Author Topic: Great Divide  (Read 3792 times)

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Offline KenYoungblood

Great Divide
« on: March 23, 2007, 01:12:12 pm »
My wife and I are experienced bicycle tourers on both road and mountainbikes...and have done so rugged touring such as in South America for half a year. We want to do some two-week section of the Great Divide but we don't want to go out and buy new mountainbikes. Our question is: can we do this on Cannondale comfort bikes? and if so which section would be best given these limitations.


Offline MikeL

Great Divide
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2007, 10:09:49 pm »
I did the Divide last summer.  Large sections are definitely doable on rigid bikes like the ones you're talking about.  If you don't mind walking a few miles here and there on the really rough stuff, you can get through just about anything.  Some guys raced it on rigid fixies last year and made it through some of the roughest sections.  If they can pull that off, anything is possible.

If you want to avoid the roughest sections, those are basically all of NM, especially northern NM, and the Montana from the border to Butte.  (Unfortunately though rugged often coincides with the best parts of the route, so there's a certain amount of trade off there).

One suggestion for a good two week jaunt is to start in Chama (just off the route on the CO/NM border) and go north as far as you can go.  Depending on how fast you want to go, you could probably make it as far as Steamboat or even Rawlins.  The section just north of Chama is gorgeous, as are the sections before and after Steamboat. Good luck!


Offline gaitaslibre

Great Divide
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2007, 10:48:37 am »
I live near the NM/Colorado portion of the trail and have ridden
sections under a variety of conditions and on bikes ranging from
cyclocross to full suspension.  You can certainly ride the trail on your
hybrids in good conditions with a bit more discomfort than than a
suspended mt bike.  

The problem is the conditions are so variable.  A dirt road surface can
be sun baked clay as hard as asphalt, loose sand or sticky mud. I see
people getting into arguments about equipment based on a very
limited experience on the trail.

Also how much weight (your weight, the bagagge weight and the bike
weight) you are carrying is also a huge factor.  The heavier loads need
wider tires and more suspension.

When the conditions deteriorate the equipment becomes more critical.  
Riding on 35 mm tires through our infamous clay mud is not fun.  100
miles of washboards on a rigid bike is not pleasant either.   If you're
routing is flexible you can divert to the pavement road on the worst
sections but that requires advanced planning.