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Messages - canalligators

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Routes / Re: Erie Canal Bike Trail - Stone Dust trails
« on: April 18, 2014, 11:27:19 am »
A few comments.

Rolled limestone dust is not gravel.  When dry, it is a little slower riding than pavement, about one gear lower.  It does retain most of its traction when wet, certainly much better than gravel which is a combination of dirt and stone.  I don't think I'd go so far as to call wet limestone dust "quasi-quicksand".  It's kinda messy and it slows you down, but that's all.  Note that when it's very wet, say after days of heavy spring rains, it slows you down even more.

The bumps around Rochester can be a problem.  They have recently fixed the worst of it, though ironically, that part is now torn up for highway construction.  Caution, if it's a shady area and you have sunglasses on, you might not see them.  (Except that some unauthorized person  ;)  has marked them with yellow pavement marking paint...).  Current status can be found at the Bump Report  Note that despite the bumps, do use the trail through Rochester, NY Bike 5 is a bad way to go - busy and no shoulders.

Summary article here:

General Discussion / Re: no progress with Amtrak for GAP / C&O
« on: April 18, 2014, 10:26:46 am »
I dont' want to discourage you expressing your interests to Amtrak, because this is important.  But you should realize that individuals asking about it are going to have little effect.  Only by supporting the organizations that are working on the problem (and there are many) will any results happen.

BTW, as another poster noted, AC is working on it.  So is NARP (National Association of Railroad Passengers), ESPA (Empire State Passenger Association), NYBC (NY Bicycling Coalition), NYS DOT and many others.  I'm sure other cycling organizations are on it elsewhere.

As mentioned, the baggage cars are ancient, made in the 1950s.  New ones are being produced, and they do have accommodation for unboxed bikes.  Some of the new passenger cars will too, these replace coaches that are almost as ancient (70s-80s).

Sorry for the confusion.

The Franklin Falls bridge is scheduled to be closed for two weeks in July 2014.

- AC's Whiteface Mountain Alternative, which is longer but has less climbing.
- Connect Lake Placid with Bloomingdale via NY 86 and NY 3, shorter than the main route
- Connect Lake Placid with Lake Clear via NY 86 and Forest Home Rd., shorter yet

I'd recommend the Whiteface Mountain Alternative; this bit of road along Franklin Falls Pond is amazingly beautiful.  The second and third choices are good if your schedule doesn't allow extra distance.

Erie Canal info here
Across Massachusetts info here

We are planning to ride Albany to Boston next May on the central route given in the article.  We'll finish using the Minuteman Trail into Concord and trails along the Charles River.

Routes / Re: Northern Tier for the Non-Camper
« on: November 13, 2013, 03:14:37 pm » take the ferry (Badger) across Lake Michigan (save milage) or go north to Mackinaw, UP, etc.(beautiful)?

This could depends on how much you're into transportation history.  The Badger is the last coal-fired piston engine steam ship built for the Great Lakes, so she's got historic interest (and the scent of coal smoke).  I'd take that ride again in a nanosecond.

Thanks, Jennifer.  I don't think the first reference is much help but it does provide background.  And as for the second, well, I wrote it so it's highly recommended. ;)

Routes / Re: Best way to build a route from scratch?
« on: November 12, 2013, 01:14:32 pm »
I'll also recommend starting with Google Maps/cyclist, even in the rural areas.  But you have to check the route for the things already mentioned: dirt roads, poor/no shoulders (and rumble strips), non-roads, unpaved "trails".  Take the problem areas and drag the route to an alternate.

Also with Google Maps, you can have it spot services.  Type in Motel, Hotel, Inn, B&B, Grocery, Restaurant, ...

For a final route, I usually move the preliminary route to RideWithGPS or the like.  That also shows you grade profile.  I then use the grade profile, state traffic volume maps, state bike route maps, etc. to tweak it again as required.

Routes / Re: Sierra Cascades Question
« on: November 12, 2013, 12:59:04 pm »
Whenever I have come across two people riding on a long tour together they are never riding two up, there has always been 50 to 200 yds between them. Like after 15 or 30 days they are desperate to get some space. Not a option on a tandem.

If Capt. doesn't feel like talking, it's easy to pretend you're alone.  If Stoker doesn't feel like talking, she looks at the scenery.  But yes, you have to have these sorts of agreements, stated or not.

Routes / Re: Northern Tier for the Non-Camper
« on: November 12, 2013, 12:55:22 pm »
I've looked into this, and the other place you might have trouble is Rainy/Washington Pass.  That's at least 75 miles and a tandem pair of mountain passes.  We considered riding from the west, bringing a cheap tent and sleeping bags, camping at Colonial Creek, then either giving the tent and bags away or seeing if someone would mail them out for us.

The Erie Canalway Trail is under rehab between Pittsford and Fairport, NY.  This is on Northern Tier.  Construction is to last through 2014.  Per Canal Corp. press release, sections will be closed only as necessary.  I don't know if detours will be posted, but I'm presuming not.  A reasonable alternate route is to use NY 31, Ayrault Road and Turk Hill Road.

Routes / Re: NYC to Monticello NY Route
« on: October 24, 2013, 07:37:20 am »
Where are you starting in NYC?  The common way out is to take the west side bike trail to the GW, then north on 9W (Bike Route 9).  On first glance, I'd research Bike 9 to Bear Mountain, 6 etc. to Monroe, county roads and NY 42.

Google Maps is good for this sort of planning.  Start by clicking Directions and the cycling icon, that will highlight the trails and posted bike routes.  When you have a tentative route, use street view to inspect the candidates; look for wide shoulders, which are common in New York.

Another good option is NY DOT's interactive bike route map  Click on the Use The Map tab.

General Discussion / Re: Newbie, just signed up for the TransAm tour!
« on: October 24, 2013, 07:19:57 am »
I always recommend that you have and do what you need to get a good night's sleep.  Sure, you'll be tired, but if you need a pillow or a good ground pad to sleep well, do it.  You can take a lot more stress during the day if you're well rested.

General Discussion / Re: Day Jobs?
« on: October 24, 2013, 07:13:27 am »
Consider section-riding an epic route.  I crossed the Northern Tier in 2-week sections.

General Discussion / Re: bicycles on the roadways
« on: September 25, 2013, 08:55:13 am »
Life is risk.  Figure out the worst scenarios and avoid them or mitigate them.  John, do you find yourself being even more careful when captaining the tandem?  I know that I am, because I am then responsible for two lives.  (BTW, we also ride a DV.)

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