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Messages - BikeFreak

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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.


Routes / Re: Transcanada trail mapped?
« on: March 19, 2017, 02:45:01 am »
While looking for options I just discovered a VERY nice feature on Google Maps:

1. Zoom into an area of interest, for instance Manitoba.
1. In the search field simply put in "gas stations", "grocery store" or "camping". Now google map visually shows you all of those services on the map itself. That is truly amazing and great for planning. It is almost like making your own adventure cycling maps.


Routes / Re: Northern Tier vs. TransAm
« on: March 18, 2017, 10:05:01 am »
2 more things worth considering:

1 On the NT you will have much more twilight. What does this mean? It means that you will not be surprised that it gets pitch dark too quickly. As the sun slowly sets you can still ride for a long time finding food and shelter and still set up tent in pitch darkness without a flashlight. This of course is important for people who really try do many miles a day. Overall you WILL have more riding hours each day (about 1 extra hour NT compared to TA).

2 Due to the cooler non-humid climate on the NT you will feel more clean and hygienic. On the transam your clothes will feel nasty and stick to your body every single day and you will crave a shower each night. On the NT, esepcially if you do stealth camping, you will do fine if you cannot shower each day.


Routes / Re: Salinas to SLO
« on: March 15, 2017, 03:18:46 pm »

Routes / Re: Transcanada trail mapped?
« on: March 15, 2017, 09:19:22 am »
I was just thinking about an alternative for crossing America (something like NS to BC) having done both the Northern Tier, Southern Tier and Transam Trail. I once also biked from Prince Rupert on the Yellowhead Highway to Jasper and then South to the border. However doing so requires a lot of planning and is much more risky in terms of food supply. This is why I was asking for some directory where gas stations and camp sites are listed - something which might be used by RVers. I know there is a book called the "Milepost", however it is targeted towards Alaska and Yukon.

I am not a fan of electronics with all the hassle of charging devices and desperately looking for power plugs during my tours.


Routes / Transcanada trail mapped?
« on: March 15, 2017, 02:25:07 am »

Does anyone know if there exists a paper mapped trail/path across Canada suitable for cyclists? If not, is there some sort of directory indicating all camp sites, service stations ... some of those things highly valuable on the Adventure cycling maps?


Routes / Re: Northern Tier vs. TransAm
« on: March 11, 2017, 07:03:51 pm »
Having done both I strongly prefer the NT. I had no brutal winds and mosquitos in MT. Going west the hills in VA are really demanding and they hit you like a sledge hammer after just a few days. This goes on also in KY. Then you will have annoying hills in the Ozarks again (MO). Finally you hit the long Rocky slopes. On the NT you will have the much softer Adirondack hills/mountains (going west) that are more similar to the Rockies. Once you drop down from the Adirondacks and come close to lake Ontario, it will be somewhat flat all the way to the Rockies.

The heat and humidity on the Transam can be brutal. The weather on NT is much more tempered and comfortable. However, if you like watch dogs chasing you then there is no doubt: Transam :-)

I did the entire Great Divide on a mountainbike with 26x1.75 tires (equals 47mm). I think I was the only guy with such skinny tires. I felt I was "floating" on top of the gravel when going downhill - not very pleasant. I think, but never tried, that fattier tires would have been better (something like 2" and above).

Routes / Chicago to New York City Route?
« on: March 09, 2017, 05:14:59 pm »

On the PDF overview map I found a new route called the Chicago New York City route. But I cannot find any maps. Does anyone have some more information?


Gear Talk / Re: Tent choice for Northern tier
« on: March 08, 2017, 07:14:20 pm »
I would say: If you are racing across America, take the light one. Otherwise not.

The NT was my first long distance trip. I had the Hilleberg Nallo 2 person tent which is a non-freestanding tunnel tent. With all the possibilities of setting up my tent on convered concrete slabs etc (impossible with the Nallo), after completing the NT, I went out and bought a free standing tent for all my oncoming trips. Has been one of my best investments.

Biggest advantage of freestanding tents in my opinion - when setting up on a concrete slab or something similar indoor: Especially on the NT, you will have cool nights. The result is heavy condensation on the inside of the fly. This is particularly a big problem when setting up on grass/lawn. In the morning I would try to wipe down the moisture with my towel - but I was never able to get rid of all the water. I had to pack the moist tent and get going. During my lunch break I would take ou the tent and dry all parts in the sun. That would take only 5-10 min. But it is annoying to unpack and pack the tent 2 times a day just because of this. NOT unpacking and fully drying the tent will result in unpleasant smells and to me an "uncomfortable" tent each evening. So when camping somewhere I would always look for a covered place because I know it will save me a lot of time the oncoming day.

The above rarely occurs on the Transam: Here the temperatures are much higher during the night and you often never reach the dew point.


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