Author Topic: Great Divide and a lot of questions  (Read 5919 times)

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Offline csiefert

Great Divide and a lot of questions
« on: January 03, 2006, 07:29:47 am »
I´m planning on riding the GDMBR north to south starting in August 2006.

I´m fairly experienced in doing longer self-supported touring by bike and I have gathered as much information as possible by reading Michael McCoy´s book and everything I could find on the net. But there are still some questions left that are starting to make me feel rather insecure if it can be done the way I planned it:

1. Bears, bears, bears
I know they are somewhere out there ;) but living in Germany I have no idea how dangerous travelling in an area where bears live really is. Of course I read a lot about how to act and how to set up camp but this is really frightening me.

2. Riding alone
As I know noone who has enough time and wants to go on this trip, I´ve been planning to go alone. I´ve done this several times before in very remote areas and always felt fine - but with the GDMBR I´m getting increasingly worried if this really is a good idea (think of bears...)

3. Starting in August
Although Michael McCoy says it´s probably the best time to start, it seems that everyone it starting much earlier. Because of my job there´s no way for me to start earlier so maybe there´s another problem.

If you´ve got any information concerning this (or concerning something I simply did not think of yet) I would be very grateful if you´d share them.

Christian


Offline 9.8m/s/s

Great Divide and a lot of questions
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2006, 09:03:33 pm »
About bears: they are out there. There is really no way around the fact. We saw a Ton of bear scat on the route, especially upper Montana, but we never came any closer than dots on hills. Not to scare you, but the mountain lions were much more intimidating.
Ride with bells, bear camp and just do everything you can to be as careful as possible.
On riding alone: I rode the last 2 weeks alone (partner got sick) and really didn't have any problems. Just be sur to read you maps really well. (And with GPS's nowadays you should be fine.)
About starting n August: You should be fine. Only thing I would worry about is late season wildfires in the bottom of Colorado and upper New Mexico.

Drop me a pm if you think of any specific questions. Cheers and good luck.  


Offline csiefert

Great Divide and a lot of questions
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2006, 12:42:57 pm »
Thanks a lot for your reply and the information.

Seems like I simply have to live with the presence of bears - and have to get some information about mountain lions as well...

Glad to hear I´m not completely wrong by going alone and starting in August!

Thanks for your offer to help me with further information - I´ll be glad to have someone to ask when I have some specific questions.


Offline BikerLee

Great Divide and a lot of questions
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2006, 01:03:08 am »
Hi,
I am thinking of riding the Great Divide, also.
Glacier Cyclery has a helpful web page on bears and the trail:
http://www.glaciercyclery.com/divide.html#beenthere


Offline csiefert

Great Divide and a lot of questions
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2006, 12:24:03 pm »
Hi BikerLee,

thanks for your reply and the link to Glacier Cyclery.
Do you already know if/when you are going to start your ride?



Offline BikerLee

Great Divide and a lot of questions
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2006, 02:47:37 am »
Hi,
I'm looking at several different rides this year and have not made up my mind yet.
If I go, I'd like company on the Divide. Keep me posted on your plans, it might work out that we could ride togeather. August departure would not be a problem.


Offline CareerBum

Great Divide and a lot of questions
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2006, 12:32:51 pm »
I did the route 2 years ago as part of the Adventure cycling organised tour.

There are a few basic precautions you need to follow, I believe they are in the book (hanging food etc).  The precautions are a preventative habit to minimise the chances of bad things happening.  
I'd sum it up by saying its something to be aware of, not something to worry about constantly.

I know plenty of people that have ridden it solo.  It is perfectly do-able as long as you ride within your limitations.  One or two companions fell and picked up injuries on my trip, kind strangers always stopped to help.  In reality, theres only 2 or 3 places on the whole route that I really felt were desolate.  Anywhere else I was confident that people were always within reach.

August *should* be fine to start, the earlier the better.  If you start in August you will HAVE to do North to South (most people do anyway).  Of course, mother nature always has the final say :)

It's certainly a special route, enjoy it.


Offline csiefert

Great Divide and a lot of questions
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2006, 12:47:36 pm »
Thank you for the information!

It´s very reassuring to read that a lot of people have ridden this route solo :) and the prospect that I have to be careful but not worried all the time is easing my mind quite a bit.
In fact I´m already looking up flights and train schedules and getting everything ready for my visa application...




Offline richc

Great Divide and a lot of questions
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2006, 03:55:43 am »
I live and do all of my biking on the edge and in a grizzly bear protection zone (close to the GD path) in North Idaho. All the bears I've seen have no interest in human interaction. I wouldn't worry about it too much. Enjoy your ride and your visit to our country.


Offline wrightwoodfilms

Great Divide and a lot of questions
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2006, 03:19:36 am »
I am trying to see a grizzly bear havent seen one yet.
just black bears in my town of mammoth lakes


Offline csiefert

Great Divide and a lot of questions
« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2006, 11:44:56 am »
richc and wrightwoodfilms: Thank you for your reassuring words!

bikerlee and everyone interested: If all goes well I´m going to arrive in Whitefish, MT by August, 10th and I would be glad to have some company on the Divide.


Offline crankela

Great Divide and a lot of questions
« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2006, 08:19:36 pm »
Hi all,

My husband and I are planning a north to south August 2006 start as well. I have many questions but will limit it to this for now:

Washboards...how big of a deal are they in August (i.e. enough to mandate full suspension)?

Thanks!


Offline csiefert

Great Divide and a lot of questions
« Reply #12 on: March 10, 2006, 05:21:54 pm »
Hi crankela,

as nobody else seems to have to say something...
I haven´t ridden the route myself yet, but I think that somewhere on the Adventure Cycling pages they mention that full suspension bikes are not really recommended for this tour - and I read a journal of this trip from a guy from Switzerland who definitely had some troubles with his - had to change the frame during the trip.

I´ve been cycling in Iceland several times and had to ride lots of washboard. While a full suspension would certainly have been more comfortable it was always doable on the hardtail and I think not worrying about worn out bushings in the middle of nowhere was worth it.

Maybe the suggested suspension seatpost is the better choice if you´re really concerned about the washboard.

Hope this helps,

Christian



Offline bikefam

Great Divide and a lot of questions
« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2006, 01:41:59 pm »
My husband and I are planning on starting the Great Divide trail the beginning of August.  Sounds like there are others too.  It will be good to have some company.  Maybe we'll see you on the trail.


Offline csiefert

Great Divide and a lot of questions
« Reply #14 on: June 15, 2006, 09:46:30 am »
Thank you for your post, bikefam.
Nice to see that other cyclist are there at the same time of the year.

Christian