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Messages - adventurepdx

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1
Routes / Re: Interstate Alternatives
« on: October 12, 2021, 09:19:01 pm »
The trouble w commenting with anything one experiences on a route like this is your sample size is 1. I will defer to you as a local that I-84 at that stretch doesn’t always suck. The morning I was there it was nose to tail heavy truck traffic and the shoulder was covered in debris and the wind was howling out of the east. It’s not a long stretch but riding into a 30 mph headwind it wasn’t “fast” to get thru.

In this case it's more about tolerance to traffic. I can deal with busy like this in small bits, so 84 through here doesn't faze me as much as it would others. But I wouldn't choose it if there was a better alternative (and better than WA 14 on the other side, even though it's a two lane state route, shoulders are infrequent and truck traffic is high.) I will say that the shoulder of I-84 is often debris-strewn, and having to ride it into a headwind would not be fun (and yeah, I have done that too.)

I actually really liked the SC route, it was one of my favorite tours but it’s not for everyone. And I presume you're referring to the alternate route near crater lake, I did not take that.

Yep, that's the part. I planned on using that alternate, and once I found it unrideable I had to go to Crater Lake "the long way". This made me have to cut a day of riding on the tour, as I was on a tight timeline.

2
Routes / Re: Interstate Alternatives
« on: October 12, 2021, 08:48:50 pm »
Not to be a scold and it’s not an interstate per se, but Ca 58 as your nearing Tehachapi is part of the Sierra Cascades route and it is a major 4 lane highway at that point with as much traffic as any interstate. And as soon as you get on it there’s a big sign “No Bicycles on Highway”. Your only on it for 5-6 miles and I was passed by a police car during that time who apparently felt he had better things to do then hassle a cyclist. I only bring it up as the ACA maps are not always a guarantee that it’s legal to ride every mile of the route.

I heard that when ACA planned the Sierra Cascades Route, they hired the guy who originally wrote the Pacific Crest Bike Trail book, which came out around 1990. But he didn't actually bike the route again, just used a car to do recon. Don't know if it's true, but I can believe it, as some choices on the SC didn't make a heck of a lot of sense. Or when they provided a "gravel alternative", it was practically unrideable (if you didn't have at least plus tires) loose pumice.

And speaking of interstates and the Sierra route, most of the little stretches of Interstate I’ve been on have been fine, however I-84 between Cascade Locks and Hood River Oregon was pure misery.

I've ridden that section numerous times. I wouldn't call it "pure misery", but it's not a lot of fun. It's at least fast to get through. They're hopefully going to complete the section of the Historic Columbia River Hwy bike path through there in the near future, so you won't have to ride that anymore.

3
Routes / Re: Interstate Alternatives
« on: October 12, 2021, 08:44:39 pm »
That trend toward wide tires isn't universal, some folks are touring with ultralight gear on road bikes with skinny tires or touring bikes with not so wide tires.  I might choose different tires depending on the tour, but I have fairly recently gone coast to coast camping and cooking with 25mm tires (actually started out wth 23mm until they wore out).  The guy I rode with was on similar tires.  Neither of us regretted our choice.  I didn't pay too much attention, but I think most of the people we met were running the old standatd 32mm tires.

I wonder if it's a generational thing. Folks my age or younger seem to be into bikepacking with wide tires. Sure, there's a few people who might tour on a road bike, but it's rare. Then again, most people bikepacking are going to stick with bikepacking routes, so it doesn't matter that much to them that ACA routes are 99% pavement. For me, I like to do a mix of gravel and paved, so I'll use things like ACA routes where I can.

4
Routes / Re: Interstate Alternatives
« on: October 12, 2021, 03:18:15 pm »
My guess is that ACA would not route onto a freeway unless it was legal to do so.

As Jamawani points out, in the majority of Western states it is legal to ride a freeway outside of metro areas. Here in Oregon bikes are banned from Interstates in the Portland Metro (I-5/I-405/I-205/I-84) and a section of I-5 in Medford is also off limits to bikes. (Interestingly enough, you can ride on the freeway section of US 26 west of the Jefferson St exchange, and that's pretty urban. OR-217 is also open to bikes and that's all urban.)

I'd rather ride a gravel road that parallels an interstate as long as the gravel road isn't horrible. I'm guessing that ACA still weights towards interstate shoulder over gravel because touring bike tires used to be fairly narrow. Nowadays many people tour with wider tires that can handle gravel/unpaved OK, but ACA may still think in that old paradigm.

5
General Discussion / Re: The Big American Bike Ride
« on: September 14, 2021, 08:49:40 pm »
It seems odd that there are no additional links or references.
A couple of glossy photos - no maps, not even a general one.
Which sets off red flags in my mind.

You don't have to be as big as REI or Trek -
but I think you need to identify who you are.

It just seems to me that it's a person or three that has a big idea, but not much else.
You can always write to them in Mount Vernon for their credentials.

6
General Discussion / Re: The Big American Bike Ride
« on: September 14, 2021, 07:00:28 pm »
@staehpj1, I don't think that having a BABR in '23 would reduce the impact of another Bikecentennial in '26. I think there's enough space and time for both of them to co-exist.

And yeah, it's possible that Adventure Cycling and the Big American Bike Ride are talking with each other. Perhaps ACA is relieved that someone else wants to do it. When Bikecentennial happened, the organization was all about the one big ride. Since then they have pivoted to a different organization. It would take a lot of energy for ACA to pull this off again. I doubt they could just have the regular staff work on another Bikecentennial in their free time, they would have to hire staff just for the event. And they would have to have the extra funding, too, or they'd have to pull money from other things and put it into something that may not make much, if any revenue.

7
General Discussion / Re: The Big American Bike Ride
« on: September 14, 2021, 06:26:28 pm »
People can and do ride across the country every year.  The theme of this ride is so similar to a Bikecentennial type thing as to detract IMO. 

But Bikecentennial happened only once, 45 years ago. That's quite some time ago. No Millennial or Gen Z was even born yet. Heck, I'm Gen X and it happened when I turned one. I'm sure there's many folks who have no clue as to what "Bikecentennial" is or was.

Has Adventure Cycling Association made any noises about celebrating the 50th anniversary with another Bikecentennial-type event?

And does ACA hold intellectual copyright of the idea of a Bikecentennial style bike ride? Does the BABR folks need to clear it by them, or wait until ACA decides whether they'll do a Bikecentennial style event, or not?

And even if Adventure Cycling decides to do Bikecentennial 2026, it's three years after the Big American Bike Ride. That's quite a bit of time.


8
General Discussion / Re: The Big American Bike Ride
« on: September 14, 2021, 05:24:11 pm »

No it was a typo when I typed 150th, I meant to type 250th and I am talking about the Semiquincentennial in 2026.  I figure that these things are a once in a generation event.  A Big American Ride on the scale of Bikecentennial in 2023 seems like jumping the gun on what shoud be a huge event in 2026 and stealing their thunder.  It seems like very unfortunate timing to me.  Maybe I am wrong, but Bikecentennial is still a huge deal to me all these years later even though I missed it.  I didn't ride the route until decades later, but still I romanticise the idea of the 1976 ride that I missed. Honoring both that ride and the Semiquincentennial in 2026 seems like a slam dunk.

Maybe there is room for both and they are far enough apart.  Maybe there won't be a 2026 ride.  Maybe both will fail.  I'd rather see the energy go into a 2026 reprise of Bikecentennial.

I feel that the '76 Bikecentennial Ride was indeed a once-in-a-generation thing. But that was also a different era, when the whole idea of "cross country bike tour" felt fresh and new. It's not so fresh and new anymore. More people are doing it, and I think there is room for a big event like this to happen every few years. Or would you rather keep it a "once in a generation" thing, then if you miss that event because you didn't hear about it, got into touring after it happened, had other things going on, etc. that you would have to wait another 10-20-25-50 years for it to happen again? I mean, it sounds like you were bummed that you missed it in '76. Wouldn't it have been nice to do something similar in '79 or '80?

I haven't been paying attention, but I haven't heard anything about what ACA is doing for the 50th Anniversary. I know that they had a big party for the 40th, I didn't go and am bummed that I missed that one. It sounded like a lot of work to pull off Bikecentennial, and after it the ACA heads decided to put their energies elsewhere and work on a route network that people could ride anytime. I'm very thankful that they chose that option vs. trying to put on another Bikecentennial scale event every 2-5-10 years or so. Maybe ACA just doesn't want to do Bikecentennial again?

I don't really know anything about the Big American Bike Ride, I just heard about it today via this thread. Checking out the website, the routing will be totally different than the TransAm, starting in Washington State and heading to DC. (They are based in Mount Vernon, WA.) I'm guessing that the route may use bits and pieces of the ACA network, like the Northern Tier. And I'll admit, I'm interested. My last cross-country tour was ten years ago, it'd be fun to do it again. Being part of something bigger would be a bonus.

I do love what ACA does, and they are trying to get the next generations (Millenials/Gen Z) interested. But they aren't always succesful. For example, beyond info sent by ACA I see little on the internet about their Bike Travel Weekend during the first weekend of June. However, I see scads and scads of posts on Instagram about Swift Industries Summer Solstice Campout that happens just a couple weeks later. At first I was a bit grumbly about it, as Swift was "stealing Adventure Cycling's thunder". But then I thought more about it: Swift is reaching a demographic (younger, more diverse, more into the idea of bikepacking vs. trad touring) that ACA still isn't reaching as much as they should/want to. And perhaps the Great American Bike Ride is doing something similar? And they are their own thing, so I don't think it's productive to tell them they should be putting their energy towards a hypothetical ACA event instead.

In any case, I'm interested to see what the BABR folks are up to. So I'll wait and see.

9
General Discussion / Re: The Big American Bike Ride
« on: September 14, 2021, 03:35:01 pm »
Why 2023? I fear it will detract from any event on the 50th anniversary of Bikecentennial and 150th anniversary of the signing of the declaration of independence.

If we're talking about the US Declaration of Independence, that was signed in 1776. The 250th Anniversary of that (Semiquincentennial) would be 2026, not 2023.

But maybe you're referring to a different Declaration of Independence?

10
General Discussion / Re: Deciphering AMTRAK
« on: July 27, 2021, 01:20:42 pm »

That would be a good reason...if only it were true...

Highways are paid for mostly by user fees in the form of fuel taxes.  Still, if you add in various high-cost 'bridge to nowhere' pork-barrel projects, there's overall around a 1¢/mile general taxpayer subsidy for automobile, intercity bus and heavy truck transportation.

https://usa.streetsblog.org/2013/01/23/drivers-cover-just-51-percent-of-u-s-road-spending/


Fuel taxes do not pay 100% of highways/roads. There are other subsidies, and they are significant. And if we want to go down that road, there's the whole "bikes don't pay for their share of the roads, so don't deserve to be on them" argument that gets thrown around because of that assumption.

So, Amtrak subsidies were 36 cents per passenger mile pre-COVID.  Amtrak is currently carrying about 0.11% of this country's passenger traffic, and basically 0% of the country's freight.  If Amtrak were totally and completely shut down this afternoon, the impact would not even be able to be measured on next quarter's GDP.

https://usa.streetsblog.org/2012/09/21/reminder-amtrak-subsidies-pale-in-comparison-to-highway-subsidies/

Despite it all, Amtrak covers 85 percent of its operating costs with ticket sales and other revenues, according to that link.

And if we want Amtrak to have more than a below 1% share of travel in the US, the only way is to expand the network. And the only way to do that is give them more money, not continuously starve them as they have been for 50 years while saying they get too much money at the same time.

My question stands:  Can someone give me a compelling reason why I should ask the American tax payers to subsidize my adventures?

How about this:
Americans need more options for travel. Built-in redundancy is good, especially when one mode has to suddenly shut down (9/11). And if we are concerned about climate change, one way to combat that is by getting people out of their cars and out of airplanes. Bicycling is good, but I don't always have the time to bike long-distances.

11
General Discussion / Re: Deciphering AMTRAK
« on: July 26, 2021, 03:10:18 pm »
Can someone give me a compelling reason why I should ask the American tax payers to subsidize my adventures?

Because other forms of transportation in America get more subsidies?

Roads and airports get A LOT of money from American tax payers. Amtrak has been starved from its inception, and if we want better train service and alternatives to just roads and planes, they are going to need more $$.

12
General Discussion / Re: Deciphering AMTRAK
« on: July 24, 2021, 03:37:30 pm »
Have you checked out these two links? If you haven't, you definitely should:
https://www.amtrak.com/bike
https://www.amtrak.com/onboard/bring-your-bicycle-onboard/bike-faqs.html

In short, if the train doesn't have some sort of roll-on bike service, to bring a bike aboard:
  • You will need to box the bike. Amtrak provides boxes for a cost, but sometimes a station may be out of boxes.
  • The train you take will have to have checked baggage service.
  • Both the origin station and destination station have to have checked baggage service.

13
If you use the Interstate Bridge (I-5) from Vancouver to Portland, there's not that much bike path you'd be on, the rest is city streets.
Taking the Glenn Jackson Bridge (I-205) would mean more bike path, but that would be going out of your way if you are trying to get to central Portland.

14
The Sam Hill Memorial Bridge is only a half-mile long. A number of the bridges on the Pacific Coast Route are longer. The most oft-discussed bridge there is the Coos Bay Bridge, which is over a mile long.

People do talk about the Coos Bay Bridge, but I think the Pacific Coast bridge people fear most is the Astoria-Megler Bridge, which is a whopping four miles long! The fear of this bridge has people going far out of the way to avoid it. (I'm pretty sure that's the reason why ACA's Pacific Coast Route through Washington is so weird.) I've ridden it several times, and didn't find it anywhere near as bad as people made it out to be. I think the length is what gets people worked up--no matter how fast you ride, you are going to spend at least fifteen minutes of your life on this bridge, and once on, there's no way out until the other end.

One good thing about the Astoria bridge is there are traffic lights at both ends, controlling the flow of vehicles onto the bridge. Traffic comes in waves vs. being a steady flow. So there will be a minute or two with no cars passing, then a minute or two of cars passing.

Getting back to the Sam Hill Bridge, there is a light on the south side of the bridge, so if you are northbound you'll have that same "waves of cars" phenomenon like the Astoria Bridge.


15
I did it once. It seemed OK to me. Yeah, there's not much of a shoulder but traffic was courteous. I liked it more than crossing The Dalles Bridge (US 197) to the west, though that bridge has a sidewalk.

My least favorite bridge across the Columbia has to be the Lewis and Clark (Longview) Bridge further west.

As for suggestions: I always ride these kind of bridges as fast as I can.

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