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Messages - BikeFreak

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General Discussion / Re: Canada+USA: Biggest accepted bill?
« on: May 29, 2017, 06:37:31 pm »
Thanks for all your replies so far. I have completed long distance bike trips in 2 different ways:

a) Rely on debit card and withdraw 250 USD (my max daily limit using my European debit card) from an ATM machine every time cash gets low. Withdrawal fee about 5 USD every single time.

b) Start trip with 1000 USD in 20 dollar bills and a debit card as a backup.

Looking back I prefer b): I never get stressed trying to find an ATM in a rural area. Usually I prefer to focus finding something to eat and a place to sleep - not looking for ATM machines - and believe me - it can get very rural in the US. I never felt unsafe carrying 1000 USD in cash, the only drawback is that 50 20 dollar bills are bulky in the purse/wallet - of course they become less and less every day :-P.


General Discussion / Canada+USA: Biggest accepted bill?
« on: May 29, 2017, 02:27:04 am »

I need to change money in advance for my next trip to Canada and USA and I would like to carry the biggest bills possible in order to reduce volume. So, in terms of small grocery stores and rural gas stations, what are the biggest bills being accepted in:

a) Canada
b) USA


Routes / Passable: Biking along I-8 in southern CA and AZ?
« on: May 25, 2017, 03:32:26 am »

I am looking for an alternate route between San Diego, CA and Phoenix, AZ, than that proposed by Adventure Cycling. I have been googling a lot of info on the I-8 going in the southern part of CA and AZ. So far I have the following information:

1. There are many paved frontage roads and also the old Highway 80 so basically you only need to stay on the I-8 for small sections.
2. It seems that you can bicycle on the I-8 everywhere in AZ. When using google maps satellite I cannot see any "cyclists prohibited" on the signs entering the ramps.
3. It seems that you cannot bicycle on the I-8 everywhere in CA. When using google maps satellite I see "cyclists prohibited" on the signs entering all the ramps. There seems to be 1 exeption: The small stretch from Jacumba Hotsprings to Ocotillo is used by Adventure cycling and it does not have the signs on the interstate ramps.

There is only 1 single problematic stretch of 8.7 miles between in the easternmost part in CA just before Yuma:,-114.9573326/32.7630676,-114.8367779/@32.735414,-114.9332959,15157m/am=t/data=!3m2!1e3!4b1 On this stretch there is a slight chance of passing on some dusty sand roads but you need to cross the river 2 times and that is only possible on the I-8 itself - unless you swim across. Furthermore I am not sure how happy US border control is when you try to force your way across only feets away from the border.


There is an option to bypass that strech by entering Mexico at the Calexico/Mexicali border, stay on paved roads in Mexico for about 50 miles and then enter US again just west of Yuma. It would look something like this:,-115.3791608/32.7430173,-114.7170467/@32.6786304,-115.1936543,11z/am=t/data=!3m1!4b1!4m9!4m8!1m5!3m4!1m2!1d-115.0412616!2d32.6146707!3s0x80d70775997b5077:0x37b78882e93bc65f!1m0!3e0

Can anyone comment on this route suggestion?


Please remember:

This forum is very small with a very limited number of contributors. Limited compared to how many actually travel across.

1. A vast majority buy the maps, travel the route and you will never hear from them again. I belong to that group. I am active here but never made a webpage, no blog and no contribution on crazyguyonabike.

2. Some people buy a supported trip from Adventure Cycling - I think there are 2 in each direction each year. I guess you never hear anything from most of these people.

3. Some people do a supported trip with another organization, like fund raising or something similar.

4. Some people find the maps too expensive. They either borrow some old ones or start planning their trip using google maps

5. I usually met a few old persons doing the trip. They would travel alone while their spouse was driving the car (supported trip). It had been their life long dream to travel across but for some reason the spouse cannot do the physical part of it and drives the car. These people have usually reached an age where they are not profound using computers. You will never hear from these people.

If I were you I would ask Adventure Cycling for the guides they have been using and see if they have some contact information. These guides will probably remember each of the riders.


General Discussion / Re: Bike touring safety... USA...
« on: May 04, 2017, 03:46:42 am »
I'm from England and have cycled in over 60 countries
Only in the States ..., speeding is enforced, you have wide shoulders (Ok the East coast is lacking) need I go on?

+1. Compared to Europe I see police cars everywhere in USA and it makes you feel safe. They are patroling everywhere. If you come to a small place with lets say 2000 inhabitans you will VERY likely see the police patroling the streets. Also, you will see the police cars patroling the small count(r)y roads. I have never experienced such presence in Northern Europe.

General Discussion / Re: Bike touring safety... USA...
« on: April 30, 2017, 12:34:31 pm »
10 if you follow the Adventure Cycling Routes.
5 if you follow the Adventure Cycling Routes in bear country where there is a chance of furry night visitor.

4 years is too long. In 4 years you might have different plans. Go now!


General Discussion / Re: Bike across the US help
« on: April 21, 2017, 07:50:45 am »
You need to determine how much luggage you will bring. It will tell you if you can use the road bikes or not. Maybe a BOB Yak Trailer? Anyhow, I heard about a couple who biked across USA on a tandem. They did not have any luggage at all! When they were showering, they were showering with their clothes on and would thereby automatically wash them at the same time. I also met a German guy biking across: He went to LA, bought a standard bike at a bike shop, then a small trunk bag for the rear rack (or was it mounted on the seat post? I cannot remember). He was biking from motel to motel using google maps and was washing his bike clothes every night in the sink.


PS: I think it is great that you sold your house. You will not regret it.

General Discussion / Re: Is touring the Pacific Coast in July safe?
« on: April 17, 2017, 06:17:06 pm »
I live in Europe and biked the Pacific Coast in the summertime. I can assure you that the traffic in Europe is much worse.

General Discussion / Canada: Bug seasons
« on: April 04, 2017, 03:25:33 am »
As for preparing a bike trip across Canada and dealing with bugs. So far I identified the following bugs incl their respective seasons:
1. Mosquitos: Spring+early summer until end june
2. Black flies: Spring+early summer  until end june
3. Horse flies: Summer, start end june
4. Deer flies: Summer, start end june
5. Sand flies/No see ums: I have no idea

In terms of annoyance for cyclists, what would be the least annoying months for cyclists to cross Canada, especially through the boreal forests in the East. For me it seems there are two seasons: A season with black flies and mosquitos and a season with horse/deer flies (the ones circling your head while biking - even at high speed).


General Discussion / Re: Bears in Canada?
« on: March 27, 2017, 01:47:33 am »

Interesting route, I'm just wondering if you'd get bored with too much of the Canadian Shield and the Boreal forest. That's almost 3,000 kilometres, from Kenora to Saguenay, of "rocks and trees and trees and rocks" as the song goes. I get a few cross-Canada cyclists stay with me each year via WarmShowers, and by the time they get through Northern Ontario and into Ottawa they're relieved to be out of the boonies.

I like enjoy this type of touring: Flat, small grades and able to chew up a lot of miles. I also enjoy the desert and great plains. Easy to plan for reaching the next town because there is no steep mountain pass in between that will suck all energy out of you.

General Discussion / Re: Bears in Canada?
« on: March 27, 2017, 01:43:45 am »

A look at a bear distribution map says your route will have at least black bears almost the entire way.

If you look at bear distribution maps for Canada you will see there are bears even in NS and NB.

I started out in Halifax, NS a few times. I would ask the local people for the bears, but they would say there are no bears in NS. Maybe if you go to the deep deep hinterland of NB, otherwise not. So one thing is what a map says - another what locals tell you.

When I reach the Rockies I will take my precautions because I KNOW there are bears for sure - I have seen them several times. To me it is a mental stress to set up camp earlier, finding a tree for hanging food, finding a bear container, assesing the situation of wind direction, looking for rivers and streams, observing all kinds of distance rules etc etc (usually only applies for wild/stealth camping). So when I did the NT, I passed through LARGE areas of bear populated areas in the east, but never saw a bear and the locals told me there are no bears. Doing the NT again I would not bring a bear spray at all and worry about food hanging until I reach the Rockies. So what I would basically do is ramp up my precaution level when I reach the Rockies (if doing the NT). But on the roads in Ontario and Quebec I have no idea what the real situation is: Do I need to take Rocky Mountain like precautions already there?


General Discussion / Re: Hire of touring bike in Seattle
« on: March 26, 2017, 10:46:02 am »
and for 2 weeks it is not worth him transporting his bike
Why? Out of financial reasons? I think it will cost you 2x50 dollars to bring the bike on a plane.

Gear Talk / Re: Advice on Lower Gearing
« on: March 25, 2017, 06:13:47 pm »
two feet on the ground pushing the bike up the hill.  Make sure you've got cleat covers if you're using road pedals.

Eeeek!!!!  I HOPE every bicyclist tourer with clipless pedals is using SPD or Frog or Bebop pedals/cleats.  NOT road pedals. 

I bicycled 4 times across USA and circled Australia with normal leather boat shoes. I even did the continental divide trail with my boat shoes. And no they are not special ones fitted with a SPD system. And I average at 125 mi/day. And my next tour will be with my boat shoes again. And yes, I have had 2 pairs of SPD shoes and I quickly dumped them because I dont like them at all.


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