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Messages - canalligators

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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.)

For riding within Quebec, refer to the Route Verte page.

The direct route from Montreal to NYC is via Route Verte 1 & 2 to the US border, then using New York State Bicycle Route 9.  I have ridden from Albany to NYC and this is a good route.  Most roads have wide shoulders and the scenery is good.

New York bike routes have an interactive map at, click on "Use The Maps" tab.

As an alternative, you could ride through the Adirondack Mountains.  The high peaks region around Keene has some short but challenging climbs, but most of the area has more gradual climbs.  The scenery is great.  Route 30 from Malone to Northville is a great ride.

Another choice would be to ride through Vermont to Fair Haven, VT and Whitehall, NY.  It is flatter than the New York side and still very pretty, with nice views of Lake Placid and the mountains in NY and VT.  Switch to NY Bike 9 at Whitehall. 

Routes / Re: Canada mortorists
« on: January 28, 2013, 01:14:10 pm »
If there is any generalization about drivers, it's that suburban arterials and commercial zones are the worst, cities are ok if you keep your wits about you and ride predictably, and country is good as long as you can avoid the high volume traffic with no lane space.  IMHO, of course.  But even at that, it's all a generalization.  You have to learn to read the conditions.

General Discussion / Re: Bicycle Touring vs Backpacking
« on: January 28, 2013, 01:07:33 pm »
I just find the speed of travel from walking to be too slow.  Maybe I just haven't learned to slow down enough, I've only backpacked a total of about four weeks in my life.  We'd probably all agree that travel by car is too fast, you don't see anything.

General Discussion / Re: Bicycle tourism route mapping advice and examples?
« on: December 19, 2012, 03:32:31 pm »
I have seen shoulder widths broken down into less than or more than four feet.  You also have to consider rumble strips in some areas.  Consult the Montana bike map for an example of roadway ratings.

Common sense tells me that four feet is really a minimum as a useable shoulder width.  Perhaps a foot of rumble strip and three feet of unencumbered shoulder might be a practical minimum.  Five feet useable is much better.  But you really have to consider shoulder width AND traffic volume levels to rate a road.

General Discussion / Re: Tales of Calamity and Woe
« on: December 19, 2012, 03:24:57 pm »
Had a threadless stem slip and dumped myself and stoker on the ground; she took the brunt of it with bruises and abrasions, but it wasn't a tour ender.  Though the stem had an unusual clamping system, that's no excuse; I had failed to check it recently, and I am suitably humbled by it.  The other one was a spill on a wet unpaved trail, this time I took the brunt but we were able to continue.  We now avoid any unpaved riding in the rain.

General Discussion / Re: Advice needed!!!
« on: December 19, 2012, 03:17:13 pm »
But trust me on the sunscreen.

A skin cancer survivor...

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