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Messages - PeteJack

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General Discussion / Are insects a problem in Alberta?
« on: December 16, 2010, 08:14:58 pm »
In 2012 I'm hoping to ride the ACA route from Jasper to Whitefish. I'm trying to get a friend in England to join me and he's terribly worried about mosquitoes and possibly other bugs. Are they a problem on this route? If so how do we deal with them?

Routes / Re: Is Vancouver Island this bad?
« on: December 13, 2010, 11:49:15 am »
Thanks for the reassurance guys. I've ridden with rumble strips in Montana and Wyoming and while a nuisance I didn't find them the deathtrap that this gent makes out. I have to say that some of his pictures are very good. Even the ones showing rumble strip horrors! If they really do save lives I guess we'll have to live with the things. Not even bike paths are 100% safe. A friend of mine, Steve, said "On your left!" to pass a jogger, the jogger jumped left, Steve braked so hard he went over the bars and landed on his head. No serious injury fortunately

Routes / Is Vancouver Island this bad?
« on: December 12, 2010, 10:28:49 pm »
I was hoping to ride from Sidney up to Port Hardy then ferry across to Prince Rupert, perhaps train to Jasper, then down to Montana etc. But this write up makes it sound like rumble strip hell. Is it as bad as this guy makes out?

Routes / Re: Trans Am Ride
« on: December 12, 2010, 05:56:16 pm »
From the UK I'd recommend starting in Washington DC and taking the Atlantic Coast route south until it meets the TransAm in Mineral Virginia. It is a major pain getting from Newport News to Yorktown by bike or on any kind of public transport apparently. you'll find Virginia and Kentucky much like North Yorkshire hillwise, lots of them in succession, shorter and harder climbing than the Rockies where roads are built to what was known as "mule grade" i.e. a gentle enough slope for a team of mules.

If the weather is bad when you get to the Grand Tetons/Yellowstone I'd urge you to consider waiting until it clears. I camped opposite them but never saw the Grand Tetons and rode through Yellowstone in the pouring rain with visibility perhaps one mile. Even Old Faithful is a let down if it's cloudy and if you take a picture under these conditions you can't distinguish geyser from cloud. The whiz down from Old Faithful is a 17 mile delight no matter what the weather.

Routes / Re: Different routes across Washington state
« on: December 12, 2010, 03:08:59 pm »
I'd take Hwy 20. If you aren't a purist you can catch a train for about $20 from Seattle to Mount Vernon and start from there. Head for Sedro Wooley and join the ACA route a couple of miles before you get there. You have to turn left to head west past Clear Lake (on the ACA map), The road south of the river is pretty. When you get to Rockport I would not recommend the Rockport Cascade Rd, the ACA route. It's what I call exercise bike riding, flat and nothing to see thanks to high brush. If you stay on Hwy 20 it rejoins the ACA route at Marblemount and is slightly shorter. I've done them both. But the traffic is definitely heavier on 20.

He's got some experience now, I'd urge him to carry on solo. Finding a good touring partner is like finding a good spouse and about as difficult.

General Discussion / Re: Sea-Tac to Anacortes by air?
« on: October 15, 2010, 02:21:44 am »
I'll second what doug_in_seattle suggests. It's about 17 miles from Anacortes to Mt Vernon, if you really really must start from Anacortes but it's a very busy road. From Mt Vernon I'd head north on Hwy 9 for 9 miles towards Sedro Woolley. You join the ACA route before you get to SW by turning left on S Skagit Hwy. If you cross the Skagit (pron. Skajit) River you've gone too far. Stock up on food and / or have a meal in Mt. Vernon. The next place is Concrete which has lousy selections. In fact there ain't much for 100 miles or so until you get to Winthrop. (If you're a reader This Boy's Life by Tobias Wolfe is set in Concrete. Good book)

Gear Talk / Re: Heavy Duty Handle Bar Bag
« on: August 16, 2010, 06:51:18 pm »
Steer clear of Lone Peak barbags. The map holder is just fine for ACA maps but they are not waterproof. Even with a cover, which is an added expense and a pain to put on, in heavy rain I have had everything soaked. I plan to get an Ortlieb as soon as the budget will allow. .

Going clockwise it is possible to rejoin the ACA route from Aberdeen and avoid a chunk of Hwy 101. Take Wishkah Rd north from Aberdeen which joins the route at the Wishkah Rd / Winoochie Wishkah Rd junction where you take a left. On map 10 this is the road that runs along Wishkah River. It's a rolling gradual climb on a quiet road. Head north from Aberdeen on N B St. and you'll find it. We did it last month.

General Discussion / Re: What to wear in the rain?
« on: May 09, 2010, 02:32:57 am »
Two years ago in the UK I bought a spendy Gore Bike Wear jacket for about $300. I didn't give it a real test until I rode the North Cascades highway in October 2009. The jacket was worse than useless, it leaked like a sieve and I got hypothermia. A couple of months ago I decided to email Gore Bike Wear customer support and tell them about this. They quickly replied saying their clothing was guaranteed not to leak and asking me to send the jacket back to them (in the US). I then got a phone call telling me they had tested the jacket, found it defective and I could have any new Gore Bike Wear jacket to replace it. (Bear in mind the jacket had been used quite a bit and had oil smudges on it) I asked for a ALP-X jacket, list price $279.99 which the sent me within a week. It's magic, I've done 25 miles in heavy rain since I got it and was dry as snuff. Morals: (a) Gore Bike Wear has first class customer service (b) if you can afford it get good stuff. The cheaper stuff "keeps everything out, keeps everything in" and you end up soaked anyway. When the temperature's warm this is no more than a nuisance but if it's cold it can be downright dangerous

General Discussion / Re: Money money money!
« on: March 18, 2010, 10:17:58 am »
A very rough rule of thumb is $1 per mile. If you do like a young man I met in Virginia and live out of dumpsters you can probably bring this down.

General Discussion / Lost from Bike Bits - 1940s tour
« on: March 08, 2010, 08:25:04 pm »
A past edition pf Bile Bits had as link of the week the diary of two young women who rode from the northeast to New Orleans in 1943. It was a marvelous look into the past, with two exceptional ladies. Unfortunately I didn't bookmark it. If anyone can give me the link I'd really appreciate it.

Temporary ACA Route Road Closures / Re: Washington Parks Section 2 2009
« on: October 27, 2009, 11:49:35 pm »
Route 410 is now open to all traffic including bikes with a  gravel road diversion around the landslide (which you don't get to see). I did it last week.

I was through these roadworks in June. From what locals told me "adding shoulders" would be more accurate than "adding lanes". The road has no shoulder at all westbound, the white line is no more than one foot from the crash barrier for many miles and eastbound, i.e. away from the river the shoulders are pretty slim but at least you can go into the ditch. It is a scary road that gets used by a lot of heavy vehicles. It seems there is no decent alternative for either cyclists or heavy vehicles. I was also told that they were going to extend the length of the original improvements so, fingers crossed.

General Discussion / Re: Flat Tire - Safety Alert
« on: March 10, 2009, 06:54:09 pm »
I've never done this but here's thought. If you don't have a rag or cotton ball an old sailor's trick for finding snags in wire rope is to wipe with toilet paper, something every well prepared cycle tourer should be toting. This may get a bit ugly in the wet mind you.

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