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Topics - MrBent

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Routes / Arizona Route 191 South of Alpine?
« on: May 16, 2024, 05:52:22 pm »
Hey, Riders:  My wife, or pup, and I are heading out for a bikepacking tour through the high country of eastern AZ.  For those interested, here's the route--although we're doing a truncated version:

Our version starts and ends in Springerville and avoids a big drop to the lowest point of the route and instead does a direct connection heading south from Alpine for about 15 miles on US Hwy 191, the Coronado Trail.  Looks like zero shoulder, but it also looks like very light traffic.  Anyone with experience on this route?  Thanks!

Connecting ACA Routes / GDMBR to Western Wild Lands connector?
« on: June 11, 2022, 11:56:00 am »
Anyone ridden the GDMBR to WWL connector from Solida to Utah?  Looking at this as a possible alternate to finishing the GDMBR to Silver City if conditions are crap in NM.  Any intel, experiences appreciated.

General Discussion / GPS navigation apps/info?
« on: January 21, 2022, 05:21:02 pm »
Hey, riders:

Doing my homework for an attempt on the GDMBR this August.  I've got both RidewithGPS and the ACA app on my phone.  Any preferences/opinions/insights as to what to use? I'm leaning towards the ACA app as it lines up well with the paper maps, which we have, but I've yet to purchase the ACA app maps.  Any experiences with the ACA?  We'd like to go with phones if possible instead of adding another piece of gear.


General Discussion / Stove and fuel for GDMBR?
« on: June 22, 2021, 07:10:32 pm »
Hey, Cyclists:

As my wife and I work through gear research, especially trying to save weight, I'm looking into NOT taking our reliable Optimus gas stove--which burns unleaded as well as white gas.  The stove is great, but it is quite heavy.  What is the availability of canisters for the newer stoves?  I've used--happily--a Pepsi-can alcohol stove, but it is not great for two people. 

Your thoughts?


Gear Talk / Bike setup for the GDMBR
« on: May 30, 2021, 03:57:11 pm »
Okay, newbie here to mt. bikes generally and dirt bike touring for sure.  I'm experience at long-distance riding (solo coast-to-coast and mostly paved Rocky Mtn. ride from Jasper to Mexico), but we're looking at the GDMBR with deep interest.  That will require new bikes!  Yay!  I've got some ideas worked out but wanted to run them by other riders.  So here goes:

Bike frame: Surly Karate Monkey, front suspension

Bars: Jones H bars

Pedals: Platforms w/straps for climbing.  Don't want clip ins. (Recommended brands?)

Wheelz: 27.5 inch (Recommended brands?)

Tires: 3" tubeless--Maxxis Chronicle?  (The riding where I live has a lot of loose/sandy sections.  Fat rubber a must.)

Given my wheel/tire choice, do I go with 40mm or 50mm rims?  I'm thinking the 40's would be fine AND lighter.  I ignorant here!

Gearing:  Big questions.  I'll be riding heavy--dog trailer in tow--so low, low gearing is a must.  Do I go 1 X 12, 2 X 10/11?

Brakes: Questions here, too.  I'm having my first love affair with hydro's on a e-phat bike, but not sure if I want them on this build.  Had Avid BB7's on my other bikes for years.  I've heard the TPR Spykes are really good.  In either case I'd likely run 203 mm rotors to control a big load on long descents.  I DO love the feel of the hydro's....  (Recommendations? Costs?)

Rear rack:  Gotta be bomber!

Frame bag:  Brands?

Handlebar bag: Dunno.  Seems like it might be cool for hydration, etc.  I don't want anything on my back.

Overall, I'd like to keep the build to about $2.5k, but could go higher.  If this goes, my wife will be completing her 70th year and I my 60th.  I'm not gonna cheap out on the bike.  I want good, reliable stuff, but it does not have to be elite, top shelf.

So fire away.  Tangents relevant are welcome.  I'm obsessing, as usual.  Be well and ride on.

General Discussion / Carrying a spare tire on tour?
« on: January 14, 2019, 03:14:51 pm »
How many of you carry spare tires?  I've almost always carried one--actually two because I ride recumbents with different wheel sizes.  However, I have NEVER needed one, even after many thousands of miles of touring.  Has anyone actually needed a spare tire on the road? Do you carry a spare?  I'm leaving on a tour in about five days and debating on whether or not to carry the dang things.  I'll be riding on "experienced" Schwalbe Marathon Racers that still have some decent tread, enough for the 600 to 700 miles of the tour.



General Discussion / Best camping @ Lake Havasu?
« on: January 10, 2019, 10:44:48 am »
Hey, Bikers:

I'm working on a winter desert tour soon, and I'll be passing through Lake Havasu, where I'll probably need/want a rest day.  Any suggestions on a good place for a cyclist to stay?  Showers would be really nice! 


Routes / Southern Tier: Camping between Hope and Congress, AZ?
« on: January 10, 2019, 10:16:48 am »
Hey, Riders:

I'm looking to start a desert tour pretty soon (Bishop, CA, to Prescott, AZ) and I'm wondering about camping along Rt. 71 between Hope and Congress.  I'll be riding via Lake Havasu to Bouse, but the run all the way to Congress from Bouse will be too much for me, especially on a short winter day.  Is there still an RV park in Aquila?  I rode this section years ago and saw that there was an RV park, but pushed on and camped beside the road--not too bad but might prefer something more established.  Other ideas? I would prefer to get farther than Salome. Thanks!

General Discussion / Slime tubes for off-road touring?
« on: July 25, 2018, 01:44:38 pm »
Hey, Riders:

Researching tech issues for my hoped-for Great Divide ride next year.  What are your thoughts on slime/sealant in tubes?  I bought a bunch of Slime tubes, but I'm second guessing myself--heavy, etc.  Your thoughts?

General Discussion / GDMBR vs. Tour Divide Routes?
« on: July 04, 2018, 04:30:01 pm »
Hey, Touring Junkies:

I saw that starting in 2016, I think, the Tour Divide Race totally by-passes Rawlins, WY, to avoid long, on-going construction.  The variation goes through Wamsutter, seemingly following Rd. #23. I'm hoping to do the GDMBR next year and wonder if anyone has info or experience with the variation.  One site said the variation was shorter but more difficult.  Anyone know what the deal is around Rawlins?  We had a good layover there during a paved edition of the GDMBR that we pieced together.



Routes / Mojave Desert Touring Conditions
« on: January 15, 2017, 04:14:40 pm »
Hey, Cyclotourists:

This is probably old info. here, but I just got back from a driving trip that covered areas I've toured and thought I'd report.

I've done a bunch of touring in the Mojave, and I've got some good news for anyone heading out there.

1) The super fabulous Kelbaker road from Baker on I 15 in the north to I 40 in the south has be repaved! I've pedaled this a few times, and I think it's on the Furnace Creek 500 route. The last time--2015--we vowed to never do it again the pavement was so bad--HUGE holes, unbearable rough, cobbles the size of your fist. Utter crap. Well, that's a thing of the past. The paving is the--sigh--expected chip seal, but it's vastly better. The long descent from Granite Pass is still rough underneath, but overall, this route is vastly improved.

2) It is now (since when?) legal to ride the shoulder of I 40 between Barstow and Needles. I saw a bunch of "Share the Road" signs along the way. This is key because Old Route 66 on that section has some of the worst pavement on the planet, and there seems to be zero motivation for fixing it. Also, once past Fenner, I 40 is by far the safest route down to Needles. There are some bridges under reconstruction west of Fenner, so be warned, but touring cyclists should be down in the Amboy region on Route 66 anyway--much more scenic and quiet.

Ride on, you desert rats.

Routes / Great Divide Mtn. Bike route: Gen. conditions?
« on: December 06, 2015, 11:14:46 am »
Hey, Mtn. Bikers:

I just read this journal from 2013:

I was astonished at the damage to roads from Canada to New Mexico.  Can anyone comment on the current conditions?  It's a been a couple of years, but damn!  That's a great journal, btw.


Routes / Great Divide MTB Route options?
« on: April 03, 2015, 12:06:22 pm »
Hey, Riders:

Doing some dreaming and scheming about the GDMBR.  I know my plans are a bit whacked, but they are not without precedent.  My wife and I are thinking about attempting the GDMBR on recumbent trikes.  It has been done this way once before--see Heidi's blog on Crazyguyonabike--so we know it's possible.  Our particular wrinkle will be taking our faithful hound along if he's fit enough, which seems likely.  Our ride is still a full two years away, so this is very preliminary research.

Some background:

In 2012, my wife, our hound, Django, and I pedaled the Great Divide following almost exclusively paved roads.  I tell this sordid tale in my book--Cracking the Spine:

That was a tough trip for sure, but on the times we got off pavement, we had some serious fun.  It was hard, of course, but the virtual absence of traffic and the overwhelming quiet were addictive.  We ended up doing about 30 miles or so of dirt between Bozeman and the Yellowstone River and another stretch of dirt leading to Ute Pass, which I've found is part of the official GDMBR. These went well, and our rigs were not customized for dirt, my wife in particular pedaling a trike with 20" wheels--pretty dang low!  For a bigger dirt adventure we'd upgrade my trike--currently 26" in the rear and 20" in front to a 29X24 config. while my wife's would be 26X24.  We'd use 2+" rubber all around.  The dog trailer is the best available, a Cycletote, which we'd likely upgrade to 26" wheels.

So here's my thinking about the route so far: 

We'd have to use the now alternate south of Sparwood in BC--the "Fernie Alternate" as "The Wall" seems a no go with trikes? Everyone portages, but the trikes couldn't even be pushed up that from what it seems.  We'd be fine on the Fernie route, however.

The next crux comes at Richmond Peak above Rt. 83 in Montana, a section we grew to hate because of the traffic.  Instead of Richmond Peak, which Heidi did successfully, here's an alternate I've mapped using Google, so I'd like some Montana locals or other experienced riders to comment:

From satellite views, the route seems to follow consistently well developed logging roads.  We'd have to ride SOME of 83, but not much.

The other crux would be Fleecer Ridge.  Again, Heidi rode this somehow, but we'd likely do the simple alternate.

From my reading, it seems like everything else is workable, especially on jacked trikes with fat tires.  If I had my way, I'd go with a suspended two wheeler, but my wife is a confirmed triker, so this is the way we'd do it.  We have insanely low gearing, so I suspect that many stretches that two wheelers push, we'd crawl up steadily on our three wheelers.

Besides the expected--DON"T DO IT, YOU FOOL!--comments, what do you think?  Any other sections that have workarounds we should know about? 



Routes / Experiences with the new tunnel s. of Pacifica, CA?
« on: June 13, 2013, 01:44:25 pm »
Hey, Touristas:

It looks like my wife and I will be on the coast again this year, I think the fourth time for both of us.  Oh well, it's lots of good riding and it stays cool.  We'll be riding from the Sonoma coast to San Luis Obispo or Santa Barbara.  Has anyone been through the new Devil's Slide tunnel?  I saw a youtube clip, and the bike lane looks wonderful, although I understand that Caltrans did NOTHING with the steep, narrow, shoulderless approach from the north out of Pacifica.  Oh well.  I'm wondering about the south side after the tunnel.  Has Caltrans cleared out the shoulder, or is it still super tight as I saw in the video ?  We'll probably be going through some time in July, maybe early August.

Oh, one more thing:  Any news on the damn chip seal those Caltrans bastards laid down between Ragged Pt. and Cambria?  That used to be one of my favorite stretches--so fast and smooth with the constant tailwinds.  Grrrrr....


General Discussion / Traffic burnout?
« on: January 20, 2013, 01:44:28 pm »
Hey, cyclotourists:  My wife and I recently concluded a Canada (Jasper) to the Mexico border tour of the Rocky Mtns.  We did this on two recumbent trikes with our dog, Django.  It was a very strenuous but rewarding trip: Divide by Three  To be honest, however, after riding coast to coast in 2007 and now border to border, in addition to many other tours up to three weeks in length, I feel fed up in dealing with cars.  It's not that I ride in mortal fear of my life all the time.  I'm just sick and tired of the noise, the lack of consideration, and, to be honest, at least some of the risk from bad/aggressive/inattentive drivers.  Do others here lose the motivation to get out there for these reasons?  I'm still going to ride, but in the West, with so few road options, it seems all the traffic gets funneled onto a few roads, routes that cyclists must follow, too.  My experience back east and in the Midwest was much more pleasant than western states in many/most cases because of the different roads available.  Of the western states I've toured, New Mexico is the best with generally very light traffic.  Unfortunately for my touring, I live in California.  The best touring here is in the desert in winter--very quiet and enjoyable.  Thoughts on burnout?

Cheers and ride safely.


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