Author Topic: Busiest ACA or other trail intersection?  (Read 301 times)

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Offline OldDogBC

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Busiest ACA or other trail intersection?
« on: August 25, 2014, 01:48:27 am »
Good Evening All,

Figured this was the best place to ask so here goes and I'll try to keep it short:

Where in the US is the busiest bike touring trail section? One of the ACA Trail intersections? Or someplace like the Katy Trail?

I'm looking to put down roots someplace next year after I retire and I'm thinking it'd be kind of fun to have a "Warm Showers on steroids" kind of place. Maybe a cyclist's only spot with showers, campfires, BBQs, bike tools, even a big meal and an adult beverage if you let me know you're coming. Maybe it would grow into a small business at some point but for now I just like the idea of having that place to give folks something I know I would enjoy.  I just need some feedback on the best location!

 :)


Offline staehpj1

Re: Busiest ACA or other trail intersection?
« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2014, 06:18:19 am »
You might consider how needed the service is in the location.  That might be more important that volume of bike traffic.

I'd say that somewhere on the Trans America would have enough tourist traffic and need.  I know that back when we did the TA somewhere like the home Gillian in Ordway had plenty of folks stop and it was an oasis to them.  I believe Gillian has since had a kind of falling out with the cycling community though and no longer hosts cyclists.  If it was me, and given your criteria, I'd pick a small town on the TA similar to Ordway.

You probably have quite a bit more bicycle traffic volume on the Pacific coast route than anywhere else I have toured.  The need might be less for most of it though because there are lots of great state parks with cheap hiker biker sites.  You might be able to attract a lot of folks there if you pick the right location though.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Busiest ACA or other trail intersection?
« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2014, 09:25:20 am »
That's a really interesting question, thanks for asking it!  It made me stop and think.

My first impression is somethere where the TransAm intersects another major bike route.  The hamlet in Colorado south of Pueblo-Canon City where the Western Express meets the TA is one option, but it's only half a day's ride to Pueblo, so probably not much demand there. 

Lolo or Missoula, MT are obvious choices, Lolo because TA riders hit it twice in between the pilgramage to Adventure Cycling headquarters, and Missoula because you have the intersection of the TA and Lewis and Clark.  But again, Lolo's half a day from Missoula, and there's plenty of infrastructure in Missoula to support touring cyclists.

If you want to see a lot of bicyclists, go to Damascus, VA on a summer weekend and watch the people coasting down the Virginia Creeper trail.  Of course, most of those people rent bikes in, and are shuttled up the mountain from, Damascus.  Cool vibe in town because you get the intersection of the AT after a long dry stretch, bare of towns, and the cyclists add to the visitors.  Do they need another hostel?  Maybe, maybe not.

I've not been there, but I've heard the Minnesota rail-trails are generating some traffic, at least in the summer.  Local merchants (including motel and restaurant owners, and B&B operators) are taking note, especially near where two intersect.

I think places like Twin Bridges, MT, or Hindman, KY (Knott County), work well because the people who live there decided to do something, and did it right.  It's going to be harder to set something up and generate a buzz if you're not already attached there.  Bike touring in the U.S. is seasonal, and still so unusual, that you might be better off picking a place you'd like to live on or near a major bike route, and set up something there.

Offline DaveB

Re: Busiest ACA or other trail intersection?
« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2014, 10:03:22 am »
I believe Gillian has since had a kind of falling out with the cycling community though and no longer hosts cyclists.
You might want to contact Gillian and find out what happened.  Perhaps your idea isn't as idyllic as you imagine.

Offline zzzz

Re: Busiest ACA or other trail intersection?
« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2014, 10:07:13 am »
These folks are a commercial enterprise which you indicate you may, or may not, be what you eventually want to shoot for but they are similar to what you described. You may want to talk w/ them:

http://www.whitefishbikeretreat.com/other-services/

As for location, have you thought about someplace w easy on/off access to the GDMR ?

Pete


Offline indyfabz

Re: Busiest ACA or other trail intersection?
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2014, 10:12:01 am »
You might consider how needed the service is in the location.  That might be more important than volume of bike traffic.

Good point. And with that in mind, I cast my vote for the vicinity of Jeffrey City, WY between Lander and Rawlins, which is a long stretch with not much in between. You can probably get a place dirt cheap there (pun intended). Maybe the now shuttered JC Motel is available.

Offline OldDogBC

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Re: Busiest ACA or other trail intersection?
« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2014, 10:53:44 am »
Thank you for your feedback. Good points and suggestions. I didn't mention that part of this plan is a Newport Beach, CA to Bar Harbor, ME ride next May with the intention of seeing as much of the ground in between as is practical. I asked the original question in an effort to perhaps give me a few spots along the way to focus on.

Like any endeavor involving humans, there is the chance, maybe even a likelihood, that poor behaviors of the odd individual can ruin a good thing for the rest of us. I'll be curious about what Gillian has to say. I will try to contact her.

And yes, it does come down to ending up somewhere I want to live so having the connection to bicycle touring is just a piece of the puzzle.

Thank you again.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Busiest ACA or other trail intersection?
« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2014, 02:00:05 pm »
Like any endeavor involving humans, there is the chance, maybe even a likelihood, that poor behaviors of the odd individual can ruin a good thing for the rest of us. I'll be curious about what Gillian has to say. I will try to contact her.
There was an article in Adventure Cycling.  My memory is foggy on the details but I think there may have been an open letter from her.  Here are a few things I recall about her, her hospitality, and her falling out with the cycling community.

1. She had a long history of offering hospitality to cyclists.  She was super nice to us when we stayed there and we greatly enjoyed our stay.
2. The time we stayed with her she had already hosted 80 cyclists that summer.
3. I recall that she had a wild fire sweep through and burn her house and outbuildings to the ground.  There was an outpouring of help from the cycling community with folks sending checks and I think there were folks that went and physically helped out.
4. Some time later (a few years maybe?) she reported that folks manners had gotten worse and worse and that guests were not cleaning up after themselves and expected too much in the way of hospitality.  She complained that they didn't offer to help by doing some work around the place.  I confess that I didn't either.  We did clean up after ourselves, thanked her, and tried to have generally good manners.  After the fire the three of us kicked in and sent her a check.  We think of her as a friend.

I had mixed feelings about the news of her stopping hosting cyclists, which she obviously had every right to do.  On one hand I was saddened that folks were rude and left her place a mess.  On the other I thought it odd that she expected folks to do things like work on the roof or what not.  I know that about the time we rolled into Ordway we were dog tired and the next in a hurry to make time.  The guests that have stayed with me have all been the same in that regard.  In general expecting much more than guests being thankful, polite, and cleaning up after themselves can only lead to disappointment.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2014, 02:01:47 pm by staehpj1 »

Offline indyfabz

Re: Busiest ACA or other trail intersection?
« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2014, 03:53:09 pm »
Like any endeavor involving humans, there is the chance, maybe even a likelihood, that poor behaviors of the odd individual can ruin a good thing for the rest of us.

IIRC, something similar happened in or near Jeffrey City within the last few years. As I remember the story, there was a church that was allowing cyclists to spend the night. There was a posted list of rules. Some incident or incidents involving violations of those rules resulted in the church no longer allowing cyclists to stay there.

Offline Miller

Re: Busiest ACA or other trail intersection?
« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2014, 04:01:37 pm »
4. Some time later (a few years maybe?) she reported that folks manners had gotten worse and worse and that guests were not cleaning up after themselves and expected too much in the way of hospitality.  She complained that they didn't offer to help by doing some work around the place.  I confess that I didn't either.  We did clean up after ourselves, thanked her, and tried to have generally good manners.  After the fire the three of us kicked in and sent her a check.  We think of her as a friend.

I had mixed feelings about the news of her stopping hosting cyclists, which she obviously had every right to do.  On one hand I was saddened that folks were rude and left her place a mess.  On the other I thought it odd that she expected folks to do things like work on the roof or what not.  I know that about the time we rolled into Ordway we were dog tired and the next in a hurry to make time.  The guests that have stayed with me have all been the same in that regard.  In general expecting much more than guests being thankful, polite, and cleaning up after themselves can only lead to disappointment.

Her arrangement toward the end was that people that stayed with her agree to work for 15 minutes on her property. So maybe it wasn't that people weren't offering to help but that they weren't following through on the agreement?

Regarding Ordway as a place for a future hostel, I read in a CG journal that the people from the Newton bike shop/hostel were thinking of moving there. Just an FYI for the OP...

Offline PeteJack

Re: Busiest ACA or other trail intersection?
« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2014, 04:08:20 pm »
Quote
I cast my vote for the vicinity of Jeffrey City
Jeffrey City was (is?) so memorably godawful and anything improving that would spoil it. I think a book could be written of Jeffrey City stories. I've no recollection of a church there but I did stay in the dismal motel before it closed, incredibly expensive, $70+, for a freezing room, broke TV and a leaking toilet.

Sorry for not contributing much but I do remember thinking a B & B in Twin Bridges would have been nice.

Online rondickinson

Re: Busiest ACA or other trail intersection?
« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2014, 05:55:05 pm »
You might want to drive the route to help answer your question.  Anywhere you see more than 40 miles without many Warm Shower host is a possibility.

There are places that have a need, but I could not imagine living there.

From Rawlins to Landry is a open Wyoming desert.  Fun to challenge ourselves to cross but the wind was big enough to push my son over.

I went through Jeffrey City on July 4. (town of 50 and 10% were drunk in the bar, and the town could be carried off by the Mosquitoes.)

The only place as bad was Muddy Gap 20 miles to the east.  One gas station and a trailer for motel.

These were such pits that we choose to keep riding to the Morman Encampment at Sweetwater (nice folks and a little oasis).



Offline mbattisti

Re: Busiest ACA or other trail intersection?
« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2014, 08:09:34 pm »
I concur, somewhere between Muddy Gap and Jeffrey City, WY

Offline briwasson

Re: Busiest ACA or other trail intersection?
« Reply #13 on: Today at 10:04:18 am »
Lots of opportunities along the GAP trail in western Maryland and Pennsylvania. It's beautiful country out there and there is active help to get cycling related businesses set up. Plus property is cheap in many places. See http://www.trailtowns.org

I see that route continuing to grow in popularity, especially once (if) AMTRAK gets their act together and improves their bike on train options.

Offline indyfabz

Re: Busiest ACA or other trail intersection?
« Reply #14 on: Today at 11:17:21 am »
Quote
I cast my vote for the vicinity of Jeffrey City
Jeffrey City was (is?) so memorably godawful and anything improving that would spoil it. I think a book could be written of Jeffrey City stories. I've no recollection of a church there but I did stay in the dismal motel before it closed, incredibly expensive, $70+, for a freezing room, broke TV and a leaking toilet.

My suggestion was a bit tongue in cheek. Not long before the motel closed, a cyclist reported having mushrooms growing out of his carpet. I stayed there in '00 with a Menonite couple who was crossing the country on a Bike Friday tandem. Only motel I have stayed in that was cash only. I had to lean into the wind while walking up the road to the cafe. Later that evening I sat at the bar and talked with a woman about the town's history and the effect the crash of the uranium market in the early 80s had on the town. A guy who looked to be a ranch hand came into the bar. He was wasted. He bought beer to go and drove off in his pickup.