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Old 10-10-12, 07:22 PM   #1
redeyedtreefr0g
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First tour idea- during Thanksgiving break?

Hello all!

I recently made a trip to the library (first visit, its amazing!) and got a bunch of books on bicycle touring. I've decided that at some point in my life, I'd like to go across the United States on a bicycle. I think it would be one big gigantic fun camping trip. Currently, though, I'm only commuting to work and back. I'm a school bus driver, so I go to work for am and pm routes, and go home in between. The route I take is 4.6 miles one-way, making my daily mileage just under 18 and a half miles.

I think I've found a roundabout way home to make a big loop of 13 miles, with work the same 4.6 miles from home so that I don't have to wake up any earlier. It would be a start to increasing mileage, anyway. Do you think that would be too much of a jump in distance? I thought it seemed reasonable, especially since I'll have a break to be in the school bus and only do the extra distance on the way home. Perhaps I won't be able to do it daily, but I don't see why I couldn't if I am careful not to wear myself out.

Reading these touring books, I have the urge to GO SOMEWHERE. I want to tour now, even though I'm not ready for it. But maybe by Thanksgiving I could be?

My idea is to ride from Longmont, CO to my family in Colorado Springs, CO. By car using Interstate 25, GoogleMaps says there are 109 miles. A bike route would be bit more than that, I'm guessing, maybe 120-130 miles. I have a week off of work for Thanksgiving Break. I'm not sure what the weather will be like, but I assume it will be cold. I don't think I'd want to camp in wintery temperatures, so maybe a hotel room is in order. The other thing is I would likely have to take my dogs. They aren't used to going anywhere with me on a bike, so I'd need to work with them more to get them used to the bike trailer. I have a Beagle (8 years old) and Jack Russel Terrier (rescue dog, simply ancient. maybe 16?). My first attempt, at least with the canopy closed, was promising, so maybe that won't be the hard part. If staying at a hotel, I'd have to ensure pet-friendliness.
My parents may or may not be interested in coming with me. They like camping, so they might see it as an adventure and offer to accompany me. I haven't run the idea past them yet but I know my mom likes camping. She's not keen on cold either though. Maybe they'd help with hotel costs.

Being a short trip, I don't think I'd need to bring very much stuff in the way of supplies. This way I'd get around my lack of actual touring gear. If anything does happen such as a mechanical breakdown or the need to abandon the trip (say, for really bad weather maybe?), I'm only a phone call away from being rescued.

Does this sound like a good idea?? I've never been through a Colorado winter before, so I don't know if there will be 4 feet of snow and ice or something else to prohibit such a trip.


Ideas, encouragement, advice, discouragement- anything is welcome so please leave a reply!
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Old 10-10-12, 08:28 PM   #2
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I'm still reeling from eome other recent proposals.
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Old 10-10-12, 08:50 PM   #3
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OP,sounds like a good fun trip to me. I don't think that bit of extra mileage will be too much,just pace yourself and see what your body tells you. I've been giving some thought to a simiar ride to some property we own/used to live at (last year the house burned),where my Grandparents live next door. It'd be around 100 miles each way,and like you said,wouldn't need so much stuff (though I doubt my ability to ride it all in one day),I'm thinking Spring for me however. Be sure to post pics and ride report for everyone to enjoy it with (or rather,vicariously through) you
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Old 10-10-12, 08:58 PM   #4
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Okay, here are some thoughts. It seems like it would be good to get a better handle on likely weather, with some research. Also, keeping an eye on weather forecasts as the time nears might be good, and maybe having some contingency plans in case of prohibitively bad weather.Sounds doable, and potentially a great trip.
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Old 10-10-12, 09:32 PM   #5
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Thanksgiving on the Colorado Front Range is going to be variable - though you can likely get a reasonable idea looking at weather forecasts right before Thanksgiving. Have a backup plan in that case. Also shorter hours of daylight and early darkness at Thanksgiving will keep the days shorter. You should be able to figure out in advance how well cycling ~60+ miles with dogs will go and whether you can do this in two days (or four round trip).

In 2008 I was living in Fort Collins. The State Democratic convention was in Colorado Springs on May 17th, 2008 so I decided to cycle there. I rode to Longmont (actually Del Camino exit) on Thursday evening and then rode the rest on Friday. I took a pretty direct route through Denver (something silly like Federal) and then stayed west via Sedalia and Palmer Lake to Colorado Springs.

So it isn't ideal time with early darkness, morning cold and weather means you'll need to keep a backup plan if you still visit Colorado Springs. However, once you've gotten south of Denver the cycling is a bit nicer and it is a good way to get into Colorado Springs.
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Old 10-11-12, 12:58 AM   #6
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How about Costa Rica and Panama..? its warmer down there..
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Old 10-11-12, 12:05 PM   #7
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But I'm not in Costa Rica

Singlespeed92, I doubt very seriously that I could keep it to myself if I succeed! Of course there would be pictures too.

Niles
, that sounds perfectly reasonable about researching the weather. While it changes all the time, having a specific idea of what to expect is better than winging it!

Mev, I'm not sure how much support from family I'll be getting yet. I don't know if I should plan a round trip by bike or just one-way. I suppose it depends on how I feel increasing the miles to prepare and if I can get the puppies to cooperate. Then, if the trip south goes well I might consider riding back.
I actually have Friday the 16th off all the way through Sunday the 25th, so 10 days total.
It also depends on the family, and what their plans are. We may be doing a couple of turkey dinners, one with the local family of our roommate in addition to one with my blood relations in Colorado Springs, so there may not be time to ride more than one direction. My family likely won't mind doing their thing a day early, we're used to sharing people among different groups. Anyway, we'll see.

First, I have to see if I can get willing canine traveling companions!
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Old 10-11-12, 02:44 PM   #8
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But I'm not in Costa Rica
yea but, unlike Colorado, when you get there there won't be snow around the airport..
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Old 10-16-12, 06:18 PM   #9
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Ack.

Well, I have to delay increasing my commute distance- I just got sick and spent all day yesterday sleeping instead of working. I did go in for the afternoon route today. The ride wasn't too bad. Felt strange, like the legs moving the pedals weren't mine. Oh well.
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Old 10-16-12, 06:31 PM   #10
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In 1979 I was a student Colorado State and some dorm mates asked if I wanted to share gas cost to drive to California for thanksgiving. Being a homesick freshman I said "sure!"and three of us, scuba gear for two, and luggage got in a VW beetle and headed south on I25.....in a raging blizzard all the way to the New Mexico line at <30 mph.

I'd watch the Wx. Probably dicey that time of year. Maybe Easter week would better.
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Old 10-17-12, 12:07 AM   #11
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1. don't take the dogs.....at least not on your first trip.
you got family going, too. put the critters in the station wagon.
(hehe, or on the roof romney-style!)

2. plan your route. colorado has hills. the interstate cuts through the mountains
with tunnels and bridges. 100 miles flat/direct could be 140 with lotsa climbing.
you might even consider driving your route (and an alternate) in the car beforehand
to know what to expect.

3. plan on round trip, but be aware that you may be too tired or sore to ride back.
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Old 10-17-12, 05:16 AM   #12
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I agree on not taking the dogs on the ride. It seems like a really bad idea to me. If I want to take my dog, I go mountain biking, run, or walk. I do really miss her on long tours but the pooch stays home with someone who can care for her while I am away.

The trailer without the dogs is already more weight than I want to haul. I do concede that some folks do happily tour with dogs.
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Old 10-17-12, 06:32 AM   #13
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I'd watch the Wx. Probably dicey that time of year. Maybe Easter week would better.
Makes sense to watch the weather. While I remember a Thanksgiving blizzard (1983?), typically I'd expect higher probability of larger snow storms in March as the jet stream has weakened and you can get more upslope storms. Easter is going to have longer hours of daylight than Thanksgiving which is close to earliest sunset (e.g. ~4:30pm in Longmont). In any case, if in reasonable shape this is a pretty straightforward two day ride and you should get reasonable picture on weather forecasts.

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2. plan your route. colorado has hills. the interstate cuts through the mountains
with tunnels and bridges. 100 miles flat/direct could be 140 with lotsa climbing.
you might even consider driving your route (and an alternate) in the car beforehand
to know what to expect.
Note, in this case the equivalent interstate is I-25. I goes in front of the front range, not through the mountains. Longmont is roughly at 5000ft and Colorado Springs is roughly at 6000ft. Monument is roughly 7000ft and there are few hills but overall this is a reasonably flat route.
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Old 10-17-12, 06:07 PM   #14
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My husband is against the entire idea of taking the trip, but my mom is game for trying to cycle it with me. Maybe my parents will have to do a round-robin deal to take breaks- they likely don't have the ability to do the whole thing.

Not sure I do...

As for the doggies, they are mostly my responsibility. They are like children, and while my husband might not (probably won't) want to go with me, I'd rather plan on taking them, having them ready to ride. If I were to ever tour cross-country they would have to accompany me anyway.
Plus, if anything were to happen to one of our dogs while our roommate was away at work (with the only currently functional vehicle), it would be nice to know that I could take them to the vet without added stress of them not having a clue what was going on.

Average temperatures don't look too bad, but I suppose its a complete toss-up of what the weather might actually be like that far out. Other than Googling "average climate/weather/temperature" I have no idea how to get more information.


And lastly- I think sleeping most of an entire 24-hour period is a good way to kick a cold to the curb. At least, it seems to be that way for this one. I went to work yesterday afternoon as mentioned, but today I woke up and didn't even need Theraflu. The ride was fine, and I fought the wind home. 15mph gusting to 34. After a snack I did 90 minutes of P90X Yoga, then ate lunch and went back to work. My husband is working (ie, not home to worry if I show up late, haha!), so I told my roommate my plans, he said to go nuts, so I used a Googlemap on my phone with rough recollection of the route toyed with, and...

I just took the long way home for a round trip of 13 miles!!! 4.5 to work, 8.4 back. I thought it was longer, but oh well. I feel normal now (an hour later) but when I first got home I felt simply fantastic. I'm just a little bit proud of that accomplishment, and it wasn't even that hard! I loved the new scenery. I got to use bike paths nearly the entire way, and a bike lane for the last bit. I did NOT have to walk up the hill! I dunno how big it was, but it sure looked intimidating coming up on it. I laid out on my handlebars due to the wind,, stared at the road directly in front of me (not cross streets to worry about) and just kept going. I went to the easiest gear I own, but I made it.

Hooray!!!!

my bike!
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Old 10-18-12, 07:50 AM   #15
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Let us know how it goes.
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Old 10-29-12, 07:59 PM   #16
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Well, my husband mentioned today that maybe Colorado Springs isn't such a great idea. He doesn't want to take the dogs and is willing to bargain with our roommate for babysitting. He's not too keen on trying to do that sort of distance when we have my mom along, who he believes (probably rightly so) that she will keep a slower pace. He doesn't want to take up the entire holiday break with this trip, and he also mentioned holiday traffic as a concern. He made it quite clear to me (since I was hearing a ton of reasons why he didn't want to do this trip at all, and must have looked quite crestfallen about it) that he was willing to do the miles, just maybe in a giant local circle or something in one day instead.

I am at a loss of where to go instead of to the very specific goal of: my twin's house for Thanksgiving dinner....
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Old 10-29-12, 09:27 PM   #17
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Where to tour on Thanksgiving Day break???

Why Turkey of course : )
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Old 10-30-12, 07:25 AM   #18
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Why don't you go to a campground at Carter Lake or Horsetooth Reservoir. There's also a little RV park at Eisenhower and CR 29.

Just stay there overnight. You'll learn a bit about gearing, push your distance a little, but be in easy retrieval distance by your family, even if they do it begrudgingly.

You can either go on your Thanksgiving break or just go this weekend as a shakedown tour. For one night, would your husband take care of your dogs?

http://www.co.larimer.co.us/parks/campgrounds.cfm
https://plus.google.com/109761135337...ut?gl=us&hl=en
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Old 10-30-12, 12:03 PM   #19
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Where to tour on Thanksgiving Day break???

Why Turkey of course : )
Hehe


Valygrl, my husband would get our roommate to babysit so I don't need to worry about the puppies. He didn't really want to spend a night away from home. I think it would be a nice mini-vacation, personally. We won't be able to go see the major family in Florida, so a trip like this is appealing to me.

I'll look up those places that you suggested, thanks.
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Old 12-04-12, 09:24 PM   #20
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So, my husband's schedule never cleared up enough for us to go anywhere. It's a good thing, though- he's been promoted to a manager.

Instead, I went on my first group bike ride. It was a very windy day and I was second-to-last (not last, whoo!!) the entire time. The group went 19.05 miles- my longest continuous ride to date. With the trips to the meeting place and back home, I totaled 26.67 miles for the day. The meeting place was a brewery. I have not found a beer I like yet, although it's not something I'm actively trying to do either, so I had a rootbeer There were about 20 of us or so, and true to form I've already forgotten the couple of names I thought I knew. One guy was extremely nice- British, with a pretty scuffed-up blue bike with fenders and a chainguard, flying a tiny British flag from the rear rack. Maybe his name was John?

In any case, it was a lot of fun, and I wasn't even tired at the end. The rootbeer was especially tasty though. I'll need to have more water bottles with me also.

I just wanted to let everybody know.

Now I have more time to get a better bike, maybe a tent, and properly teach the puppies to enjoy riding as much as me!
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Old 12-05-12, 09:38 AM   #21
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Instead, I went on my first group bike ride.
Good job on going on the group rides. When I lived in Fort Collins, I did a fair amount of riding with a group in Loveland (PEDAL). I was back in Colorado over Saturday after Thanksgiving and some of us from PEDAL did a ~30 mile ride. There should be a number of different riding groups in northern CO and if style of one doesn't quite fit, try another.
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