Author Topic: From Bannff or Boulder or Portland To Helena MT...  (Read 2772 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline JoshuaP

From Bannff or Boulder or Portland To Helena MT...
« on: June 05, 2011, 09:56:35 pm »
I am planing to ride to Helena MT this August and trying to pick a starting city...
So far I have narrowed it down to: (top picks)
1. Bannff
2. Boulder
3. Portland
4. Seattle

It looks like they all have well established routes. Any opinions on the starting city/direction for a newbies first tour?


Thank you
Joshua

Offline John Nelson

Re: From Bannff or Boulder or Portland To Helena MT...
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2011, 10:26:20 pm »
I'd pick a city that's easy/cheap to get you and your bike to.

indyfabz

  • Guest
Re: From Bannff or Boulder or Portland To Helena MT...
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2011, 11:25:09 am »
I'd pick a city that's easy/cheap to get you and your bike to.

+1.

Also, if you were to start in Portland and cross OR, keep in mind that it can get crispy critter hot in August east of the Cascades.

If you decide to start in Banff, I would not pass up the opportunity to ride at least the west sie of Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park.  You could then double back a bit, head south to Missoula then Hamilton, over Skalkaho Pass (much of the way unpaved, with narrow twists and turns near the summit and some scary looking dropoffs) to the Anaconda/Philipsburg area and then to Helena.  Looks like the latter part would require some I-15 riding.

Seattle up to the Northern Tier to Glacier and then south as noted above would also be a nice ride.

Offline valygrl

Re: From Bannff or Boulder or Portland To Helena MT...
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2011, 12:30:18 pm »
Sadly, I would say Boulder should be your last choice, as riding across Wyoming in August in a nortwesterly direction is really hard.

Can you extend the trip a week and start from Jasper?  If so, I would put that at the top of the list. 

Another shorter alternative to what John Nelson is suggesting - take Hwy 83 on the East side of Flathead lake and head down the Sealy-Swan valley, to Ovando, Hwy 200 E to Flesher Pass Rd (Co Rd 279) - Canyon Creek - W. Helena.

Other than that, your list is just a win-win-win proposition. 

Offline JoshuaP

Re: From Bannff or Boulder or Portland To Helena MT...
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2011, 10:09:12 pm »
Win-Win-Win for sure. I am so excited. For months now I have been reading the AC website and peoples' blogs about their bike travels. Kinda feel like a little kid.

Starting in Jasper has crossed my mind...although currently I am extremely home sick for Boulder. Maybe, fly into Calgary, ride into Bannff, stop for a few days in Helena, then extend a week and ride down to Boulder.

From what I can see so far the Portland route seems to have a lot more hotels, and place to stop and regroup if  I needed. Do you think logistically it is a better a first tour? I am sure this will not be my only tour...I want to make sure it simple enough that I get to do more riding than planing  ;)

Offline valygrl

Re: From Bannff or Boulder or Portland To Helena MT...
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2011, 12:25:32 am »
I think if you start out on an Adventure Cycling Route, that takes care of most of the planning for you.  All you have to do is pay attention to how much food & water you need to get you to your next services, stock up, and ride.

Take it very very easy the first few days.  The very first day, you may be a total spaz, you'll have a bunch of logistics to deal with - putting the bike together, fixing anything that is tweaked, etc., likely on little sleep (if you're anything like me) - so don't even plan a real ride that day.  Fly in, get a hotel or campground in advance for that day, and get yourself sorted.  The next couple day should be low miles as well, so you can get your packing system dialed in - you'll pack and repack a dozen times the first few days, then you can just keep doing what you figured out works from then on.  Take a rest day before you are desperate for one, and try to pick a town that has at least a little of interest to you.

I can't tell you much about the hotel density (I've been on all those routes-ish except Seattle), but I have never not been able to find indoor lodging when I wanted it - which is usually less than once a week.   BUt since it's win-win-win, and all those roads will be there next time you get a chance to tour as well, anything that helps you pick is fine.  If you fell like the Portland start is the best one - do it!

I did Lewis and Clark starting in Astoria on 8/1, had a 30 mile-an-hour TAIL wind for the first 4 days, a few hot days getting to the Lewiston/Clarkston area, then perfect sunny weather all the way to Bozeman (where I continued east, you'll be trending south).  I thought it was a lovely route.