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Messages - Adventure Division

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Routes / Re: Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route
« on: July 21, 2014, 09:41:52 pm »

I get these following questions a lot, and was hoping you guys would be able to shed some light: How was riding the Main Route with a cross bike? What tires did you use? Was there any specific point that you felt the Main Route overwhelmed the tires, bikes and pannier setup?

Anyways, I'm Glad you guys had a great ride, and I 2nd breakfast at the Stanley Baking Company and beer at the Galena Lodge!


First off thanks again for creating an awesome route!!!

Overall I thought that the main route was no problem on a cross bike and Christine agrees.  She had previous experience on some 100+ gravel races but I literally only had 20 miles of gravel road biking in my life going into this trip.  Also I've only used a mountain bike once in my life so all I will say is that if you already own a cross bike then it's not necessary to go buy a mountain bike just to use on the main route.

I actually used my exact same bike set up from my 12 day Pacific Coast tour from Portland OR to San Jose CA back in May of this year:

I stuck with my 32mm Continental Tour Ride Tires which I believe are the same ones that come stock on the Surly Long Haul trucker.  Christine also had 32mm tires with similar tread.

With my setup, I did not have to hike on any portions of the climbs but I definitely had to take rests.  My rear tire would only start slipping on the real steep parts that were sandy.  Christine had to hike with her bike on certain steep parts of the climbs when the dirt road became too crappy.  A nice gentleman we met who had completed the Continental Divide last year was hiking in the real steep spots also.

The sections that had the most washboard and sand were probably the most annoying parts of the ride and I assume that wider tires and shocks would provide a smoother ride.

The downhills were probably the sketchest part for our bike setups especially when hitting sandy spots with decent speed.  I could feel the front tire losing traction in the sand and wanting to slide left or right if I didn't hold my line straight.  For the most part though, this was not an issue on most of the downhills and could easily be avoided by taking it slower on the descents.  My arms were definitely tired after the real bumpy downhill parts and shocks would probably help eliminate some of that stress.

Long story short....  We had no problems using our cross bikes with rear panniers and 32mm tires on the main route.

Just stay off the Toll Road :)

Routes / Re: Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route
« on: July 20, 2014, 03:05:50 pm »
My girlfriend Christine and I recently finished the main route over 9 days starting and finishing in Ketchum for a total of 545 miles on cross bikes with rear panniers and handle bar bags (counter clockwise).  June 24th to July 2nd.  I was on a Surly Cross Check and Christine was on Motobecane Fantom Cross.

The trip was awesome!!!  The views were incredible and Idaho is a very beautiful part of the country.

We actually ran into Joshcp above on our very first day and ate breakfast with him at the Stanley Baking Co the following day and camped with him that evening.  Great to meet you Josh!  He took the attached picture of us.

Feel free to ask me any questions.  Here are a few tips, pointers etc:

-It rained more than expected and it was decently cold at the top of the Lick Creek Pass because of the rain. (There was still snow on the ground in spots)

-A lot of the hot springs were still under water at this point in the year.  (This didn't bother me because I actually had more fun swimming and cooling off in the cold rivers on the hot days)

-Be careful on the descents!!!  Especially if you are by yourself.  The descents are really fun and go for miles but you would not want to eat it really hard with no one around.  Make sure your brakes are good!

-Christine only got 1 flat tire and that was from a sharp piece of glass in McCall.  So flats did seem to be any type of issue.

-You can camp for free the whole time.

-Make sure to stop and visit the nice folks at the Galena Lodge restaurant north of Ketchum (local bikers were eating and having a beer there) and eat breakfast at the Stanley Baking Co in Stanley.

-Carry enough water on the hill climbs.  There are good water sources the entire route but some of the hill climbs get hot and are away from water for stretches.

-Be conscious of vehicles.  Because you don't see very many in spots it's easy to get lulled into forgetting that vehicles do use these dirt roads.

-We parked at the YMCA in Ketchum.  Great place to take a shower at the end of the trip.  We also bouldered on their inside boulder wall.  It says no overnight parking but a little birdie told me it is not an issue.

-The single track on the Old Galena Toll road was extremely difficult on a cross bike with loaded rear panniers.  I only did the first 3 miles of it before hoping back on SR 75.  I didn't have to walk my bike but those 3 miles were the most exhausting stretch for me out of the entire trip.  I decided to skip the next "rocky, faint, deteriorating road" part of it which the Galena Lodge staff said was not maintained for fallen trees.  Christine made the wise decision of staying on SR 75 the entire time.

-A bike computer seemed pretty crucial in spots for keeping track of distances.  Navigation was straight forward but it was definitely good to follow the mileage markers on the cue card.  A backup map of the forest service roads would probably be a good idea to have with just in case you get off course (a nice ranger gave us his for one of the areas we were in but luckily we didn't have to use it).

That's all I can think of at the moment.  I am going to write up a journal of our trip on which I hopefully will finish within a week or so.

Overall I give major props to the route creator Casey Green and his fellow researchers.  Christine and I had the time of our lives.  It was both a fun and challenging route.  Thanks!

Derek Radtke

Routes / Re: Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route
« on: June 02, 2014, 02:41:34 pm »
Have there been problems with break ins there?  I usually just park the car in town on the street or at a trail head when I go backpacking.  When in doubt I ask someone near where I park if it is likely to be OK.  If really in doubt I ask the local police where a good place to park is (if a town is large enough to have a cop).  I figured on doing the same for this bike packing trip.

I am sure you are fine with what you normally do on your travels for parking.  I did not hear about any problems with break ins.  I only asked about more secure options because we actually will be leaving our work laptops, extra camping gear and rock climbing gear in the truck (locked and out of site but you never know...).  If we didn't have all of this extra gear, I would not worry about theft.

Routes / Re: Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route
« on: June 02, 2014, 10:52:42 am »
I have had good luck using warmshowers for parking arrangements

Good idea to look into, thanks!

Routes / Re: Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route
« on: June 01, 2014, 07:29:26 pm »
My GF and I are planning on driving out from California and riding half of this route starting around June 24th-June 26th (Going counter clockwise starting from Boise or Idaho City and taking the Lowman Cutoff back to our starting point)

Two more questions about this route:

1. Is there a good/secure place to park our truck?  My first thought was parking it at the Boise airport ($9 a day is reasonable to be worry free)  But if there was a good parking option in Idaho City then that would be great to know about also.

2. How are the bugs this time of year? (Late June - Early July)  The map notes recommend bug repellent but I would like to give my GF a heads up if the bugs could possibly be really bad.

I figured I would just add these questions to this thread which had a variety of questions on this route already but I can start a new one if that is better.

Can't wait to bike the route!


Derek Radtke

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