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Messages - BrianW

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Routes / Re: Atlantic Coast Traffic - Bar Harbor going South in May '17
« on: November 11, 2016, 10:45:16 am »
Addendum: after some thought, if you want to do the "full down east" tour, start from Perry, not Calais (shaves off a few miles and time on the shuttle bus). Not much in Calais, except a border crossing into Canada. Looks like the shuttle bus stops in Perry before it gets to Calais.

Also, my referenced Google map was just a quickie, rough route. There are quite a few smaller loop roads that go off Rt 1 and get you closer to the coast in places. If you have the time, I'd definitely add them in, because that will let you see the "true" Maine coast, not just Rt 1 stuff. Like Rd 186 that loops down into the Schoodic Penninsula, Winter Harbor, and another part of Acadia National Park that many people miss (there's a campground there, too).

I had planned to ride the southern part of this route last July (Brunswick, Maine, to Rockport, Mass) on a long weekend, but decided to ride the GAP instead, as I didn't want to deal with the in-season traffic along Rt 1 in southern Maine. But now that I'm typing all of this, I'm getting the urge to bike the entire thing myself! :-)

General Discussion / Re: How often do you do pedal maintenance???
« on: November 10, 2016, 04:17:23 pm »
SunTour XC Pro old-school pedals (running four sets of them) = never, so far. These have grease ports, but I've never used that function. I guess the build quality is why these pedals go for $100+ on Ebay in decent condition.

SR Low Fat Pro Comp MTP-129 old-school pedals (four sets of these as well) = very occasionally I'll take them apart and regrease the bearings when they start feeling stiff. An easy and fast service with only a 10mm socket and 15mm pedal wrench needed.

Routes / Atlantic Coast Traffic - Bar Harbor going South in May '17
« on: November 10, 2016, 12:36:50 pm »
Not the ACA route, but riding Rt 1, 1A, etc. (see the Google map I linked). The ACA route in Maine (from what I've seen of it) avoids the coast to skip potentially trafficked roads and instead puts you inland where the scenery isn't as interesting (IMO). If looking at just the ACA route, I'd probably agree that the Maine portion is no more or less interesting than Richmond to Boston or whatever. The scenery along the coast more than makes up for any possible traffic IMO. And I still think there won't be bad traffic anyway in mid and late May. A different story in late June through August, to be sure, especially along the coast south of Portland.

Routes / Re: Atlantic Coast Traffic - Bar Harbor going South in May '17
« on: November 10, 2016, 09:35:43 am »
Couple of things:

1. I did the AC route from Bar Harbor south to my home in Philly back in '99. I wasn't thrilled with most of the riding in "Down East" Maine. I can only imagine that things are the same or worse development and traffic-wise.

2. Unless you are a low daily mileage person, two weeks is a long time to do Bar Harbor to Boston.

I disagree with indyfabz on #1 above. I think the Maine coast is amazing and well worth the trip. The scenery is beautiful and the small coastal fishing villages you go through are worth the trip on their own. Acadia National Park is worth several days; you could easily spend 3-5 days in that area alone and have plenty to do and see. I really don't think traffic will be too bad in mid-to-late May, except for Memorial Day weekend, as I mentioned. I wouldn't let that deter you. The Pacific Coast Route has plenty of traffic, but people still love riding that. Personally, I think Boston to Richmond would pale in comparison from a scenery standpoint.

For #2, I agree somewhat, but there are ways to fill that time and enjoy yourself if you aren't just about riding tons of miles every day. Here's a basic Google-map route of 384 miles from Bangor airport to Bar Harbor to Boston, via the Maine coast with some detours, Massachusetts coast, etc: Like I said, Acadia National Park and surrounding areas are worth several days. Maine towns like Camden, Boothbay Harbor, Freeport (touristy, but fun), the southern coast, etc., are all worthwhile diversions. And Portland, Maine, is a great small city, as is Portsmouth, NH. Down the NH seacoast is touristy, but pretty. And the northern Mass coast (Rockport, etc.) is nice as well. There's a reason that this whole area is popular: it's very scenic!

Or, for a longer route and more remote scenery at the start, fly into Bangor, Maine, and take a bus ( - scroll down to see "Wests Coastal Connection") from there over to Calais, Maine, on the Canadian border and ride back via the coast (a 478 mile route: You'll see the "real" less-touristy Maine coast this way.

If it were me coming from an overseas flight, I'd fly into Bangor and transfer to Bar Harbor via shuttle (or stay over night in Bangor the first day, but there isn't much to see there), and stay there for a few days to get over jetlag, put your bike together (several bikes shops in Bar Harbor if help is needed), and explore the park and environs. Then, take the Coastal Connection bus shuttle from Ellsworth (right outside the park) up to the Calais area and ride back down the coast to Boston.

For flights, American Air (partner with British Air) connects to Bangor, Maine (code BGR), with regular service (small regional jets) from Philadelphia. AA and BA have several direct flights a day from LHR to PHL. From Bangor it's an easy ride (or shuttle) to the Bar Harbor/Acadia area. You can also fly right into Bar Harbor airport (BHB) from Boston, but it's on a tiny plane (3 seats across the width, last time I flew that segment). Fly into Philadelphia and maybe indyfabz and I can show you around for a day! :-)

Also, to clarify about Memorial Day weekend (May 27-29 in 2017) with regard to season traffic, it's a singluar event usually, with traffic and tourism spiking just for that weekend, especially up in Maine. The week/days before and after the Friday-Monday holiday weekend should be fairly quiet, with just typical shoulder-season tourism and traffic. In the northern Maine coast, the "official" season doesn't really start until almost July 4. Last summer we were in Acadia in mid to late June and it was pretty quiet.

Routes / Re: Atlantic Coast Traffic - Bar Harbor going South in May '17
« on: November 09, 2016, 12:50:33 pm »
Mid-May in Maine is shoulder season to low season depending where you are. Apart from Memorial Day weekend, I wouldn't worry about it. And that's only in the most southern areas of the Maine coast. Even with that, I would worry about it too much, except to make reservations for your lodging choices if staying at hotels. For campgrounds, you'd have to research when they open. Most, if not all, would open that weekend (or earlier) I would guess, as Memorial Day is the unofficial start of the summer season in most areas.

Routes / Re: Atlantic Coast Traffic - Bar Harbor going South in May '17
« on: November 09, 2016, 09:29:48 am »
It should be fine that time of year. Yes, campgrounds may not all be open yet because they are very seasonal, but that will be offset by cheaper rates in motels in the many tourist areas among the coast. I haven't biked the ACA route, but I have driven up the and down the coast quite a few times, and it's a beautiful (but sometimes hilly) ride that's well worth doing.

Also, FYI, there is a regular train that runs a few times a day from Boston area up into Maine (forget exactly where it ends, a bit north of Freeport), and certain trains accept bikes. A bail-out option if time runs short.

I will say that if you are there in Memorial Day weeekend in late May plan ahead for where you will stay, and also be aware that traffic will be HEAVY in the southern Maine coastal areas.

Youth Bicyle Travel / Re: taking the family across the country?!?
« on: November 07, 2016, 06:45:08 pm »
^^SPAM. Mods should delete.

Urban Cycling / Re: E-bikes in bike lanes: ok or invasive species?
« on: November 04, 2016, 09:04:47 am »
In Europe, where e-bikes are much more common, they are allowed on bike paths/routes as far as I have seen.

We started our son on our tandem and a triplet (3-seat tandem) around age five. He's now almost 12 and still loves it. Hands down a tandem with a stoker kit is the best option if you want to do longer rides. Second best is a tag-along like the Burley Piccolo or Weehoo. The Weehoo is better for younger kids because it's kind of a cross between a trailer and trail-a-bike, but I think the Burley gives more of a "real bike" experience. We had a Burley Piccolo before we got the tandem set up with the stoker kit, and I think it handled really well. Their mounting system is rock solid. Don't waste your money on anything that clamps to the seatpost.

General Discussion / Re: Bikes into Newport News Airport
« on: October 06, 2016, 06:26:27 pm »
Here's another option I forgot to mention: fly into Philadelphia (PHL) and take the AMTRAK train from there to Williamsburg or Newport News. It's about a 5-6 hour trip, and at least one train a day has roll-on bike service (you have to reserve it, though). That way you wouldn't need a connecting flight. Depending when you come in, I might be able to host you overnight, or at least help you out with logistics.

General Discussion / Bikes into Newport News Airport
« on: September 28, 2016, 11:59:11 pm »
I assume David is flying into Philadelphia if he's coming from England on American Airlines. There is an airport in Norfolk (ORF) and also in Newport News (PHF). If flying into ORF, which is a (somewhat) bigger airport, you will have to get yourself across a long bridge-tunnel that doesn't allow bikes. You could hire a cab or Uber. PHF is easier because it's on the "correct" side of the water and you don't have to worry about the bridge. I've flown in-out of ORF in the past when I lived in Virginia Beach, and at the time they flew small regional jets. You can check what planes they are flying in the various routes pretty easily online and then check to see what their cargo hold sizes are. They should be able to fit your bike.

Rocky Mountain / Re: Cycling in Yellowstone and Tetons
« on: September 17, 2016, 09:05:19 pm »
Yellowstone in late September can be fairly cold, with chance of snow too. Most of the lodges start shutting down in mid-September, and some of the campgrounds too. I've been there a couple of times in the fall to do photography and it's really nice. Animals are out and about getting ready for the winter, elk are bugling, and there are way fewer people about. However, I've seen it get down to 15 degrees at night with snow in the first week of September, and be 80 degrees on another trip in the middle of September (I had to buy a t-shirt because it was so hot!).

While I'd normally say "go by bike," for this trip I think a car will be much better, given the short daylight hours, weather variability, etc.

General Discussion / Re: One piece earphone while riding
« on: September 15, 2016, 08:10:53 am »
Some people use those tiny Bluetooth external speakers while biking.

I've tried many rain jacket materials over the years, and keep coming back to genuine Gore-Tex. It's not perfect, but I find it is still the best thing going (they have made constant improvements over the years). The DWR coatings work ok for a while, but must be renewed occasionally and tend not to stand up to all-day rain. I w tried Marmot's PreCip jacket, Patagonia's version, etc. All are pretty good for the price, but not as waterproof as I'd like.

Biking-specific raincoats often leave off the hood, as yin don't need it when wearing a helmet (side note: waterproof helmet covers are useful). But for off-bike use in the rain you'll want a hood. They are harder to find nowadays, but a good Gore-Tex jacket with a zip-off or rollable hood works well.

For the past year or so I've had good luck with the Marmot Minimalist GTX jacket, which is unlined, fairly lightweight, packable, and looks pretty decent. REI just had them on sale for $139, and I think normally they are around $170 or so. LL Bean also makes a decent GTX jacket called the "Traveler," which I have also, but it's a bit heavier and is a lined jacket. Also check out Cabela's lower-priced GTX jackets, which I think are very good values.

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