Author Topic: First long distance ride?  (Read 2665 times)

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Offline vmax4power

First long distance ride?
« on: February 02, 2012, 04:38:09 pm »
Taking my very first long distance ride starting mid June. I'm taking a train from Lapeer Michigan to Everett Washington then riding back to my home in Alpena, Michigan. I will have a pretty good idea of what to expect because there is a gentleman from my area that has crossed the country 3 or 4 times, mostly central US and Southern US . One of my biggest concerns is riding through grizzly bear country and having to possibly camp, (I plan on moteling it through bear country but things happen) and camping the rest of the way home. Just curious to hear from people that live and ride in bear country and people that have rode through bear country that don't live in it? Thoughts on carrying a firearm traveling solo, (have permit), bear spray? Do Indian reservations look favorably on cyclist, (don't mean to sound naive, never been on one or through one). Also, don't mean to sound like a chicken because of the grizz but I'm live in an area where the animals are afraid of humans. I also know that the odds are low that I would encounter a bear if proper precautions are taken but gizzly bears seem to have it out for people from Michigan, (2 Michiganians killed near Cooke City, Mt last year, one while me and my wife were traveling to Cooke City). Just curious to hear people's thoughts. Thank you. 

Offline John Nelson

Re: First long distance ride?
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2012, 06:08:33 pm »
Just follow the standard precautions and you should be fine. Don't bring any food or toiletries within 300 yards of your tent and you should be okay. In the U.S., forget the firearms and bear spray. We don't have that many grizzlies in the lower 48.

Offline JMilyko

Re: First long distance ride?
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2012, 08:17:19 am »
Congrats on your trip!

In regards to bears, someone recently shared this link with me that helped him prepare for his trip:

http://www.trailspace.com/articles/hiking-and-camping-in-bear-country.html

Also, Glacier National Park has a good page on wildlife:

http://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/yoursafety.htm

Hope this helps,
.Jennifer.
*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*

Jennifer H. Milyko
Adventure Cycling Association
Inspiring and empowering people to travel by bicycle.
800/755-2453, 406/721-1776 x205
www.adventurecycling.org

Follow Routes & Mapping on Twitter: @acaroutes

Offline mikefm58

Re: First long distance ride?
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2012, 08:34:10 am »
I too am considering my first long distance ride this spring going from Orlando to upstate NY, and have also considered bringing my weapon for protection.  I do have a concealed weapons permit as well.  The biggest concern with doing this is travelling through a state that does not reciprocate, meaning I could be committing a felony just by possessing the weapon.  Some states that do not reciprocate do allow a traveller to pass through with their weapon but have strict requirements on how to carry it (must be unloaded, in an approved locking mechanism, etc etc).  And some states do not allow this at all.

I would not recommend carrying one for protection against grizzly bears.  Unless you're carrying something high caliber, you'll just piss him off.

I decided against carrying my weapon, too many different state requirements.  My protection will be using common sense.  If you do decide to carry your weapon, make sure you know each state's laws.

Offline vmax4power

Re: First long distance ride?
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2012, 09:55:28 am »
mikefm58,
The only areas you should have any prblem with is DC and NY city. I do believe as far as states go, Illinois is the only state that doesn't recognize other states CCW's. http://www.carryconcealed.net/legal

Offline indyfabz

Re: First long distance ride?
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2012, 10:01:29 am »
I would not recommend carrying one for protection against grizzly bears.  Unless you're carrying something high caliber, you'll just piss him off.

+1.

Also, what part of your route gives you grizzly worries? Will you actually be in any particular areas that are known grizzly habitats? For example, there are grizzlies in MT, but only in a relatively small portion of the state. So the simple fact of riding in MT doesn't mean you will have the chance of having a run in with a grizzly.

I have ridden thourh several Indian reservations. The only reason I knew I was on a reservation was because the map told me I was. I have read that there are some restrictions about wandering off the rode in places, such as for hiking. For example, there is some nice hiking in the Looking Glass Hill area (MT route 49), which is on Blackfoot land. According to one travelogue I read, you are free to use the road, but you need a permit if you want to hike off the road.

Offline hem

Re: First long distance ride?
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2012, 10:23:01 am »
If you do decide to carry your weapon, make sure you know each state's laws.

+1 and I would add Indian Reservations can have different rules and laws regarding firearm than the states they lie in.

Offline geegee

Re: First long distance ride?
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2012, 11:04:40 am »
I have biked through a lot of bear territory, including the Top-of-the-World highway in the Yukon and Alaska where I mostly camped in the wild, carried bear spray for insurance and not once have I even come close to using it. I saw at least a bear a day riding through remote trails in British Columbia, mostly black bears, and they get easily discouraged by noise.

Personally, I don't know what carrying a gun would achieve. Every passing motorist has the power to kill you, but they don't. By being on the road, you are already placing trust in fate or whatever higher power you believe in. Carrying a weapon in my opinion merely complicates things.

The last time I rode through an indian reservation in Washington, an old man at a gas station gave me a feather to put on my handlebar and said, "May the eagle be with you". I had good tailwinds for days after :)

Offline MrBent

Re: First long distance ride?
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2012, 11:15:47 am »
Good input, Geegee.  So did you not get any cooking materials or toiletries within "300 yards" of your camp?  I'm sorry, but that sounds way, way over the top.    The main thing is not to cook right next to or in the tent and don't bring in food and other smelly stuff.  I typically stored that stuff some distance from camp, but I can never recall walking almost a quarter mile!  What was your camping strategy in bear country--besides the spray?

Scott

Offline John Nelson

Re: First long distance ride?
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2012, 12:52:28 pm »
Yes, 300 yards is over the top. I see the standard recommendation is closer to 100 yards. The site Jenn provided the link to says 320 feet (probably converted from an original recommendation of 100 meters). What I have done in the past is stop and prepare dinner somewhere along the road, then clean up and put everything away, brush my teeth, and ride on to a camp for the night. That way when I get to camp, all I have to do is hang one pannier in the tree and move some distance away to set up my tent.

Camping in campgrounds with bear boxes, however, is my preference when available. Many NFS and NPS campgrounds in bear country will have such bear boxes.

Offline geegee

Re: First long distance ride?
« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2012, 01:16:59 pm »
@ Scott, I read much of the advice available and pamphlets on being "bear-aware" and it still left me scratching my head, so I don't blame people for being scared or confused. A lot of documents seem to stress "rules", but bears are animals and don't follow rules. I think one forms some sensibilities after a spotting a few bears and realize that bears and people really don't like each other, most of the time preferring to stay out of each other's way. The problem is that we sometimes like the same things.

There are parts in the north where trees are not much taller than humans and there is really no place to hang things, and walking a distance in any direction seems pointless. Bears are constantly in search of food and water, and would not pick a fight unless you are in the way. I definitely avoid camping too close water (especially a salmon stream!), or along an obvious path that a bear would use to access water. Sometimes it's better to do cooking and eating in that cool scenic spot and settling for the crappier tent site that's harder to get to. There were times when I had few choices and put my food relatively inaccessible but in an obvious spot in such a way that a bear would have to make a lot of noise to get at it and give me time to react from a good distance.

While bears are omnivores, they really prefer sugar and fat rich nuts and berries and fish — the smell of humans is probably not high on their list as "yummy", so I've proudly aired out my dirty laundry near my tent on occasion :) Mid- to late-summer when food is plentiful, it's hard to bother a bear. In the Northwest when the bushes are dripping with berries and the salmon are running, the bears care little of what you have unless it is out in the open.

Offline MrBent

Re: First long distance ride?
« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2012, 01:33:46 pm »
Thanks for the replies, John and Geegee.  I guess I've hi-jacked the thread a little, but the info. is relevant.  When my wife and I are in Grizz. country during our ride this year, we'll probably shoot for campgrounds when available, although generally we try to avoid them for the obvious reason: rotten, stinking, lousy people with no respect for others, the damn generators, all the krap of Kamping!  Ugh.  Give me a half-decent, off-the-grid stealth camp any day.

To the OP:  Have a great adventure!  One thing about most bear attacks that I've heard of is that they occur on trails away from the main areas of traffic like roads and such.  Odds of a major Grizzly bear smack down at a camp along a major route are probably pretty low.  The Grizzly SUV's and semi's and RV's and sundry drivers are a FAR greater risk, yet that is one we accept and, of course, isn't too bad.  So have a blast!

Scott

Offline indyfabz

Re: First long distance ride?
« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2012, 01:55:31 pm »
FWIW, I discovered during lunch that there is an article in today's NYT about crime on reservations. It mostly focusses on the failure of a recent crackdown on reservation crime (which I had no idea had existed) to stem the crime rate on the Wind River Reservation in WY, which I believe is on/close to the Trans Am route. Sounds like the crime is primarily "internal" in the sense that it is not directed at passers through.

Offline vmax4power

Re: First long distance ride?
« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2012, 07:00:04 pm »
I appreciate all of the input. Like I said, don't mean to sound naive. I driven over 2 and a half millon miles in Canada and the US over 30 years so I know the country very well. Never been out of Michigan on a bicycle and just want to be prepaired. I'm taking the trip to have fun and enjoy the ride. Don't want to make it sound like I'm going to be freaked out because I won't. The reason for the bear concern is, over the last couple of years several people have been killed between Glacier and Yellowstone. My wife and I have hiked the back country in south central Montana and have never experienced a bear but always had a nevous feeling being out in their enviroment. Like I said, any information helps.

Offline gypsysue

Re: First long distance ride?
« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2012, 10:38:52 pm »
I live on the west side of Glacier National Park, and we bicycle, hike, and backpack all around here.  It's wise to be careful with your food and cooking, like those above have said, but you're really not likely to even see a grizzly.  Pepper spray is adequate defense unless you are backpacking way out into the wilderness.  You're more likely to get rid of the bear with it than a firearm.

I'd skip the firearm.  Too many other problems can come from it.  Just seeing you with the firearm can draw attention from not only law enforcement but also from 'good ole boys'. 

The reservations in Montana are pretty decent.  The worst I've ever encountered is guys hollering obsene or nasty things from cars as they go by, usually teenagers of both sexes, and males in their 20s.  Not a big deal.  I look up so they know I heard them and just go on with my riding.  If you pretend you didn't notice them, they'll turn around and come back and yell more.