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Messages - MrBent

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Routes / Re: Tour de SRAM USA 2017- unique cross-country route
« on: January 16, 2017, 01:42:35 pm »
Looking better.  Just east of Barstow at Newberry Springs (Baghdad Cafe) swing onto I 40 until Ludlow.  It's legal there.  Route 66 degenerates into the world's worst pavement.  Get back onto 66 until Fenner--water, snacks--then I 40 again until Needles.  Swinging up to Goffs is okay but you'll have to run the gauntlet to get back to I 40 on Rt. 95--not nice.  It's better to just deal with I 40, which isn't bad as far as freeways go--huge shoulder, moderate traffic--smooth, too.  You'll love the ride through Oatman to Kingman--great stuff!  Do what you can to go during the cool part of the year.  Needles area is usually about as hot as Death Valley in the summer.  I've only pedaled through in late fall and winter.  When I went through in early Nov., for example, it was 80 deg. F.

You'll have a blast.

Routes / Re: Another way to cope with dogs
« on: January 16, 2017, 11:33:52 am »
Yep, Indiana.  It was such a relief to sleep in AC for a couple of nights, me being a "dry" air Westerner and all.  The humidity on the eastern leg of the crossing was one of my biggest challenges.

Nope, don't think I hit Staggers.

Routes / Re: Another way to cope with dogs
« on: January 15, 2017, 11:32:51 pm »
+++++++ for Monroeville!  Boy, did I have a great couple of nights in that town.  Such wonderful people, great place to hang, super library.  After reading about the dogs and coal trucks and nasty roads, I've no desire to pedal Kentucky.

Routes / Re: Tour de SRAM USA 2017- unique cross-country route
« on: January 15, 2017, 11:29:22 pm »
Huh, just looked at that Mojave section.  Yeah, Jamawani is correct.  Looks like a crazy Google map job.  I've crossed the Mojave multiple times.  Your route that leads into the heart of the East Mojave Preserve is on some very obscure, waterless dirt track.  Are you aware of that?  I'd only consider that in VERY cool temps and then have to carry a ton of water and cover a lot of miles quickly, somewhat difficult on sometimes sandy tracks.  Water is available in Kelso.  Methinks you've got a lot of research still to do.

Routes / Re: Tour de SRAM USA 2017- unique cross-country route
« on: January 15, 2017, 04:33:59 pm »
Looks like a lot of noisy freeway riding on I 40.  Are you up for that?


Routes / Re: Start date for NB Sierra Cascades route.
« on: January 15, 2017, 04:24:55 pm »
Be warned that, so far, this year is shaping up to be one of record or nearly record snowfall.  Keep an eye on snow levels and Tioga Pass opening dates.  Could be very late this year.  One thing to hope for is that, I think, every year there is a window when the road is clear but open to cars and you can bike it--what a dream.

Best of luck.


Routes / Re: Southern Tier 2017 Thread
« on: January 15, 2017, 04:20:12 pm »
Just drove the section between Apache Junct. and the summit of 60 to the east.  That's some nasty riding in there.  It wouldn't be so bad going east-west because you'd be headed downhill and get through it quickly.  I saw one guy pushing his loaded bike uphill headed east.  Did not envy him.  Watch out for that bit for sure--high traffic, trucks, many places with no shoulder.  Ugh.  Might want to check into riding around the north side of the Superstitions, but that will have it's own challenges for sure.

Best of luck!  I'm feeling the need for another long tour.  Haven't been on one since 2012.


Routes / Mojave Desert Touring Conditions
« on: January 15, 2017, 04:14:40 pm »
Hey, Cyclotourists:

This is probably old info. here, but I just got back from a driving trip that covered areas I've toured and thought I'd report.

I've done a bunch of touring in the Mojave, and I've got some good news for anyone heading out there.

1) The super fabulous Kelbaker road from Baker on I 15 in the north to I 40 in the south has be repaved! I've pedaled this a few times, and I think it's on the Furnace Creek 500 route. The last time--2015--we vowed to never do it again the pavement was so bad--HUGE holes, unbearable rough, cobbles the size of your fist. Utter crap. Well, that's a thing of the past. The paving is the--sigh--expected chip seal, but it's vastly better. The long descent from Granite Pass is still rough underneath, but overall, this route is vastly improved.

2) It is now (since when?) legal to ride the shoulder of I 40 between Barstow and Needles. I saw a bunch of "Share the Road" signs along the way. This is key because Old Route 66 on that section has some of the worst pavement on the planet, and there seems to be zero motivation for fixing it. Also, once past Fenner, I 40 is by far the safest route down to Needles. There are some bridges under reconstruction west of Fenner, so be warned, but touring cyclists should be down in the Amboy region on Route 66 anyway--much more scenic and quiet.

Ride on, you desert rats.

Routes / Great Divide Mtn. Bike route: Gen. conditions?
« on: December 06, 2015, 11:14:46 am »
Hey, Mtn. Bikers:

I just read this journal from 2013:

I was astonished at the damage to roads from Canada to New Mexico.  Can anyone comment on the current conditions?  It's a been a couple of years, but damn!  That's a great journal, btw.


Routes / Re: Great Divide MTB Route options?
« on: April 14, 2015, 12:27:01 pm »
Hey, Wayne:

From our experience doing the paved Divide, do your best to avoid paved Montana.  That was, overall, the low point of the tour because of poor shoulders and sometimes very heavy traffic.  Wyoming was good, Colorado okay to good but only because we went through so late in the year--late Sept/early Oct.  Mid-summer might be a different story.  New Mexico has some really good paved cycling, at least on the routes I've taken.


Routes / Re: Great Divide MTB Route options?
« on: April 14, 2015, 08:56:51 am »
Hey, Wayne:

I hear you, but we've already done the Divide on pavement, which is what's got us itching to do it dirty style.  We'll see what happens.  We still got a couple of years before I can get the time off.



Routes / Re: Great Divide MTB Route options?
« on: April 04, 2015, 10:27:05 pm »
Hey, SandLizrd!

Thanks for the pep talk.  Yeah, an epic is the point.  I'm thinking of constructing harnesses for pulling the trikes up hill, which I think might be easier than bending over to push.  I don't think Heidi had to do a lot of pushing.  The mud in NM worries me, but one gets through what one must, mustn't one? Heh.


Routes / Re: Great Divide MTB Route options?
« on: April 03, 2015, 01:16:05 pm »
Good pt. re. speed, John.  I think we should be able to manage 30+ miles per day of riding, which should make it possible.  Yeah, we are wicked slow on climbs.  I've got a route mapped ( that we'll try next year using my proposed GDMBR setup.  This route involves some substantial dirt portions, so we'll get the feel for time/distance calculations.  We've toured a lot on a Greenspeed tandem trike, so we're no strangers to slow.

Routes / Great Divide MTB Route options?
« on: April 03, 2015, 12:06:22 pm »
Hey, Riders:

Doing some dreaming and scheming about the GDMBR.  I know my plans are a bit whacked, but they are not without precedent.  My wife and I are thinking about attempting the GDMBR on recumbent trikes.  It has been done this way once before--see Heidi's blog on Crazyguyonabike--so we know it's possible.  Our particular wrinkle will be taking our faithful hound along if he's fit enough, which seems likely.  Our ride is still a full two years away, so this is very preliminary research.

Some background:

In 2012, my wife, our hound, Django, and I pedaled the Great Divide following almost exclusively paved roads.  I tell this sordid tale in my book--Cracking the Spine:

That was a tough trip for sure, but on the times we got off pavement, we had some serious fun.  It was hard, of course, but the virtual absence of traffic and the overwhelming quiet were addictive.  We ended up doing about 30 miles or so of dirt between Bozeman and the Yellowstone River and another stretch of dirt leading to Ute Pass, which I've found is part of the official GDMBR. These went well, and our rigs were not customized for dirt, my wife in particular pedaling a trike with 20" wheels--pretty dang low!  For a bigger dirt adventure we'd upgrade my trike--currently 26" in the rear and 20" in front to a 29X24 config. while my wife's would be 26X24.  We'd use 2+" rubber all around.  The dog trailer is the best available, a Cycletote, which we'd likely upgrade to 26" wheels.

So here's my thinking about the route so far: 

We'd have to use the now alternate south of Sparwood in BC--the "Fernie Alternate" as "The Wall" seems a no go with trikes? Everyone portages, but the trikes couldn't even be pushed up that from what it seems.  We'd be fine on the Fernie route, however.

The next crux comes at Richmond Peak above Rt. 83 in Montana, a section we grew to hate because of the traffic.  Instead of Richmond Peak, which Heidi did successfully, here's an alternate I've mapped using Google, so I'd like some Montana locals or other experienced riders to comment:

From satellite views, the route seems to follow consistently well developed logging roads.  We'd have to ride SOME of 83, but not much.

The other crux would be Fleecer Ridge.  Again, Heidi rode this somehow, but we'd likely do the simple alternate.

From my reading, it seems like everything else is workable, especially on jacked trikes with fat tires.  If I had my way, I'd go with a suspended two wheeler, but my wife is a confirmed triker, so this is the way we'd do it.  We have insanely low gearing, so I suspect that many stretches that two wheelers push, we'd crawl up steadily on our three wheelers.

Besides the expected--DON"T DO IT, YOU FOOL!--comments, what do you think?  Any other sections that have workarounds we should know about? 



General Discussion / Re: coast to coast touring 30 days?
« on: October 10, 2013, 08:43:33 pm »
You're getting good advice.  I think it will likely come down to a suffer-fest, which is fine if that's yer cup o' tea.  You'll need to put in monstrous saddle time before seriously considering it.  I'd want to try a few double centuries, certainly train up to it.  You'd want to be comfortable with hitting a century each day of the weekend, and more, of course.  As one poster said, most of us here are for a take-it-slower pace.  My own cross country pace was about 65 miles per day, give our take.  For what it's worth, a friend who did 90+ miles every day on his crossing regrets going so quickly and thought my pace was a better choice.  The pressure to finish would be immense at the pace you suggest.  I'd think the tour would become more like a job.  BUT!  And this is a big "but."  People are different.  Maybe training for and undertaking such a challenge is what will make you happiest.  For me, having time to meet some locals, check out different places, linger over coffee in the morning or a cold beer after a hot day, those are some of my most cherished moments--not the days I packed in the miles.  To each his own.

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