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Messages - zzzz

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Hi Lachlan:

You read my post exactly as I layed it out. But as I mentioned I have only done the bike shipping part, not the travel w bike alternate, and the refunded customs fee I have been told is the case but did not hear about it until after my last trip.

The whole customs business seems to have a lot of discretion. I don't know if they never assess customs on a bike you fly with or ride across the border or rarely do or they are one budget shortfall of instituting a new policy.


Routes / Re: Colorado Springs to Minneapolis route?
« on: April 12, 2017, 03:30:51 pm »
Not to pile on but the 30 mph struck me as soon as I read it as well. We have a fair number of southern hemisphere  (Australia, NZ, Argentina etc.) olympic team members who spend our summers (their winters) in the area to race at our local velodrome. They can barely hold 30 mph for an hour.

Just because you should have a realistic idea of time/speed before you leave you should get a bike computer and nail this down. Seven hours a day on the bike averaging 10 mph vs 7 hours a day at 15mph is a 500 mile week vs a 700 mile week.

Or, you could be a prodigy which might be interesting to know.


"And you need to do it without turning your head, because looking over your shoulder will cause you to drift the way you're looking"

Over the years I've gotten a number of people into cycling by going out with them after they buy a bike and taking several rides w them until they feel safe(r) and confident on the road. I try to do this by emphasizing the fundamentals. Those are things like riding in a predictable manner in a straight line, where to place yourself on the road etc.

One skill I always hammer home is to be able to look over your shoulder and to maintain a straight line while your head is turned. Primarily whats required is to not twist your
shoulders when you turn your head. I don't happen to use a mirror but I think this should be part of the skill set of every rider, even those that use a mirror, and worth practicing on a empty piece of road until it become second nature.

Shipping into Banff last year I was assessed something like $170 Canadian on my bike in which the declared value was $3000. I have since heard, but do not know definitively, that if you save your customs receipt you can get that fee refunded at the customs office when you leave. The amount of the customs fee is a bit of a mystery but whoever signs for your box will need to be willing to pay up for you or you will need to send them a check proplahalacticly and work out your change when you get there.

I have always shipped my bike to the LBS because I trust there wrenching ability more that mine. If you have no concerns in that regard you may be better off shipping to a host or hotel as then you don't have to work around the bike shops hours.

Use either ShipBikes or BikeFlights for shipping. The rates they have negotiated are a fraction of what you will pay at the window. They will also provide you w/ all the proper paperwork. Also note that there is a maximum size for your package for international shipping before it falls into another, more expensive, category (sorry, can't remember the dimensions). Depending on how big your bike is it may require quite a bit of dis-assembly to fit in a box that size.

That's what I got.


General Discussion / Re: Bears in Canada?
« on: March 27, 2017, 12:46:44 pm »
I understand the reasoning now for the question. You may want to hang your food because of raccoons, regardless of the bear situation but that doesn't have the same level of danger.

Below is a link to the page on Chris Poutney's journal on CGOAB from his RTW trip. He was camping somewhere in Quebec when his pannier got demo'd by a bear.

I'm sure by spending some small amount of time reading the journal you can determine exactly where he was if you're curious. I would have but I need to get back to work.


General Discussion / Re: Bears in Canada?
« on: March 26, 2017, 09:31:40 pm »
Hi Lucas:

Over the years on this forum some people's posts have stood out for me and I make it a point to see whatever they have posted. You are one of those people. Because of that I know you have previously ridden the TransAm, the NT, and the GDMBR. So you have already pedaled thru some of the most densly bear populated areas of North America.

A look at a bear distribution map says your route will have at least black bears almost the entire way. And as you well know, you then always take the standard set of precautions and then you put it to the back of your mind.

Since you made this post I assume you have some special concern and I'm wondering what it is.


Gear Talk / Re: Idworx Easy Rohler
« on: March 21, 2017, 04:03:36 pm »
Those are really good questions, they zero in on exactly what the issues are on what I suggested.

Here are some options for bikes that may fit the bill for you (I don't know your budget).

- Co-Motion makes several bikes that would work. Their frames are chrome-moly. They make a variety of models but here's one example:

You already know about Lynskey and in a similar vein there's Habernaro :

And if you're prepared to really go upmarket you could go with a Moots:

Although w what a Moots costs you can go to one of the better custom frame builders around.

One trouble w loading up a road bike with all the weight on the rear rack is that it can get squirely on the big downhills. I got a pair of the "everything" bags for the forks and a small frame bag and put any small and relatively heavy item in them to spread out the load and I haven't had an issue at any time since I did this.

This Tubus rack will give you some extra heel clearance but I use the Tubus Fly w the smallest size Arkels panniers and thats enough storage for me and my heel doesn't hit.

And last, if I haven't given you enough to read already.... This link is to an excellent article on ultra-light touring that I have referenced repeatedly.

The fact that you only weigh 107 lbs is all the more reason to go light.


Gear Talk / Re: Idworx Easy Rohler
« on: March 20, 2017, 06:06:25 pm »
If I'm reading your self description right, up till now you've ridden a bike in as speedy a manner as you are capable of and you also say your backpacking experience has been of the lightweight variety.

I've never ridden the bike you've asked about but it really looks like a mount thats good for carrying big loads at a very modest pace and I don't believe thats the type of touring thats likely to suit you best.

If you're anything like me (and from your description I'm guessing you are), I'd get a fairly zippy steel or Ti road bike w rear rack mounts, quality wheels that have 32 spokes in a 3 cross pattern, clearance for 32mm tires, (although 28's will work for most trips), and pack pretty light (20 lbs of gear max). What I'm describing is my set-up and with in a couple of days on the road I hardly notice the extra weight of the gear and it feels like I'm just out on a ride. I'm maybe 2 mph slower than with a unladen bike.

There are lots of people who tour on bikes like the Idoworx, and they pack 40±lbs and they enjoy taking their time and they load them up with all kinds of things that make life on the road more comfortable and there is nothing wrong with that. Different strokes. But coming from your background I think it's going to feel like a brick. And since you're used to lightweight backpacking, you're used to doing w/o anything but the necessities when you're on the road.

Just my 2 cents.

I have no opinion on the Rohloff.


Routes / Re: Great Parks North - best timing
« on: March 07, 2017, 12:31:34 pm »
I'll add this to Carla's post about getting to Jasper.

I found that flying into Calgary was considerably cheeper then flying into Edmonton when I bought my tickets. In 2013 I rented a car one-way for about $150 to drive to Jasper. Last year when I started my trip in Banff I noticed that there was 2 different shuttle companies that operate out of Calgary Airport to get people over to the parks and I used one of them to get to Banff. They keep a very regular schedule although only a couple of the shuttles a day go all the way up to Jasper (most of the runs are just to Canmore and Banff). They had big seats and windows and I considered it to be a nice way to get there.


Routes / Re: Great Parks North - best timing
« on: March 07, 2017, 09:17:13 am »
I credit card toured the entire trip so I can't speak specifically to your question. Hopefully someone else will join in here who can.

I can say that the hotels in the towns I stopped at along the way were frequently almost empty. I would guess that less traffic in general probably means less action at the campsites as well. The one place you may want to make reservations at is in Glacier, although I didn't notice any signs up indicating that the campsites were full when I came thru.

I REALLY prefer to plan my trips around September just because of the way the crowds thin out.

My trip continued after Missoula & on to the TransAm and down to Colorado and the only bustling place I came upon was Yellowstone where both the hotels in West Yellowstone & all the campsites in the park were booked. I eventually found a hotel that had a cancelation but it sure looked for awhile like I was going to be spending the night in my emergency bivvy in a parking lot somewhere.


Routes / Re: Great Parks North - best timing
« on: March 06, 2017, 09:05:50 am »
Hi: I did the GPN route as a subset of a larger trip in 2013. I started in Jasper on Labor Day weekend heading south and it worked out pretty well. If I was to do it over again and if I had complete control of my schedule I would probably start the Tuesday after Labor Day (which is a Canadian holiday as well) just to minimize the traffic some more. Your late August start date (for a N to S trip) from Jasper would probably be just as good.

The highlights of the route are the Icefields Parkway and Going to the Sun Rd in Glacier NP as well as where you will find the crowds and traffic to be an issue.

I rode the Icefields Parkway again last year when I started my trip in Banff to ride to Alaska but it was on July 30/31 and the traffic was really heavy and persistent. There's a shoulder but there's a lot of big cracks in it and makes for unhappy time. And the scrum for getting something to eat/drink at Columbia Icefields was ridiculous. Traffic/crowds are much lighter in September. Also GTTS Rd is notorious for nose to tail traffic in the summer so getting there in mid-September is better.

A couple things of note. It was sunny and warm in the morning of 8/30 this year but I got hailed on going over Bowman pass and it was cold. Mountain whether is unpredictable, pack accordingly. Also Going to the Sun Rd has truncated hours in which they allow cyclists. You will need to look them up but it's something like 7-11 am and after 4:30. The park service also uses the season after Labor Day and before its closed for the winter to do road work. This worked out in my favor. I left early, like sunrise. The traffic behind me got congregated into little groups in the construction zones and passed me 4-6 cars at a time and then I had the road to yourself for another 20 minutes. It was bliss

It's a great route and I'm sure you'll enjoy it. Best of luck.


General Discussion / Re: Receiving mail on the road
« on: March 01, 2017, 12:30:27 pm »
Hi Connie:

General Delivery works just fine but there is a couple of things to be cautious of.

A lot of these small town post offices are open for very limited hours and can have limited days as well. Call directly the post offices you're thinking of sending it to for their schedule. Do not count on the hours posted on the web or you may be spending the night waiting for your meds. I have been told they will forward a package to the next post office but I have not tested that.

Larger towns can have 2 or more post offices, make sure your package is sent to the right one.

If you get to the post office and the person working the counter looks in the cab and says there's nothing in there with your name, politely ask if you can look for yourself before you panic. It may have been missed.

Lastly, make sure everything is good on your end. I once was stuck in Springdale Utah for a couple of days because I gave my wife the address of Springdale Ut but the zip code of Springfield Ut. In a thumbs up for the post office, they really worked to get it over to me as soon as they could.

I accidentally clicked on your name instead of the topic and noticed you're from Hawaii. Is your daughter shipping your meds from the islands or from a stateside location? the reason why I ask is the additional time it may take might make coordinating when you and the post arrive a little trickier.


General Discussion / Re: Cycling around the Grand Canyon Area
« on: February 24, 2017, 09:15:54 pm »
Hi Bevan:

I was leafing thru the latest issue of the ACA magazine and when I got to the back cover there was an ad for various ACA sposored tours. There are 2 tours they are running at and about the North Rim (the much better half of the GC) in September, each goes for 7 days.

Here are the links :

Hope this helps.


General Discussion / Re: Shipping Bike Box Trans AM
« on: February 20, 2017, 09:57:06 am »

I also use a hardshell case. I ship my bike ahead of time to a shop and have them put it together and then again at the end of the trip I have a shop break it down and ship it home. I have used both Shipbikes and Bikeflights to generate the paperwork (they both use FedEx for the actual shipping) and their prices are a fraction of walking up to their store front and shipping it. I have always been able to get the shop at the beginning or the end of the trip to hang on to the box. First step in getting to "yes" is to ask. I also give them some money for their trouble.

On a similar thread a few months ago someone else mentioned they've gotten their hotel to help them out on this problem. If you like to do your own wrenching this could be best as it also avoids coordinating when you're passing thru with the bike shop's hours.

There is a middle ground here between the hard shell case and the used bike store cardboard box. Both these shipping places sell reinforced cardboard boxes that look pretty sturdy. While I'm sure they aren't as tough as your hardshell they would make the logistics a whole lot easier. They're sold for around $40 and you can either break it down and use it again or toss it, but it should give some additional level of protection.

I'll also mention that I was hit with a $170 customs fee when I shipped my bike to Canada last year. I don't know what the US customs policy is on bikes but you may want to check into that and be ready for it whether you take the bike with you or ship it.


Hi Eleonore:

I'm the wrong gender to answer your questions directly but I'm going to suggest you go over to Crazy Guy on a Bike and in the Journals search box type in Solo Female. There you will find dozens or maybe hundreds of journals of women who have toured solo. In particular I have read Emily Sharp's journal about touring around Montana & Idaho and Susan Goettsch's journal from the Sierra Cascades route before I was going to do each of those trips and they were both well written w good photo's. While their routes are not your route I believe they both addressed the issue of rider safety of being alone on the road while female.

I ride alone and have now 5 month long trips so a total of a 150± days on the road. I have never been hassled and it has done nothing but reaffirm my belief that the overwhelming majority of people are at least okay and many are great. I would not have any problem encouraging my daughter to tour solo if she was ever so inclined. That said, you never know who you might come across. If I am remembering correctly there was an entry in Emily's journal about a guy who was a little too friendly and was giving her the creeps and I thought she handled it very well. Always listen to your instincts.

Best of luck,


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