Author Topic: Juneau - Seattle  (Read 5015 times)

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Offline Jambi

Juneau - Seattle
« on: February 05, 2016, 04:22:04 pm »
Hi,

Was looking to do a trip from Juneau to Seattle. I have searched high and low for bike routes but can't seem to find any (maybe I suck at google). I will have a maximum of 3 weeks but after a number of fully loaded tours, I am looking to up the mileage on a road racer carrying minimal weight. I estimate my mileage to be 70-100 miles per day but due to the light load I will be carrying/ type of bicycle, will be able to push to 120 depending on wind, terrain etc. The main points I am hoping to cover would be the following:

Would a road racer be suitable for the terrain or would I be more suited to cycle cross? - I have done all previous tours on steel frames but won't need the load bearing qualities as much, I am unsure of the quality of the road in the more rural parts.

Is it possible to hotel it? - I'm looking to travel without a tent/ and much of the extra's that come with camping but fear services may be few and far between.

Can it be done in such a timescale? - I'm think numerous big climbs, unpredictable weather etc. Due to work I think 3 weeks would be the maximum cycling time I would have after you take out flights etc.

I haven't done a big tour in a while and this seems like some pretty spectecular country to see by bike so hopefully it isn't a pipe dream.

Your guidance is much appreciated.

Jake

Offline adventurepdx

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Re: Juneau - Seattle
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2016, 08:52:54 pm »
Okay, I'm not an expert here, nor have I ever been to Alaska. But one important bit of info about Juneau, if you want to ride a bike there. This comes straight from Wikipedia:

"Juneau is rather unusual among U.S. capitals in that there are no roads connecting the city to the rest of Alaska or to the rest of North America (although ferry service is available for cars). The absence of a road network is due to the extremely rugged terrain surrounding the city. This in turn makes Juneau a de-facto island city in terms of transportation, since all goods coming in and out must go by plane or boat, in spite of the city being located on the Alaskan mainland."

So, you're going to need to ferry or fly in/out of Juneau from somewhere else. And you wouldn't pick up the Pacific Coast road until Lund, British Columbia (about a couple hundred km from Vancouver). Though from Prince Rupert you could take a ferry to Port Hardy on the north tip of Vancouver Island.

Offline Jambi

Re: Juneau - Seattle
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2016, 07:48:03 am »
That's quite interesting. To be honest I didn't have my heart set on that particular starting point as it's still in the idea phase at the moment. It looks like it would be a great ride if I was to go Inland from Prince Rupert and make my way to Prince George and head south that way. How is the cycling in BC?

Offline adventurepdx

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Re: Juneau - Seattle
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2016, 12:15:14 pm »
That's quite interesting. To be honest I didn't have my heart set on that particular starting point as it's still in the idea phase at the moment. It looks like it would be a great ride if I was to go Inland from Prince Rupert and make my way to Prince George and head south that way. How is the cycling in BC?

I have never been up that way, so I have no personal experience. Everything I've seen and heard, however, says it's a rugged and remote ride. And you'd have to go far inland first to get south.

But a tour like that doesn't look like it goes along with your preferences. You say in the OP that you want to try to do this tour as an inn-to-inn. This is an area with few/no services, and towns spaced widely apart. I wouldn't want to do a tour in this area without camping.

Are you just looking at a three week tour with nice scenery, mountains, and services? Doing something like the Northern Tier from Anacortes to Glacier National Park would be a good choice, and possible to do without camping if you plan ahead. If you're travelling fast and light, you could do it in three weeks, and then have time to spend at Glacier. You could also catch Amtrak out of Whitefish to get back to where you need to.

Offline Jambi

Re: Juneau - Seattle
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2016, 12:28:39 pm »
Again that sounds like a good idea. It would be nice to travel somewhere on the ACA routes as they tend to be the most tried and tested. 3 weeks is probably the maximum I could get off work and even this will be a push. Plotting my original journey on google maps has yielded some positive results in terms of a possible inn-to-inn journey but as you say, they are few and far between if I suffer mechanical failure etc.

Have you done much lightweight touring? I'm still unsure if I should go for a tripple chainset or not, some of the climbs can a bit too much and I have seen a lot of people injuring knees this way.

Offline adventurepdx

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Re: Juneau - Seattle
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2016, 01:06:19 pm »
Again that sounds like a good idea. It would be nice to travel somewhere on the ACA routes as they tend to be the most tried and tested. 3 weeks is probably the maximum I could get off work and even this will be a push. Plotting my original journey on google maps has yielded some positive results in terms of a possible inn-to-inn journey but as you say, they are few and far between if I suffer mechanical failure etc.

Have you done much lightweight touring? I'm still unsure if I should go for a tripple chainset or not, some of the climbs can a bit too much and I have seen a lot of people injuring knees this way.

I haven't done lightweight touring, but did parts of the NT there on a fully loaded bike, using a classic touring triple. While there weren't many steep-steep grades on the route, those mountain grades are l--o--n--g. You'll be grinding away at a 5-7% grade for hours and hours. So having low gears helps.

There should be others here that did inn-to-inn tours along that section of the Northern Tier. You should check out Crazy Guy on a Bike. And maybe start a new thread here, because with the subject "Juneau-Seattle", those folks who did a credit card NT tour might not look here!

Offline jamawani

Re: Juneau - Seattle
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2016, 01:07:34 pm »
Google Maps is not necessarily your friend.
It is notoriously inaccurate - especially for cyclists.

Not sure of your experience level, how you tour, and how much of North American you have done already.
Three weeks is not a whole lot of time and less so if you add flying in and back.
Also, what time of year would you be considering?

I have cycled B.C. from top to bottom, Alaska, and the Yukon many times.
There are remote, dirt forest roads where you are little more than bear food.
And there are busy highways packed with cars and trucks zooming by.

Others are right about Juneau - there is no direct land connection.
The Yellowhead Hwy - Route 16 - between Prince Rupert and Prince George is pleasant -
but nothing to write home to Mom about - esp. if you have other untried options.

If you haven't ridden the Icefields Parkway in the Canadian Rockies - it is superb.
One possibility would be to fly into Calgary - ride the Parkway up to Jasper -
Then ride down to Kamloops, BC via Hwy 16 & Hwy 5 along the Blue River.
That would be about 500 miles / 800 km.

If you cover more miles, you can bike into Vancouver.
Or if you spend more time enjoying the parks, you can catch the train back.
I would certainly spend one day in VCV at Stanley Park and the world-class museum there.

Pic - Mount Robson - with incredible backcountry camping you can bike into


Offline jamawani

Re: Juneau - Seattle
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2016, 01:08:58 pm »
PS - You can ride the Canadian Rockies staying in hostels every 30 miles/50 km.

Offline adventurepdx

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Re: Juneau - Seattle
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2016, 01:12:33 pm »
PS - You can ride the Canadian Rockies staying in hostels every 30 miles/50 km.

Yep, you can do that! I did that when I toured the Icefields in 2011. Most of them are spaced 20 miles apart, though the longest stretch was about 40 miles. But most of the hostels are very rustic, with outhouses, no electricity, or showers. And while there are some private rooms, they are mostly bunks. You do need to book in advance, though, as those hostels fill up regularly during the short summer.

The Icefields Parkway and the rest of the Canadian Rockies are a beautiful spot to tour.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Juneau - Seattle
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2016, 08:19:24 pm »
Are you just looking at a three week tour with nice scenery, mountains, and services? Doing something like the Northern Tier from Anacortes to Glacier National Park would be a good choice, and possible to do without camping if you plan ahead. If you're travelling fast and light, you could do it in three weeks, and then have time to spend at Glacier. You could also catch Amtrak out of Whitefish to get back to where you need to.

Eminently do-able; we made Apgar to Anacortes in two weeks loaded.  The Washington/Rainy pass day would be the only difficulty; I think you can find B&Bs near Concrete, and there's a pricey lodge right outside Mazama.  Towns are spaced about an easy day's ride for the rest of the trip.

indyfabz

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Re: Juneau - Seattle
« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2016, 10:09:43 am »
On the NT route there is also a motel or two a bit east of Marblemount, WA. From there to Winthrop (where there are several indoor lodging options) would be the hardest day. Tonasket, WA Republic, WA, Colville, WA, Ione, WA, Sand Point, ID, Libby, MT, Eureka, MT and Whitefish, MT all have indoor lodging.

Offline Jambi

Re: Juneau - Seattle
« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2016, 05:46:54 am »
The Northern Tier seems to have a big consensus. Anyone cycled BC much? I was hoping to check out Whistler for some downhill as well to be honest..

Quote
Not sure of your experience level, how you tour, and how much of North American you have done already.

I've done a couple of big tours (Transam, Pacific Coast) so know the day to day issues with touring but BC is really drawing me in...

Offline adventurepdx

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Re: Juneau - Seattle
« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2016, 01:35:16 pm »
Anyone cycled BC much? I was hoping to check out Whistler for some downhill as well to be honest...I've done a couple of big tours (Transam, Pacific Coast) so know the day to day issues with touring but BC is really drawing me in...

I haven't done that much touring in BC besides the coastal areas. That's definitely a cool place with a decent amount of services, but don't know if that's what you are going for. If you are set on BC, then that's what you should aim for! But it is possible to incorporate the Icefields Parkway into a BC tour, if you started from Jasper, then headed south, then west. And as said previously, the Icefields are nice...

Offline paulsinbc

Re: Juneau - Seattle
« Reply #13 on: February 14, 2016, 01:42:02 pm »
I have also been all over BC and there are a lot of great options (and some bad ones like highway 1).  You could start in Kamloops and ride north on 5 to Jasper.  Down the Icefields like others have recommended.  Into Banff and then back track a bit and ride south through the national park to Radium and then down to Cranbrook.  Over to Creston then north along Kootenay lake to the Ferry, over to Nelson and then up hwy 6 to Nakusp, up and over the Monashees and then back to Kamploops.  Thats about 1000 miles.  I have ridden all of these areas (except the Icefields unfortunately) in separate trips and they are spectacular with good shoulders and decent traffic.  In addition to the Icefiields, riding through Banff Nat'l Park and through the Kootenays will be mind blowing.   You could also add more miles by riding south from Banff on 40 through the Kanaskis. 

Anyway, there are some great options.  Have fun researching.