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Messages - BikeliciousBabe

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General Discussion / Re: ACA Maps & 2-lane Highways - how often?
« on: April 20, 2020, 09:40:06 am »
If it's busy, much of U.S. 93 between Eureka and Whitefish on the Northern Tier will put the fear of death in you. This is coming from someone who routinely rides in the 5th most populous city in the U.S.

Routes / Re: Going to the Sun Road
« on: April 18, 2020, 10:19:51 am »
Only six photos so far, but check back later. They usually post some dramatic images as they get higher up.

Routes / Re: Going to the Sun Road
« on: April 16, 2020, 01:43:59 pm »
BTW...Despite the park being closed to visitors, plowing has already started.

Routes / Re: Going to the Sun Road
« on: April 15, 2020, 04:46:54 pm »

...Eastbound, you really should start from Avalanche.
Westbound, it's best to start from Rising Sun...

My wife and I plan to include a westbound crossing of Logan Pass and then eastbound through Marias Pass on a trip we're planning, basically going south on the Great Parks North route to east on the Northern Tier. My main concern is getting a campsite at Rising Sun. Will they accommodate cyclists who pedal in from Alberta arriving late in the afternoon?

You probably know this, but you cannot go west of Sprague Creek Campground between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. If you are planning to camp there, the infield of the one vehicle loop has maybe 4 raised tent pads but can accommodate far more tents than that. There is also at least one bear locker. One year I stayed there with more than a dozen other cyclists. While it's close to the road, it's small and so not a zoo like Avalanche and Apgar. The host couple is really nice. Plus, you can easily ride or even walk to the lodge. The food is pretty darn good there. Or you can hang out the lodge until 4 and keep heading west. Sprague Creek also has a day use picnic area where you can hang for free.

If your day to Rising Sun starts at Waterton Village, don't underestimate it. No passes, but it is not an easy day by any means. The real kicker could be that after you are done with the hills, you will have a stiff headwind on U.S. 89.

Marias Pass is a long slog up with no shade. Look for mountain goats a bit up on the hill on the left when you pass the sign for Goat Lick.

General Discussion / Re: transam june 20
« on: April 04, 2020, 10:45:50 am »
mostly what i was thinking, but even worse. i have been trying to be optiimistic that the actual virus will have largely run its course in most areas by mid-late june. i ride supported, by the way. my wife drives our ford van and we sleep in it and cook outdoors. no plumbing, but we can carry plenty of food and drinking water, so i would be better off than a solo cyclist. i have lived in 10 states and one territory, including montana and oregon and the deep south, and  never had issues with "the locals." i am worried if every blm and forest service road is closed, since we had already expected some rough-ish camps. (yes, i expect no tears from self-supported and solo riders.)  so, for now just ride and wait and watch. thanks.

Thta's a bit of a different animal. You have an "escape" if things aren't pleasant. And you wife can more easily "fly under the radar."

I am scheduled to fly to Missoula on June 13th for two weeks of riding in MT and ID. I have pretty much come to the conclusion that's its not going to happen, but I am holding out for a bit before contacting my airline to ask about a voucher or something similar. In th mean time, I cannot even take local trips and camp legally because all the state parks in my state and the two neighboring states are closed until further notice, and I believe private campgrounds are not considered essential service. Had to scrub my  4-day trip planned for this coming Thursday that utilized 2 state parks that are now closed and a ferry that is no longer accepting foot traffic.

You pass right through the middle of most of the towns in Kansas on the TransAm. For many of the towns in Montana on the Northern Tier, they are to your left or right, so you don’t see much of them unless you make a point to go off route a bit. I liked Kansas better.

True. U.S. 2 appears to have been rerouted so that it no longer takes trough traffic into the center of some towns. Harlem, Malta and Glasgow come to mind. Harlem is off to the left. The latter two are reached by making a right and crossing under the railroad.

I am a member of a large touring group on Facebook. There have been a couple of recent reports of several people abandoning the Southern Tier due to virus-related things like closures of campgrounds and food sources.

In many places it's tough to get medical attention even if you are on your own turf. Imagine getting sick out on the road right now. Another thing to be consider is the possibility of being seen by local as a "spreader." That was happening in Viet Nam not too long ago. Touring cyclists reported being denied service in restaurants and shops. Some were even verbally abused.

I had to cancel my Easter long weekend tour due to campground closures and a ferry not accepting walk-on passengers. I am scheduled for MTR and ID starting in mid-June. I am pretty much convinced that it's not going to happen, if only due to a lack of training. Hoping I can get my airfare back or at least get a voucher that I can use far down the road.

Maybe the fall will be better. If Amtrak starts up the Pennsylvanian services by then I could take that to Pittsburgh and ride home, starting on the GAP.

General Discussion / Re: Security - locking your bike
« on: March 24, 2020, 11:57:50 am »
I use a very light very cheap lock and don't lock all that often.  I take great care in some places and not so much in others.

There are places that I just won't leave my bike unattended at all. Other times I keep it in my sight when I can.  I have been known to wheel my bike up and down the aisles in a grocery or walmart or park it up front inside by the registers and ask if someone would keep an eye on it.

I tend to be in tiny rural towns most of the time.  In bigger towns or cities I get more careful.  In "bike friendly" towns especially so since there are likely to be plenty of nice bikes and a market for them there and therefore bike thieves.

I figure that it helps me not worry that I ride a bike and own equipment that I can afford to replace if it should ever go missing.  On a long trip the trip would be delayed, but not ended if everything were stolen.  I figure the odds are pretty good that won't ever happen, but I understand that it is a possibility that I have to live with.


Routes / Re: GDMBR--Basin to Butte
« on: March 24, 2020, 11:53:51 am »
Thanks again.

Routes / Re: GDMBR--Basin to Butte
« on: March 19, 2020, 12:42:12 pm »
Both I-15 Frontage and Lowland Creek are comfortable dirt roads. The frontage road is a little rockier but plenty passable, and the tunnel is a nice touch. Lowland Road is smooth FS road. I ride both routes as a loop from Elk Park on an old Bianchi Volpe with 37s, so you should tackle it just fine.

Thanks. It's not possible to map all of the old route on RWGPS. Can you give me an idea of what the terrain is like?

Here is what I came up with before I saw the route change (I plan to order the ACA map anyway):

Between mile 24 and 25 there is a very steep section with a ruling grade of over 17%. Wondering if that's just bad data.

Routes / Re: Going to the Sun Road
« on: March 19, 2020, 10:13:16 am »
I've climbed the east side 4 times. Only once fully loaded. Each time I have started from Sprague Creek Campground. Agree that the day of the week at that time of year is a non-issue. Also agree that time of day is much more important. Usually shove off from Sprague Creek around 5:15 a.m., but my rides have been closer to the solstice. An advantage to leaving as early as possible, at least if you stay at Sprague Creek, is that you make it through the flatter parts before traffic picks up. The flatter parts are where people seem to drive the fastest.

Time to give you an idea of how traffic picks up, the park's web site indicates that the parking lot at the pass can fill up as early as 8:30 a.m., IIRC. That's with people coming from both sides.

Bring more snacks/food than you think you might need. There is nothing up at pass. If time permits and the trail is clear, do the relatively short hike to Hidden Lake overlook. It's worth it, and you will probably encounter mountain goats.

Routes / Re: gravel near West Glacier
« on: March 19, 2020, 10:01:04 am »
Yes. Over the years they have been making road improvements. The unpaved section east of the bridge is pretty benign. Mostly hard packed dirt. Back in 2009 it was gravel and longer. Last time I was there (2017) I was surprised how much it had changed. After you cross the bridge you can get down to the river by making a right It's a nice place to stop for lunch.

Another nice change is that there is now a sign for Lake 5 Rd. When I first rode back there in '99 the ACA map cue was something like "right at telephone junction box 34567." I was riding sweep for the group that day and had one group member with me. We missed the turn, but a local up the road told us that if we kept straight it would dump us onto U.S. 2 further east of Lake 5 Rd. He also warned us that the stretch was a main bear route. If you want more unpaved riding just continue straight instead of making the right onto Lake 5 Rd.

Routes / GDMBR--Basin to Butte
« on: March 16, 2020, 12:59:50 pm »
I have an old version of the map for the above-mentioned section that uses "roads" closely paralleling I-15 and then I-15 itself. Some of that mileage doesn't even appear on Google Maps unless you switch to satellite view. (Assuming Tunnel No. 9 is al old railroad tunnel.)

Looking at ACA's on-line map, it appears that the route has changed to use roads further west of the route shown on my old map. Looks like it uses the same roads I am hoping to ride this June during a two-week, part paved, part dirt loop from/to Missoula.  Plan is to visit Three Forks then head to the Merry Widow  via Boulder then to Butte.  Bike would be an LHT with 37c tires that has tackled some fairly rough, unpaved roads in its day.

Anyone have experience with the old and/or new routes between those points? Particularly interested in road surface conditions.

Thanks in advance.

Gear Talk / Re: MEC National 2019-2020 VS kona sutra 2018
« on: March 12, 2020, 08:46:31 am »
First, if you're going to pay a shop's mechanic to swap things out for you, parts and labor will eat up most of the difference.

Not only that, you get fenders and a rack with the Kona. You also get a highly desirable saddle that you can sell if Brooks is not for you.

OP: To me, this a no-brainer. The difference is $337. (Less if you include the value of the fenders and rack.) You think you are going to get a quality set of wheels and tires and a new set of bars for $377?

General Discussion / Re: Security - locking your bike
« on: March 06, 2020, 12:41:50 pm »
And remember that a U-lock can be useless in some campgrounds as there might not be things it will fit around.

And sometimes you have to get inventive if you feel there is an appreciable risk. Last year I stayed in a town park in a small town in Montana. I was totally visible from the street.  That made me a little uneasy. Before turning in I took my 6' cable combo lock and threaded it through the handles of all four pannier and then around the bike and made a pile out of it all. No one was going to walk away with something without an effort that would have likely woken me up.

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