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Messages - Bclayden

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Routes / Re: Pony Express Route?
« on: November 28, 2019, 09:26:18 am »
I followed the Pony Express route from Sacramento, CA to St Joseph, MO in 2015.  I stuck to paved roads which drifted away from the true PE route a bit here and there.  Western Express ACA route got me to Baker, NV on the Utah border.  From Baker I had to map out my own route through SLC, Southern WY, Neb. Platte River and NE Kansas to stay as true to the PE as possible.  The PE route followed much of the Westward Expansion trails used by emigrants so there is a lot of rich history to stop and learn about.  The Western Express Nevada crossing portion my favorite.  21 days on the bike.  I stayed in motels.

General Discussion / Re: Bike rental for European tour
« on: October 29, 2019, 10:16:39 am »
I rented a hi end road bike from Velo Roo in the south of France (Beziers) this summer. Spent a week exploring the Pyrenees and riding some TDF stage routes. Velo Roo was excellent...delivered the bike to me at a hotel and picked it up too!  Nice Oz couple runs Velo Roo.

I stayed in B&B, hotels, AirBnb so didn’t have much gear to carry.

PRO TIP-  Don’t ship your gear to France. I did...from US and it got hung up in French customs for 4 weeks.  Better to carry it with you when you travel. A hassle but at least you have it when you need it.

Routes / Great Divide Mtn Bike Route suggestions
« on: October 21, 2019, 04:53:41 pm »

I've toured for years on a road bike, Coast to Coast included, and want to try something new next summer.  I bought a Specialized Diverge Gravel Bike which is suitable for fire roads with moderately rough conditions. Planning to ride the Great Divide Mtn Bike Route but I only have 7-8 riding days available.  Which section is recommended as the best?  I spent 4 days crossing Southern WY W-E and I don't need to go back there again. Thinking Steamboat, CO - Platoro/Pagosa Springs, CO might be a nice stretch.  I will need to rent a car when done to get back to the start so Pagosa suits.  Anyone with experience of this or any other section of the GDMBR please share your thoughts.


I’ve toured for years on a stock Trek Madone. 35,000+ miles including a US Coast-to-coast, Euro trips, and many others. An Apidura saddle bag and Camelback backpack is all I carry. Traveling this light of course requires overnight hotels and laundry day is every 3rd day but it makes for lightweight travel and 80-120 mile days are the norm.  No prob. 

The Trek has been reliable with the usual rotable replacement components and new wheel set every 10,000 miles but all in all it’s a solid touring bike. I’ve used the same Apidura saddle bag for many years and it’s as good as ever. My bag is much like the Apidura Expedition Saddle bag but in 2012 when I bought it had a different name that I don’t recall. The Camelback, primarily used for its 2 liter water bladder, wears down and look grungy after a 2-3 years so that gets replaced regularly. That’s all I carry and it works well...for me.

Urban Cycling / Re: E-bikes in bike lanes: ok or invasive species?
« on: August 18, 2019, 11:50:48 am »
An e-bike is a bike with a motor. Also called a Motorbike. Motorbikes should.stay away from bike paths. Dangerous things to share a bike path with particularly in the bike-share towns where an e-bike is typically ridden by inexperienced kids or drunken tourists. As a cyclist I put e-bikes right up there with RVs....

Routes / Re: Bike route San Rafael to Oakhurst / Yosemite
« on: August 06, 2019, 08:45:37 am »
I have done this route.  Well not exactly as you describe but I’ve covered all of the route at one time or another.  My route will probably get shot down by people on this forum but I’ve ridden these roads several times and in both directions. As has been said there is no direct or easy way to do it but this route Has worked well for me.

Head south from San Rafael, cross Golden Gate Bridge to SF.  There are plenty of bike paths/lanes to get you to SF and down the Peninsula. The SF Bay Shore has a somewhat continuous bike route. Get yourself a good map and you can piece it together. Cross the Bay on Route 84 bridge to Fremont. Head SE to Alum Rock then take Highway 120 over Mt Hamilton to Patterson (a very remote road with a healthy 4000’ climb but not services for 50+ miles), cross the Central Valley to Turlock, then wig-wag through Le Grand, Merced, Raymond, Ahwanhee, Oakhurst. 

This route crosses the core of Big Bad Central Valley quite quickly in only 16 miles and you can do it on farm roads that aren’t too busy. Once past Turlock it’s mostly back roads until Ahwanhee where you have a short stretch on Route 49 to Oakhurst. 

Routes / Re: 65th birthday cross country trip
« on: May 04, 2019, 08:33:20 am »
If you’re using motels and not camping then you really don’t need a trailer or panniers. I did Coast to Coast with only a saddle bag and small Camelback backpack. Requires laundry duty every 3rd day but sure as heck makes life easy.  You’ll discover that when your days are spent riding you don’t need much stuff. The heaviest thing in my bag is the tool kit.  Don’t forget the bottle opener?

General Discussion / Re: Yosemite
« on: January 18, 2019, 11:24:49 am »
I’ve cycled both directions of Tioga Rd down to Lee Vining and back and camped at White Wolf where I had a Bear encounter early in the season...late spring?  As has been mentioned the bears are smart about getting to your food and staying clear of the bear traps. Yosemite bears are American Black Bears (although they are dark brown in color) and are herbivores. There are no Grizzlies in Califonia any longer. Black bears don’t want to eat you but they can be aggressive getting to your food. Never leave food inside your tent and always store food in the campsite bear boxes which you treat like your fridge at home....always close and latch the door when not getting something from it or putting something away.  I’ve also done a lot of backcountry hiking in the Sierra and have seen many bears in and outside the park. Yosemite requires backcountry hikers to carry their own Bear Canister for storing food overnight. We used to hang the food in a tree but they figured that one out too so now it’s prohibited inside the National park.

Bears CAN be dangerous if there is a bear cub nearby and mamma thinks you are a threat. Be very careful if you see a bear cub.

Bears shouldn’t discourage you from experiencing Yosemite cycling and camping. It’s part of the experience!

Sharing Tioga Rd with RVs is much more of a hazard.

General Discussion / Re: Carrying a spare tire on tour?
« on: January 18, 2019, 11:06:17 am »
I’ve always toured with a spare but never used 30,000 + touring miles. I just take along an old folding tire that still has a bit of tread left. I tour with Gatorskins so my big concern is a cut on the sidewall that could leave me stranded. Carrying a spare is a small weight/space penalty that just might save the day.

General Discussion / Re: Cheap tires cost more than expensive tires.
« on: September 23, 2018, 11:36:57 pm »
I tour with Continental Gator Skins and have had good luck. Not the best ride but durable.  I always carry a spare while touring in case of a sidewall cut.

There’s a bike shop in Fort Bragg which you will go through. That might be it though.

General Discussion / Re: Pedals Recommendation
« on: July 03, 2018, 05:39:06 pm »
Shimano here too. Reliable. I went through 2 sets of Crank Bros Eggbeaters and had them come apart on me Mid tour....ironically the second time it happened was on Mile 3599 of a 3600 Mile ride. I switched to Shimano after that close call.

Also, Shimano makes a Teva style sandal with attatch points for pedal cleat. Nice to have along when touring. You can look cool while you stay cool.

General Discussion / Road bike vs. Cyclo-cross bike
« on: February 12, 2018, 05:30:22 pm »

I've been touring extensively for many years on a stock Trek Madone 4.5 carbon frame road bike, 60cm frame with Mavic wheel set/700X24. This setup has been quite suitable for me as I travel CC style and without much weight...just a saddle bag and a small backpack.

It's time for a new bike and I am considering replacing the road bike with a cycle-cross bike. This would allow me better access to unimproved roads and trails. As I understand it cyclo-cross has a beefier frame with wider wheel/tires. Otherwise similar to a road bike?

My question is this: does anyone have experience with this transition and is it reasonable to expect the same average speed I have come to know from my road bike?  Running tire pressure at 100 psi I average about 16-17 mph during a mostly flat 100 mile day.  Will I see a lower average speed and by how much?  Do cycle-cross tires and the additional friction create a noticeable increase in effort required?

Thanks in advance for your replies. 


I too have fond memories of past trips and have been tempted to repeat some of them. Years ago I had a happy accident in reluctantly starting an online journal/blog so my family could follow along.  Soon realized I had a nice recap of the trip (with pics) that I can go back to re visit anytime. I  still enjoy reading about some of the days again and again...

Gear Talk / Re: Can I use a carbon road bike for ultralight touring
« on: January 15, 2018, 09:19:58 pm »
I've toured extensively with an off-the-shelf Trek Madone road bike.  Upgraded the wheelset from Bontrager to Mavic but otherwise stock.  I travel super light CC style with one medium saddle bag and a 2 Liter Camelback backpack....that's it.  It's a good setup for covering high mileage. Bike has over 30,000 miles with no problems.  Traveling with heavy panniers and other weight might be a bit much for my lightweight rig however.

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