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Messages - indyfabz

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Gear Talk / Re: Gearing for Touring Bike Followup
« on: July 31, 2015, 09:00:31 am »
I have 52/11 and very often wish I had a higher gear, and I have never raced.
My problem with the excessive use of 11T cogs is that you give up a far more useful interior cog to get it.

+1. I had a new road bike built this spring. DA9000. I wanted a cassette with 28t on the low end. The choice was between 11x28 and 12x28. I went with the latter for the more useful interior cog. If I get dropped on a flat road with a massive tail wind, so be it.

Routes / Re: Camping Facilities for Green Mountains Loop
« on: July 31, 2015, 07:32:01 am »
Now I really wanna do it, thanks for the reply. Sounds just like heaven. I was gonna do the Atlantic Coast for a similar distance Boston--Philly then after reading reviews online I thought, for my first solo tour that just sounds like hell. Now Vermont is supposed to have some nice quaint little towns and I am pretty excited about that.

I did the Atlantic Coast from Bar Harbor home to Philly. That was many years ago and the route has been changed some. There are some very nice stretches. The section from southern NY through NJ is wonderful. Just did a short portion of it (Belvidere, NJ to Frenchtown, NJ) last Saturday during a day ride. Earlier in the ride we saw a bear in Hunterdon County (4th wealthiest county in the country), although that was not on the ACA route. Even getting into Philly is not bad, at least on the weekends. With that said, it's not as nice as the Northeast Kingdom of VT.

Routes / Re: KVR - Carmi Subdivision (Trip Report)
« on: July 29, 2015, 08:16:57 am »
If you haven't already done it, you might like the Mickelson Trail in South Dakota. I rode it last month. Interesting experience. Probably not what some people think of when they think "rail-trail." Well worth the effort it takes in places.

Routes / Re: Camping Facilities for Green Mountains Loop
« on: July 29, 2015, 08:14:18 am »
I did a lot of the VT side as part of ACA's organized Cycle Vermont in 2010. Started and ended in Burlington and went through Middlebury., west to east over  Rochester and Middlebury Gaps. Prior to that I was looking at doing the route on my own. Depending on which option(s) you take, you might have to do a long day here or there to camp. And if you are dead set on cooking, you might also have to carry groceries some days. For example, the first night we stayed at Lake Carmi S.P. I don't recall any grocery source that was on route and close to the park, but a few miles off route there is one in Enosburg Falls. There is also a pizza place there and maybe other eating establishments. Lake Carmi was nice. Brighton S.P., where we stayed the second night, was also nice. It's close to the center of Island Pond, where there was a good grocery store and at least one restaurant. Burlington, of course, has everything, including a campground at the north end of town. We also passed through or close to several mid-sized town (at least by VT standards) where there were places to get food and drink, like St. Albans, St. Johnsbury and Newport. From Middlebury we rode northwest through a beautiful area, passing Vergennes to Button Bay S.P. Button Bay had some of the nicest grass I have ever seen at a campground. It was like camping on a well-kept golf course.

General Discussion / Re: Northern Tier or better idea?
« on: July 24, 2015, 12:07:07 pm »
Well, North Dakota isn't the most exciting place to ride. But if you want to tick off coast-to-coast, I suppose you better continue where you left off. Once you get to Minnesota, the riding will get better.

Heh. Yeah. ND can be quaint in many ways, but it's definitely not exciting unless you consider something like visiting the birthplace of Lawrence Welk exciting. MN was definitely more interesting.

OP: I believe that the NT route has changed since you last did it six year ago due to the danger posed by oil-related traffic. It now enters ND south of where it used to. If you want to continue on, maybe go all the way to the Davenport, IA area. That looks to be about 1,200 miles from the western border of ND.

Routes / Re: Missoula, Mt. to Bear Tooth Hwy.
« on: July 24, 2015, 11:51:25 am »
While I certainly defer to the experts, if you don't mind some "dirt" you could head east from Missoula to Rock Creek Rd. Not sure if there are through frontage roads all the way. We rode I-90 for about 3 miles from the start/end of Rock Creek Rd. to Clinton. Take Rock Creek for about 40 miles and hang a left towards Phillipsburg. From there, take MT 1 to Anaconda. Crackerville Rd. will take you to an I-90 interchange (No. 211), but you can follow frontage roads (Bossard, crossing under I-90 to Wild Horse Meadow and then Nissler, some portions are unpaved) all the way to a trail that takes you into the center of Butte. From Butte you can take Continental Drive to MT 2 over Pipestone Pass (not as hard going west to east) and continue east to Whitehall, which would hook you up with the L&C route. There is camping along Rock Creek, in Phillipsburg, Georgetown Lake, Anaconda and Butte.

Subsequently made this:

I have ridden all the roads at least once (some of them twice) in the opposite direction except the miles between 157 and the end. The on-line map does not show a through frontage road between Clinton and Rock Creek, but maybe it's wrong. IIRC, the forst 10 miles of Rock Creek are paved then it turns to dirt until you cross the creek for the second time and make the climb over the ridge to Phillipsburg, where there is a nice motel/campground on W. Broadway just of MT 1. Grocery store across the street and a short walk into the center of town. In Butte the route takes you by the Hotel Finlen. It's a nice place to stay if you want to stop in town for the night. A room in the kitchy motor lodge portion won't break the bank. Get a first floor room and roll your bikes in. There is a KOA in town, but it didn't look nice and it's right next to the interstate on Kaw Ave. As you can see, Pipestone Pass is very gradual. The descent should be fun. I had a head wind both times I climbed it in the opposite direction. The shoulder is somewhat small but the traffic was minimal. Heading east, I suspect it might be busiest in the late afternoon/evening with people leaving Butte.

Let me know if you would like more details.

Routes / Re: Northern Tier - Whitefish to Libby, Montana via Rt 2?
« on: July 23, 2015, 09:14:52 am »
We did not experience much traffic on U.S. 93 between Whitefish and Fortine, but perhaps that was due to the time of year. We started the Waterton-Glacier loop in mid-June of 2009. I would guess that recreational traffic picks up as the season progresses.

OP: If you opt not to ride U.S. 2, I recommend sticking to the official route rather than simply staying on U.S. 93 to Eureka. The portions off U.S. 93 are pretty (especially the portion between Fortine and Eureka) and should give you a break from any traffic on the highway. If you need food and/or water, the store slightly off route in Olney is worth a stop. It has a cool old collection of pop/soda bottles. And the Conoco in Fortine was amusing. There was a bar/casino in the back. There is a door leading to it near the bathrooms of the c-store. Opening it was like the scene in the Wizard of Oz where Dorothy first opens the door after landing in Munchkin Land, only in reverse.

Routes / Re: Summit to NYC via GW Bridge
« on: July 21, 2015, 08:16:42 am »
There is a bicycle directions option on Google Maps. For some reason, the new version hides it. Next to the pedestrian icon you should see three dots. Put your cursor on that and the bicycle icon should appear.

My advice wasn't based on speed. It was based on the fact that that area has heavy traffic congestion and is not particularly scenic. And all the commercial development on many of the roads makes you susceptible to the right hook, which NJ drivers have perfected beyond any I have encountered. I commuted in NJ for years. I can't tell you the number of times people sped past me only to turn in front of me a few seconds later to get to a Dunkin' Donuts or a gas station.

Google gives a couple of alternative bike routes, one of which goes through downtown Union and Newark. If you follow one of them, I would definitely not pick that one.

Here is route we use to the 14th St. ferry dock in Hoboken:

As noted, it is circuitous. It was designed to pass through points of interest like the 633+ year old oak tree in Basking Ridge and the Great Swamp. IIRC, the route intersects the ACA route in the Raritan/Somerville area, maybe in the vicinity of U.S. 206 and NJ 28.

Good luck.

Routes / Re: Northern Tier - Whitefish to Libby, Montana via Rt 2?
« on: July 21, 2015, 07:48:25 am »
Haven't ridden it, but I will say that you would be missing a beautiful stretch of the route in that area--MT 37 along the east shore of Lake Koocanusa.

Routes / Re: Summit to NYC via GW Bridge
« on: July 20, 2015, 11:36:10 am »
In case you already read my post, I wanted to clarify that there is ferry service between Hoboken and Manhattan during the week. I believe weekday service sails from the NJ Transit train station in the center of town, and there are several destinations, including at least one closer to the Brooklyn Bridge access. The station is a beautifully restored building originally constructed in 1934. If you were to sail to the World Financial Center you would be close to the 9/11 memorial. There is a lot of construction going on in that area, but if your ride is planned for next year things should be much, much better by then.

Here is a map of the ferry service across the Hudson:

Didn't we exchange ideas on this a while back? Taking the UGRR route to PA Route V at Bessemer to the Atlantic Coast route?

Routes / Re: Summit to NYC via GW Bridge
« on: July 20, 2015, 10:20:14 am »
As noted, the only way you can actually ride a bike into Manhattan from the direction is via the GW Bridge from Fort Lee, NJ.

Hopefully someone who can recommend a route up there will chime in, but having ridden from New Hope/Lambertville (on the Atlantic Coast route) to Brooklyn 15 times I recommend the ferry from somewhere like Jersey City or Hoboken. (IIRC, on the weekends the only ferry service in that area is from the 14th Street dock in Hoboken to the Midtown dock in Manhattan. BTW...Those ferries do not accommodate cars.) 14th St. to Midtown is a fun, pretty ride of about a 15 min. that lets you off recreation path along the Hudson River Greenway. You take that south to Warren Street, make a left take Warren to City Hall Park, cut through the park on the path and you are at the foot of the bike/pedestrian path that goes above the Brooklyn Bridge. IMO, that is a Champs Élysées moment. S. Portland Ave. is not that far from the Brooklyn side of the bridge.

To get to Fort Lee from Summit you are going to have to cross the Hackensack River, and there are not too many ways to do that by bike. While I know it's not the definitive word, Google Maps routes one through Newark. NJ is the most densely populated state in the nation. Newark is the most densely populated part of NJ. I certainly would not want to ride through that area on a weekday. Probably not even on a weekend to avoid a ferry ride.

I can give you a route from the Summit area to Jersey City that goes north to Hoboken for the ferry. It's the route my local club uses for its annual ride to Brooklyn. It passes through some of the towns ACA's route does, but it is, by design, more meandering. The only problem with it is that it goes through the Port of Elizabeth & Newark. Getting into the port area and riding through it on a weekday would be extremely unpleasant and very risky to your well being due to the amount of truck and other traffic. Our ride is the Sunday before Labor Day, when the port is empty. It ends at the Nu Hotel at 84 Smith St. in Downtown Brooklyn. That's not even a mile from S. Portland. If you want a nice place to stay when you get there, the Nu Hotel is a funky, Euro-style hotel that will allow you to bring your bike in the room. Just be prepared to cough up more than $260 for a room (including tax), which is actually quite reasonable for that area. A night walk out to the promenade is, of course, a must. Once of the greatest urban views in the world. You can even see Lady Liberty off in the distance.

I once did the entire Northern Tier. Mandatory ferry crossing between Ticonderoga, NY and VT. I don't feel like I cheated.

I wondered if there is much savings by doing my own cooking when you have to shop in small markets and buy small amounts of everything and so on?

While that can be an issue at times, I think you can save more in the end by cooking yourself. More importantly, you have more flexibility to satisfy your dietary wants/needs. Last month I did my first tour of more than 3 days where I did not take cooking gear. My body runs best on a carb-based diet. I usually cook pasta every night. That need was difficult to meet in South Dakota. Most restaurants had a lot of meat and fried foods. I always carry an emergency supply of pasta with me. Even that, some olive oil, fresh garlic and a can of white beans would have been preferable to another burger.

General Discussion / Re: 12 days - NY to Norfolk
« on: July 17, 2015, 09:17:13 am »
Hotels along that part of the east coast are going to be relatively expensive. $70/night and up, at least.

And a word of warning: The Pope is coming to Philadelphia on/around September 25th in connection with some huge "convention" (the meeting of world families or something like that) and will be hanging around for the weekend. (I believe he will be visiting New York earlier that week.) Up to 2 million visitors are expected, which is a lot considering that population of the city is only about 1.4 million. Don't count on finding a room in Philadelphia or anywhere in the area that week. When the Pope's visit was announced rooms started filling up as far away as Newark, Delaware. I live about 5 blocks from where he will be saying an outdoor mass on September 27th. We are planning to leave town that week and return the following Monday.

Labor Day is September 7 this year. It's a big holiday weekend. Expect high occupancy rates during the week leading up to the holiday.

Finally, how do you plan to get out of New York? It's not an easy place to ride your bike out of if you are heading west or south. You might want to look at taking some form of public transportation such as a ferry or train.

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