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Messages - indyfabz

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Gear Talk / Re: For CC Touring:Trek 1.2 or Surly LHT?
« on: March 06, 2012, 02:32:30 pm »
If you are using panniers, you are not on a credit card tour.  You are on a full scale loaded expedition tour.

So a few years ago when I did a 160 mile overnight tour (paying for dinner and the motel room with my credit card) with two panniers because that's what I had handy I wasn't on a credit card tour but rather a full scale loaded expedition tour?  I will have to let the other members of the group know of our accomplishment. Many of them had panniers of one sort or another.

Gear Talk / Re: REI tubes
« on: March 06, 2012, 02:24:30 pm »
Their are only a handful of companies that make tubes, and chances are the same manufacturer is making them for REI and your local bike shop.

This was probably a bad run of tubes.

+1. Several years ago I was on a group ride. One of the participants flatted. She had two tubes with her that were the same brand and had been bought at the same time. She put in one of the new tubes only to find that it wouldn't hold air. Removed it to find a seam defect. Put in the second tube only to find that it also had a seam defect. Must have been a bad run.

General Discussion / Re: Affordable/free camping idea
« on: March 06, 2012, 02:14:38 pm »
If the Twin Bridges Cycle Camp is any indication, I think it would be tough going on a large scale. The Cycle Camp is pretty much the exact facility you describe, although built on town property. It has an enclosed shelter, plenty of green grass to pitch tents, a camp sink, shower and flush john. It's right on the Trans Am, a very popular route as cycling routes go. Donations are requested, but not required, and amny people who use the facility help clean and/or donate supplies. Despite the fact that it brings money into the local economy, there are members of the town government who are not behind it. Those not behind the facility don't see an economic benefit. That is why the people who run the place ask you to fill out a survey and indicate the amount of coin you dropped at town businesses.

As noted, money is an issue. The facilities need to be constructed and maintained. Insurance needs to be paid for. Small parcels may not be available, necessitating subdivision, which has costs.

Also as noted, there already exist many places where you can camp legally in towns for free or at low cost. On the Northern Tier we stayed in several city/town parks or other local facilities such as fairgrounds. Most were free. Some were very inexpensive. And there are the federal lands also noted. Even developed sites on these lands can be inexpensive. This summer we stayed at Divide Bridge, a BLM campground on the Big Hole River near Divide, MT. $6/night/site, and the host gave us all the firewood we could split from his personal supply.

With all that said, at least one land owner has set up something very similar to Twin Bridges on the Northern Tier:

General Discussion / Re: bike shuttle from Montana to Canada
« on: March 05, 2012, 01:32:57 pm »
Don't know if they have transports that can accomodate bikes, but it's worth a try:

Looks pretty expensive.

... I strongly suggest taking ample food and water. There is no food available at the top. Cannot remember if there was any water...
The visitor center at the top has nice indoor restrooms and plenty of water, but no food and no eating in the building. At least this was the case in 2000, when I last rode it.


Depends. The services may be snowed in or still not fully functional. Twice I have been up there when that has been the case. In '99 the visitor center was mostly covered in snow on June 16th even though the pass opened that day:

I went up early again in '00. The rest rooms were still out of commission, but they did have a port-a-john. It was freezing and wet that day. A ranger, who saw me changing in a corner by the closed bathrooms, invited me into their break room where she had a fire going. She even let me bum some newspaper to use and insulation for the ride back down.

Start early! It takes about 45 minutes to ride from Sprague Creek to Logan
Creek and about three hours from Logan Creek to Logan Pass. When you come
back down from Logan Pass, the section between Sprague Creek and Apgar will
be completely closed to bicycle traffic, regardless of direction.  Thanks
so much for checking with us ahead of time.  We look forward to seeing you
this summer!

I can't find "Logan Creek" on the Park Map but it is somewhere east of McDonald Lodge and perhaps close to where the real climb begins going west to east.

We hope to do an up and back down from the west side around June 16 IF IF the weather and construction cooperates. Odds are probably not in our favor.

Was there last in '09. Did what you are planning. I think the 45 min. to Logan Creek, which I believe is the viewing area where you can walk down to the side of the creek, is on the conservative side if you are not loaded. It probably took us about 30 min. from Sprague Creek Campground. We started after 6 a.m., had to stop for a convoy of construction trucks, stopped for maybe 10 min. at the Loop to snack and use the bathrooms, encountered a stretch of unpaved road after the loop, stopped for many photos and still made it to the Big Bend before 10 a.m. Had to wait there around 30 min. until the road officially opened to Logan Pass and made it up before 11 a.m.

I strongly suggest taking ample food and water. There is no food available at the top. Cannot remember if there was any water. We ended up being very hungry. Coming back down we had to stop because they were routing traffic unidirectionally through a construction zone. A flagwoman working up there was nice enough to give us an energy bar from her brown bag lunch. You can get snacks the day before at the store at Lake McDonald Lodge, which is an easy walk from Sprague Creek. If you will be cooking, I recommend getting groceries at W. Glacier. The selection at the Lake McDonald store is not the best. The road to Sprague Creek is gently rolling at worst, so carrying them isn't hard. Make sure you check out the lodge. Grab a beer at the bar and take it down to the lake. Also, stop at the McDonald Creek viewing area on the way back down. It's marked and there will probably be a lot of cars parked along the road.

The last 26 are from our ride up and down the west side in '09:

We did a loop from Whitefish into Canada and then back into the U.S. When we got to St. Mary, the pass was still closed so we rode to E. Glacier and then over Marias Pass to W. Glacier and Sprague Creek in one day so we could at least ride up and back down the west side of GTS. It was my third time up the west side.

General Discussion / Re: self-contained/credit card
« on: March 02, 2012, 11:35:51 am »
If I go on an inn-to-inn tour with ACA,...

Does ACA have any/many of these?

Routes / Re: Route Mileages
« on: March 02, 2012, 11:19:44 am »
I think the best way is to ride your route and let us know the actual mileage!!!
I know your comment was tongue-in-cheek, but there are many reasons for differences in actual mileage ridden and official map mileage. I rode the TransAm, which has an official mileage of 4241.5, and I adhered religiously to the route, but my mileage came out 4488. The difference is all those little accumulated trips to the grocery store, the swimming pool, the restaurant, the campground, etc. It only amounted to an average of 3 miles a day, but it adds up.

I think it goes without saying that your actual mileage isn't going to match the map mileage if you are including "tool around town" miles. Odometer calibrations will also affect recorded mileage.

Routes / Re: Need advice on route selection
« on: February 29, 2012, 10:01:52 am »
Once upon a time ('99) I rode ACA's Atlantic Coast route from Bar Harbor to Philadelphia after crossing the country on the Nothern Tier route. Maine wasn't hard topography wise, but there was too much traffic for my liking, esepcially on/near U.S. 1. The rest of it wasn't that difficult either. There were some nice stretches, but overall, it's not going to knock your socks off. The portion south of Windsor Locks was nicer. Note that I think they changed they changed the route somewhat since I did it. IIRC, it now goes into RI for a bit.

Can comment on your other choise except to say that the ride up to the Canadian side of the falls in nice. The Rainbow Hostel in the older part of Niagara Falls was a decent place to stay.

General Discussion / Re: Communications on tour
« on: February 28, 2012, 02:21:02 pm »
My someting else:  Good, old face-to-face conversation and expressions (e.g., a smile).

I have ridden to Logan Pass three times. Definitely try to do it.

Whitefish up to the top of Logan Pass and back to Whitefish in one day would be tough. Even if you were to take U.S. 2 (there is a narrow, shoulderless section which makes a different route advisable), it's 27 miles from Whitefish to West Galcier. From there, its around 1-2 miles to the start of GTS near Apgar. And IIRC, from that point it's 21 miles to the summit. So you are talking 100 miles round trip.

As noted, there are restrictions on when you can ride your bike on GTS Road. Check the park's official web site for details. Also, the best time to ride it is early in the morning, before the traffic picks up.

If your last day to Whitefish is a short one, I would continue on to the park and stay at either Sprague Creek or Avalanche Campground. Both have hiker-biker spots for around $5/night. Otherwise stay in Whitefish and ride to the park the next day.

Ride up to the pass early in the morning. (You have to make it up by 11 a.m.) Try to do one of the short hikes like the one to Hidden Lake that starts from behind the Logan Pass Visitor Center. Then come back down. You can then either stay another night in the park or ride back to Whitefish the same day. Note that, because of the bike restrictions, you will have to wait until 4 p.m. to exit the park on your own. (Coming down the west side I think you can ride as far as Sprague Creek before 4 pm. Again, check the park's site as it's been two ears since I last rode it.) As noted, there is a shuttle.

Finally, flight schedules may dictate your timing. When we flew out of FCA, most the flights were in the morning.

Rocky Mountain / Re: Ride Idaho 2012 announced
« on: February 26, 2012, 10:36:41 am »
A few days ago, Cycle Oregon sold out two thousand seats in less than 12 hours.
Did you miss your chance to sign up? Bummer!
Come join me on Ride Idaho.

Try over 2,200 (they overbook based on historic cancellation rates) in about 40 minutes. We are on the right coast and stayed up until midnight to register.  We both got in. Even the wait list is closed.

Routes / Re: Libby to Kalispell on Rt #2 OK to ride?
« on: February 20, 2012, 07:16:59 pm »
If you have your heart set on Kalispell, I would take U.S. 93 to Whitefish....

I have to take that back after checking something.  Heading south, I took U.S. 93 out of Whitefish a little ways to pick up some fuel and and then cut over to U.S. 2. It was busy, but there was a wide shoulder.

Routes / Re: Libby to Kalispell on Rt #2 OK to ride?
« on: February 20, 2012, 02:22:18 pm »
Who has ridden Rt # 2 from Libby to Kalispell and how was traffic and shoulder? We'd be doing it in 2nd week June.

And from Kalispell to West Glacier?  Route?  Conditions?  I note that Google Map Bike has some options from Kalispell to Columbia Falls that are off #2. From Columbia Falls to West Glacier seems to be primarily on #2. Shoulder w/o rumble strip?

If you are trying to get from Libby to W. Glacier, why not simply follow Adventure Cycling's  Northern Tier route?  MT 37 along the shore of Lake Koocanusa if fabulous. From Eureka, the NT route avoids U.S. 93 where possible. I have done Eureka to Whitefish three times. The last time was in '09. Only heavily traffic sections were in Whitefish and Eureka, although I have heard stories to the contrary.  I believe Glacier Cyclery in Whitefish can give you a nice route into Columbia Falls that uses quiet, non-highway roads.

The route into Glacier debated above is N. Fork Rd. from Columbia Falls to Blankenship Rd. to Belton Stage Rd. You can stay on Belton Stage to U.S. 2 or make a right onto Lake 5 Rd. to U.S. 2. Either way, it's only a few miles on U.S. 2 to W. Glacier. Shoulder all the way.

There is an unpaved section. I think it's about 6-7 miles.  I did it east to west in late June of '09 and it wasn't bad. (Also went W-E in '99 in mid-June and it wasn't bad.) 37c tires with a full load and no suspension both times. Timing may be a factor affecting the condition of the unpaved surface. A guy who led backcountry backpack trips in Glacier told me that it gets more washboardy as the summer progresses. It's very nice and quiet back there except for maybe a few outfitter trucks pulling trailer for rafts.

I also took U.S. 2 from Columbia Falls all the way to W. Glacier and lived to tell about it. When I hit it there was not much traffic. As noted, there is a shoulderless stretch before Hunrgy Horse. I would not want to do it when there is heavy traffic. I was simply feeling lazy  that day.

If you have your heart set on Kalispell, I would take U.S. 93 to Whitefish and then smaller roads (E.g., Edgewood Dr.) to the Columbia Falls area over U.S. 2 to Columbia Falls. Try to stay off U.S. 2/MT 40. Rode that stretch in '09 to get from Columbia Falls to a hotel on U.S. 93 at the end of our trip. Not fun. U.S. 2 in Columbia Falls was also not fun. Lots and lots of truck traffic.

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