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General Discussion / Re: no progress with Amtrak for GAP / C&O
« Last post by staehpj1 on April 11, 2014, 07:09:24 am »
I was under the impression that the desired roll on service didn't require baggage cars or additional personnel, but merely a bit of rack space for the hang the bikes in.  What did they do during the trial?  I can't imagine the had regular baggage service along the route.
General Discussion / Re: no progress with Amtrak for GAP / C&O
« Last post by indyfabz on April 11, 2014, 05:04:22 am »
As a rail supporter since the late 1970s, I have seen a steady erosion of baggage services nationwide. Since many stops outside urban corridors have, at most, one train each day in each direction, it is prohibitively expensive to staff a station. For liability reasons it is risky to have people do their own loading.  It's one thing on urban routes with raised platforms or low-level car doors to have cyclist bring their own bikes on board - - but to get a bike into a baggage car may involve too much risk.

This plus the fact that the baggage cars Amtyrak inherited were vintage. 1950s, I believe. Many reached the ends of their useful lives. New baggage cars cost a lot of money, and the remaining ones are expensive to maintain. Amtrak labor is, in general, more expensive than the industry norm.

In Amtrak's defense re: schedules: Outside of the Northeast Corridor and the Philadelphia-Harrisburgh line, where servicve is pretty reliable, Amtrak does not own or dispatch the rigths of way it operates on. The Cumberland--Pitsburgh services operates on a very busy piece of railroad. Typically, there is a contractual incentive for the owning freight road to keep Amtrak on schedule, but that isn't always popular.
Gear Talk / Re: Advice on a Bicycle for Trip to France
« Last post by mathieu on April 11, 2014, 03:43:22 am »

If I weren't to take the Bike Friday, it would mean purchasing a new bike. My dad always talks about getting a "real bike", however he is referring to a road bike, and I'd be shopping for a touring bike. We only have so much money and so much room in our shed, so for me to buy a pure touring bike for my trip would be a stretch. More practically, the touring bike I purchased could also double as something my dad and I could take out on rides for fun/exercise.

I'd appreciate any feedback on my situation! Should I stick with the Bike Friday? Should I investigate a new bike?

I would seriously consider to make the Cannondale fit for travel. It doesn't involve a great deal, because I saw in the specs that the suspension fork has a lockout, which is important in climbs because it is hard to suppress rocking movements in climbing and each compression of the fork  eats a lot of your power.
The main points for adapting the MTB are tires and ways for carrying your gear.

You should replace the knobby tires with tires that have a smooth surface and possibly smaller width. Schwalbe Big Apple 50 mm is an excellent choice. In laboratory tests they easily beat most 28 mm tires in low rolling resistance. Don't let yourself fool into buying 'unpuncturable' tires like Schwalbe Marathon Plus.  They are heavy going. Punctures, if any, are a small price for a nimble ride.

Regarding carrying gear you mentioned a saddle bag. You could add a frame bag. However, the volume of saddle bag and frame bag combined is small compared to the usual rear panniers, so you have to be a minimalist in selecting your gear. If you cannot reduce the volume sufficiently, you need at least a rear rack. Your frame probably has screw eyelets on the saddle tube for mounting a rack. Try if an Old Man Mountain rack which is supported at the bottom by the skewer, doesn't conflict with the disc brake mounts. Or get a Thule rear rack, which fits on all hard tail MTB's. I wouldn't trust it on bumpy dirt roads, but for paved roads it should be fine. You can always fixate it additionally to the screw eyelets in the saddle tube.

Routes / Re: From east to west starting June 2014
« Last post by Emilien on April 10, 2014, 11:14:40 pm »
And thanks for the pictures !
Routes / Re: From east to west starting June 2014
« Last post by Emilien on April 10, 2014, 11:13:57 pm »

According to locals I have spoken with, they love September in Glacier. The bugs are gone as are many of the crowds. Apgar, Sprague Creek and Avalanche Campgrounds, all on the west side of the road, have hiker/biker campsites. A visit to Lake McDonald lodge is a must on the west side. Grab a beer at the bar and enjoying it down by the water.

I would check the park's web site. There has been an ongoing road rehab project in the park. In past years, the park service has closed portions of Going to the Sun for periods in September to allow for uninterrupted constrcution work. Later in the year they will likely post closure information on their web site.

This is the site for the HI Hostel in Seattle:

I think there are a couple of others. The HI Hostel was packed in late May. Don't know how busy it is at other times, but a reservation is probably advisable.

This shows the ferries:

It's been a long time, so I don't remember the exact ferry that took me close to the ACA Pacific Coast Route, but I am pretty sure it was either the Bainbridge Isnand or Bremerton ferry.

Thanks a lot for the detailed information. It seems that September is perfect timing ! And the beer in the water... !

I went thru Glacier last (early) September, the weather was perfect. I came in from the east side, hit Going to the Sun Rd a little after dawn and traffic was so light I don't think I got passed by a dozen cars on the way up. The top 100m of elevation was fogged in but it cleared up again almost as soon as I started the descent.

They had started some road work on the east side, 2 or 3 spots flag people were out and it was 1 lane, but as a cyclist they just waved me through. On the way down volume was building going in the other direction but over the 50± miles I never felt crowded by traffic a single time.


Thank you Pete, always better when no cars at the horizon. Can't wait to see the foggy top !

And as for the West -
and I must admit as a Westerner there is no place better -
You have incredible options.

Cool. I'll take some time to examinate all your proposition but I already think we'll follow some of your advices. Can't wait to be there reading you.

Yes, about cities, it seems that it's all the same everywhere. I think we're going to take some busses or train to enter big cities.
Detroit : we're meeting some friends there.
Chicago : I don't know why, but I want to see Chicago. I think it's coming from movies or something...
Denver : We put it on the map but it's in Boulder we want to go, meeting friends.

But your comments are going to change our minds about cities I think.

I rode NYRATS, New York Ride Across the State, which went from Niagara Falls/Buffalo to New York City. The only public place I know of to view the maps is at

If you get to Buffalo, I suggest going a little further to Niagara Falls. View is better if you cross into Canada.

In general, the route follows a diagonal path through the Finger Lakes region; hilly. You will also cycle though the Catskills; hilly. Catskill: where Rip Van Winkle woke from his sleep.

Going north from NYC traffic is lighter west of the Hudson River; you can ride over bridge at Newburgh.

Can't see the map, just texts and description, you have another link ?
Yes, we'll try to cross to Canada.
I did know Sleepy Hollow but not Rip Van Winkle, thanks for the piece of history !
Cant we access Newburgh by train or something ?
Gear Talk / Re: Wheel sizes
« Last post by John Nelson on April 10, 2014, 09:25:39 pm »
I just picked up the sample issue of ACA's "Adventure Cyclist" magazine at REI last night. It has an article entitled "Wheel Size Matters." They concluded that 700C wheels are best for narrow tires up to about 30 mm, and the smaller 650B wheels are better for wider tires, 30 to 42 mm. There is a lot more interesting information about wheel sizes in the article, so you might see if you can find a copy.
Routes / Re: From east to west starting June 2014
« Last post by dkoloko on April 10, 2014, 08:25:12 pm »
Add, I don't recommend NY State bicycle routes; too much follow main roads.
Routes / Re: Erie Canal Bike Trail - Stone Dust trails
« Last post by Ben the Slow on April 10, 2014, 07:33:15 pm »
Thanks everyone for sharing your experience and expertise.  Given I can move onto local roads in the event of poor trail conditions, sounds like it'll be a great r
Gear Talk / Re: Making wheels stronger with a mixed spoke pattern.
« Last post by dkoloko on April 10, 2014, 05:55:29 pm »
Actually I did not invent the idea. Frank Berto did an article for bicycling called building a bicycle for an adult female. He did radial right and 3 cross left. He pointed out nearly all of the torque would be transferred to the left side which is under less stress. You are certain to bust a flange with radial spoking. 

There was burst in interest in weird spoking patterns at the time Berto built the wheel you mention. He told me he broke a Dura-Ace hub with a weird spoking pattern, and that was the end for him with weird spoking.
Routes / Re: Erie Canal Bike Trail - Stone Dust trails
« Last post by dkoloko on April 10, 2014, 05:43:36 pm »
Hi Ben -

The only part of the trail that I dislike is around Rochester.  There are sections where the tree roots have pushed up the pavement and it a jarring/bumpy ride.  There are also some section where you integrate with roads and there was broken glass to deal with.  Only around Rochester though from my experience.


I rode the trail in 2003. Tree roots still a problem? Understandable that the park service had to deal with path deterioration, but the "solution" of asphalt paving was a disaster, both esthetically and in durability. 

I got separated from the trail several times, onto weedy, narrow single track; maybe my error.
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