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Messages - CyclesafeSr

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Gear Talk / Re: Chain selection
« on: February 29, 2012, 10:02:44 am »
On a lark I bought a deeply discounted Wippermann 9sX stainless steel chain.  By that I mean it was $60 rather than the $100 it normally retails for.  I used it after a long succession of Sram 971's.

Chain life depends on conditions and subsequent maintenance, so both time and mileage are only vague approximators for useful life.

What I'm finding is that the swank chain is quieter, does not request as frequent lubrication, and is stretching slower than the 971.  Do I save enough on lubrication to make up the diffference in price?  No.  Does it seem to be lasting sufficiently longer than the 971 that I'll save money in buying one 9sX's versus two or hopefully three 971's?  Probably not. 

Gear Talk / Re: Cycling Shorts vs. Padded Liners?
« on: February 29, 2012, 09:49:03 am »
I'd challenge whether one needs bicycle shorts at all.

I've found that coolmax briefs under lycra running shorts give one coverage/support without seams in a system that is easily rinsed out every evening and usually dry by morning.  A couple of extra pairs of each are very lightweight and take up very little space in one's panniers.  For me a chamois is unnecessary.

Gear Talk / Re: Bike Mirror
« on: February 27, 2012, 08:52:33 am »
I am compelled to add only that the mirror/no mirror debate is errily akin to the helmet/no helmet debate.  The strange thing for me is that in each of these debates I take the opposite side.  I have tried several mirrors and have always found them a dangerous distraction.  But I would never even get on a bike without a helmet.

I rode from RTS campground to Whitefish in one day.  I think what you propose is doable.

Day 1: Whitefish to Sprague Peak CG would be easy.  Remember that the road is closed to bikes in the afternoon, but you can put your bike on the rack in front of the bus you catch at Apgar.  There might be even enough daylight to climb the pass and be back to Sprague before dark.  Or you can stay in a motel.

Day 2: Alternatively, you can mount the pass, then turn around and make Whitefish by dark.

It would be hard to make it a one day round trip from Whitefish unless you're unloaded and a very fit and motivated rider.

You will experience some single track on Richardson Peak.  If the trail is wet, you'd appreciate some knobbies.  OTOH, many people have made it with even 35mm or even 28mm touring tires.  It just depends on how much money you have.  Knobbies are useable on the rest of the trip, but your smoother tires would be better for Whitefish to Big Fork and won't hurt from Big Fork to Condon or from Seeley Lake to Lincoln etc.  BTW, I also did the GDMBR.

I hope this helps.   

Gear Talk / Re: bike maintenance on tour
« on: January 21, 2012, 01:29:28 pm »
There was so much cow poo on the GDMBR that I would regularly visit the do-it-yourself car wash, bounce the bike dry, and apply lube.  Took 10 minutes.

I interpret the self contained tours literature to imply that each rider is free to travel at his/her own pace throughout the day. This includes side trips, photo ops, meeting the locals,  lunch etc...

In practice, is that a conflict when it's your time on "cooking/grocery" duty? Or is there more than enough time given a reasonable road pace, to still arrive at camp in time to prepare/feed/clean up (i.e. is dinner scheduled for near dark so you would be in camp anywho)

If you are "in charge" of breakfast and dinner on a particular day, Is there is less time to stop and smell the roses on those days? Are the breakfasts and dinners on a fixed schedule 7am & 7 pm for example?

Four ACA tour veteran here.  The answer, of course, is that it depends.  Often the cooks' day had to be structured so shopping and cooking would result in dinner at 1800.  Sometimes this was a big deal, sometimes it wasn't.  It was always a PITA.

Conversely, on days that you are not on cooking duty, I assume you can opt out of breakfast to get an early start, or  take a pass on dinner in order to pursue some other deviation. (being considerate by giving notice to the group of your intentions for the day of course)

As you might expect, you can do what you wish as long as it involves only you.

I'm likely over thinking this, but with no organized tour experience to draw on it is hard for me to envision the dynamics at work here.

Yes, shared group cooking is a major cause of conflict: declared food preferences are not honored, quality depends on cooks' preferences and culinary skill / willingness to make the effort, group gear needs to arrive in time and be ready to go when people want to leave, cooks need to wait around until late-risers have eaten (not!).  Sometimes, the group cooking thing falls apart and those who can afford it just pay to eat their meals at restaurants.  The latter make the very worst cooks.  Keep your standards low, your mind open, defuse conflict when it arises, and resign yourself to doing more than your fair share of hauling, cooking and cleaning and you'll be OK.

Routes / Re: Great Parks Questions
« on: January 14, 2012, 12:31:31 pm »
In summer 2009 the gravel road on the east side of the Elk River between Elko and Fernie was of good quality easily doable on 28c tires with a confident rider who is generally comfortable on hard-packed gravel.  There are few, if any, steep parts on that road, which incidentally, is a welcome respite from the traffic on Hwy 3.

As mentioned, your starting date will be dictated by when Logan Pass is scheduled to open.

In summer, Waterton and Glacier NP are crowded.  Your best bet is to pick an itinerary that ensures that the pass will be  open and book accommodations along the route now.  Otherwise, you may find that camping (which is well-appointed enroute) is the only alternative.     

Routes / Re: Robert Campbell Highway
« on: January 14, 2012, 12:09:01 pm »
I rode this in 2006 with ACA.

We'd get a couple of cars a day, so it's not like it's truely desolate.  There were some duos riding north to south, but it might be prudent to have a bit larger group than that.  Compared to the Cassiar, we saw very few (if any) bears.  Water was plentiful, but food resupply was scarce.  The scenery, frankly, was only so-so.  If I were to go again, I'd try the Alaskan Hwy.

General Discussion / Re: Bike Friday or S&S Couplers
« on: January 14, 2012, 12:01:35 pm »
I have a 62cm S&S-fitted Co-Motion Americano (700c).  To haul my bike and gear I use two 28x28x6 cardboard boxes which I check for flights, then discard/recycle at the destination airport after I build up my bike.  Bits of the bike are in both boxes.

Although the 26x26x10 S&S case just barely accommodates the bike, the same sized cardboard box doesn't provide the "stretch" necessary to enclose a bike of my size.  I rarely use my case any more.

I've toured with people on Bike Fridays as well as people on various recumbents, but I could never see any conclusive advantage for any of them versus my rig.  And vice versa.  Like with the debate of panniers versus trailers, it's frustrating that things that appear so different in appearance are actually not so different in function. 

Routes / Re: Great Divide-Canada and MT
« on: January 05, 2012, 03:17:25 am »
Plenty of people have done the route without suspension in sandals.  Personal preference.  I rode a hard tail with Keene Springwaters and Time Atac pedals.

Routes / Re: Great Divide-Canada and MT
« on: January 04, 2012, 10:16:14 am »
If nobody responds regarding your specific trip, I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have on the route from Banff to Whitefish.  I did the entire GDMBR in 2010.

You'll be pleased to know that I, at least, thought one of the best parts of the route was from Banff to Elkford.  The route starts at the back of the Banff Hotel through a well groomed dirt bike path with gentle ups and downs to a gravel road that leads you to Spray Lakes.  You'll enjoy lots of wildlife and panaoramic vistas.  Plenty of clean-looking water that one might consider drinking without filtering (if treated).  The weather will be warm at the relatively low altitude, so a light sleeping bag is OK.  Always be prepared for rain, however.

After Spray Lakes the trail becomes a bit rougher, but shouldn't even be considered single-track - something you won't experience since you're not going through the Flathead Wilderness.  Great scenery and the chance of a grizzly encounter - possible all the way to Elkford and from the turnoff south of Eureka to north of Whitefish.  Get your bear spray in Banff - much cheaper than in the US and legal to use there.  You probably won't use it, but for me it can me some comfort when things went bump in the night.  Good on dogs too, for when you get home.

After Boulton Creek you'll have some short sections of hike-a-bike to Elk Pass, then pretty much downhill on packed gravel to Elkford where you can resupply at a proper grocery store.

After Elkford, gravel, then hardtop to Fernie.  Not really mountain biking.  Also asphalt all the way to Graves Creek, after which you have a gravel road that gets rough over the pass, then well-graded to Polebridge and on to Whitefish.

If you are a more advanced mountain biker and haven't been intimidated to Elkford, you might want to consider teaming up with a like-minded companion (or two, three) and eschew the asphalt from Fernie and instead do the Flathead Wilderness section that will be on your new ACA GDMBR maps.  You can rejoin the rest of the group at Eureka or just continue down the valley to Polebridge.  If you forget about the scheduled rest day in Fernie, you will have ample time.  Don't decide now, think about its doability when you arrive in Fernie.  Lots of conversation about the Flathead at;www

If you still have time and energy, it would be well worth peeling away from the group at Polebridge and exploring Glacier National Park.  Or, just go to GNP from Whitefish at the conclusion of your tour.  Avoid the KOA in Whitefish.  It's waaaay south of town and they tried to charge me $40 for a tent site.

If you have any questions, just ask!

Gear Talk / Re: Water Filter vs. Steripen
« on: January 02, 2012, 09:33:07 am »
On the GDMBR your most prevalent water contaminent is cow poop.  Try as you might, your water source will be surrounded.  A Steripen lacks a filter, paper to screen > 1 micron particles and activated carbon to bind organics.  Take it from me, you'll be fighting cows for water so the purer you make it the better it will "taste".

Another point.  All common gear will be abused.  It's human nature.  The consequence of drinking giardia-laced (or e. coli-laced water from those of your companions who neglect to wash their hands after) is such that it would be prudent to filter again (with your own device) the water you take from the common "filtered" water. 

Also, beware of heavy metals in Southern Colorado.  These can't be removed with any device that you can easily carry.

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