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Messages - univac

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Canada / Re: ACA Maps for Canada
« on: June 18, 2010, 01:33:53 pm »
Quebec is "done"

Yes, Quebec is awesome, as has been mentioned a few times already in this thread.  I grew up riding my bike in Quebec before La Rue Verte was created and finally rode parts of it last year during my X-Canada ride.  Definitely the best organized group in Canada with signs on the roads identifying the different Rue Vertes.  (As an aside, I have to say that in general, Quebec cyclists really, really disrespect the rules of the road - but that's another thread, eh?).

One could argue that PEI's rail trails - which I didn't like because it took me away from the 'action' - is 'done' also.  Nova Scotia seems to have a well developed system of bike trails although not quite as formalized a Quebec's, IMO.

What we really need is a NATIONAL organization in Canada, a la ACA, for touring cyclists who want to ride multiple provinces.  I'm not convinced it's economically feasible to start such an organization in Canada, but the ACA certainly has all the resources in place to be able to accomplish this.  Granted I haven't read much more about ACA's raison d'etre other than their 'about page' but I don't see anything that holds them to just 'doing' the US (and yes, I know there are small forays into Canada).  Anyhow, ACA seems to be very well positioned to augment their US routes with significant Canadian and Mexican ones.  Just think of all those Boomers with money burning a hole a their pockets! ;-)

I'm not really sure it isn't stretched.  It just looks OK and doesn't seem to have any more slack than when new, although logically it probably has a bit.

You need to measure it either with a plain old ruler or a guage.  Eye-balling isn't going to work for the majority of people.

I've only had the bike a year!  In more than five years regularly riding my Trek mountain bike on and off the very gritty, dusty, muddy and potholed roads of this part of SE Asia I've had to change the chain twice and the cassette and crank once.

Those 2 chains must've lasted so long because you cleaned and oiled 'em between every ride, right?!  ;-)

Isn't 'front chainrings' the same as the crank?

Um, nope.  The pedals attach to the cranks, and the chainrings typically attach to a spider on the crank, although on my bike, it's attached to the bottom bracket spindle.  

Also, FYI, chainrings are implicitly on the front, although they're still technically sprockets, as the rears are.

Don't know about Sram chains,

Don't get hung up on SRAM, Wipperman, etc.  It's all religion, i.e., subjective.  Do your own research, which is fun itself. :-)  But just be sure that you what size YOU need.  There's a variety of sizes out there.

... having a chain tool plus master link sounds a reasonable compromise.

On my X-Canada tour, I took a chain gauge, chain tool, spare chain and links/master to handle my driveline needs.  I took the entire spare chain 'cos I didn't want to shop for that specific chain (not a common one) or mail it to myself (what would happen if I arrive at the PO on a long weekend when the PO is closed?  Then I'm 'stuck in that town for a couple of days).  It was a lot easier to bring the spare chain with me.

I don't know if you've ever heard of Sheldon Brown (now deceased) but he has a LOT of the answers you're looking for at   His web site may not have ALL the answers [to cycling] on this planet but it has a ton of info all in on place.  Once you start browsing his site you'll be up all night reading it!  RIP Sheldon.

Now I'm about to attempt something like a 2,000 mile trip in the US.  The chain looks and feels good: I clean it after every trip and there's no excessive slack

How do you know there's no excessive slack (yes, I'm testing you!). :-)

... But then there's that thought: out in the middle of nowhere and bang!  A broken chain.

If it makes you feel any better, I've never broken a chain in my long life. :-)  It doesn't mean it won't happen, of course, but I think you're worrying too much about it.

I've read how with the aid of a chain tool you can supposedly shorten the chain and just ride on to the next bike shop in one gear, or something like that, but I've never had to use a chain tool before and wouldn't want to have to learn by the side of the road in the middle of the Sierra Nevada!

If you've never changed the chain on your bike before why not spend the $10 - $15 and change it before the tour and you'll get the practice!

I'm not sure about your bike, but I have a Rohloff hub and there's no way I can shorten the chain if it breaks.  Carry some spare chain links with you.

So what's the consensus?  Get a new chain fitted before I start, which would also probably mean getting a new cassette and then there's always the front crank too?  But who would want the weight of a spare chain?

I would change the chain before starting the tour.  The cost is trivial unless you have are using a premium chain of some sort.

I think you meant front chain ring rather than crank?  I actually changed my front chainring before my tour, in addition to the chain, but only because it was already significantly worn.

FWIW, I carried a spare chain with me on my tour of Canada last year (>8,500km/5,300mi).  I didn't find the extra weight that big a deal.  I had zero mechanical problems and zero flats.

What in fact are considered to be the essential replacement parts one should take along, even assuming there're plenty of bike shops enroute?

Whoa!  That's a whole 'nother thread right there!  You can find tons of packing lists on Crazy Guy on a Bike and probably here too.

FWIW, I used Schwalbe Marathon Pluses on my X-Canada tour last year of > 8,500km (>5300mi).  I did not get one flat on the entire tour, which isn't that unusual these days, from what I've read.  I still had some tread left after that tour and indeed Schwalbe rates the Pluses up to 14,000km or so.  Yes, I've had 2 nails, at 2 different times, right thru an earlier Marathon Plus, so that can happen to any tire.  It's nothing a little piece of Tyvek can't fix.  I actually continued using that 'damaged' tire, with the Tyvek in place, for 2 more years!

As for my upcoming tour, planned for 2012, of the circumference of Australia (15K - 20K km), I will likely have a pair of replacement tires mailed to me at the 1/2 way point.  The Marathon Pluses weight almost a kilo each (2.2 pounds) so it's a lot of extra weight to drag around.

Calling that particular area of BC the Sunshine Coast should alert you in the first place. Canadian wishful thinking at its best.  It pisses down there at least 300 days of the year.

The Sunshine Coast gets 300 days of rain in a year?  I don't think so!  I tried to dig up some real numbers from Environment Canada but navigating their web site is too frustrating for me.  Anyhow, unofficially, the Sunshine Coast gets over 230 days of sunshine per year, and according the the Sechelt Chamber of Commerce web site (, a 30 year average shows that it acquires its 37 inches of rain in 129 days.  Victoria, on Vancouver Island, gets LESS rain but over MORE days.

Btw, The BC Sunshine Coast apparently acquired its name during the postwar [WWII] years because of its reputation for having more sunshine days than either Victoria or Vancouver. 

It looks like I should be prepared for rain.  Some of the journals I have read indicated that (sometimes lots of rain).
Yes, you should bring rain gear for all of BC at any time of the year.  I have property on the Sunshine Coast, and it can be pouring rain or 35C and sunny.  You also mention doing Hwy 16 from Price Rupert to Jasper.  I did that last year as part of my X-Canada ride.  FYI, I believe Prince Rupert claims to be the rain capital of the world.  Oh yes, I had snow flurries when I went down the Icefield Parkway last July 1st (+-).  Of course, since it didn't go below 4C, the snow melted when it hit the road, but it did go to -2C that night.  Make sure your sleeping bag is adequate.

My question is what works well?  Fenders, pants, shoe covers, etc?   

Most 'real' touring bikes have fenders, so if you don't have any I'd definitely get a pair.  Yup, pants are good.  I used my Gortex commute pants.  I also have shoe covers but eventually even they leak thru.  Since you're going to Vancouver first, check out Mountain Equipment for supplies (

Canada / Re: ACA Maps for Canada
« on: May 19, 2010, 09:30:10 pm »
Jennifer, I know resources are limited and the focus is on the National Bicycle Hwy Network but I wish you would consider the following routes in Canada:

1. Seattle to somewhere in Alaska
2. Routes around the Great lakes
3. Trans Canada Hwy.

1. This would be awesome and benefits both Canadian and American ACA members, not to mention international members!
2. Another great suggestion!
3. I avoided the TC as much as possible during my X-Canada tour.  It's boring and noisy, and in some parts, extremely dangerous,  Manitoba and Ontario come to mind.  Of course, there are exceptions, e.g., BC.

Have you ever thought of partnering with groups in Canada (ie Trans Canada Trail or Route Verte) Initially use their maps and you supply the trip detail ie., camping , motels , food, bike shops, medical, etc,. (they might even consider adding mileage lines) This would be a win win for all. It might save you resources initially, build your membership in Canada, and provide bicycle tourist much needed information.

Personally, I wouldn't bother with the TC Trail, but maybe that's just me.  For instance, in PEI, I rode about 30km of the Confederation Trail, which is an old rail bed and part of the TC Trail.  For a significant part of the 30km, I had high hedges on either side of me as the trail cut thru farmers' fields.  Boring!  I quickly got back on the road.  I don't tour on paths for the most part but on roads with motorized vehicles.  YMMV and different strokes for different folks! :-)

Canada / Re: ACA Maps for Canada
« on: May 19, 2010, 09:15:25 pm »
Short answer to your question: no plans at this time.

OK, fair enough and I certainly do appreciate the official response.

So, just to see what I'm 'up against,' how many members of the ACA are Canadian?  In brief, how does one lobby the ACA?  If it's as simple as emails from all interested people who'd like to see Canadian maps developed, then that's easy enough (ooo! did I just utter some famous last words?)!  On the other hand, if the interested parties have to turn up at a board meeting at HO, then that won't work for me.  Surveys?


Canada / ACA Maps for Canada
« on: May 17, 2010, 10:20:03 pm »
Whoa! Not too much action in the Canada forum!

I've been aware of the ACA for well over 10 years now but as a Canadian, ACA was totally USA-centric for me because there's no routes for cycling X-Canada or major parts thereof.  Plenty of people cycle X-Canada every year and I'm curious as to why ACA has never done any maps for Canada (we'll ignore the routes that go into Canada a few hundred kms, like the Continental Divide)?  I'm sure ACA would garner quite a few Canadian members if they expanded a bit.

So... my question:  Does ACA have any plans to create maps for Canada in the near future?


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