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Messages - indyfabz

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General Discussion / Re: TA in May..looking for company
« on: March 20, 2014, 06:38:50 am »
Another vote for E-W based on your starting date. You probably won't get to enjoy McKenzie Pass in OR due to snow if you go W-E starting in May. Having climbed both sides, IMO it's a "must see." You might very well have some cold, wet weather in MT in early June. I have tentative plans to fly to Missoula on June 19th for 10 days of riding. Thinking of pushing it back a week based on my experience in '11. That year, I flew out near the end of June. The week before, snow showers had been forecast for one area. I also came across a CGOB jounral of a rider who was riding west from Ennis, MT on the TransAm in mid-June. He ended up getting a ride over the pass due a heavy snow storm.

And if you are interested in riding with others, I think you are far more likely to encounter people if you go E-W starting in mid-May. I was on a portion of the TransAm at the end of June of '11. In 2.5 days east from Missoula I encountered at least 12 people heading west. The 8 who I talked to had all started in VA in May. Only met one person heading east. He had ridden out west and was returning to his home in MN. It wasn't until July 6th that I met other people heading east, but they were not on the TransAm.

Routes / Re: Washington, DC to Madison, WI
« on: March 17, 2014, 07:48:15 am »
Thanks DU, that looks good. So we could go GAP from DC to Pitt, Underground Railroad spur from Pitt to Erie and then take the Northern tier.

There is also this:

Not as direct as cutting across OH, but an option. I think the Monoiur Trail off the GAP (via the Clariton Connector) goes to Coraopolis, which is on PA Route A, map section 8.

General Discussion / Re: ACA maps and crummy areas in big cities?
« on: March 16, 2014, 09:17:17 am »
The only place anyone ever tired to steal anything (my MSR Dragon Fly) from me during a tour was in DuBois, WY on the TA route.
Probably a bad idea to leave anything there, too tempting.

I left my stove out in plain sight at the Circle Up Camper Court in DuBois. I was sitting outside the laundry laundry facility reading a book. There was a dirt road along side the open tent camping area. From watching people come and go, I got the idea that the road led to a residential area. Only a low rail fence separating the area from the road. Two kids drive by. All of sudden, they stopped the car. After about a minute, one kid gets out, walks towards the fence and is about to hop it. I could tell what was up so I get up and start walking quickly towards my tent. The kid sees me, jumps back in the car and the two speed off.

General Discussion / Re: Cell coverage - phone type?
« on: March 16, 2014, 09:02:28 am »
A few years ago, the GF and I did a 10 day loop in MT, which included some sparsely populated areas. I had Verizon. She had AT&T. I had better coverage. It's not that AT&T was horrible, it just wasn't as good as Verizon in some places. I would avoid T-Mobile based on my experiences several years ago.

General Discussion / Re: Bike Travel and Visiting Dress Up Sites
« on: March 14, 2014, 10:10:58 am »
Italy is the place I've felt most inclined to want to present my best appearance.

--For a quick cover up, dark rain pants over bike short work well.

--Even in the U.S., I always make a point of taking off my bike sunglasses before entering any business.  That seems like simple politeness to me.

We didn't enounter any friction in Italy last year when we would stop for coffee and pastires or lunch while out for day rides. Maybe thats was due to the fact that where we were (northeast), so many people cycle. Cyclists relaxing in cafes was a common site. (One Sunday we saw easily hundreds of other cyclists doing group rides during a 30 mile ride of our own.) But for generally going about town after the riding was done, I definitely avoided the shorts and t-shirt look.

When I toured in Andalucia over a decade ago it was during a time when you did not see native adults wearing shorts. It may still be that way today. If I stopped for a sit down lunch, I put on my black rain pants and a light sweater out of respect for the local custom.

The removing the sublasses thing is another very good point.

General Discussion / Re: Pleae help me watch the Tour
« on: March 11, 2014, 10:33:45 am »
Have you looked at I think they carry the race live via the Internet. You may not get Phil, etc., coverage though. The itv web site seems very confusing. Good luck with it.

General Discussion / Re: Bike Travel and Visiting Dress Up Sites
« on: March 10, 2014, 06:17:33 am »
Every situation is likely going to be different. If you walk into the local museum in Dillion, MT or Montrose, CO in your riding clothes and smelling, I don't think the volunteers wokring there are going to care. Many of our group did just that in Chinook, MT while crossing the country. If you try to visit the cathederal at the Vatican, you probably will be turned away for the sole reason you are wearing shorts. At least that's how it used to be. In Italy last year, a group of us walked around both a monastery and a cathederal in our cycling clothes. No one cared.

Where will you be riding that this is a possible concern?

Routes / Re: NT or L&C Going West from Missoula?
« on: March 09, 2014, 09:57:43 am »
Sherman Pass is big but a steady grade.  Wauconda is pretty easy coming west from Republic.  Loup Loup I remember as pretty rugged,[/quote]

Even though I went east twice, I think that's pretty accurate. I recall signs on Loup Loup warning people heading west of steep grades. And I remember feeling cheated out of a fast descent heading down the east slope of Wauconda to Republic. Sherman was a good, steady descent heading east except for that short section where it ticks back up again before the final run into Kettle Falls.

Routes / Re: Allenstown / Bethlehem PA
« on: March 09, 2014, 09:50:02 am »
Where are you planning to pick up Route S? I rode most of it from Bedford, PA east last year. I may have some recommended alternatives depending on your plan. For example, Route S uses more of PA 23 than it needs to. There are quieter, more scenic options.

If you have the time, one option would be to take the C&O from D.C. to Cumberland, head north to Bedford, pick up Route S, take that east, with a detour to Gettsburgh, to the Schuykill River Trail near Phoenixville. Heading east on the SRT will put you on the Atlantic Coast Route.

General Discussion / Re: ACA maps and crummy areas in big cities?
« on: March 07, 2014, 07:37:07 am »
I find the apparent assumption that big cities are the only areas you have to be concerned with interesting. The only place anyone ever tired to steal anything (my MSR Dragon Fly) from me during a tour was in DuBois, WY on the TA route. In tiny Ione, WA, which is on the NT, I witnessed several drug sales take place in the city park where our group camped. Keep a keen eye on your possessions in areas of bucolic VT, especially Bennington. The state is in the throes of a heroine epidemic which has spawned crime. In contrast, if you pop off the Manayunk Canal Path (mentioend above) and on to Main St. while heading through Philly on a nice Saturday around noon you will pass a local coffee shop that often has upwards of $50,000 worth of bikes sitting outside unattended.

Routes / Re: Portland Maine to Portland Oregon
« on: March 06, 2014, 08:49:28 am »
Thanks indyfabz.

I haave run into an unusual problem that I could use some advice on. I have really tiny feet. I can wear a kids shoe  size 10-12 depending on brand and for adult women about 4-5. Does anyone have any advice for a shoe that I can use to cycle across country if in the event I am unable to find a bike shoe? I appriciate any advice I can get. Thank you.

You might consider a MTB shoe like this:

Something tougher that is designed to be walked in more. Recessed SPD cleats are also handy as they don't wear as quickly as plastic road cleats.

My GF is a size 5. She has ordered shoes through a good shop here in Philly. Last time she picked up 3 pairs of Sidis because good stuff in her size is so hard to find. I will ask her of she had success with other sources.

General Discussion / Re: ACA maps and crummy areas in big cities?
« on: March 06, 2014, 08:32:55 am »
So you liked the spur into Philly? It passes a few blocks from my house near the Art Museum. In that particular case, it's the most logical way into what we call "center city" from the nearby 'burb the route passes through. You can get all the way to the Art Museum with very little street riding thanks to the various trails and recreation paths. In fact,  the Manayunk Canal Path underwent some improvements relatively recently, the most important of which was the addition of limestone to the once all-dirt path surface. Assuming it has not been raining heavily, you can now easily ride it with skinny tires.

For anyone taking the spur into Philly, note that the entire length of the four lane MLK Drive (f/k/a West River Drive) is closed to cars on the weekends from April to October between 6 a.m. and 12 p.m. The eastern last 1.5 miles opens to cars at noon, but the remainder stays closed to cars (except people driving in to picnic in the park, which is usually not many at all) until 5 p.m. Much nicer than taking the MUPs along the river as they can become very crowded with walkers, joggers, etc.

Routes / Re: NT or L&C Going West from Missoula?
« on: March 05, 2014, 08:56:26 am »
Having ridden through some of the Columbia Rver Gorge and the section of the Northern Tier east to Glacier N.P. twice, I personally would pick the latter, although I cannot comment on suitability of MT 200 to the junction with the Northern Tier since I took the Great Parks North Route between Whitefish/Columbia Falls to Missoula. Just keep in mind that picking up the Northern Tier that way (you would join the route at the junction of MT 200 and MT 56, and it leaves MT 200 for a while heading towards Clark Fork, ID.) will ultimately send you over four mountain passes in a row in WA, culminating with an epic and long downhill from Rainy Pass on the North Cascades Highway.

Another option is to simply stay on the Trans Am to the coast. I did much of the OR section of the route during Cycle Oregon 2002. While I fond some of eastern and central OR somewhat borning (and hot and dry even in early September), McKenzie Pass east of Sisters is a terrific ride. It's an old volcano that blew a long time ago. At the pass, there is nothing but black lava rock. There is an observatory built out of the stuff. It looks like a place Skeletor would call home. The climb up the east side is not that bad. The west side has a cool section of tight switchbacks through forest. Descend with caution.

Routes / Re: Biking Spain - Valencia to Barcelona
« on: March 03, 2014, 12:30:01 pm »
Michelin generally makes good road maps of Europe. I used their one for Andalucia to plan a seven week tour. I think regional Spain maps No. 577 and No. 574 will be have what you need. If you want to quietest roads, my advice from my experience is to pick the smallet roads between points, which are usually shown in white. The yellow and red roads are usually busier, and often coastal roads are busy depite there being parallel autovias.

Valencia to Barcelona is about 350 km straight up the autovia, so you are probably talking at least three days of riding. More if you take a circuitous route to avoid high traffic areas.

Routes / Re: Spring Break Practice Trip
« on: March 03, 2014, 12:01:19 pm »
I have the maps for Allegheny Mountains Loop. Wider tires are recommended because there is not only an unpaved trail, but there are some gravel roads. The temperature chart for Blacksburg, VA shows an average daily high in mid march of around 55 with your average night being slightly below freezing. Colder in Glady, WV, which is nearly 1000' higher than Blacksburg.

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