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Classifieds / Wanted - Bivy Sack Found/2/26
« Last post by dayjack119 on February 22, 2017, 07:01:26 pm »
I am seeking a bivy sack for the unusual times that I may be stuck for a place to sleep while pedaling a new adventure.  Cutting way back on weight this trip (tent, pad, and cooking gear) because I may be changing to electric assist for the steep grades of the four mountain ranges of my 2017 C2C tour.  Long size, bug screen, and waterproof.  I'm excited for the good weather to get here.
Routes / Re: Getting Across South Dakota
« Last post by jamawani on February 22, 2017, 05:21:13 pm »
I've done the Sawtooths a couple of times -
They make a nice west-to-east route across Idaho - although Stanley can be COLD even in July.

I cut off the TransAm at Austin Jct. - staying on US 26 - with some killer downhills and tailwinds.
You can follow the Payette River all the way from Ontario to Banner Summit.
Great hot springs along the road between Garden Valley and Lowman.
(Services are extremely limited - the store/cafe at Lowman is closed, but there are a few lodges.)

I've gone thru Challis and Salmon on my trips - not Sun Valley - all beautiful.
Once you get out into the Snake River Plains it can get hot, esp. around Craters of the Moon.
I prefer ID 22/33 to Driggs over US 20/26 to Alpine.  Teton Pass is tough,
but there's almost as much climbing along Palisades Res. with narrow winding road.

Grand Teton is spectacular with a great bike trail. Jenny Lake has hiker/bikers camp sites.
They are making it harder and harder for for cyclists at Yellowstone's South Entrance.
I find that climbing up the plateau is easiest late in the day.
Traffic is lighter, you are shaded from the western sun, and hiker/biker sites are at Lewis Lake.
(I hope you are doing the big loop from West Thumb to O.F. to Norris to Canyon to Lake.)

The ride from Pahaska Tepee to Wapiti is truly spectacular along the Shoshone River
Be aware that there is no tent camping from Bridge Bay in YNP for the next 40+ miles east.
And you should hit the peak of wildflower season in the Bighorns.


Oh, yes - South Dakota.
Have you considered heading down to Spearfish and up Spearfish Canyon - super-duper!
Then you can hit touristy Deadwood and Nemo Rd into Rapid City.
Then SD 44 takes you to Badlands NP - which is really nice in early summer - brutal later.
If you are willing to do a little hardpack dirt - Sage Creek Rd from Scenic lets you ride the entire park.
(Or less dirt - 20 mi east on SD 44 to Conata Rd, 9 mi dirt)

Then a combination of US 14, SD 34, and maybe the back route I mentioned above?

And as for the Cheyenne River Res. - conditions are deplorable - and there's no excuse.
The two counties are roughly 80% Native Am and 20% white and many ways like apartheid South Africa.
Many communities lack water and sewer - substance abuse is epidemic. And horrible wrecks.
(Many it's random - but I've seen too many on my tours thru Indian country.)
The people I have met on reservations have been wonderful - but as a non-native, it's not easy.

Best - J

Pic - Badlands in June
General Discussion / Re: Application for keeping a journal
« Last post by jwrushman on February 22, 2017, 04:18:32 pm »
I agree with John Nelson.  The journal is more for me for years later.  When I'm on extending hikes, I make a habit of writing things down at the end of the day.  Otherwise I forget too soon.
Routes / Re: Getting Across South Dakota
« Last post by bbarrettx on February 22, 2017, 02:49:44 pm »
Thanks for all your insights. Jamawani, I think it's your suggested route across WY that we plan to take which will get us to Devil's Tower area. I live in CO so I'm dialed in to the snow situation. We'll be doing the Transam across OR and will miss out on McKenzie pass but otherwise should be fine. We will cut off the Transam to cross the Sawtooths and down into Sun Valley. This will be very early June and I can't imagine that those passes will be closed as they aren't that high. From Sun Valley we will head to Jackson and then up through Yellowstone. Again, I'm anticipating the roads will be clear of snow at that point.

I hadn't considered the Indian Reservation issue. I've ridden across the Wind River Res a few times. Is this one potentially more of a concern?
Gear Talk / Re: How to know tire size
« Last post by John Nelson on February 22, 2017, 01:19:21 pm »
I see no advantage to tire rotation on a bicycle. It makes sense on a car, but those reasons don't apply to a bicycle. I treat each bicycle tire individually. When a tire wears out, I replace it. The algorithm could not be more simple. Sometimes a tire seems to go from okay to not okay overnight, so I recommend keeping a few tires on the shelf so that you can replace a "not okay" tire immediately.
General Discussion / Re: Recommendations for a tour beginning in Chicago
« Last post by jamawani on February 22, 2017, 12:52:52 pm »
Time is money - and Amtrak, while cheap, is slow and often late.
I'm guessing you have from Friday evening with one week off until Monday morning 10 days out.
Driving means lots of time, exhaustion, plus getting back to your starting point.

You could ride from Chicago to the West Coast in four segments, if you are willing to look at travel options.
Since Chicago is an air and a rail hub, you could probably get in  7 days and 2 halves - max.
You saw where Canalligators combined air and rail to do four segments - something like that is needed.

Since it is about 2400 cycling miles to a number of West Coast points - then 1200 would be the midpoint.
And 600 miles is a damn good week-plus. 75 miles per. Plus there are always extra miles, don't forget.
Also, you'll want to start and end segments without a lot of complicated local travel.

I have taken the Empire Builder many times while cycling. (They left my bike in the wrong city, once ...)
Starting in places like Whitefish is great - but it is two days out from Chicago - and very late, too.
The best way to start/end in convenient locations is a non-stop flight plus a puddle-jumper.
And shipping your bike to a bike shop is usually cheaper than outrageous airline fees.
Plus, your bike will be there waiting for you.

Let's take Whitefish - for example:
Amtrak from Chicago - Dep CHI 2:15p Fri; Arr WFH 8:56p Sat
United from Chicago - Dep ORD 9:05a Sat; Arr 11:55a Sat - nonstop

Then there's time of year and direction.
There have been dissertation written about bike west-to-east vs. east-to-west.
But season is more important. The Plains have a long season, the Rockies a short one.
If you were to do an early-summer week plus a late-summer week -
It might be better to do the West west-to-east with the Rockies in later summer.
Then, perhaps, the High Plains in summer and the Corn Belt in fall the next year.

One possibility:
1. Washington coast to Kalispell or Missoula in Montana
2. Kalispell/Missoula to Sheridan in Wyoming.
3. Sheridan to Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
4. Sioux Falls to Chicago.

Another possibility:
1. Oregon coast to Missoula, Montana
And as above
Or via Idaho and Jackson, Wyoming

These would be 600+ mile weeks with tight starts and finishes.
But possible - esp. with air connections.
Gear Talk / Re: New to Touring
« Last post by canalligators on February 22, 2017, 10:46:07 am »
Sounds like a plan.   Four small panniers makes a lot of sense.  Have fun!

My daughter ended up putting a triple crank on her Cannondale.
Gear Talk / Re: How to know tire size
« Last post by canalligators on February 22, 2017, 10:41:25 am »
I was just commenting on canalligators comment vs yours dkoloko - probably didn't come out right.

Anyway, I think I agree with you both.  I'm not going to rotate the tires, planning on replacing them.  And yes, if I was going to rotate to extend their miles I think it makes much more sense if I would have done it along the way.  I have been known (by my wife) to wait to long to rotate my car tires

BTW: thanks all for the help in the original question about figuring out tire size options - much appreciated. I'll probably not try all the sizes to see how big I could get - although that makes sense if I had to know.  Perhaps a practical solution would be to just move up to the next size 35mm for my next set and use them for the next year.

Then I can decide next year if I want to try something larger or stay with 35 or return to the 32mm

I should have used a consistent description.  By 50%, I meant that the front might last one and a half times longer.  I don't think it would last three times as long.

And as for using a 35 vs. a 32, the difference isn't significant - given the same tire in two sizes.  The more significant factors are whether it has a puncture prevention belt, inflation pressure and general quality of the tire.  Stick to a good brand name such as
Schwalbe, Continental, Maxxis, or other as recommended by a friend or trusted dealer.  As a general rule, avoid tires that have a very low inflation pressure, i.e. 50 psi.  A tire that's made for high pressure has a stronger cord structure.  You don't need to run it at max pressure, but that's another long discussion in itself.

And starting the tour with new tires is excellent advice.
General Discussion / Re: Application for keeping a journal
« Last post by canalligators on February 22, 2017, 10:21:04 am »
All good points.  But I will plug hand writing and transcribing when you get home.  That would depend on how fast you type, I guess; last time I tested myself, I was at 50+ wpm.  I can transcribe and edit the text in a couple of evenings, then spend another evening or two uploading the photos.
General Discussion / Re: Recommendations for a tour beginning in Chicago
« Last post by canalligators on February 22, 2017, 10:15:52 am »
We did the Northern Tier in sections, each about the length of time that you have available.  The NT mostly parallels Amtrak's Empire Builder.  We are in NY, so we flew to Seattle, then returned from Shelby MT by train.  Next year we took the train to Shelby and rode to Fargo, returning by train.  Next segment was Fargo to Winona, then Winona to Chicago, these last two were shorter.  I'd recommend a shorter westerly segment, maybe ride Anacortes to Whitefish or Glacier.

See my article on Amtrak, with user input, here:

Remember to include transit time in your available time windows.  It can add a day or more each way if you use the trains.

For the other approach, I'm sure you could make a loop using Wisconsin rail trails.  Or get the BikeFed maps and figure out your own loop.  Illinois and Minnesota bike maps are pretty good too. 
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