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Messages - geegee

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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.

Routes / Re: Las Vegas to Los Angeles
« on: August 14, 2015, 08:21:14 am »
I rode from LA to Las Vegas a couple of months ago on the I-15 and it wasn't so bad. It's the shortest route, and in the extreme heat it made sense to me.  It was a long climb from Baker to Mountain Pass which should be a nice 20 mile downhill coast for you, but you'll have a bit of a climb from Primm.  The rest stop at Valley Wells has good water and vending machines, just when my bottles and reservoir needed refilling.

Parts of Yermo Road towards Barstow are pretty rough, and the easternmost section is closed (but passable if you walk you bike across the wash beside the crumbling bridge). Lots of construction on the Cajon pass, I avoided it by taking CA138 which is really scenic but really twisty and narrow with no shoulders.

Here's a link to my GPS tracks on that portion of my cross-country tour if it is of any help, and good luck with the heat!

Routes / Re: Cycling in Nova Scotia
« on: August 12, 2015, 09:08:27 am »
"The cape Breton route took 14 days 9 years ago (extended) It's pleasant, not spectacular and worth the trip having done it 9 years ago"

Was it paved? I know the loop has gotten a lot more popular recently, and I know it was a lot less developed or paved awhile ago... I did the loop last year and thinking if one wasn't sight seeing/touring, it could almost be like a 2 day trip...with the roads in the national park very nice and better than the outside areas on Cape Breton island.


I lived in Cape Breton 30 years ago and it been paved as long as I can remember.

There really aren't that many roads in Nova Scotia, What you see in a regular road map is mostly all there is. The great thing is there are a lot of roads along the coast with nice views of the ocean (unlike Maine where you have to go out of your way to see the shore). Wear visible clothing, have a good rear view mirror and don't hesitate to take the lane. Nova Scotians are generally pretty prudent and courteous drivers, but the secondary roads are pretty narrow.

General Discussion / Re: Atlantic Coast Trail Question?
« on: August 12, 2015, 08:35:41 am »
I personally would do it S-N in the Spring, maybe April. Aug-Sept brings the highest possibility that a hurricane will affect your trip

I've ridden in most of the western European countries and several of the eastern ones. In general the northern countries (Holland, Germany, Scandinavia) had better bike infrastructure than the south, which make it easier to get in and out of cities. I've also toured through about half the States and all Canadian provinces, and the differences in road conditions in each one is sometimes more than the countries in Europe.

Most of the newer North American highways are built to superior standards, but it often means traffic travels so much faster, sometimes negating the feeling of security that a wide shoulder provides. It seems Europeans expect more bikes to be on the minor roads than Americans do, and the drivers react accordingly. Too many American drivers tend step on the gas wanting to pass a cyclist as fast as possible.

Europe has more established bike routes, but I'm impressed with the recent developments in the US this past decade.

Accommodation-wise, it really depends on the kind of lodging you are looking for. Europe has far more cheap hostels, and most of their campgrounds have a fee structure that's kinder to cyclists as they charge by the motor vehicle, tent and per person separately. America has a lot more stealth camping opportunities, and cheap motels. It is easier to find a cheap hotel in the downtown of a large European city like Paris or Berlin than say in Boston, New York or Chicago where you have to settle with the outskirts.

The variety of food on the road is getting better in America, but there's definitely more vernacular in Europe with its genuinely rich regional cuisines.

Routes / Re: Two Canadians biking across Canada & the United States
« on: March 17, 2015, 07:53:18 am »
Oh also I forgot to mention we're coming from Sudbury, Ontario

Well that changes everything, any direction out of there would be good. Just kidding, OK maybe half :)

Heading west would be cheaper and easier for camping. Atlantic Canada is a fine ride and really scenic but there is a lot of backtracking to get down to the States. The US eastern seaboard is an expensive urban mess from Massachusetts southward, with no cheap camping options.

With the Canadian dollar so low right now, I'd stick with your first idea of riding to Vancouver. Riding through Northern Ontario is a tough start, but hey, you're used to it :) The roads get way better when you get to Saskatchewan. Personally, I would take the Yellowhead Highway via Saskatoon - Edmonton - Jasper over the southern route. The Icefields Parkway towards Lake Louise is probably one of the most spectacular rides in the world. There are lots of WWOOFing opportunities in southern BC particularly the Okanagan.

I've been taking my 11" MacBook Air with me on my latest tours. I have Adobe CS5 and MS Office running on it for doing some job-related work (I'm self-employed) while I'm on the road, as well as for keeping a blog and staying in contact with family, friends and clients. I have a neoprene case for it and it tucks nicely into a pannier with clothes. I also have one of those 2 TB MyCloud drives at home that I use to archive everything, so I can access and upload/download any of my files wherever there's wifi. Last time I was on a 6 week ride it gave me peace of mind to be able to respond to urgent requests remotely.

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