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Messages - BobG

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Routes / Re: TransAm Alternate Routes You Would Recommend
« on: March 13, 2022, 07:22:38 am »
If you really want to stray from the yellow brick road and you like to climb, here's a looong TransAm side trip I took after dropping out of a 1983 Bikecentennial group tour called "Great Parks Odyssey" (Durango > Jasper). I continued to Jasper solo.

Gravel from Grant MT to Tendoy ID. Gravel again from Shoup ID to just south of Darby MT. Rough in spots but I rode it on a loaded touring bike with 27x1.25" tires, pushing their limit. No flats, no damage.

pros? remote and scenic with paved stretch in the middle for services, Lemhi Pass, Lewis & Clark history, Salmon River, overnight at a fire lookout (?)

cons? bypasses a fun stretch of easier traditional TransAm. Maybe not rideable for all (as John requested). I rode this 38 years ago. I don't know its fire history and can't speak for conditions today.

correction: I was indeed using the fat, cutting edge 27x1 3/8" tire size that John mentions below. The wheels with mounted tires are still hanging in my cellar!

Routes / Re: TransAm Alternate Routes You Would Recommend
« on: March 12, 2022, 10:51:54 am »
My comment regarding "the paper ACA magazine" was intended to mean the "print" version as opposed to the online version. But yes, I do vaguely remember the newsprint version of the Bike Report!

Routes / Re: TransAm Alternate Routes You Would Recommend
« on: March 12, 2022, 09:06:55 am »
One summer Chief Joseph Pass in Montana was under construction. ACA recommended Gibbons Pass as an alternative. I enjoyed it so much I've taken it every trip since. (I've travelled that route four times now and still have not seen Chief Joseph Pass!). Best direction (mostly downhill) is for the westbounders on the TA. That said, I know that BikeliciousBabe has climbed it eastbound and had fun. Westbound it starts with a right hand turn off MT 43 onto fairly level hard packed dirt. When the descent to Sula begins the surface becomes looser. Cross-Top brake levers help on the downhill if you're using drop bars.

Gibbons Pass MT

Routes / Re: TransAm Alternate Routes You Would Recommend
« on: March 11, 2022, 12:40:41 pm »
When the TransAm came out in 1976, there were only paper maps.
With electronic mapping, it is much easier to offer alternative routes.
Blue Ridge Parkway or the 600-numbered county roads in the valleys?

I found those 600 numbered routes with my paper maps after an aborted tour down the BRP! I joined an anonymous group for a north to south tour down the Parkway. As I recall I met them through an ad on the paper ACA magazine. After two days I found them too fast and racy for my style and decided to drop out and return to my starting point near Fredericksburg. I picked up the TransAm near Roanoke and looped back northeast. When I got to Vesuvius I found myself for the first time in my cycling history on the wrong eastbound side of their DREADED HILL! No way I was going to climb it back to the BRP! I continued linking the lovely 600 routes to Waynesboro.  ;D

Routes / Re: TransAm Alternate Routes You Would Recommend
« on: March 11, 2022, 06:57:04 am »
John (Nelson), I could have used your Ute Pass suggestion in 2009, the last time I led an ACA TransAm group!

Originally the route from Kremmling to Walden was US 40 north > CO 14 north, 61 miles (blue route on screenshot). In 2009 the "official" route became US 40 east > CO 125 north, 78 miles (grey route on screenshot). This was to address safety issues on 40 north.

Some of our group that year were not keen on doing the 78 mile new route to Walden. They took the old "prohibited" route and the rest of us took the new longer route.

Had we turned right on the Ute Pass road the previous day from Breckenridge, we could have bypassed Kremmling altogether and stayed at Hot Sulphur Springs. That would have set us up for a 61 mile ride to Walden taking the safer CO 125!

Routes / Re: TransAm Alternate Routes You Would Recommend
« on: March 10, 2022, 04:18:43 pm »
Should you not want to take the Blue Ridge Parkway section in VA (Bad weather? Need a break from climbing? Eastbound and want to avoid the climb up from Vesuvius?), the valley roads between Waynesboro and Vesuvius are quiet and lovely. Westbound just continue over Rockfish Gap to Waynesboro and wind around through Lyndhurst and Sherando to Vesuvius!

General Discussion / Re: The Letha Store
« on: February 22, 2022, 09:35:43 am »
Back in the late 60s, early 70s I used to ride from southern NH to VA often to visit family in the Spring after the college year ended, staying at hostels every night. I would stay at the former Bantam Lake Youth Hostel near Litchfield CT. I'd then wind around to Bull's Bridge and then take US 44 to Poughkeepsie. Not pleasant but I remember an adequate shoulder on 44.

If I recall right the route was Antrim NH > Guilford VT > Lakeside CT > New Paltz NY > Branchville NJ > Quakertown PA > Brickerville PA > Arlington VA. Maybe another stop I don't remember between Guilford and Lakeside. Some long days in there! It was back when I was a fit 20 something on a light bike with sew-up tires.

correction: That may have been  backroads from Wingdale NY > NY 55 > Poughkeepsie that I took, not US 44. It was 52 years ago!

General Discussion / Re: The Letha Store
« on: February 17, 2022, 11:51:56 am »
Cornwall Bridge has a nice country store. The Cornwall Country Market was alive and well three years ago with everything you'd possibly want from a general store. I attended a wedding at Mohawk Mountain and stayed three days at Housatonic Meadows State Park. I brought my bike and did all my shopping at Cornwall Bridge ...

General Discussion / Re: The Letha Store
« on: February 16, 2022, 11:52:42 am »
One of my favorite stores on the TransAm is Gertie's. At the bottom of a long westbound descent from the Blue Ridge Parkway, a nice campground is just down the road or camp in the field around the store. Everything you need at the right spot! I even have their T shirt ...

An active Facebook page says they're still open!

General Discussion / Re: What "riding buddies" do you take on tour?
« on: January 26, 2022, 11:52:49 am »
A stowaway on our 2009 TransAm tour ...

edit: Well dang! I emailed the above rider in South Africa to clarify. He says it was a one time photo-op and creature did not make the entire tour. Made a cute picture though!

note- I deleted my previous post because it did not address the OP's question.

I sure wouldn't count on it. I've led the ACA TransAm tour now four times so I'm quite familiar with the route. I'm now restricted to local riding on an ebike due to a physical disability. I also will carry a second battery occasionally for extended range and I might be lucky to get 60 miles total on an UNLOADED bike in hilly terrain. I don't even think you'd find a motel every 60 miles on the TransAm.

Keep in mind that a second battery means a second charger unless you want to get up at midnight to plug in battery #2. . If you're lucky enough to find one available outlet at a city park in Kansas you'll be competing with every other cyclist who wants to charge a phone.

General Discussion / Re: border crossing
« on: February 27, 2018, 08:06:31 am »
Heh! A few years ago I was staffing a Cycle VT and I was on the morning crew that drove ahead spraying the chalk arrows along the route. In Derby Line VT I decided that one intersection needed extra arrows to clarify the turn. I made several left hand turns to go around the block when suddenly all of the signs were in French! I had inadvertently crossed into Quebec without passing a port of entry.

I had to do some explaining upon my return through the proper route. I suspect that the residential side street route has been blocked off by now!

I've cycled the sleepy crossing at E Franklin VT/Frelighsburg QC many times in the past with no issues. Perhaps times have changed... I've never crossed at N Troy.

General Discussion / Re: Interested in 'electric assist' touring?
« on: April 26, 2017, 09:34:29 am »
I'm only 68 but I recently had to ad an e-assist to my touring bike due to a permanently disabled femoral nerve that has grounded me for the past 3 years. As much as I'd like to resume bike travel again I don't think it will be possible unless battery range is greatly improved in the future.

I have the largest BionX D-500 kit with an 8 pound, 557 watt hour battery. It allows me to ride like a 25 year old again........for about 45 miles. It does not make me lazy. It's torque sensor rewards me more the harder I ride, thus I ride fast and hard again to reap the benefits. I use just moderate levels of assist with occasional higher level blasts over steep hills.

But 45 miles is just not enough range to embark on a loaded bike camping tour. I'm guessing that range would be even less after adding 25 pounds of gear. I'd need to find accommodations at that interval with electricity every night. That would mean no state parks, no USFS campgrounds, no hiker/biker sites and no stealth camping. I doubt that one would even find a motel every 45 miles. I'm hoping that regular riding locally with the assist will strengthen my leg so I can go back to unassisted cycling. My doctor says that will not happen.

Jack, I wish you the best and I'll be following your log to see how you make it happen.

edit: after reading canalligator's link I am a bit more encouraged. Limiting the assist to level 1 along with the BionX regeneration feature seemed to add a lot to that rider's range. That said, he was traveling light on a credit card trip and had a place to plug in every night.

Gear Talk / Re: Electric Assist Kits
« on: March 05, 2017, 06:44:11 pm »
Jack, I just found your thread in the archives. Bumping it just because I'm now in the same situation as you. I've toured across the US E to W four times, N to S once and S to N once. Suddenly at 68 I have a permanently damaged femoral nerve from a fall. I've been nowhere on my bike for the past two years aside from short rides in and out of town.

I've installed a BionX D-500 retrofit kit on my Bruce Gordon Rock'n'Road in an effort to get back into the game. Requires 135mm MTB rear axle spacing but your Safari may well have that.

Only a few test rides so far as I bought it back in November just before the snow came. I ride around town and up the White Mt hills now like a 25 year old!

I'm guessing that it will have a range of up to 50 miles with judicious use of the higher assist levels on hills combined with lower assist levels on the flats. A 25 mile loop from home with several steep hills using high assist consumes just over half a battery. That's without the added weight of touring gear. Manufacturer says it has a range of 55-75 miles but that would happen only using the lowest level of assist on the flats.  My battery is 48 volts, 11.6 amp hours= 556.8 watt hours. Motor is 500 watts. The assist is seamless and almost instant when the pedals are turned. "Mountain Mode" is like turning on the turbo charger but will drain the battery fast.

Based upon the above estimate I would expect on tour to need overnight lodging with electricity every 40-50 miles or so. Sooner carrying a lot of gear. Further if able to ride on the old fashioned way with an empty tank, unassisted with an extra 17 pounds of motor and battery. I'm still learning it's range. Will report back with updates in the Spring.

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