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Old 03-29-06, 12:37 PM   #1
Recycle
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Ideas for Endpoint Support

Iím looking for some ideas for endpoint support

My wife and I are making our first bike trip Ö a 600 mile loop around northern Illinois. We would like to make a continuous two or three week trip, but jobs and family commitments will not allow that much time off.

We have decided to ride the trail in a number of segments lasting from a few hours to 5 days. We will haul the bikes to some point along the trail, and ride for however long time and energy permit. Rather than cycling back to the starting point, we would like to have a car at the endpoint to haul us and the bikes back to our starting point. We seem to have 2 options Ö be met at the endpoint by a family member, or drop one of our cars off at the endpoint before starting to ride. It has worked for the first 2 short segments, but I forsee problems with both those schemes in the future.

I was wondering if anyone else has worked out an endpoint support plan, especially if anyone has something set up in their bike club.
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Old 03-29-06, 01:18 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Recycle
Iím looking for some ideas for endpoint support

My wife and I are making our first bike trip Ö a 600 mile loop around northern Illinois. We would like to make a continuous two or three week trip, but jobs and family commitments will not allow that much time off.

We have decided to ride the trail in a number of segments lasting from a few hours to 5 days. We will haul the bikes to some point along the trail, and ride for however long time and energy permit. Rather than cycling back to the starting point, we would like to have a car at the endpoint to haul us and the bikes back to our starting point. We seem to have 2 options Ö be met at the endpoint by a family member, or drop one of our cars off at the endpoint before starting to ride. It has worked for the first 2 short segments, but I forsee problems with both those schemes in the future.

I was wondering if anyone else has worked out an endpoint support plan, especially if anyone has something set up in their bike club.
One-way rental cars. But you usually can't get them except at cities with airports. Budget Rental car is the cheapest but National has the best service (I've done this a couple of times). You might check with Enterprise but I haven't had much luck with them for one-ways. They are great when you are in need of a car during a rest day however.

One other alternative that is very expensive but you have lots of room for all your stuff, is U-haul. They are absolutely everywhere but for one-ways it's around $80 per day and there is a two day minimum charge.
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Old 03-29-06, 03:12 PM   #3
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I have wondered why bike clubs do not offer this kind of service on a pre-arranged basis. It seems like a good way they could make some $$ for the operating budget.....someone with a van to ferry people for a fee. I guess the lawyers probably have good arguments against. This would work really well in international travel. I went on a tour in europe and we spent stupid amounts of money on vans to and from airports. I would rather have put the money into a local club or race team.
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Old 03-29-06, 09:34 PM   #4
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Check out Amtrack, Greyhound or regional bus companies.

You will find that not all of them will allow you to bring your bike unboxed, but with some planning and flexibility, you might be able to bring it all together.
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Old 03-30-06, 09:36 AM   #5
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I joined up with a friend years ago for a tour from Palatine to the Great Lakes. I know that we got further north than the Wisconsin Dells and that we never got to Michigan before having to turn around.

My biggest recollections are flatest, flatness of Wis. corn fields, old-time-looking A&Ws, nothing for miles but bars with sandwiches and pickled pigs feet to eat, and the headsplitting drone of cicadas in Illinois upon our return as we pedalled home late into the night.

Sure you can't drive to Vermont or something?

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Old 03-31-06, 10:09 AM   #6
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You must be talking about the Grand Illinois Trail. I was thinking about doing this as well, but I think there are a few decent sized stretches that are very bicycle unfriendly. I ordered the Illiniois Department of Transportation bicycle maps (free- do a google - "IDOT Bike Maps") and a few of the roads used for the GIT are labeled as "Not Recommended" for cycling by the IDOT (their worst rating). Of course these questionable roads are mostly the roads in and around the south Chicago suburbs so if you reserve that stretch for a Sunday, you'd probably be fine.

The other thing that had me looking for a different trip is that I believe there are a number of longer stretches that are done on crushed limestone and considering it is still Spring, I would guess that they are not in the best of shape. That may not affect you though. I'm new to touring so I want to make sure I am comfortable riding on these unpaved trails with my road tires before I plan to tour on them for any great distance. Of course I could just be worried about nothing, I am pretty inexperienced as a touring cyclist.

Instead, for my big spring trip I decided to ride Adventure Cycling's Great Rivers route down to St louis to visit my brother and watch the Cardinals sweep the Cubs. I'll be leaving on April 15th to get there in time for the three game series the following weekend, then ride back along the same route.

edited to add: I didn't really answer your question though. You could always use the the IDOT bike maps to adjust the route in order to make it a five day round trip.

Last edited by jcwitte; 03-31-06 at 10:16 AM.
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Old 03-31-06, 07:55 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wagathon
My biggest recollections are flatest, flatness of Wis. corn fields, old-time-looking A&Ws, nothing for miles but bars with sandwiches and pickled pigs feet to eat, and the headsplitting drone of cicadas in Illinois upon our return as we pedalled home late into the night.

Sure you can't drive to Vermont or something?
Iíld love a trip to Vermont some day Ö meanwhile, I am here, and learning to love flat lands, cows, and corn Actually, the ride will cover some pretty diverse terrain.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcwitte
You must be talking about the Grand Illinois Trail.
Yes, we are riding the Grand Illinois Trail, with a number of side trips.

Illinois has a bunch of different agencies that provide bicycle maps. Unfortunately, they donít all agree on what constitutes a good bike route. It curls my hair just thinking about some of the routes recommended by both the City of Chicago and IDOT. But then again, I, too, am really new to this cycling thing.

I imagine some of your concern about Chicagoís south suburbs has to do with busy streets from the end of the Chicago Lakefront Path to Lansing.

Both The League of Illinois Bicyclists and The Openlands Project provide GIT maps. Where their routes differ slightly, Openlands parallels the LIB route, but on roads with kinder, gentler traffic, especially south of Chicago.

Believe me, I am not in the least enthusiastic about riding in fast, heavy car traffic. But so far, there are only a few places of the GIT route south out of Chicago where Iím not comfortable. (6 miles from the end of the Chicago Lakefront Path at 71st ST to 104th and Ewing. Also, from 106th St to 170th St youíre on bike path, except for 1.5 miles on Burnham from 135th St to Sibley Blvd.)

I just put the first 20 miles of our GIT shakedown trip (Frankfort to Lansing) on a web site ... havenít decided if itís going to go on CGOAB yet. Email me at bassline@aol.com if youíld like the URL.

It looks like there are about 130 miles of limestone screenings along the canal tow paths. Screenings are pretty solid. It's not like riding on loose gravel. We are going to hit the I&M Canal section in a couple of weeks. Let me know if you want a report.

Good luck on your trip to St Louis. but ...
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watch the Cardinals sweep the Cubs
Give it up ... It ain't gonna happen. This is the year the north siders have been waiting for
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