Adventure Cycling Association Forum

Bicycle Travel => General Discussion => Topic started by: Wannabecyclist on January 26, 2017, 12:42:35 am

Post by: Wannabecyclist on January 26, 2017, 12:42:35 am

I am in the process of organising to ride the Northern Tier.
I will by cycling solo, camping as often as I can.

Has anyone already completed this ride?  If so, can you tell me of the potential dangers (animal, human or mechanical).

Thanks very much.


Post by: John Nelson on January 26, 2017, 10:28:29 am
When you camp in Glacier National Park, be sure to put all your food and smellies into the provided bear boxes. Follow this one simple precaution and you will encounter no dangers. It's a fairly remote route, so be self sufficient and plan to be a bit lonely.

I spent 3 nights in hostels, 6 nights with Warm Showers hosts, 2 nights with friends, and camped every other night. Campgrounds get more expensive the farther east you get.
Post by: indyfabz on January 26, 2017, 11:00:22 am
Which direction and what is your planned start date? Glacier N.P. and (I suspect) the North Cascades Highway have been getting a lot of snow this winter. If you start west to east in late May you may encounter some snowy conditions, and Logan Pass in Glacier may not yet be open when you arrive. It's something you don't want to miss, and the work around is a long climb that simply doesn't compare scenery-wise.
Post by: Pat Lamb on January 26, 2017, 05:27:07 pm
I picked up the NT west from Glacier.  It's like most Adventure Cycling routes as far as hazards, to be honest.  These should get you started.

1. Make sure your bike is in good shape.  You'll need good brakes, good tires, and the bike has to hold your load securely.  Make sure you can repair flats.

2. If there's a bear box, use it.  Use bug spray when you stop.  Don't feed the animals.

3. Be mentally prepared.  You'll run into horrible headwinds, and long days, that you have to be able to deal with.

4. Most of the route is on lightly traveled roads without shoulders.  Get comfortable with taking the lane and riding with traffic.

5. Water can be an issue.  Especially on hot days, drink early and often.  If the maps say "no services next X miles" take extra, either in extra bottles or a bladder (or two).

6. Eat enough salt and other food to keep you going.  I have trouble sweating salt out, and then trying to eat enough to replenish it without making myself sick.

7.  After a few days or weeks, you develop a sense of what feels right.  If a situation feels wrong, do something about it -- either get out of there or get help.
Post by: Wannabecyclist on January 26, 2017, 06:50:57 pm
Hi Pat, Indy and John,

Thanks for the feedback.  I have cycled long-distance before (up the centre of Australia).  Im guessing there will be more services across the US, than there up through the centre of Australia - so water and food are not my problem.  Certainly wild animals - not interested in being a bear burger  :-\

I am taking similar bike to my last trip...hard tail mountain bike with touring tyres, and hitching a Bob Ibex trailer to it.  I know of the issues with descents, braking and jack-knifing - obviously to be avoided at all costs.  I have no problem taking a lane and riding with traffic either, but curious about how cyclists up that way are viewed, and is there heavy truck traffic?  In Australia I dealt with road-trains (trucks with up to 8 trailers), and they were brilliant - very considerate.

Head-winds, side winds...all part of the parcel - tail winds a rare blessing.  I anticipate 8 - 10 hours in the saddle each day.

I plan to start my ride from the East and head west, but I can certainly change that around if it means I am more likely to have access to Logan pass.

Will look up the Warm Showers hosts - that sounds interesting.  I don't know anyone up there, but being lonely is something I am quite good at.

Thanks again for the feedback, if anything else comes to mind, please let me know - information is invaluable.


Post by: bikemig on January 26, 2017, 07:10:05 pm
Bears were occasionally an issue and not just in Glacier. I'd keep food out of the tent and tied up in a tree in bear habitat (if there's a bear box use it). Other than that, it's just like touring pretty much anywhere else. The maps are first rate plus you're likely to be connected to the Net as well so you'll have plenty of info to go on.
Post by: Wannabecyclist on January 26, 2017, 07:23:07 pm
So....practice my bear hugging skills - got it.

Will certainly invest in the maps.

Thanks for the feedback - all appreciated.


Post by: indyfabz on January 27, 2017, 10:32:51 am
You are more likely to have access to Logan Pass if you start in the east as long as you don't end up there in late September. They often close the pass at some fixed date regardless of weather so they can perform road work without interference.

Raccoons and other rodents will give you far more trouble than bears. You will be lucky to even see a bear. The dreaded chipmunk or squirrel, however, may chew through your tent mesh to get at food inside. Been there. Done that. During my tour last September a darn raccoon literally grabbed one of my panniers off a picnic table bench and started dragging it away. I was camping in New Jersey bear country so all my food, etc., was stored in a building. My guess is that the pannier still carried the scent of some strong smelling bagels I had been carrying earlier in the day. Fortunately, I heard what was going on and was able to get out of my tent and scare him off.