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Messages - geegee

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General Discussion / Re: Bears in Canada?
« on: March 27, 2017, 08:25:41 am »
I like enjoy this type of touring: Flat, small grades and able to chew up a lot of miles. I also enjoy the desert and great plains. Easy to plan for reaching the next town because there is no steep mountain pass in between that will suck all energy out of you.

Highway 17 along Lake Superior is a roller coaster, with pretty steep grades (10+%). Highway 11 which veers farther north through Hearst and Kapuskasing is a flatter alternative with less traffic. The Canadian Shield geology is mostly extremely tough granite which makes road building expensive and difficult, so they tended to do minimal grading on the old highways. If you come across road construction where they're flattening or straightening there's a lot of dynamite involved. So many rivers and lakes though, if you have a filter you'll never be short of water.

But on the roads in Ontario and Quebec I have no idea what the real situation is: Do I need to take Rocky Mountain like precautions already there?

In the Rockies the valleys are very limiting, so that the roads and railways share the same tight corridors as wildlife. Northern Ontario and Quebec are wide open wilderness where wildlife can roam freely with fewer obstacles. I find the likelihood of seeng wildlife much higher in the Rockies and almost a guarantee, whereas you can do a long drive on the main highways here and not see a large wild animal. I've lived 35 years in Ontario and done a lot of wilderness camping, and I've only seen bear along the road maybe 3 times.

General Discussion / Re: Bears in Canada?
« on: March 26, 2017, 11:38:34 pm »
Your chances of seeing a black bear are probably high in Northern Ontario closer to larger bodies of water. Quebec tends to clear-cut wide swaths along its highways, if there was a bear, you'd see it from a good distance. Bears hate road noise though, there's enough wilderness for them to enjoy than hanging around near the highway.

Interesting route, I'm just wondering if you'd get bored with too much of the Canadian Shield and the Boreal forest. That's almost 3,000 kilometres, from Kenora to Saguenay, of "rocks and trees and trees and rocks" as the song goes. I get a few cross-Canada cyclists stay with me each year via WarmShowers, and by the time they get through Northern Ontario and into Ottawa they're relieved to be out of the boonies.

I've ridden out to Saguenay, the fjord is awesome. There's some good whale watching at the mouth, I saw belugas swimming 20 feet from the shore. The north shore of the Gulf of St Lawrence is spectacular, I'm contemplating riding out to the end of that highway past Sept-Îles all the way to Kegashka later in the summer and maybe catch the coastal ferry out to Labrador.

Canada / Re: Trans-Canada Trail V The Great Trail
« on: December 01, 2016, 07:00:53 pm »
From British Columbia to Saskatchewan good routes are easy to plot because most of the highways in BC, AB and SK have good shoulders. Manitoba is tough, I'd pick the small prairie roads with the least traffic and avoid the main highways. Northern Ontario offers little choice if you want to stick to Canada, as there is only one road between Thunder Bay and Nipigon. Highway 17 can be a tough ride with barely a shoulder in long stretches. Traffic isn't super busy but the trucks can be unnerving. I've ridden from BC back to Ottawa twice, and the last time I figured I'd go down through Michigan's UP which is a flatter but less scenic route (blog here). Quebec is the most organized for cycle touring with Route verte routes. New Brunswick has good secondary highways with shoulders. With the rest of the Atlantic provinces, the highways you see on the map are pretty much your only choices and there are very few restrictions on cyclists (mainly within Halifax), but traffic is generally light and the drivers are mostly courteous.

Canada / Re: Bike transport by train
« on: December 01, 2016, 06:39:01 pm »
VIA Rail only takes bikes on trains with baggage cars/bike racks. The longer distance trains like the "Ocean" which runs from Halifax to Montreal (via Mont-Joli) usually do. The "Corridor" trains that go from Montreal to Ottawa sometimes don't, which poses a problem when I take the train from Ottawa. However, if you are taking it from Mont-Joli they may transfer it to another train which means you'll get it later. Here's the current schedule of trains with bike racks:

General Discussion / Re: My front V-Brake is squealing like a pig???
« on: November 09, 2016, 08:49:28 pm »
Drown it with banjo music  ;D

In addition to the suggestions above, check the tightness of mounting bolts and maybe re--grease mounting pins liberally to dampen  micro vibrations.

General Discussion / Re: Which Route Would You Suggest?
« on: November 09, 2016, 08:26:36 pm »
August will be hot and steamy in the South. If you're not used to very humid temperatures in the mid to high 30˚C/90˚F and over it can be really draining. I would probably pick the Pacific Coast (Seattle to SF or LA) or the Sierra Cascades for that time of year.

Canada / Re: Trans-Canada Trail V The Great Trail
« on: September 07, 2016, 02:16:56 am »
They are the same thing. "The Great Trail" is just the Trans Canada Trail organization's new branding. It sort of puzzles me why they did this because it just confuses people.

The Trans Canada Trail is misunderstood conceptually, it isn't a great way to cross Canada, it's a way to connect Canadians. People need to understand the semantics of that — it's a shared facility that is imagined to stretch out to every province and territory. It is impossible to ride it end to end because significant portions of it are water trails. It's an idea that someone cycling a pathway in Ottawa is connected to someone kayaking in Thunder Bay or hiking in Banff or dog-sledding in Whitehorse because it is (or will be) a contiguous (but terribly meandering) line. You kinda have to be Canadian to get it :) Maybe that's why they're focusing on calling it the "Great Trail" because "Trans Canada" implies you can ride it coast to coast.

If you're bike touring, stick to the tried and true routes like the Yellowhead, the Trans Canada Highway, Route verte, etc., and when you stumble across part of the Trans Canada Trail from time to time, hop on and off at your convenience, but don't expect it to be all suitable for touring.

Routes / Re: Biking in Texas
« on: March 15, 2016, 09:18:00 am »
I rode on the 380 from the NM border (via Roswell) to Dallas. It's a good road for the most part, but it gets  little hairy in the Dallas area. I particularly found Denton a little difficult to navigate around on a bike (surprising and unfortunate for a college town). Beautiful rolling countryside in the central portion, flatter and quieter in the western end.

If you are riding across New Mexico, US70 through Ruidoso, Alamogordo and White Sands is pretty cool, too

Routes / Re: Katy Trail riding conditions?
« on: January 31, 2016, 01:46:34 pm »
I used the Katy trail to cross most of Missouri last July on my ride from California to New York. I was going to catch it in Boonville but ended up opting sooner for Sedalia as I wasn't enjoying the quality of Missouri highways after having been spoiled by the nicer roads in Kansas. It was also extremely hot last summer, and the good stretches of tree shaded trail was a respite from being in the open road. The trail was in great condition (although not as good as the GAP), I especially liked the availability of good water at many (not all) of the trailheads. I was on a fully loaded Trek 520 with 700x32c Marathons and it was fine. Sometimes you'll have to get off the trail for a few miles to get decent food and lodging. I made a mistake of getting into St Charles/St Louis on a weekend and most places were booked solid, so if you do, make reservations ahead of time just in case. There are a lot of humid areas which means mosquitoes.

Urban Cycling / Enhanced "Sharrows"
« on: October 12, 2015, 10:52:54 pm »

They tried this in my city this year (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) for a few blocks on a popular main street. There has been resistance by merchants to give up parking spots for a bike lane on the narrow road despite a high incidence of doorings. The result has been interesting, it educates cyclists to take the lane, and it shows the drivers the reasons why cyclists have the right to do so (to avoid getting doored). The busy markings have definitely calmed the traffic, forcing drivers to slow down behind cyclists and pass only when the opposite lane is clear. Many cyclists also continue to take the lane farther down where the markings disappear. Any opinions?

General Discussion / Re: camping sites in the Western USA
« on: October 07, 2015, 12:05:45 pm »
While the information in it isn't consistent since it's crowdsourced, I've found some decent free places to camp on Some of them in Oklahoma and Kansas had flush toilets and showers.

Routes / Re: Western New Brunswick and Quebec Route
« on: September 30, 2015, 12:20:06 am »
A few things depend on the kind of riding you like and the type of road or path you prefer. Are you partial to unpaved trails, or do you favour riding on paved roads?

One option you could consider if you go out to Tadoussac is to head up Route verte 8 into the Saguenay and go counter-clockwise around Lac St-Jean. When you get to Chambord, hop on a train (~C$40+$25 for the bike) to Rivière-à-Pierre where you connect to route 6 to Quebec City. The train ride is pretty interesting as it passes through hunting lodges and rustic camps only accessible by rail.

The Trans Canada Trail is an often misunderstood concept — while it is a contiguous facility, not all of it is cyclable. Some segments are hiking only, some are even canoe routes. It's not really designed to be an end-to-end route unless you switch your mode of travel.

There are many roads between Ottawa and Kingston, and if you go parallel to the historic Rideau Canal system, the lock stations allow camping (~$6 per person), most of them have flush toilets but no showers (you can always jump in the river :) )

The New York State side of Lake Ontario has way better roads for cycling than the Province of Ontario. Getting through the urban mass of Toronto and Hamilton can also be pretty hectic and circuitous. Depends on what you want to see and experience, I guess. If you've never been on the Erie Canal trail, it is such an important piece of American history, and an interesting contrast to the Rideau Canal. There are ferries between Kingston/Wolfe Island, ON and Cape Vincent, NY that are way more convenient than the bridges.

Routes / Re: Western New Brunswick and Quebec Route
« on: September 29, 2015, 06:50:43 pm »
Aside from the Petit-Temis, much of the rural rail trails in New Brunswick are pretty rough. The one one along the St John river is really slow going with loose gravel, but the highways on either side of the river (102 -105) are pretty quiet, as most of the traffic goes on the main Trans-Canada highway. I've only cycled from the Quebec border/Edmundston to Fredericton and Moncton along this corridor, but highway 3 from Calais to Longs Creek look pretty good as an option to get up to the valley.

The road between Tadoussac and Quebec City is REALLY hilly, with some ridiculously long and steep climbs (10 to 18% grades) in the Charlevoix region which is why the Route verte does not go there. You'll have to backtrack to the south shore to avoid that road if you plan on taking a jaunt out to the Saguenay Fjord.

Route verte 5 between Quebec and Montreal on the north shore of the St Lawrence would be my choice, it has a lot more interesting towns.

To pump up my area, from Montreal consider heading out to Ottawa and then on to Kingston instead of the seaway portion of the Waterfront Trail. Lots to see in the federal capital, and it is real cycling haven ( )

Routes / Re: east from morgantown, wv to DC
« on: September 21, 2015, 12:53:01 pm »
I was researching this as part of my cross-country route this summer, but went up north instead because of time constraints. I've been on the GAP, and it is OK for trailers, but the C&0 not ideal. Much of US40/National Pike corridor seems suitable for cycling, combining it with available paths like the Western Maryland Rail Trail (fully paved).

Routes / Re: CT to Quebec City - recommended route?
« on: September 04, 2015, 05:17:36 pm »
My suggestion would be to ride up to White River Junction and ride VT14-VT12 to Montpelier, old US2 to Burlington (with a bonus stop at the Ben & Jerry's factory). There's a campground right off the bike path in Burlington. Take the causeway bike trail and island hop through the middle of Lake Champlain towards Rouses Point, NY. The Route verte 2 is just across the border. I much prefer going along the north shore of the St Lawrence on Route verte 5 between Montreal and Quebec over the southern routes.

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