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Messages - DarrenBnYYC

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I have broken a couple M5 bolts by over-tightening them. What worked for me is to drill out a small hole (start with the smallest drill bit you can find and then slowly go bigger to expand the hole). Then I used a 'poor-man's EZ-Out: I just gently tapped in a small Torx head with hammer to get the leverage to back out the broken bolt.

GPS & Digital Data Discussion / Re: GPS Data User Guide?
« on: July 24, 2015, 09:33:02 pm »
Thank you both - that helps tremendously!

GPS & Digital Data Discussion / GPS Data User Guide?
« on: July 24, 2015, 12:32:59 pm »
I can't seem to find the GPS Data User Guide on the ACA website. The hyperlink provided in the GPS data download files (e.g., DCAboutV005.pdf) provides a stale (and broken) hyperlink to:

But that link generates an error to unavailable content.

The sticky in this forum directs one to navigate here:
"From the ACA front page, go to Routes and Maps > GPS Information"

But there is no longer a link for "GPS Information"

If you use the search tool on "GPS Data User Guide," you get forwarded to the Digital Data for Devices page.

I cruised around on all the pages under Digital Data for Devices, but couldn't find the Guide. Perhaps these pages replace what used to be a PDF-format guide?

Any pointers from anyone? Thanks.

General Discussion / Re: Charging iphone for maps while touring
« on: April 03, 2015, 11:31:05 am »
Last year I bought one of these integrated solar-powered charger/battery pack gadgets, and it really worked well:

The 5000 mah battery takes about 2 (sunny) days to charge up, and it easily repowered my android phone or inReach device when needed.

As a backup, I also carried one of these AA-powered USB chargers:

Very handy for topping up a phone. I carry extra AA batteries anyways, to run my bike lights, and the charger itself is small and weighs almost nothing. Plus, I can get fresh AA batteries almost anywhere as needed and dispose of the spent ones easily, so I don't have to carry around the dead weight of an empty USB-battery power supply.

Routes / Re: Great Parks North - Canadian Camping
« on: February 06, 2015, 09:49:44 pm »
A buddy and I did the trip from Jasper through Lake Louise, Banff, and back home to Calgary at the peak of the summer in 2014 (last week of July). We were self-supported and camped in the mountain park campgrounds each night. If you go mid-week, there won't be a problem getting a campsite. Actually, a couple of the ones we stayed at (Jonas Creek and Waterfowl Lakes) the campgrounds were maybe 1/3 full. Just stay away from the larger, serviced campsites that attracts the RV crowd -- those ones can fill up and don't have great sites for people in tents and tend to have a much higher proportion of campsites that are on the reservation system (the smaller campgrounds always have first-come, first-serve sites, particularly for tenters).

Regarding time of year, September can be the absolute best time of year out here, but it is risky. This past year (2014) we had a terrible cold snap and a lot of snow here in the first week of September, and it would not have been a fun time to be biking through the mountains, especially on the east slopes of the Rockies (west slopes on the BC side are much less of a concern).

As for how much time to do the trip, you can easily go between Jasper and Banff in 3 days, even with stops to see some of the tourist attractions, like the Columbia Icefields interpretative site. We probably could have made it all the way home to Calgary in 3 days if we had planned our trip a bit better. I haven't been down to Glacier yet, but having driven that way on both the BC (west slopes) side and Alberta (east slopes) side, it is immensely stunning scenery either way. Both southeastern BC and southwestern Alberta, plus that northern part of Montana below, are all some of the most amazing wilderness you find left in North America.

True - some mapping software does not store the map data on the phone, and you need mobile data to download it on the fly.  But there are quite a few great alternatives out there now that let you store maps, satellite imagery, etc. on your phone. I put a link to my favourite one in a post above.

One comment made earlier mentioned the need for cell tower coverage for this to work. I thought that these phones had their own GPS receivers in them and so theoretically should work and continue to work where there is little or no cell coverage. Is this assumption invalid and if so why?
As mentioned, most (all?) recent smartphones have a built-in, stand-alone GPS unit that does not require cellular service to obtain a location.

But something to note is that the GPS antennae and receivers in a smartphone aren't manufactured with the same quality as a modern hand-held GPS unit. So if you are in a heavily forested landscape or rugged terrain, you may find that your phone's GPS doesn't work as well (loss of fixes, accuracy, etc.) as a standard handheld, which may be a reason to consider carrying both. In more open terrain, however, the differences in positional accuracy are acceptably small.

I really, REALLY like this Android mapping software:

It gives you access to both free and pay-to-use topo maps and satellite imagery, and is very flexible with adding tracks and waypoints (including directly from your computer). I have downloaded both free topo maps and imagery to my phone and tablet (very easy), and the detail you can achieve far, far exceeds any handheld GPS on the market.

Gear Talk / Re: Best foot wear for touring?
« on: August 01, 2014, 04:32:51 pm »
Not the same pedals, but my daughter used a pair of "campus pedals" on the Trans America.  I asked her if she would make the same choice again for a long tour.  Her response was "probably not".  She said that it was more trouble clipping in

YMMV, but with a decent set of hybrid pedals, you get used to clipping in very quickly. People often imagine they are hard if they haven't used them before (or perhaps if they use cheap pedals), but I have been using different hybrids for years and they work very, very well for me. I would never substitute for one or the other again, from my very positive experience.

Gear Talk / Re: Best foot wear for touring?
« on: August 01, 2014, 03:29:01 pm »
For all those eager advocates of SPD clips, or any other mechanical method of attaching your feet to the pedals, here's something few of the clip using fraturnity rarely tell you.  Unless you aquaint yourself at an early stage in your cycling life and feel very comfortable getting in and out of clips at split-second notice without having time to think you might end up as I did a few years back, running out of momentum on a steep hill and quite suddenly face down on the black-top...

... Unless you're a serious road racer I see very little justification for any kind of clips.

I think cautions like this have their place, as there are definitely times for many of us when we prefer not to be clipped in (such as this example, on a sketchy road surface, like gravel or ice, etc.). It is also nice sometimes to have the comfort and freedom of a plain-old platform pedal.

Why not have both? I love hybrid pedals like these ones below -- why not have the best of both worlds?

Gear Talk / Re: Panniers vs. BOB?
« on: August 01, 2014, 03:21:29 pm »
A benefit of a trailer that hasn't been mentioned is that it might allow you to use an existing bicycle for touring without the need to purchase a beefier bike that can handle the weight of heavy-laden panniers. If you are on a budget, a trailer can be a good option, especially with things like hybrid bikes that already have mountain bike drive trains with low gearing.

I pulled a trailer around behind my cross bike for the first time this summer on a couple of trips. I preferred it much more on the highway trip (Jasper to Calgary) than off-road (Kettle Valley Rail Trail). On rough roads and singletrack, I really noticed the weight of the trailer behind me, as well as the "trailer whip" when dodging rocks, roots, etc. on the bike. On the highway, I only noticed the trailer on fast descents and when standing to climb hills. Packing was a LOT easier than with panniers, and I was definitely more aerodynamic than with panniers. But those were the only tangible advantages. The weight of my cross bike + trailer + bag was about the same as a heavier touring bike + racks + panniers.

I definitely liked travelling on the cross-bike, however. I think I might put on some lightweight racks and ultralight panniers front and rear and try that combination now for both on-road and off-road trips.

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