in the second half but all the passes out west will be open. I left September 1 and I think thats the ideal timing but you have whatever window of oppertunity you have.


Post Script : I read this again and I should have tried to be a little more helpful. If you want to do the WE to the TransAm you are actually getting pretty close to Ohio when your 1/2 way thru Kentucky. If I we're you I would look to get off the TransAm around Bardstown and then head diagonally to NYC. Many states have designated bicycling routes availible on there websites. I know Pennsyvania does and I would suspect Ohio and New Jersey do as well. At least then your total milage would be closer to 4000 miles instead of 4500.

GPS Discussion / Re: Roll Out For Enhanced GPS Data
« on: November 28, 2016, 11:57:57 am »
Thanks for the reply. If you need a volunteer to test a beta version in 2017, let me know.


GPS Discussion / Roll Out For Enhanced GPS Data
« on: November 28, 2016, 10:11:44 am »

This question is directed to the folks at ACA but I'm posting it here as rather than writing directly as I believe its of general interest.

The enhanced digital data is for sale on some of the routes, they appear to be the new ones and (i'm guessing) the most popular existing routes (Pacific Coast, Trans Am, WE, etc.).

Do you have a schedule for when additional routes will be ready for release? And if so, when is the Great Divide slated for?



General Discussion / Re: Food storage in the Arctic
« on: November 15, 2016, 01:43:56 pm »
I talked for awhile w Fred when I was there and I asked him why his shop didn't show up on a Google search. I got the distinct impression he was just fine w not being listed there. He's been wrenching in Fairbanks for many years and feels that he has the niche in the market that he wants.

And anyone reading my post can click on the Yelp link and a map there will give them directions right to it.

-or- if you prefer, you can look this up:

1222 Well St # 2
Fairbanks, AK 99701
Phone number (907) 456-5070

General Discussion / Re: Which Route Would You Suggest?
« on: November 11, 2016, 12:01:03 pm »
Between Raybo's reply and my reply, both recommending the Great Parks North ride shows just how individual this is and how difficult it is to get advice from strangers.

Those 2 maps total about 780 miles. Raybo did it in 4 weeks, I did it in 9 days. I assume he spent a fair amount of that time hiking, saw a lot more than I did, and generally had a much more relaxed time.

Your original post said 4-5 weeks/1400 miles which I took to be that you had in mind 50± mile days which many people seem to consider the sweet spot for touring, but less or more is possible.

One more thing if you decide to do this particular route. I rode this section this last August when I started a ride up to Alaska from Banff and I was on the Ice Fields Parkway on a Canadian holiday weekend called Founders Day. That weekend this year is August 5,6,7. Do yourself a favor and make sure you are not on the that road that weekend. The traffic was very bad.

General Discussion / Re: Which Route Would You Suggest?
« on: November 10, 2016, 02:48:56 pm »
Since you're looking for opinions, here's mine.

If you can push off your travel window to September I would fly into Vegas or Phoenix and do the loop thats Grand Canyon - Monument Valley - Canyonlands & Arches in Moab - Capital Reef - Grand Staircase - Bryce Canyon - Zion. All of these places are fantastic and like no where else on earth and typically 50-100 miles apart. And depending on your pace you could even have time for Yosemite - Kings Canyon - Giant Sequoia over in the Sierra Nevadas either by riding over or renting a car. Or maybe even more appealing (since your also a hiker) is taking some time off the bike and do the hike down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and the 3 extraordinary hikes at Zion (Angel's Landing, Observation Point, and The Narrows). You could even do the trip in August if you got up early enough to be done riding by 12.

If August is required and you want cooler weather to ride in, I agree w Great Parks North 1 & 2. I flew into Calgary and took a shuttle bus to Jasper and started the ride at the beginning. You can also ship your bike to a bike shop in Jasper if you don't want to mess w traveling w it. The ride is less dramatic after the Ice Fields Parkway until you hit Waterton / Glacial National Parks. The ride up and over Logans Pass on Going to the Sun Road is arguably the coolest pass in the country. Once you hit Missoula I'd go west. Yes you will miss Yellowstone and the Tetons but Yellowstone is ridiculously crowded and the Wind River Valley in Wyoming afterwords is just a grind. Better to go over Lolo Pass and thru the stunning Lochsa Valley. From there you can either head straight on the TransAm to the Oregon coast which I understand is beautiful (haven't seen it myself)or stay on the Trans Am until Makenzie Pass (2nd coolest pass in the country) outside of Sisters and then go down to Crater Lake a 100 miles south of there before going to the coast.

Good luck choosing and you won't go wrong w any of the suggestions so far.


Routes / Re: Louisville, KY-Virginia Beach,VA route advice.
« on: October 31, 2016, 09:07:11 am »
Hello Bclayden :

You probably don't remember this but in 2012 I did this trip (WE to TransAM) and I had never toured before and was very concerned about going across Nevada on 50 and you had just done it and gave me some solid advice. Let me see if I can return the favor.

Like you I CC tour and put in 6-700 mile weeks.I followed the ACA maps exactly and this section of the trip was my favorite part except the Nevada/ southern Utah part. The only part that I remember being truly disagreeable was a 10 mile stretch of highway out of Hazard. You go thru many cool small and mid sized towns (Damascus and Lexington in particular) and several great climbs (up to Breaks State Park, out of Damascus, and out of Vesuvius).

Since that original trip I've done 4 more month long trips in the 2400-2800 mile range, twice as ACA routes and twice in routes I charted. There are people who find planning a route on a fresh piece of paper a integral part of the fun and you may be one of them but ACA did a really good job with this section.

Whether you end up taking ACA's route or your own, I highly recommend you start it in really good shape because it's hilly and the grades are steeper than what you see out west no matter which way you cross the Appalachians.


General Discussion / Re: Food storage in the Arctic
« on: October 10, 2016, 02:39:45 pm »
also....(and seemingly off topic)

I was coming up the Alaska Hywy on my trip and I saw a couple of people that had come down the Dalton Hywy (aka the Haul Rd). Apparently they spray calcium chloride on the road in the summer to keep the dust down and it gets on everything and hardens up and is very tough on chains and derailleurs particularly. One guy I talked to went thru 2 chains in the 450 miles and if he had a 3rd he would have used it. I was talking to a couple who I saw a 2  days later who also came down the Dalton and they said you can prevent the worst of the problems by pre-spraying all your stuff with WD-40. In any case, take an extra chain & cables and do everything you can to keep the rear derailleur clean or you'll be replacing that, too.

Also, if you get to Fairbanks and decide you want your bike professionally cleaned go see Fred:

It's a hole in the wall shop in an industrial park that doesn't look like much and won't show up in a google search for bike shops. I was steered there by an old friend who's lived in Fairbanks for 35 years and is one of the top racing cyclists in the state. Fred has a reputation as the best mechanic in town and he took good care of me at the end of my trip.


General Discussion / Re: Food storage in the Arctic
« on: October 10, 2016, 01:59:35 pm »

I can't answer your specific question but this year I rode from Banff to Fairbanks and did some research that might be helpful to you. There is a company called Bearikade that makes CF bear proof food canisters is several sizes. The smallest one holds 3 to 4 days worth of food and weighs a little under 2 pounds. Like all things that are very light for what they are, it is pricey.

Because I overwhelmingly stay in hotels, in the end I just bought a box of odor proof plastic zip lock bags from REI and put my food in them and moved them away from where I was staying on the couple nights I camped.


Routes / Re: Latest possible date to start northbound Sierra Cascades?
« on: October 03, 2016, 11:19:21 pm »
I will start by saying I loved this ride and if you do it you are in for a treat.

I started from the north in Sumas on 9/1/14 and finished my ride in LA on 9/28 some 300 miles short of Mexico. I think since you're starting from the south and you're asking about the latest you can go I would count backward from a 9/30 finish date at the canadian border as you do hear of the higher passes up north getting snow in the middle of October. I think it's going to be pretty hot at the start whenever you leave if it's anytime in the summer so Bclaydens strategy of leaving early in the am and wrapping early is the way to deal with that.

A few things to consider;

1) Are you going to want to stop along the way? Most obviously, you're going thru Yosemite and Kings Canyon, will you want to take some time off to hike around?

2) Realize that the later you leave the more into fire season you will be. I had extraordinary luck just missing several fires on my trip but they were all around me. Except for huffing some smoke from the "King" fire that was burning in Sacramento at the time I had no trouble, but if things were a little different it would have really affected my trip.

3) Lots of tough days so I'd base your milage expectations on what you were doing on your TransAm trip when you were in eastern Kentucky and that first 50-75 mile into Va. The hills are steeper in Appalachia but not much, and they're pretty relentless and longer on this whole route and it does wear you down.

4) Get the addenda right before you leave and always carry enough water and food that if the next rural store you were counting on is no longer open you are not screwed.. There was at least 2 stores on the map in California that I was expecting to be open that were closed and there was large stretches of the route that did not look like it was doing well economically.

That's what I got for you,


Routes / Re: Road 395 south in USA?
« on: September 30, 2016, 11:38:20 am »
I'm won't argue the point that the willamette valley is the preferred option. I would say that I think it's still early enough that if you keep your eye on the weather you still have some options.

It all depends on what kind of milage your capable of, right? If you use your current route as a base line your map has 4200k noted on it or to put it another way 42 days at a 100k a day which puts you in San Diego 11/15. That's early enough to clear the winter weather most years. As suggested you could cut over around Portland and pick up the Willamette Valley and if Makenzie Pass is still open you could cut over a little further east for the 2nd best pass in the country, then you could test your luck a little more and see if Crater Lake is still an option. Maybe at that point you want to head back to the coast for awhile and see the redwoods. In my opinion Lassen and Shasta etc were nice but not that great and can be skipped. I would cut back inland a little further south than you're showing (nearer SF) and make your way to 395 and if Tioga Pass is still open (about 50/50 at the beginning of November) go see Yosemite.

I don't think these suggestions are viable unless you can put in a minimum of 100k a day and it would be better w more. The weather in any given year is fickle but at least this way you would have a chance to see some of the truly iconic stuff you'll be passing near. And if we have early snow than you hole up for a day or two, wait for the road to get plowed and make a line back to the coast.

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