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Messages - briwasson

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Routes / Re: Anchorage to Dawson Creek- Gradients?
« on: March 23, 2015, 11:17:36 am »
I've driven the Alaska highway a few times, but haven't biked it. Hopefully some riders will jump in, but until then...

The Alcan doesn't really have any terrible grades, and especially nothing like the Alps (I've biked Galibier, Alpe d'Huez, etc.). I think the maximum grade is something like 10%, and not for a very long distance. The grades are basically when you are coming in and out of river valleys. If you've cycled a lot in the Alps and can deal with that, you'll be fine on the Alcan. I'd characterize the Alcan as undulating with the occasional steep climb.

Check out the "Alaska Highway Bible" at It's a big, printed book, but is well worth getting for planning any trip in the far north, as it has literally mile-by-mile guides to most all of the northern roads. Really helpful.

There are also quite a few trip reports on I'd start reading them to get an idea of the conditions.

There are a bunch if trip write ups for this on I'd suggest starting there for some narratives. I've biked that route three times Passau-Vienna and and other parts of it a few additional times. I've also done the Tauernradweg a few times. I'll post some ideas tomorrow when I'm at my computer and a real keyboard instead of an iPhone.

I've camped all my life in the NE region, and have seen a bear twice. Both were in remote areas while backpacking. I wouldn't worry much about running into a bear on the route you are taking.

Campgrounds aren't very plentiful in this corridor, and when they do occur are usually commercial campgrounds that aren't terribly cheap. If you are on a budget definitely look into Warmshowers, Couchsurfing, and even wild camping.

Gear Talk / Re: Surly LHT and fatties fit fine
« on: March 05, 2015, 07:16:43 pm »

Well if you take the cable off you should be able to get a much wider tire on.

No.  The quick release on the cantilever brakes is open.  The brake pads hit the seatstays.  There is no taking the cable off.  Cable travel or slack in the cable is not a factor.  The brake is as wide as it can be because the brake blocks are hitting the seatstays.  The only way to get the brakes wider is to take them out of the cantilever posts and release the cable from the brake.  I doubt many people would want to do that every time they remove the rear wheel.

When we run wider tires on our tandem we have to deflate them a bit to get them through the brake pads. A bit of a pain, but not too big of a deal, and a lot easier than removing brake pads!

The only really annoying thing is when you get a flat, remove the wheel easily, fix it and pump it back up, and then remember that the tire won't fit through inflated. So then you deflate, install, and repump. Sigh.

Gear Talk / Re: One link in the chain
« on: February 28, 2015, 08:50:59 pm »
Chains are cheap. Get a new one if you have any doubts.

Routes / Re: New York - Virgina Beach
« on: February 21, 2015, 10:45:31 am »
Saw today that the Cape May-Lewes Ferry is iced-in and not running due to the ice in the bay.

Bike Clubs / Re: Williamsburg, VA club?
« on: February 14, 2015, 08:23:36 am »
I think there is an active club in Williamsburg. Google it. There is also a cool bike path being built from Williamsburg to Richmond called the "Capital Trail" or something similar. Will be done later this year and be 50 miles each way. We rode part of it from Jamestown over Christmas break this year when we were down visiting. Should be pretty nice when it's done.

Classifieds / Re: FOR SALE - TransAmerica bike maps!!!!
« on: January 24, 2015, 11:43:41 am »
No offense, but 15 year old bike maps are pretty much worthless, except perhaps for nostalgia's sake.

General Discussion / Re: Useless advice/help
« on: January 08, 2015, 11:54:15 am »
I've often benefited from the kindness of strangers like a night's stay in CT or a bottle of Snapple at the top of a hill in PA while on tour but once or twice the 'help' was anything but. Like the time I came out of a cafe in Ellensburg WA and a passing stranger informed me my back tire was flat. Now I think there's a fair chance I would have noticed that on my own. I know the guy meant well but nevertheless I found it irritating and felt obliged to thank him for pointing out the obvious. Anybody else had a similar experience?

Wow, really? Somebody kindly informing you that your tire was flat made you irritated? Seems like a nice thing for a bystander to do, if it seems like perhaps you didn't or wouldn't notice it.

Routes / Re: Staying in Leesburg VA
« on: December 29, 2014, 09:25:17 pm »
We stayed at the Best Western in Leesburg when we biked a loop with the C&O and W&OD. It was really nice and they were very accommodating of our bike, even though it was a tandem with a trailer. This was a few years ago, but Tripadvisor reviews still seem pretty good for it. It's almost directly off the bike trail and there are restaurants nearby in walkable distance.

My Planet Bike rear light has a clip that looks a lot like a belt clip for a cell phone case. It slips easily onto the light bracket on my Tubus rack and seems fairly stable there. I only put it on the rack when needed (rarely). Many other lights beside Planet Bike have similar brackets.

Mid-Atlantic / Re: Pick-Up/Drop-Off Service in Maryland
« on: December 26, 2014, 07:54:33 am »
You could look into Uber. Most vehicles are sedans, but people also have minivans and SUVs.

General Discussion / Re: Schwalbe Mondial vs Marathon Plus Tour
« on: December 23, 2014, 08:25:07 am »
As an aside, Schwable NA just warrantied some Marathon tires for me. I was very impressed with their customer service and response time. Nice to see a company that stands behind their products!

Gear Talk / Re: new Blackburn Outpost Front World Touring Rack
« on: December 23, 2014, 08:22:20 am »
Interesting that the top platform is removable.

It seems there is a German "standard" to a degree, at least for Tubus racks. Many of the lights developed for the German market seem to adhere to that bolt pattern.

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