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Messages - BikeliciousBabe

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General Discussion / Re: How to become a bike guide
« on: August 07, 2020, 08:44:45 am »

Stayed at Whitefish Lake S.P. during those two tours. Then went to Glacier for a few days during the first one before heading to Bigfork. Last year went straight to Bigfork from Whitefish. There was a crazy thunderstorm the morning I left. Hail covered the ground at the campground. That was right around the end of June.

Gear Talk / Re: Tents Designed for Bike touring
« on: August 06, 2020, 11:53:13 am »
I'm currently using an REI Quarter Dome 2. It's apparently no longer available,

It has been replaced by the Quarter Dome SL 2. Bought one this spring. Finally go to use it for the first time on July 1st, when it just so happened to pour for more than an hour. I like to live on the edge, so I didn't even take it out of the sack before starting the three-day trip. I did, however, feel around inside to determine if all the parts seemed to be present.

Definitely bulkier, heavier and longer than my Fly Creek UL 2, but it also has more room and has two doors.  Hangs a few inches more off the back than my Fly Creek does, but that is due in large part to the fact that I can't shove ii as far forward on the rack because the diameter is such that if I do, the backs of my thighs will hit it. Perhaps I will experiment with compression straps to combat this.

I will use it for shorter and/or easier terrain trips.

General Discussion / Re: How to become a bike guide
« on: August 06, 2020, 11:35:45 am »
I live in Northwest Montana!
Where abouts? I toured through the Cabinets, Troy and Yaak for a second time last year.

General Discussion / Re: Great American rail trail
« on: August 03, 2020, 07:42:32 am »
I read about cycling on the so-called east coast greenway. If ever a cycling route existed mostly in the imagination, the ECG is it, so far, anyway. I read comments on CGOAB. One cyclist said he could not believe the ECG people had done research research on the prescribed route which he described as narrow, with no side lane, dangerous, with loads of traffic, noisy and polluted.

In PA, south of Philadelphia, the ECG uses many miles of a road literally named "Industrial Highway." From the center of Philadelphia to the north, it's mostly on very busy, urban streets.

Routes / Re: Gibbons Pass Alternate
« on: July 28, 2020, 09:18:50 am »
Many thanks to both of you who replied on this.  I'm new to the forum, so don't know how to reply individually.  This is exactly what I was hoping to learn before considering the Alternate.  There's three of us in our group and we'll discuss your posts.  We'll probably stick to the pavement.

Made a little photo album:

The first four are from the climb. The second four are of the descent. Looks like the rider with the Crazy Guy journal may have ridden it after some rain.

If you want to try some dirt, I highly recommend the Old Darby Rd. Alternative south of Hamilton. The surface has been good the three times I have ridden it since 2011. Only a few, mild washboards. I think 32c tires would be fine, especially since there are no steep hills. And the scenery is terrific. Some photos of my various rides there:

The Laurin Alternative south of Sheridan should also be doable in 32c tires. It avoids about 8 miles of shoulderless highway.  I think there is a link to an on-line map on the addenda.

Finally, send me a PM if you would like more info. about places to stay, etc. I have ridden on the TA south of Missola several times since 2011, skipping only the stretch between Badger Pass and Twin Bridges in favor of an alternative routing to Twin Bridges.  In 2016, my last time out that way, I made it as far as Ennis before circling back towards Butte.

Routes / Re: Gibbons Pass Alternate
« on: July 27, 2020, 11:06:00 am »
Not sure if it was I who made the last comment you found. I rode it in 2014.  The north/west slope was generally not that well maintained. In fact, I believe there is a sign that reads "not maintained for vehicles" or something like that.  Note that the U.S.F.S. facility at the base of the climb is no longer a maintenance facility. That may have affected how often the pass is maintained.  Based on my experience, I think you would be pushing it on 32c tires on that side unless you are travelling on the light side. There were some places that had fallen rocks/stones and a generally rough surface. I lost traction a couple of times and had to push for short distances. When I finally made it to the top, there was a relatively narrow section of tree trunk that had clearly been placed across the road intentionally. I think the message that was trying to be sent was "If you can't drive over this you shouldn't be riding that slope." I did actually get passed by one vehicle heading south/east. Old timer with a dog in the front seat. His vehicle had good ground clearance. He was quite patient and waited until I came to a curve where there was enough room for me to pull over so he could pass. There are some stretches where that is not possible. There is a sign about the lack of pullouts for the first 6 or whatever miles at the base.

The south/east slope was an entirely different story. Except for the initial part of the descent, the grade is mild to very mild. The surface was either hard pack dirt or small gravel.  Easy riding.  There are some recreational opportunities back there, so expect to encounter some vehicles. I rode it mid-June and encountered maybe 5 on that side.

With all that said, if you think you can make it it's worth the ride. Some of the views going up are terrific. Make sure you look back when you are on the section where you have to choose which tire track to ride in. And make sure you choose the left one whenever possible. If you are on the right and fall to your right it's a long, steep slide down.  ;D I will post a link to some photos if I get a chance.

It would probably be a good idea to stop in the Sula Ranger Station to ask about current conditions because what things are like today could change tomorrow. It is located on U.S. 93 not that far beyond the Sula store/campground and just before the left turn for the pass. Note that I am pretty sure that office is closed on weekends.

Gear Talk / Re: Bag volume, weight, cost for touring/bike packing?
« on: July 27, 2020, 07:33:02 am »
I don't keep track of that kind minutia. My only advice is to get bags a little larger than you think you'll need so you'll have room for any extra you may pick up along the way - most notably food.
+1. And the thought of calculating cost/liter never once crossed my mine. It is simply not a consideration for me. I bought what I thought would meet my needs.

Gear Talk / Re: A must item
« on: July 27, 2020, 07:28:59 am »

Blood thinners.

General Discussion / Re: Easy Montana Touring Route & Checklist
« on: July 24, 2020, 10:06:36 am »
Don't miss the Lodge and Hot Springs at Elkhorn/Polaris. Pretty rustic and a real throwback in time but well worth the stop. Just don't expect four star accommodations. Do expect a laid back and friendly atmosphere and reasonable prices.
Stayed in the lodge the first time I rode the Byway. The floor of our room was so off kilter that the mattress tended to slide off part of the way. Still had fun though. We actually met an employee of ACA while there. You can also pitch a tent. Food wasn't half bad. What was bad in early July were the mosquitoes. Even when in the outdoor hot springs pool you had to keep dunking your head under for a break.

OP: Another option returning to Dillon from Divide Bridge is to take Melrose-Twin Bridges Country Road (a/k/a Melrose Bench Rd.) between those two towns and then the highway up to Dillon. But Melrose Bench is unpaved, hilly and rough in many places. The trade off is that it's really neat, and you will probably encounter far more free range cattle than cars. I have ridden the 20+ mile stretch three times. I think the greatest number of vehicles I encountered was 4.

General Discussion / Re: Great American rail trail
« on: July 20, 2020, 11:27:27 am »
I welcome the idea because anything that gets bicycle riding in the public eye and might get more people out and about is a good thing.  And while I’m hopeful they can build some new trail connections here and there due to the publicity of this newly named route, I don’t see them ever filling in all of the gaps.  Theres’s a lot of gaps to fill!  But I really like the big idea thinking behind this.

My only complaint is there seems to be a few head scratchers with regards to the actual route they picked.

For example, if you are heading west and go past Des Moines,IA instead of continuing west, the route heads in a southwesterly direction all the way to Lincoln, NE simply to access a what amounts to a handful of miles of established trail.  Then once in Lincoln, it’s all the way back north again, on roads, so you can connect to the Cowboy Trail.  That’s a lot of extra miles.

In my opinion, from just NW of Des Moines, they should try to find a way directly west to connect to the eastern end of the Cowboy Trail instead of trying to incorporate as many little local segments that classify as “Trail” or MUP’s.  You’re already going to on low traffic roads out west for a lot of this anyways.

Perhaps their reasoning is they are trying to stick to old abandoned rail lines or MUP’s which would make logical sense.   But staying true to that route also seems to add a ton of miles to your journey.  That said, a ton of people will take this route just to avoid roads.


At the risk of sounding critical, there is a mini version of that on the Atlantic Coast route, namely the Walkill Trail south of New Paltz, NY. It seems like trail miles for the sake of trail miles. It rode it in 2018, having done the previous routing two years earlier. The trail mileage is not anything to write home about scenery-wise, and the surface was rough and even muddy in places. That aside, the trail simply ends nowhere. One has to take some fairly unfriendly roads to hook back up with the old routing, and it adds several non-flat miles to what is already a pretty tough section to reach the nearest campground. In contrast, the old routing is much more scenic and not a problem traffic-wise.

And all that aside, I think what TCS wrote above has merit.

General Discussion / Re: Lube when long distance touring
« on: July 14, 2020, 01:47:44 pm »
If you apply lube at random intervals, does rotating the chain really spread the lube to the rest of the links?
Absolutely. Recently lubed my LHT's chain during a three-day tour the week before July 4th after a storm the first evening. Maybe 6 random drops. Spun the chain then wiped down the sides. Still quiet as a mouse.

General Discussion / Re: Lube when long distance touring
« on: July 14, 2020, 08:25:47 am »
NFS for the win!:

I actually think their instructions are a bit over the top with 8-10 drops. I generally don't use more than 6.

Routes / Re: TA Route Missoula to Tetons/Jackson
« on: July 13, 2020, 07:55:39 am »
Eight days sound about right.

Spring Gulch Campground east of Sula has a hiker/biker site reserved until 5 p.m.

Wisdom/Jackson on day 2. Losr Trail is long but super hard. Save some for the long/gradual run to Wisdom, especiallly if you plan to keep going down the road to Jackson.

Stop and walk out to the overlook at the top of Big Hole Pass. On your way to Dillon to Twin Bridges. The Bike Camp at the latter is really nice. If you feel you need a rest you could always stay in Dillon and do a short day to Twin Bridges.

Twin Bridges to Ennis is a long slog up to Virginia City (great, fresh ice cream there), then the climbing gets tough. If you can handle benign gravel, take the Laurin Alternative from Sheridan to Laurin (should be listed in the adendum to the relevant map). Quiet and scenic. The descent into Ennis is rip-roaring. Stop at the scenic overlook. The fishing access campground in Ennis is decent. There is no water, but right across the road is the Lion's Club Park. Water spoigot there, but camping not allowed.

Haven't been beyond Ennis for 20 year so I won't comment.

General Discussion / Re: Easy Montana Touring Route & Checklist
« on: July 09, 2020, 07:56:09 am »
The above-described route would be fairly easy. If you want to make it harder and add a day you could go from Bannack over the Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway through Wise River and back to Divide Bridge then on to Dillon on the final day. The Byway starts out gentle through the beautiful Grasshopper Valley. A bit after you pass the inn there is a short, steep climb, then a short descent. Then you hit a stretch of about 5 miles of steady climbing, but nothing super steep. From the summit it's a 26 mile net elevation loss to Wise River that features, among other things, a pretty alpine meadow. There is at least one restaurant in Wise River and a small mercantile that has always had enough to cobble together dinner. The well water at the Divide Bridge Campground is good, and you can rinse of in the river at the boat ramp. When I was there last (2016), a site was only $6 or $7/night.

Bannack S.P., mentioned above, has hiker-biker sites ($12 for non-residents) with amenities like bear lockers, a covered picnic table and electrical power for charging. The place itself is a restored ghost town. I was supposed to stay there last month, but my trip got cancelled. I was really looking forward to it.

General Discussion / Re: Great American rail trail
« on: July 06, 2020, 08:35:41 am »
Having done some of the Olympian Trail and the NorPac Trail up to Lookout Pass (twice), I can tell you the surfaces are not what I call consistently smooth. Last year, the latter had some washout areas closer to the pass. The lower slope, after you cross under I-90, also needs work. And, the NorPac is open to motorized vehicles because, if I am not mistaken, it is technically a U.S.F.S. road. Encountered one car and a couple of kids on ATVs in 2017. Not sure about the Olympian, but I did encounter one car a bit west of St. Regis in 2017.

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