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Messages - geegee

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General Discussion / Re: Headwinds
« on: May 25, 2010, 03:18:53 pm »
I rode through two weeks of headwinds across the Canadian Prairies and I know what you are feeling. It wears down your spirit and tries to break you. I rode on no matter what, and learned to adjust my expectations of how far I could get in a day. I remember being so frustrated after a couple of days of unceasing wind that I just stopped in the middle of the road and screamed at the top of my lungs. Somehow I felt better after that  :) In the middle of Saskatchewan, I came across an inscription on an earthen dam which somehow boosted my courage to keep on: "Great enterprises fail because people become tired and lose heart. But a country is built on the dreams of those who will not let them die." After all that, I stopped cursing the wind and accepted how puny I was. And when a tailwind finally came, I felt like Superman  ;D

Canada / Re: ACA Maps for Canada
« on: May 18, 2010, 11:03:02 am »
I'm not sure it is necessary. Practically all the routes that cross the Canadian Rockies are cycleable. You can pick almost any highway in BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan and ride your way from the Pacific Coast to the Prairies. Manitoba is a big problem, there is really no great way to cross that province, all their roads are atrocious. There are only two ways to get through Northern Ontario, both of them mediocre. Quebec has the well documented Route Verte. The Maritimes are a mixed bag, but again you can pick almost any route. Eastern Canadian provinces have plenty of regional and local tourist information centres, and you are bound to pass one every other day, if not daily.

The other tricky thing with publishing information on Canada is that services in rural areas are always in flux and very hard to keep up to date. I think this is part of what makes a cross-Canada ride a real adventure and a sense of discovery — you just go and find out what's ahead, preparing for the worst then being pleasantly surprised at what comes up.

General Discussion / Re: Rocky Mountains questions
« on: May 18, 2010, 10:41:57 am »
Yellowstone traffic will be heavy. The scenery is wonderful but the crowds dampen the experience for many. The principal risk comes when elk or bears are around. Not from the bears, but from distracted drivers who do not see you.

And then there's the bison. Sometimes herds would be blocking the road for a long time. Not quite sure if I would like to ride between these 1000 kg creatures.

General Discussion / Re: Anyone know about the Porsche Bike S??
« on: May 14, 2010, 03:09:56 pm »
I personally would never buy a car-branded bike. They are created to boost the image of their brand, whether to make them appear more active and sporty or give them a "green" image. It has very little to do with how good the bike is. BMW, Jeep, Cadillac etc. all have branded bicycles. The Porsche bike is a mountain bike — yeah, as if Porsche drivers are really into getting muddy and sweaty then getting into their expensive cars. It's funny when they use bicycles to infuse sex appeal into sports cars :)

Gear Talk / Re: Any ideas for shaving weight off a Bike Friday NWT?
« on: May 13, 2010, 12:36:15 pm »
The engine might be able to shed a few pounds but my point is not to reduce the weight while I'm riding it but rather when I ship it. Last time I put it on the plane in its hard Samsonite case it barely squeeked in the maximum allowable weight per bag. I think some airlines are lowering this to about 40 lbs per piece. The other way I carry it is in a soft shoulder bag when I take it on a bus or train (where they don't allow normal bikes) and having 30+ pounds hanging off your shoulder while holding panniers in each hand is enough to cut the circulation off your arm while boarding at the platform.

My NWT is the basic model, with cheap Sora components. I have never worn a crank off any of my bikes, but the one in the BF is toast.

Gear Talk / Any ideas for shaving weight off a Bike Friday NWT?
« on: May 12, 2010, 11:05:55 pm »
I have a Bike Friday New World Tourist and while I am quite happy with it, it's getting about time to upgrade some parts. I would love to shave off a bit of weight, any suggestions for best components to replace? Cranks? rear derailleur?

General Discussion / Re: what about cheap Walmart bikes?
« on: May 11, 2010, 08:42:03 am »
Contact a local bicycle recycling/cooperative and see if they can spot a good used/reconditioned bike for you. You would be amazed at the quality of bikes that people throw out or give away. There is one in Denver called Derailer Bicycle Collective. When you are done with your trip, donate it back to them or to another cooperative if you are not returning to the Denver area.

Routes / Re: Route Through Vancouver, BC
« on: May 08, 2010, 04:23:14 pm »
From Horseshoe Bay, take Marine Drive into downtown via the Lion's Gate Bridge. There are several ways to get through downtown Vancouver, one of the better ones being Union/Adanac/Frances to Barnett Hwy towards Coquitlam. I would follow hwy 7 (Lougheed Hwy) to Mission and then go south on Hwy 11 (Abotsford-Mission Hwy) which will take you straight to Sumas

General Discussion / Re: What to wear in the rain?
« on: May 07, 2010, 06:01:19 pm »
I've made it a habit to bring a pair of waterproof bike sandals with SPD-cleats as my second pair and off-bike footwear (great for going to the campground showers). They are great to wear in the rain, and if it is cold I just slip on a pair of neoprene socks (you can find good ones in kayaking stores). Your feet will still get wet, but like the way a wetsuit works, your feet will only have to warm up the water between your skin and the neoprene. If your feet get numb with cold, you can even pour some hot water in the sock before slipping it back on — I think divers do this to their suits before going into frigid water.

Routes / Re: Nova Scotia with five year old on piccolo
« on: April 27, 2010, 03:14:43 pm »
If you do go to PEI, cross by ferry.  The bridge is LONG and exposed. 

Cyclists are not allowed on the 17-kilometre Confederation bridge anyway (many attempt to, seeing it has nice wide shoulders, but are quickly caught because the bridge is well monitored and are promptly picked up, not sure if there is a fine). There is a shuttle for hikers and cyclists ($8 for cyclists) which is a van with a bike trailer.

The Confederation Trail is a 400 km rails-to-trails system that meanders through the island. The PEI railroad was a folly that bankrupted the island colony in the mid-1800s and forced it to join the Canadian confederation for a bail out.

Canada / Re: Field to Vancouver route options?
« on: April 22, 2010, 08:46:53 pm »
My recommendation would be to stick to Hwy 1 to Hope and then Hwy 7 into Vancouver. I rode the length of the Kettle Valley Railway (which is part of the TransCanada Trail) and it would be murder on a Bike Friday (I own one but took a Trek 520, which had a hard enough time). The TCT is barely doable on a mountain bike in some sections.

Hwy 1 (the TransCanada Highway) is a bit busy up to Kamloops but has decent shoulders. The ride over Rogers Pass is beautiful and if you want a break, Canyon Hot Springs has whitewater rafting and hot pools to soak in. West of Kamloops though Cache Creek it is much quieter and quite scenic. I rode this back in 2003 heading east, though. You'll get headwinds, but on the plus side you're heading mostly downhill.

General Discussion / Re: (Ireland to...) Vancouver to San Francisco
« on: April 19, 2010, 04:12:12 pm »
They widened the Sea-to-Sky highway to Whistler for the Olympics and I have not ridden it. It is supposed to have good cycling shoulders. BC's highways in general are great for cycling. The problem with going up to Whistler is you'll have to ride back. Maybe you could take the bus out there and ride back (meaning you'll be on the cliff edge for full dramatic effect).

General Discussion / Re: (Ireland to...) Vancouver to San Francisco
« on: April 19, 2010, 02:58:43 pm »
The easiest ferry to get to from downtown Vancouver would be the Horseshoe Bay—Nanaimo route. See map below. Getting to Tsawwassen involves catching a bus through the Massey tunnel where bikes are not allowed. Biking from Nanaimo to Victoria adds a bit of time but it is worth it and you'll get to see a nice part of British Columbia. There are at least two ferries between downtown Victoria BC and Port Angeles WA

If you like taking ferries so much and have time on your hands, an island hopping route is possible:

General Discussion / Re: (Ireland to...) Vancouver to San Francisco
« on: April 18, 2010, 09:41:21 am »
I would highly recommend taking the ferry to Vancouver Island and hopping into Washington state from there. The route around the Olympic Peninsula is much more peaceful than the inland route if dropping by Seattle is not important to you.

You will never be turned away from a state park along the coast if you are on a bike. The hiker/biker sites are usually large open areas with enough capacity to handle the peak season.

Make sure you take good protective eyewear with you. Wood chips and sawdust flying off the frequent logging trucks can be quite annoying.

General Discussion / Re: bike security while sleeping
« on: April 16, 2010, 11:15:35 pm »
In the odd times that I've been worried and there is no tree to secure the bike to, I lay the bike on the ground with one of the wheels partly underneath the tent so I can feel its presence, and then I peg the tent fly through the frame. With a cable lock through the wheels, there would be no way anyone could run off with the bike without disturbing me from my sleep.

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