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Messages - geegee

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GPS & Digital Data Discussion / Clueless
« on: December 30, 2008, 11:53:49 pm »
I have to say using a GPS has changed the way I ride. I used to stop a
lot to check a map and did a bit of second guessing at turns when I
couldnt. Now I find I can concentrate a lot more on the road and the
sights, and just wait for the GPS prompts to turn. On a long tour, a
days ride becomes more enjoyable and carefree, as I only have to pay
attention to the route when I hear a beep. My journal entries are also
more lyric, as I feel like I dont have to record tedious details like
distance, speed or the steepness of hills.

If you are confused with the choices out there (and rightly so), decide
on a set of criteria that are important to you as a cyclist. Mine were:
1) Size and weight
2) Battery type (I wanted one that used AA batteries like my camera and
other gadgets so I only carried one charger for all of them on a tour)
3) Battery life
4) Screen size
5) Expandability (memory cards etc)
at the time I had to make my decision, the Garmin eTrex Vista HCx fit
the bill. There are some cool new models out now like the Oregon
which has a touch screen.

George: the Garmin topo maps have the streets identified and will do
routing. What it does not have is the amenities (hotels, stores,
restaurants, etc). The topo maps use more memory, but you load
smaller select areas as opposed to entire states/provinces.

GPS & Digital Data Discussion / GPS info for Macintosh Users
« on: August 31, 2007, 12:53:29 pm »
You can now install maps using your Mac with

MapInstall for Mac

You willl also need to convert your Mapsource maps (using Windows!)

before you can load them.

This message was edited by geeg on 8-31-07 @ 8:57 AM

GPS & Digital Data Discussion / What is the best GPS for cyclist?
« on: November 26, 2007, 01:25:07 pm »
I just use the MapSource software. It just takes a bit of mucking around to
get the hang of it. You could subscribe to Google Earth to do some
awesome mapping, too.

I like using the Topo versions of maps over the MetroGuide or City
Navigator as well. Amenities are not that hard to find on my own and the
Topos seem to include quite a few trails that the other maps don't cover,
and it's easier to judge the hilly routes.

GPS & Digital Data Discussion / What is the best GPS for cyclist?
« on: August 31, 2007, 01:59:49 pm »
I got the Garmin eTrex Vista HCx which basically does the same in a
smaller and lighter format. The simplified buttons are great for one-
operation. It's less than $300.

In my opinion, the Vista HCx is the best GPS for bicycle touring at this
time. It uses 2 regular AA bateries, which last 25 hours per charge,
means if you took a couple sets of spare and a lightweight charger, you
could tide a good week before a charge-up session

While the Edge 605 and 705 which are bike-specific
and now do mapping, the special batteries require you to charge it
almost every night.

GPS & Digital Data Discussion / Handlebar map
« on: August 31, 2007, 01:46:08 pm »
I used a Minoura Space Grip to mount my GPS on my bikeFriday which
has absolutely no room to put anything after my handlebar bag mount
is on.

I placed the Space Grip on the stem which has quite a large diameter.
I had this Space Grip on another bike and lost the larger metal band so
I modified a metal pipe clamp instead.

Nice thing about the set up is that it positions the GPS closer towards
your eyes, making it easier to read. Also it is simple to loop the lanyard
around the base of the Space Grip, just in case the mount lets go.
I have ridden this bike off road and the set up seems rock solid.

Routes / Pacific Coast Route Camping
« on: December 22, 2008, 07:37:16 pm »
Just make sure you arrive at the Amtrak station in advance to check in
your bike. They can refuse unboxed bikes.

I had a terrible experience in Whitefish MT when I showed up at the
station 45 minutes before departure but there was a long lineup at the
baggage counter and the guy took his sweet time checking people's
bags in. I was the next one in line when the train pulled in (15 minutes
before departure) and he closed the window on me and said I had to
wait for the next train, which was in two days! I was so mad, after
riding in the cold wet Montana autumn that this pencil-pusher
nonchalantly expected me to wait out a couple of days in an expensive
town just because he could not spend an extra few seconds writing me
out a tag  for my bike (which was lready preped for packing). Livid, I
hauled my bike up to the coach and refused to budge because I had a
paid reservation for both me and the bike. I explained my situation to
the conductor, and he ordered the baggage guy to reopen the counter
and write my tag. Of course he did it slow and said I had to buy a box,
and probably snickered as I barely made it into the baggage car
struggling with the bike and the box separately. I never boxed the
bike, as I got into the baggage car the train pulled out of the station
and I just secured it inside the roomy box car.

Routes / Orlando FL to Houston TX
« on: December 16, 2008, 11:20:10 pm »
Thanks for the great advice, I really appreciate it.

A question about cycling in the towns -- are cyclists in the south
harassed to use the sidewalks when there are no bike lanes? I rode in
Alaska last summer and I was surprised when I got to Anchorage after
the freedom of the highways, that cyclists there mostly used the
sidewalks (a motorist actually yelled at me to get off the road at one

I'll try to stick to ACA routes west of Mississippi but I'll be tempted to
find shortcuts here and there. I will only have 2 and 1/2 weeks to do
this. Is tenting a bit chilly in early March?

Routes / Orlando FL to Houston TX
« on: December 13, 2008, 12:34:18 am »
I'm supposed to attend a family gathering in Houston in mid-March and
I'm thinking of getting there the long way by flying to Orlando at the end
of February then riding west. I've never to this part of the US. How is it for
riding, and at this time of the year? Any advice and suggestions

Routes / La Route Verte
« on: December 12, 2008, 10:58:14 pm »

I took the north shore route that time because I had gone down the
south shore three times before and I was looking explore something
different. In retrospect, no, I have no regrets, but I would never do that
route again! I have done the south shore route again since, and I now
enjoy looking at the other side of the river even more :)

The south shore is quite pretty and the sunsets are incredible. The
towns and villages in Bas-St-Laurent have more amenities and it is
cheaper. In contrast, the Charlevoix has sparsely spaced conveniences
and places to eat and stay tend to book up or close early.

To get out to Nova Scotia, I've done both the St John River valley route
through the interior of New Brunswick, and along the Acadian shore.
The shore route is beautiful, but getting over the Appalachian ridge is
easier via Edmundston along the rail trail. The shoulders on the
highway through the Matapédia valley to Gaspésie are intermittent,
even though it is part of the Route verte. New Brunswick has excellent
roads with extra wide shoulders.

This message was edited by geeg on 12-12-08 @ 8:01 PM

Routes / La Route Verte
« on: November 30, 2008, 11:14:56 am »
While going around Lac-St-Jean (Veloroute des Bleuets) is easy,
getting there from Quebec City is quite hilly, especially if you decide to
stick to the north shore. Be prepared for some steep climbs in the
Charlevoix and Manicouagan sections. I did this ride several years ago
and I made a somewhat foolish decision to go though the north shore,
which is not part of the Route verte. While the scenery is stunning, the
climbs were the steepest i've ridden. I rarely walk my bike but I had no
choice on a 3 km 22% grade getting out of Sainte-Irenee!

The Veloroute des Bleuets (blueberry bike route) is probably the most
organized part of the Route verte. Along its 250km loop, there are
regular rest stops, bike specific signage and services. The provincial
park at Pointe-Taillon even has bike in campsites. Excellent homey
B&Bs and hearty food (the special Lac-St-Jean Tourtiere is a must-try)

As for other routes, the Gaspesie is quite nice, going around the south
of the peninsula then taking the train back to Quebec City is doable on
your schedule. If you like having urban experiences mixed in with your
tour, the Ottawa/Gatineau-Montreal-Quebec City route is not bad.

The publication look for is
Cycling in

Routes / Gaspe Peninsula
« on: February 04, 2008, 04:02:32 pm »
Here are photos of one of the smaller hills. You'll be up and down a quite
few of them in a day.

This message was edited by geeg on 2-7-08 @ 6:48 PM

Routes / Cleveland to Toronto OR Cleveland to Michigan
« on: January 16, 2008, 10:23:10 am »
You can apply for the cheaper Passport Card:

It's $45 ($35 for children) if you are applying for the first time. If you
already have a passport that needs renewal, the card is only $20.

Routes / Gaspe Peninsula
« on: December 31, 2007, 04:02:27 pm »
I've biked much of the Route Verte system, including the entire length
along the St Lawrence. It is quite good to Sainte-Flavie/Mont-Joli and
becomes a bit spotty heading into to the Matapédia valley (Amqui-
Causapcal) and improves along the southern Gaspé Peninsula.

Personally I would not recommend the northern part of the peninsula
as the hills are very steep between Matane and Gaspé town -- climbs
of over 10% are common and one after another -- and there are no
shoulders on much of the highway with lots of trucks and RVs. It can
also be quite windy --  Québec's largest wind turbine farm is at Cap-

When you say heading "out to the East coast" do you mean you will be
continuing farther into the Maritime provinces? New Brunswick is an
underrated cycling destination in my opinion. The highways can be
quite good there, sometimes with shoulders as wide as an extra car
lane. It is less touristy, as it lacks the draw of Percé Rock (Rocher-
Percé), but it has its quiet gems like the salt marshes of Kouchibouguac
(it's worth the mouthful). Prince Edward Island is also next door, and
there is a bike shuttle across the 17-km Confederation Bridge.

You can catch a train back to Montreal with your bikes from Gaspé
town or  Percé, or if you are in the Maritimes from Bathurst, Moncton
or Halifax.

This message was edited by geeg on 12-31-07 @ 12:07 PM

Routes / Atlantic Coast route--headwind question
« on: April 09, 2006, 06:33:09 pm »
In my opinion, it would be best to go South to North. You are bound to
have tailwinds on the nice days. Heading north on the east coast means
you are really heading northeast most of the time, which is the direction
of the Gulfstream and therefore the general direction of the prevailing
weather patterns. I once cycled south on the Jersey shore from NYC to
Philly and the headwind was awful.

Also, considering the time you are going, it is better to be in the south
around May and in the north towards August, avoiding the excessive heat
of summer.

Routes / Quebec
« on: January 03, 2006, 11:49:42 pm »
An additional note regarding the Ontario side of the itinerary I
mentioned above:

The villages along the Rideau Canal system between Ottawa and
Kingston are much more interesting than the St-Lawrence Seaway
towns. Many of these villages, Perth in particular, were settled by the
Scottish stonemasons who built the historic canal locks over 150 years
ago, and have wonderful old architecture. One classic ride that takes
you to the points of interest would be Ottawa-Manotick-Kars-
Kemptville-Merrickville-Smiths Falls-Perth-Westport-Kingston. County
Road 10 (the "Old Perth Road") between Perth and Kingston would
make a great end to your ride.

MapArt's Eastern Ontario Map (#0 66770 20222 8) shows all the small
roads. Add the Laurentides map (#0 66770 20313 5) and a map of
Quebec City and Ottawa, You'll have most of the info you'd need in 4

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