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Messages - Bclayden

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Cycling with a passport? That sounds lame.

Have things changed at Fort Hunter Ligget?  I’ve cycled through the fort on Jolon Rd/N-F Rd many times and have never seen the security gate manned. I don’t go onto the central base proper, however, just pass through.

The last time I was there was in June, 2017 and many times before that.

General Discussion / Re: What state is your favorite to ride in?
« on: September 24, 2017, 10:32:40 am »
I know this is not everyone's cup of tea but I discovered that by flying a small US flag from my saddlebag I gave myself, or it appeared so, an advantage. Good 'ol Boys in trucks always gave me a wide berth and I crossed the country Coast-to-Coast trough 12 states and some very diverse parts  of US and not once had even a horn blasted at me. No flying beer cans or nasty taunts to be sure. All very mellow. The flag is neutral and I'm not making a political statement, just a friendly gesture.

Maybe I was lucky but the flag, if you are into it, can't hurt....especially in the Red Neck states...which, let's face it, are most of them not on the coasts.

Routes / Re: Western Express EB start end of this month
« on: September 18, 2017, 07:12:16 pm »
WE eastbound has some big climbs but nothing terribly steep. Carson Pass is a grind at about 6% for a long day. Sacramento-Woodfords took me 10 hours.  My log says 122 miles and climbed 10,000' that day.  Carson Pass is not 10,000' high but there is some up and down along the way that adds up. 

Once in Nevada the climbs are much shorter and way more mellow.  Still lots of climbing across the Basin and Range though. You might climb 3 passes in a day but I would say 3-4% grades on average.  NV passes are the 7000' variety but you're in high desert so valleys are 4-5000'. I didn't find it difficult at all.

I left the WE at the Utah border so I can't help you with Colorado. 

Routes / Re: Another way to cope with dogs
« on: July 16, 2017, 02:46:31 pm »
turn off the headlight,
Do you ride at night?

Umm, no.  That would be unsafe. Let me you ask this...when you're driving your car, day or night, who do you notice coming toward you first..the cyclists with or without the bright headlight?

Routes / Re: Another way to cope with dogs
« on: July 15, 2017, 08:19:02 pm »
Just completed an Eastern Kentucky, Southern West Virginia crossing (not on any of the Trans Am route) and I had quite a few dog encounters but nothing gnarly. The trick is to see them before they see you. Learned to scan the front yard for any dog that might be near the road, turn off the headlight, never freewheeling as the clicky-clack would be a dead giveaway, picked up speed and always beat the dog to the end of his property. In a dozen or so dog races I did get caught on a steep uphill once. In my experience the KY dogs are just another element like weather and traffic and wind....Not ideal but part of the adventure.

General Discussion / Re: What state is your favorite to ride in?
« on: June 08, 2017, 08:49:39 pm »
They're all one way or another.  I've toured in 30 states so far and sure, the spectacular scenery of the West, New England and its history, the vast countyside of the Plains, is all good, but one of my favorites is, perhaps surprisingly, Nebraska. During a Coast-to-Coast ride I had low expectations for NE.  After 5 days crossing the entire width of the state I didn't want it to end. Plenty of Friendly folks and quality country roads. Nebraska not likely to be on the bucket list for many but I will be back.

I have noticed road maintenance and quality varies quite dramatically from state to state. In my experience NJ and CA (where I live) are about the worst. KY is pretty good,  Hawaii about the best I've seen outside of Europe.  A discussion about states (or counties, as they vary also) and the quality of the road might be good for another topic.

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'.

General Discussion / Re: Arriving by Amtrak
« on: May 11, 2017, 12:28:06 am »
I travelled on the California Zephyr to return from a Sacramento-SLC ride with the bike, in a box, checked into the Amtrak baggage. No other luggage. All worked fine except for the Reno Police checking on me during the short layover there. They asked why I was... travelling alone, with no bags, last minute one-way cash ticket, etc. Cops said I fit the profile for running drugs and weapons across country. "You rode your bicycle, alone, from Sacramento to Salt Lake City?" Cop was skeptical...Then I showed him my epic farmer tan.

I live along this route (Santa Cruz, CA) and ride up and down the coast often. Low visibility is a way of life during the summer fog season. I always use both a flashing headlight so cars ahead see me coming and taillight for the texting driver coming up behind. There are no guarantees but I'm one for reducing risk as much as possible.

Most of your route is rural of course but you will be spending time in congested areas with some heavy traffic during commute times of day.  Lots of lights are a good thing.

For years I've used the drop down handlebar mirror mentioned. It eventually becomes part of your scan and gives you good situational awareness but not much for detail. You can't really spend time staring at it because you must take your eyes off the road. Only a quick glance. It's an I--see-something-big-coming-but-can't-identify-it-exactly sort of thing. Also, if you sweat a lot, as I do, it will require a regular wipe-down. And like any mirror is only effective if you're looking at it.

General Discussion / Re: Best way to ship bike to hawaii
« on: April 13, 2017, 06:01:10 pm »
Have you checked out  They have contracted rates with FedEx that should be cheaper than doing it yourself. They usually ship FedEx Ground so I'm not sure how they would handle your request. I have used Bikeflights on the mainland and can recommend them.

You can always rent a bike in Hilo. Many visitors do this. Hilo is a college town and therefore has a few bike shops. 2 that I am familiar with are Mid Pacific Wheels and Hilo Bike Hub.  I would suggest talking to Mid Pacific first. Also, if you ship your bike they might be able to accept the shipment...and for a fee will reassemble so it's good to go when you arrive.

Hawai'i Island is a good 250-300 miles around...depends which route you take.  There is no way to avoid ALL the Tradewinds but if you circle the entire island ounterclockwise it USUALLY works best.

Over the years I've spent more time touring Hawai'i Island than just about any other place and quite familiar with the place from a cyclists perspective..except I use hotels and know nothing of camping there.  if you have questions send me a message.

Have fun and Aloha.

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. 

Routes / Re: Transamerica route question
« on: March 23, 2017, 10:54:08 am »
Agreed. Ditch the jeans and find a lightweight alternative. 1 set is all you will need. You will be fine traveling with 2 days worth of riding and street clothes and do the washing every other day. Easy to find coin-op laundry places in nearly every town.

I pack 1 set of shorts with the zip-on/off legs made of synthetic lightweight material. The kind hikers wear. Most of my touring is in warm places or during summer and I only had to bust out the long legs 1 time in past 5 years. Stylish? Perhaps not, but functional.

I only pack shirts, 1 long sleeve and 2 short sleeve, made of dry-wicking synthetic material. The sort runners wear. Lightweight, compact, fast drying and the material does not absorb odors so less washing. Also, does not wrinkle.

What about your street shoes?  I tour with a pair of flip-flops  Super lightweight, compact, and fine for most occasions in my world but not everyone's cup of tea.

I suppose everyone has their own way of packing and will figure out what works best for you once you head out on the road.

Less is more! 

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 / Re: Pfeiffer Bridge at Big Sur work around
« on: March 22, 2017, 12:17:19 am »
There is a good paved route that bypasses the road closure. I have done it several times. It includes one of the most scenic and spectacular descents I've ever seen. 

Disclaimer: I have not done the route since the wet winter of 2017 has caused so many road closures so best to check conditions.

Also this route will add about 50 miles (and perhaps a day) and, although mostly remote and very scenic, has substantial climbing in parts but it's paved the entire way with little traffic. It will get you around Pfeiffer on paved roads and is only way to do this as far as I know.

From Monterey/Carmel take Carmel Valley Rd/Aroyo Seco Rd to Greenfield. Metz-King City Rd to King City.  Jolon Rd to Fort Hunter Ligget (Army base that allows thru traffic) to join Naciamento-Fergussen Rd which takes you back to Highway 1 and the coast about 25 miles south of Pfeiffer.

There will still be plenty of Highway 1 Big Sur type scenery to enjoy heading South.

You will never forget the long, steep and spectacular descent from the high ridge to the coast on Nac/Ferg Rd. Simply amazing.

Good for you Slowroll. Cycling adventures are full of challenges and rewards. For me, the best rewards are the memories and the feeling of accomplishment which never gets old. You will see.

I spend a lot of my time zipping back and forth from coast-to-coast at 37,000 feet but now when I look down on those "fly over states" I see them a lot differently than I ever had before. It's a nice feeling.

Good luck to you.

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