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Messages - Successor to the Professor

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Rocky Mountain / Re: Skalkaho Pass Advice
« on: October 29, 2009, 12:36:15 pm »
Heading from Philipsburg to Hamilton, you turn onto Hwy 1 (Skalkaho Hwy) from Hwy 38.  From here, you will have around 10-12 miles of smooth pavement.  There isn't much of a shoulder on this road, but traffic is pretty low.  When the pavement ends, you will be riding on a smooth gravel road.  The climb in this direction is pretty mellow, and a few miles into the gravel you will hit the only rest stop between Philipsburg and Hamilton, which is a Sapphire Mine gift shop with soda and snacks.  On your way up to the top of the pass, there is a random 2-3 mile stretch of very smooth pavement before jumping back onto gravel.  Once you hit the top of the pass, it's a long winding descent, but the gravel is pretty smooth.  It won't turn back to pavement until you get close to the base, and at that point it's a smooth ride into Hamilton. 

The pass is closed from mid-October through early June.  If you plan on riding this during mid-late June, be prepared for some wet roads, and possible light snow near the top of the pass.  For information on road conditions, you can call the State Highway Department at 800-226-7623.

Would like to hear from anyone who has ridden Skalkaho Highway between Philipsburg and Hamilton, MT.  I am particularly interested in road conditions.  Using Google Street View, it's diffiuclt to tell whether the road is paved, and there is a gap in coverage that includes the pass.  I am also interested in when the road usually becomes passable.  I am hoping to use it as part of a trip that I would like to do in mid to late June.

General Discussion / Re: Any experience with Surly LHT forks
« on: September 08, 2009, 02:25:05 pm »
The LHT fork should work just fine on the Cannondale T2000.  The LHT fork has a bit more rake than the Cannondale fork, so you'll have a slightly wider wheelbase for a smooth ride, and at around $80, it's hard to beat the price.  The LHT fork will also hold up to a good deal of abuse, as I've been using it for a lot of off-road/gravel tours this season.

Mid-Atlantic / Re: Welcome to the Mid-Atlantic Region
« on: July 09, 2009, 01:26:57 pm »
Thanks for the catch Kel!

You might have to check two bags if you're going with an airline size suitcase.  When I pack up my Surly LHT with front and rear racks, panniers in fenders, I'm relegated to a full size bike box, and even then it gets a bit cramped.  You will also want to make sure you pay attention to the weight of the suitcase.  You'll get hit hard with extra fees if it's over 50 pounds.  When possible, use clothing to pad the bike, and take as much as you can with carry-on luggage.

I'm sure you've checked already, but take a look at the allowed baggage dimensions for different airlines, as well as charges for bike boxes.  Right now it seems as though smaller airlines, such as Allegiant Air, Mesa, and Alaska Airlines, are still around $50 each way for bike boxes.  The major airlines (Continental, Delta, United, etc) can charge up to $150 each way.  

If you decide to take the bike box option, here's a link that might help that process go smoothly:

As far as insurance goes, I'm afraid I don't have an answer for you, but you can take precautions by putting 'fragile' tape on the bags before checking.

Rocky Mountain / Tour de Cure 2009 - Three Forks, Montana
« on: June 24, 2009, 12:38:42 pm »
If anyone in the Northern Rockies region is looking for a good event style ride in September, the Tour de Cure will be taking place on the 19th of September.  It starts and ends in Three Forks, Montana, and has 6, 23, 56, and 100 mile ride options.  Check out for more information.

The last East to West TransAm rider rolled through the Adventure Cycling office on October 1st last year.  From Astoria, he planned on heading South to San Fransisco.  He was certainly packed down with plenty of warm gear, and experienced some snow in the higher elevations. 

If you average around 50 miles a day, and take one rest day each week, you should be able to complete the route in just over three months, making mid-July a decent start date at that pace.  If you want to pound the route out fast, you can move that date up further.

Rocky Mountain / Re: Going to the Sun
« on: June 22, 2009, 04:48:54 pm »
Hwy 49 is a bit narrower and twists around quite a bit, but it has some spectacular views.  The trails off this road are tribal land, so you will need a permit to recreate off the road from here, but I would highly suggest it for the scenery.  Hwy 89 give you a little bit more breathing room on the road, but it still only gives you a couple feet on the shoulder.

Rocky Mountain / Re: Going to the Sun
« on: June 18, 2009, 12:49:01 pm »
If you're coming all the way out to Montana from Florida, you definitely don't want to do an out and back.  I vote starting in Whitefish, then riding into West Glacier, and then starting the loop in a clockwise fashion.  This is the steeper of the two directions, but it's the most spectacular side of the pass and worth taking slow. 

The reason I would start in Whitefish is that you get some sweet views of the mountains as you ride towards the park from the Flathead Valley. 

No matter what you end up doing, it's going to be a great ride.

Midwest / Midwest Icebreaker
« on: June 15, 2009, 05:22:52 pm »
This forum has been pretty quiet, a little too quiet.  To get things rolling, I'll go ahead and introduce myself.  My name is Josh Tack, and I'm an employee here at Adventure Cycling Association.  Growing up in Iowa, I caught the cycling bug about 15 years ago when I toured across Iowa on my first RAGBRAI, and haven't looked back.  To this day I'm still touring, but have also taken on road, mountain, and cyclocross racing, and have ridden my bike for science on numerous occasions (muscle biopsies aren't as bad as they sound!).  My current fleet consists of the following:

Surly Long Haul Trucker
Surly Pugsley
Felt F3 SL
Cannondale XR800
Cannondale F1 Caffeine
Ross Euro Tour cruiser bike

I would love to see this discussion group become more active, so feel free to introduce yourself and start some new topics relevant to the Midwest.


Routes / Re: Great things to do on TransAm trail
« on: June 12, 2009, 12:59:10 pm »
Make sure to swing through the Adventure Cycling office in Missoula! 

Also, I highly suggest hiking some trails around the Grand Tetons and checking out the max speed on your cyclo-computer after bombing down the pass.  I have always thought that taking horse tours in Montana and Wyoming is appropriate, as your trading one saddle for another.

Gear Talk / Re: Remounting tight tires
« on: June 12, 2009, 12:23:05 pm »
Depending on how wide your Mr. Tuffy tire liners are, you might want to give them a trim and see how that works.  Just make sure that you sand down the sides of the Mr. Tuffy strips after cutting them so you don't have any edges that can wear on your tubes.

Gear Talk / Re: Front Rack
« on: June 10, 2009, 12:55:18 pm »
I have been having great luck with the Old Man Mountain Cold Springs rack on my mountain bike.  Another really good option is the Surly Nice Front Rack.  Both of these racks will run you around $130-$140, are built to last, and will work with a 26" cromoly fork. 

Gear Talk / Re: Sizing a 29er for off-road touring
« on: June 09, 2009, 02:17:14 pm »
With a 29er, you want to be more upright.  You may end up moving down a size when switching over to a 29er since the larger wheels move the frame up (I ride a 16" 29er, and an 18" standard mountain bike), which puts you in a more upright position.  The shorter top tube and wheelbase you get from sizing down works in your advantage by giving your snappier handling that is otherwise lost with the larger wheels.

Gear Talk / Re: 4 Front (small) panniers?
« on: June 08, 2009, 04:29:48 pm »
I've done that for some shorter tours, but just make sure you have plenty of heel clearance.  I had to move mine back quite a bit to keep my heel from whacking them since the bottom corner isn't cut back. 

Gear Talk / Re: Touring Tires
« on: June 08, 2009, 04:26:20 pm »
If the crushed limestone roads are anything like the ones I've ridden throughout the Midwest, you should be in good shape.  Back in Iowa, I was able to put 3000 miles on cyclocross tires before replacing them, so you should be in great shape with mountain bike tires. 

If you're worried about punctures, you can always toss some Mr. Tuffy tire liners in there.  The 36 spoke count sounds perfect, and should be plenty sturdy for your trip.

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