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Topics - Bclayden

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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.


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. 


Routes / Current aerial shots of Tioga Pass snow removal.
« on: May 12, 2017, 09:22:50 am »
Planning a Sierra Nevada crossing this spring? You might need to wait a bit longer than usual. Here's a great vid and fly past of Tioga Pass Rd from east to west showing a relatively current situation. Looks like a lot of work still to be done. 50' snow drifts, etc. Tioga Pass tops out at about 10,000'.

Routes / Hawaii Big Island Saddle Rd conditions
« on: March 27, 2017, 09:10:21 am »
I rarely see mention of Hawai'i riding routes on this forum but I frequent the Big Island which is popular with touring cyclists so thought this info might be helpful to someone:

The most direct route from Hilo (east side of island) to Kona (west side) is via Saddle Rd/Rte 200..a 65 mile bisect of the island which climbs to 6700' along the way. A unique cycling experience to say the least.

Saddle Rd has been under a realignment project for several years and is nearly complete but at the moment, between miles 8-12, it's an active construction site with gravel, mud, one-way traffic, heavy machinery, and more gravel and mud. Passable on 700x24 tires but just barely. If not for Gatorskins I would have walked it due to threat of puncture from the sharp lava gravel road base.  Otherwise all good on Saddle Rd.

This was March 25, 2017.  Project appears to be another couple of months from completion. 

Anyway, maybe this info will help someone. 

I understand riding in/out of central Louisville can be a challenge. I rode in from the North last year. Now I will continue my coast-to-coast ride and must head out to the SE to join the Eastbound Trans Am.

I've found some helpful sites and KY cycling maps that are useful but wondering what the locals would recommend.

I would prefer to make more eastbound progress as I work my way toward the TA. 1st overnight in Lexington, KY to join the TA downrange at about Richmond, KY the next day would be ideal but options are many and can't be sure of a suitable route. Any ideas? 

If that's not advisable then would head more due South to join TA about Borea, KY. 

Any advice is appreciated. 

Routes / Louisville, KY-Virginia Beach,VA route advice.
« on: October 30, 2016, 09:52:53 pm »
Spring 2017 I will complete my coast-to-coast ride. Due to work and family obligations I have been making my way across the country in phases (1 week at a time). It's taken me 4 weeks to get from California to Louisville, KY.  1 more week will complete the trip at Virginia Beach, VA.

I am in the beginning planning stages for this last week from Louisville-Virginia Beach. I don't camp but stay in motels to help keep my load light and my daily mileage high (100+). I could pick up the Trans-Am route about midway across Kentucky or I could blaze a trail directly across Kentucky, W. Virginia and Virginia. I prefer to keep to the quiet country back roads.

I guess my question is why does the Trans-Am meander from Kentucky down to the N. Carolina border then NE again to Richmond, VA and SE once more to Virginia Beach and why is this the preferred route?  I understand the Appalachians must be crossed but there seem to be other options.

Apart from this being the traditional route is there a good or practical reason to follow it?  I have made my way 2800 miles by blazing my own trail (except portions of Western Express crossing NV and Louis and Clark crossing MO), I enjoy the detailed planning and the routing has been great so far. I'm happy to keep going on my own but curious what others have to say about TA.

Any advice as to pros and cons of this portion of TA is appreciated.  Thanks in advance for your replies.


Routes / Fort Knox,KY restricted?
« on: March 20, 2016, 12:57:17 pm »

My cross country route has me entering and exiting Fort Knox, KY on route 60/31W on the approach into Louisville.  I am not entering the fort proper, just using the highway to cross the base. 

Q: are there restrictions or restricted times or days to crossing Fort Knox on route 60/31W as there often are with other U.S. Military bases?

The Army website is not very helpful except to say I need government photo mention of restriction but I want to be sure I don't have a nasty surprise when I arrive.  Anyone know about this? 

Thanks in advance for your reply.

Routes / Katy Trail riding conditions?
« on: January 23, 2016, 09:04:24 pm »

The Missouri segment of my cross-country ride will take me along the Katy Trail. I am planing to join the Katy Trail in Boonville, MO and head eastbound 'til it ends near the Mississippi River...about 170 miles. I tour on a stock Trek road bike with no panniers (motels) and use 700X25 touring tires. A lightweight and solid setup but not super rugged. I am OK on packed gravel but not rough or deep gravel.

How is the Katy Trail?  What are conditions like?  On flat pavement I pace about 16 mph. Will I be able to keep this pace on the trail?  I know there are some washouts here and there but this ride is in May so hopefully all good by then.

Any advice is helpful.   Thanks.

Routes / Looking for a good Manhattan - Westchester County, NY route.
« on: September 01, 2015, 01:31:01 pm »
Can someone suggest the best route from Manhattan (Hudson River Greenway) to join the Old Putnam Trail/S. County Bikeway in the Bronx?

I understand the Broadway Bridge is the only cycling friendly bridge crossing at the north end of Manhattan?  Is that right?  What is the best route approaching the bridge from the West side/Hudson River Greenway and once across, through the Bronx to Van Courtland Park where the trail begins?

I see many Google route options and various roads..some with bike routes and others without..and can pick my way through but, as we know, local knowledge is better than any Google search/Map will come up with. 

Thanks.  -Ben

Specifically Patterson to Merced.  Then Merced to Oakhurst.

I know this is an obsure route (actually it is part of a much longer journey) but there are a myriad of road options and none look very good to using Google Map. Options in the valley all appear to have either No riding shoulder, heavy traffic, unpaved roads and the rest. Options in the Sierra foothills are numerous and round-about. Surely there is an optimal route?  Roads to avoid are just as useful.

I can live with having no riding shoulder or some truck traffic...just not at the same time.

This forum has helped me with this type of thing in the past so hoping someone has a suggestion.

Routes / ACA Green Mtns Route in early Oct?
« on: August 23, 2014, 09:34:22 pm »
Thinking of spending a few days riding the ACA Green Mts route in Vermont early Oct to catch the fall colors and 200-300 miles on the bike..  Any local advice?  I will use camping.  I imagine the weather is unpredictable and will plan accordingly but what about the route and is this a good/bad time to ride in Vermont?

Thanks in advance for your replies.


Routes / Sacramento-Auburn, CA route advice please.
« on: November 16, 2013, 08:08:35 pm »

Any Sacramento area riders out there?  Can anyone advise a good route from Old Sacramento to Auburn, CA?

 I know it's only about 40 miles but it ends a long day riding from the Bay Area so my day will be 140 miles...about 9 hours.  I am planning to ride Nov  22 and it gets dark at 5pm so I'm looking for a quick and efficient route through Sacramento.  Not particularly interested in the scenic American River trail, although it's very nice, it meanders too much and is slower than I would like.

Seems to me Folsom Blvd to pick up Auburn-Folsom Rd is a straight shot but what about riding conditions?  Anyone with a better idea?

Thanks in advance for your input.

Routes / Ride across Nebraska route advice
« on: October 22, 2013, 10:57:25 am »
Hello everyone.

This site, and specifically the Routes forum, has been super helpful to me during planning of my Pony Express Route solo ride...Sacramento, CA - St. Joseph, MO.    I have broken the 2000 mile ride into 3 X one week segments to ride 1 segment each year.  Sacramento to Salt Lake City last year and SLC to Scottsbluff, NE this past July all went very smooth thanks to the careful planning and a bit of good luck.

I am planning the final phase of this trek for next Spring and looking for any good advice as to Nebraska riding conditions, good roads and roads to avoid.  I am not camping but traveling Credit Card style so anybody with info about where to stay or not stay is also helpful.  Currently in the initial planning stages so my route can be adjusted a bit but to stay true to the original Pony Express route it looks something like this:

Day 1- Scottsbluff, NE -Julesburgh, CO   
Day 2- J'burgh - N. Platte, NE            
Day 3- N. Platte – Kearney            
Day 4- Kearney –Nelson      
Day 5- Nelson – Marysville, KS         
Day 6- Marysville – St. Joseph, MO   

Thanks in advance for your input.


Routes / Edinburgh, UK route advice?
« on: August 27, 2013, 10:13:26 am »

I realize this site belongs to the AMERICAN Cycling Assoc but after some research I have come up empty looking for a simple answer.  Perhaps one of you can help.  To qualify: I am "American" and this site has helped me during my American trip planning so thought I would throw it out there.

I have 3 days to ride from/to Edinburgh, UK in early September.  I see many suggested "Cycling Routes" depicted in all different directions and wondering if anyone can suggest a general direction to head or better yet a specific route.  I prefer climbing but happy to ride on flat all day if that's necessary.  Will be staying at hotels/inns so no need to camp and can return by rail to make it a one-way trip.  The local cycling websites with route info are of the short 15-30 mile variety.  I am after an 80-100 miles per day plan.

Let's hear it...North, West or South?

Thanks!  -Ben

Routes / Advice for a ride beginning in NYC
« on: April 25, 2013, 08:34:17 am »

I am a West Coast rider and not familiar with the best routes in the NE.  Looking for your input.

I am planning. 4 day ride in mid-May to begin in the NYC area (Teterboro, NJ actually).  I will be traveling Credit Card style using motels/hotels and will plan to cover 80-120 miles per day.

Ideally I would like to ride one way and return by train but Amtrak seems to have bike restrictions on most trains in the NE with the exception of the "Empire Service" from Chicago which stops in Syracuse and Rome, NY so those would be good destinations.  My original plan was to head to Vermont but this idea was scuttled when I discovered the bike restrictions....same thing with Boston.

I suppose I could make a 350 mile loop out of it but would prefer to "go somewhere".  I have the option to rent a car and retun to NYC that way but this would be a last resort.

As you can see my plan is wide open so wondering If there's a general direction anyone can recommend?  Hudson Valley, Erie Canal, Finger Lakes, Pennsylvania? I'm solo and very flexible so any input of where to go, or where NOT to go, is appreciated....just looking for a good route or general direction to begin my planning.

Thanks.   -Ben

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