Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Great Vermont Bikepacking Route

The Vermont Bikepacking Route.

Riding it September 2012... not writing about it... yet.

Dream Job

Dream Job

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Big train a coming....

This great news from Vt Bike and Ped coalition:

Yesterday, some great rail news came to the bike/ped community.  It was announced that passengers will be permitted to roll bikes onto Amtrak trains in Vermont.  This change is scheduled to take place in spring or early summer.  Amtrak cars, equipped with racks, will allow bikes to hang and be locked.  Still to come are the exact starting date of this service and whether or not a fee will be charged.  Imagine being able to take your bike in this manner to New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, DC or other Amtrak destinations on this route.

Additional great rail news:  Note that anyone who travels within Vermont on Amtrak can take advantage of a same-day 50% discount.  All that is required is that you reserve 24 hours in advance and that you refer to promotion code V383.  When making a reservation, skip the automated attendant and speak with an agent.  Don't be discouraged if the agent is unaware of this particular promotion.  Be persistent and patient.  Remember, though, that the discount applies for same-day travel within the state of Vermont in 2012.  This discount may carry over into 2013 but it will likely have a different promo code.

With the options to purchase a ticket at a 50% discount and roll your bike onto the train, many travel possibilities open up.  Thanks to Bob Atchinson of VTrans' Rail Division for this news and to all who sent letters lobbying for this change, including Governor Shumlin, Commissioner of Tourism and Marketing, Megan Smith, and Vermont Rail Action Network executive director, Christopher Parker. 

We will now be able to participate in the Western Mass Fleche rides by riding our bikes to Westfield Mass and then taking the train home...  Perhaps even a NYC Fleche!   This has been a long time coming... and always painful to see those empty Amtrack trains rolling through Vermont with no bicycles allowed. ( not even folders!)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Washington 55 with Dave B

 Ok... it has been a while.  Obviously the Tour Divide followup will be a long time coming.   Meanwhile - I gotta kick some life back into this web log.  It has been a miserable winter for a snowboarder and even worse for an ultra endurance Nordic skier.  I quickly put aside my dreams of skiing Canadian Ski Marathon as a silver level skier.  Instead I've been going through old ride notes and planning the 2012 cycling season. 

I came across this little email exchange with Dave Blumenthal.  He and I both worked on this training route for the Tour divide.  We never got a chance to ride it together... in fact when we did ride it, his opinion was to ride it counter clockwise - while I went the other way around.  I have since done some variations of this ride with  local trail guru Carl D as well my dear ol' 650b pal Randy.  It hurts not to be able to ever do this ride with Dave B, but I am eventually beginning to understand that reality.  I also know that he isn't going to be an easy friend to replace ... it has been 2 1/2 years now :(     

The smooth section of Taylor Valley Rd.

David E. Tremblay wrote: I did it... I did the Washington 47 today - Clockwise. It was great. I started a Woodchuck Hollow - saw that the first geocache wasn't even on the fun part of the road and decided not to bother and tried to get down to business. Dead camera battery helped. I shot straight across Woodchuck Hollow - if riding in a group it would be nice to have the first person stop and give the all clear sign as this is quite the gravity dip. Threshold Rd -is perfect. I took a picture of two pumpkins sitting in the river by the old mill on Gristmill rd. Magoon Rd was nice - got chased by a dog up the hill - but not too bad as it was a dachshund (named Coco) the last bit looks like someone's driveway but isn't, trail goes to right of their house. Rowell made the trip down to Vershire worth it. Got a flat going too fast down Taylor Valley - ripped a hole in the tire tread and lost pressure so fast bead came off rim. I could not get the valve stem nut loose. Cut it from inside then filed it with swiss army knife. 30 min operation - my pump got about 25 psi in the tire. realized I did not have patch kit or another tube. decided to ride very gingerly the rest of the way. Skipped Holt hill and took a right onto County to Jenkins. Cows in the road at Braman Farm on Doyle Rd - beautiful. Too dark to see left off Doyle onto Sky Acres. My gps indicator arrow was moving sideways to my motion, and it was dark and the map showed more roads than there were. Seemed like I was suppose to turn near abandoned camper and I was trying to figure it out when this lurking man stepped out of the shadow of the dark camper with another lurking figure behind him. He gave me bad directions so I went up the driveway instead of the road. Asked directions at the house at the top of the hill and they let me cut through their hay field to Sky acres. Almost popped down rt 110 but took Richardson to see what the fuss was about. Had to walk to the top of the hill. Poor Farm to the right is nothing special. Not sure if that section is worth it or if we could change this a bit. So: 47 miles in 4:24 of riding, plus 1:26 stopped with 8mph avg speed total. Elevation 3291up 2550 down ? Something is wrong with the elevation... nowhere near your 9,000. lessons: patchkit - always turn valve nut into real nut - bring tool to remove, use a real tubeless rim could use more light

Local politics.

 From DaveB:
Cool!I merged our data to create the attached: 50.5 miles. 7300-7900' gain, depending on what you look at. Also edited the waypoints to make them good for either direction.I understand why you had trouble at Doyle by the camper. Clockwise, you go around the turn by the camper, go maybe 50', then left uphill on a left track. 50' more uphill, then bear left again to stay on leafy track. The attached file has the "correct" way, I also added some clarifying waypoints there. With adequate light you wouldn't have a problem. Certainly going the other direction its more clear Braman Farm is very cool, reminded me a lot of the farms we hiked through in Austria: only part of the route I'm not that thrilled about is the long road bit through Chelsea. However, after looking at the maps and quads, I don't really see that there is an alternative. I'd call it good.How did you patch the tire? I have some Park Took tire boots, some kind of self adhesive thing, never used one. I understand the nut issue. What if instead of some kind of hex nut you filed a z-axis groove or two in the nut so that you could spin it with a straight blade screwdriver? Already have that tool in the kit probably.One of us should put a cache on the County-Quarry link....Dave
Beautiful world

Braman Bros. Farm

Upper Village Pastures

But now I am getting some bigger ideas.....

The route (in purple) on an old VMBA map.  Starts in Washington proper, at the upper left.