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Messages - geegee

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I guess as a Canadian I wouldn't think of Writing-on-Stone as being in the Rockies, it is well into the Prairies. I don't know if you have travelled on the upper Columbia valley before, but I had a nice time in the East Kootenays last year. The valley is wide but you get great views of the Rockies and the Kootenays, and the roads are fairly good and flat From Golden BC heading south.

Routes / Re: Alma to Tadoussac to Quebec City, Blueberry Route, Quebec
« on: November 13, 2009, 05:48:38 pm »
The wind does tend to blow down the St-Lawrence River valley but I've gone on several tours when it blew the other way. Typically this brings wet cool weather.

There is merit to the suggestion of leaving from Quebec City. For one thing, it starts out relatively flat for the first few days and gets hillier as you get going. If you do the Veloroute des Bleuets counterclockwise around Lac-St-Jean, you could take the train from Chambord to Rivière-à-Pierre where a rails-to-trails bike path (Route verte 6) leads back to Quebec City. The train is cheap (less than $30) if you buy tickets weeks in advance, and a great option for a group as they have a baggage car that can take bikes. It's an awesome train ride through the wilderness -- it stops at hunting camps and lodges, and a lot of adventurous people take this train with canoes or kayaks requesting special stops in the middle of nowhere.

Routes / Florida (again), Orlando to the Keys and back
« on: November 02, 2009, 06:59:58 pm »
I'm contemplating returning to Florida this winter, this time to cycle southbound from Orlando, possibly to Key West and back up. Any suggestions for an interesting route with the least backtracking? Maybe a good way of stringing up any of the available trails and bike paths? I don't mind going though some of the urbanized east coast, in fact I think I'd purposefully head into Miami since I've never been there. I'll probably consider taking my Bike Friday on this trip and packing relatively light.

Canada / Re: Driving from Vancouver to Halifa
« on: October 30, 2009, 12:11:55 am »
It's probably faster to go though the States, as the Interstate highways are wider and speed limits are faster. Plus gas is a lot cheaper there.

Go down to Seattle, take I-90 all the way to Boston, then take I-95 up to New Brunswick then on to Halifax, about 6200 kms.  You could save about 700 kms by taking the ferry across the Bay of Fundy from Portland, Maine to Yarmouth. The shortest all-Canadian route you could do is about 5800 kms, but it involves long stretches on two-lane highways in Northern Ontario.

Routes / Re: Alma to Tadoussac to Quebec City, Blueberry Route, Quebec
« on: October 29, 2009, 08:26:39 pm »
Highway 132 is alright, and since you are headed westbound on the shore side of the road, it will be easier for you to turn into the parts of the Route verte that hug the riverside without having to cross the highway. The only hassles will going through the larger towns like Montmagny, but it is really straightforward except for the heavier traffic. Of the villages on that stretch of the south shore, Kamouraska sticks out in my memory. There is a great bakery there near the church, nice place to stop for a break.

Up along the Saguenay River, The village of Sainte-Rose-du-Nord is quaint. It is a bit of a descent into the fjord (therefore a climb out) from the highway but if you need a place to stay in this area it may be worth it. Not sure about motels here since I camped, but I remember an awesome meal in a a restaurant called Au Presbytère.

Tadoussac is nice. If you are lucky, whales sometimes swim as close as a hundred feet from the shore. I saw a few belugas standing in Pointe-Noire (in Baie-Ste.-Catherine across the river)

Routes / Re: Alma to Tadoussac to Quebec City, Blueberry Route, Quebec
« on: October 26, 2009, 10:32:16 pm »
The North Shore route between Tadoussac and Quebec City is super hilly. When I rode it several years back, I made the mistake of taking the 362 between Baie-St.-Paul and La Malbae and some of the climbs were insanely steep, 20% grade at times, so stick to the 138 (where the climbs are "only" 10 to 12%) if you do insist on doing this area. The Route Verte crosses to the south shore at Saint-Siméon for good reason.

The south shore is definitely more pleasant with more campgrounds and services, and the approach to Quebec City is more dramatic, ending with a ferry ride right into the old city from Lévis.

Routes / Re: Suggestions For Our Next Trip
« on: October 19, 2009, 11:58:42 pm »
Where in the east coast are you? There are lots of interesting loops you could do in Vermont, New Hampshire and/or Quebec. If you want something really different, a loop around the Avalon Peninsula in Newfoundland will feel like you've stepped off the continent.

General Discussion / Re: Cycling in Snow
« on: October 12, 2009, 06:07:32 pm »
I ride with studded tires in the winter, and they are great on the icy patches. One of the advantages in winter is that you are well padded with clothing and it doesn't hurt much if you do slip and fall (away from traffic, of course!). The streets are reasonably cleared where I am, and I find the drivers give me more room when there is snow because they are generally  more alert than in the summer.

It's a good idea to go slower, and tires with studs on the side require that you run your pressure soft when it is icy so that the studs engage on the surface.

General Discussion / Re: Transporting a bike: box or bag?
« on: October 05, 2009, 10:58:21 pm »
I personally prefer putting my bike in a clear plastic bag so that it is obvious to the handlers that it is a bike. My current touring bike is barely 2 years old and it has gone on six flights without any damage. Airports here in Canada usually have special heavy duty clear plastic bike bags on hand, but last year when I flew out of Anchorage AK, I had to make do with two smaller baggage bags. I first wrap the entire frame with pipe insulation, and unbolt the rear derraileur. I've posted these pictures here before: unwrapped, wrapped (Ignore the plastic cap on the rear derailleur, it is much easier to undo it and tie it to the chain stay). Since then, I have also learned to turn the fork 180 degrees so that it is facing backwards thus reducing the length of the bike a few inches, and then strapping the front wheel to the frame. With the air out of the tires, it is a snug fit, and avoids possible stress on the headset.

Routes / Re: Badlands NP & Mount Rushmore is it possible?
« on: October 05, 2009, 09:24:17 pm »
In my opinion, if you are going out of your way just to see Mount Rushmore, you might as well tough it out and go through Wyoming. Far more scenic than North Dakota or Montana. There are some long climbs though, like Ten Sleep Canyon, and you'll probably have to do quite a bit of wild camping. For an epic ride head out to Yellowstone-Virginia City-Dillon, then hook up with the Lewis and Clark Route.

General Discussion / Re: What is the daftest thing you ever carried?
« on: October 03, 2009, 08:23:04 am »
Wait until THIS GUY gets out and goes on tour :)

General Discussion / Re: Problem shifting to low gears
« on: September 27, 2009, 01:11:05 pm »
I imagine you are taking about the chainrings and the front derailleur. You just need to properly adjust the front derailleur, checking that it is properly installed first or that the height and the angle have not moved over time. A lot of problems regarding the failure to shift into the smallest and largest rings is due to the adjustment of the high/low limit screws. there are tons of videos on YouTube that can help you with this, just enter "front derailleur adjustment" in the search

General Discussion / Re: Neck and shoulder pain
« on: September 26, 2009, 09:18:05 pm »
My advice would be to get some upper body and abdominal exercises as part of your workout routine. I think too many people rely on just cycling to get themselves in shape. While cycling might seem like mostly a leg workout, it also demands quite a bit from your obliques, latissimus dorsi and trapezius muscles, which are attached to your back and neck. Sneak in some oblique crunches and a few pushups regularly, and if you have access to a gym, some lat pull downs. As you gain strength in these muscles, you'll be surprised as to how much it improves your cycling since the more force you exert on the pedals, the more your upper body has to counteract with a balancing force. In the end you may find yourself readjusting your bike to be closer to the recommended posture.

Routes / Re: route from Jacksonville to Pensacola
« on: September 08, 2009, 10:43:44 pm »
I second the US 98 route. I didn't find Fort Walton Beach and Destin to be a real problem.  The worst part was the 10 to 15 miles around Carabelle which had no shoulders.

Check out my route that I took earlier this year at and see if parts of it are helpful. I imagine you would be able to do your planned route in a week.

Canada / Re: How's the bike riding/touring in Nova Scotia?
« on: July 16, 2009, 12:28:44 am »
It's very scenic riding, especially if you like coastal scenery. The roads aren't great – there are no shoulders on most secondary highways – but for the most part, the drivers are quite courteous, and traffic is generally light outside of the Halifax region. I lived in Cape Breton for two years and I've cycled out there to visit old friends.

There should be a few rental places in Halifax. The Lighthouse Route is really pretty and it is chock full of historical sites. The Marine Drive is equally nice, and if you are up for more challenging terrain there's always the Cabot Trail.

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