Author Topic: Gt Divide N to S open from?  (Read 4743 times)

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Offline Lowly Swale

Gt Divide N to S open from?
« on: September 29, 2010, 06:03:13 am »
I'm hoping to do Gt Divide next summer starting from Banff and I have lots of questions. I could be laid back and just go but forwarned is forarmed
I'd like to start mid-late June and finish early Sept.
Can anybody advise what the state of the tracks will be, I'm wondering about whether snow on the higher levels and when it usually clears. Any advice on other hazards and highlights not to miss?
Also I'm coming from England and considering the logistics.
I thought I might fly to Edmonton and ride accross to Jasper and down to Banff by road to get into the routine before starting the offroad route. Route advice anyone? Alternatives?
It looks like Tucson might be a reasonable return airport.
How tough are the procedures for entry to USA. As a British passport holder I have acquired a visa waiver but it does say that it does not guarantee entry. What kind of assurances are they looking for?
I'm intending to be independant to follow my own schedule and whims but also would like to ride some of the time with other adventure cyclist's. How many people are doing the ride and when do most set off.

Offline tonupgilly

Re: Gt Divide N to S open from?
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2010, 04:39:51 pm »
Hi Phil
I am also interested in doing the Great Divide route, but not until 2012 or even 2013, and I also live in England. I am new to touring (but not cycling) and as the GDMBR is a mammoth route through wilderness areas, I will be looking for a group to ride with.  The prospect of coming unstuck when on my own (I am female) scares me witless.  I'd be interested to read the responses to your questions and wish you luck with your trip.  Keep me posted.   Gill.

Offline Lowly Swale

Re: Gt Divide N to S open from?
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2010, 04:55:42 am »
What is this DVD publicity doing here?


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Re: Gt Divide N to S open from?
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2010, 06:23:07 am »
It was spam. Your moderators remove spam as soon as we see it, usually within 12 hours. If we miss one, please click "Report to moderator," which sends us an alert email.


Offline Lowly Swale

Re: Gt Divide N to S open from?
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2010, 12:53:42 pm »
Oh well thanks for that, I'm learning bit by bit, I thought maybe one of the band members was a mountain biker and I was missing a relevent link.

Offline maudollini

Re: Gt Divide N to S open from?
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2010, 05:12:43 pm »
The customs folk are generally looking for proof that you aren't going to stay here illegally. When I used to come here from England to tour(I now live in Colorado  :)) they would ask...

where are you going?

on that?

how can you afford to take 3 months off work?

did you buy anything in Canada?

any Canadian marijuana? apparently it's better than American weed

do you have any weapoins or bear spray?

are you carrying any citrus fruit or bananas?

I've crossed the border into the  U.S. 3 times on tours and these it seems are the standard questions they ask everyone. You will need to have with you...
your maps to show where you are going as you have no address of anyone you are staying with or where you can be contacted
your exiting plane ticket
your passport and visa/waiver
probably a copy of your last bank statement to show you have enough money to survive for 3 months without working here

you may not be asked for this stuff as this is what you usually need to get a waiver but if they are having a bad day and ask you and you don't have it you may not get in

also, if you meet someone and are riding with them it would be a good idea to cross seperately as you never know what they are carrying or what kind of record they have...I met a Canadian who crossed 5 minutes in front of me in his car and he got his car emptied...everything was out on the floor...he didn't get in, I did

good luck on the GDMBR and have fun, it's amazing.

Offline maudollini

Re: Gt Divide N to S open from?
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2010, 05:23:21 pm »
p.s. Middle of June is a good time to start but you may still encounter snow, depends on the snowfall for the winter, a big unknown until later in the season. Even if the snowpack is small it may be a a cool or wet spring and the snow may hang around for a lot longer. Don't let this worry you though as you can always get through with a bicyle and tougher conditions make better stories! People start from both ends whenever it suits them so don't worry too much about it, there's always riders within a day or two in front or behind...I saw 15 riders on my penultimate day into Banff!

The Icefields Parkway from Jasper to Banff is beautiful and there's lots of hostels along the way if the weather is bad.

Make sure you go to Polebridge in Montana and stay at the hostel, ask Oliver about the moose skull. It's 8miles? off route but definitely worth it. If you have time ride the inside road from Polebridge into Glacier and spend a few days, it's beautiful there and better than Red Meadow Pass to Whitefish, it used to be the ACA route until it changed a few years ago for reasons that won't be mentioned here. ;) The Park staff may try to put you off or even tell you that you aren't allowed to ride it as it's a trail (it's not it's a road) but it's definitely worth it...the scenery is great, there's very few cars and you may get to see the local wolf pack that lives to the east of the road! From Glacier take Blankenship Road to avoid the traffic on the main road to Columbia Falls.

If you need any more advice just ask!

« Last Edit: October 23, 2010, 06:08:55 pm by maudollini »

Offline Lowly Swale

Re: Gt Divide N to S open from?
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2010, 05:03:51 pm »
Hi Maudollini,
That was just the sort of helpful feedback I have been looking for, I'll mull it all over and gather my questions together. That off-route advice sounds good, I'm hoping for some wilderness experience, however I once had a long sleepless night after seeing a bear peering at me just before night fall. It was only a black one but I'd not seen any in the previous 6 weeks of touring, I'd begun to ignore all the bear care rules but that taught me.

 In 1993 I road toured from California up to Vancouver to Banff to Montana & ended in Colorado, I'd intended seeing Jasper then but the weather in June turned bad so I headed South instead. I met an American biker who had been going north for Alaska just with a sleeping bag, no rain jacket and he had turned back trying to stay dry using black bin bags. He headed south with me and another guy we met and yep, I learn't that lesson about being careful about who you are with.
It was cold, raining and late in the day and the customs guys wanted to look through all my stuff, down the frame tubes, between the pages of my diaries and allsorts, all in the open too.
But I was clean and so was the other guy unless he had a really good hiding place.
So, I'll be back on here sooner or later.
Thanks again,

Offline maudollini

Re: Gt Divide N to S open from?
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2010, 10:50:30 pm »
a short P.S. to the PM I sent, regarding motels, no, never. For me riding the Divide was about being out there and enjoying nature, bears, mosquitoes, cow pats, whatever. I used towns for supplies/showers then got out of there. Three hostels... Missoula, Polebridge and Fernie, a few campgrounds, the rest of the time just right next to the trail where ever it looked comfy!