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Hedley-Nickel plate

Old 01-16-21, 10:08 AM
  #1  
Jno
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Hedley-Nickel plate

We are trying to spend as much of our proposed cross-country tour on “roads less travelled” as we can, still expecting lots of hwy. We’ll be riding fully loaded drop bar touring bikes. With that in mind, our early route-planning has us pondering some of BC’s gravel bike trails, and we’re hopeful someone on the forum can advise us “yea” or “nay” about their viability for bikes that are not really designed for such routes.

1. Hedley-Nickel plate rd to Apex mntn in BC. Youtube has video of the road but we can’t predict how sketchy a loaded road bike would be, so any input would be welcome

2. Kettle Valley trail (which looks to have large sections that aren’t suitable,but which I hope someone can tell me I’m mistaken)
​​​​​​​thanks
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Old 01-16-21, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Jno View Post
We are trying to spend as much of our proposed cross-country tour on “roads less travelled” as we can, still expecting lots of hwy. We’ll be riding fully loaded drop bar touring bikes. With that in mind, our early route-planning has us pondering some of BC’s gravel bike trails, and we’re hopeful someone on the forum can advise us “yea” or “nay” about their viability for bikes that are not really designed for such routes.

1. Hedley-Nickel plate rd to Apex mntn in BC. Youtube has video of the road but we can’t predict how sketchy a loaded road bike would be, so any input would be welcome

2. Kettle Valley trail (which looks to have large sections that aren’t suitable,but which I hope someone can tell me I’m mistaken)
​​​​​​​thanks
Hi Jno,

1. Hopefully you intend to ride east to west on that road, as the climb out of the Hedley side is very steep and sustained. You wouldn't do it on an ordinarily geared road touring bike. Going downhill on that side is better. The road from Penticton to Apex, via Green Mt and Apex Mt Rds is less steep as it is graded for ski traffic in winter. It's a gradual uphill to the top and then a steep downhill to Hedley.

An alternative route to cover that section, in that area (a little to the north) would be the KVR trail from Summerland west to Princeton. via Bankeir. Scenic and slightly graded (an old rail line), well suited for a touring bike.

The Hedley Nickel Rd is like most gravel roads in the area. hard pack base with loose gravel on top. mostly good for travel with some loose sloughy or washboard sections. Other than the grade/gearing concern a road bike could do it but I would recommend rugged tires as the flint can cut thinner, less durable ones.

If you do that, you wind up on the Hope Princeton Hwy. From there, look at taking the Old Hedley Rd just west of Hedley to get into Princeton. Its a nice scenic secondary Rd alternative.

Here is a pic of a similar road a little north of there, Kane Creek Rd. The Nickel Rd is a little less developed than that but the conditions are the same.






2. The most scenic area of the KVR is around Kelowna and the Myra Canyon. If nothing else, plan to do that. This area is quite popular and well suited for even a road bike. Hard packed with some rocks. The outlying sections, from Midway to Myra and from Myra to Penticton, can have looser sandy sections and it is suggested to have a wider tire. A thinner road tire, loaded, may bog down. Also, plan to hit that in July/Aug as rainy weather can make it muddy.

Here is a pic of the Myra area




Last edited by Happy Feet; 01-16-21 at 11:54 AM.
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Old 01-16-21, 03:19 PM
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Thanks Happy Feet!

Thanks for the info and photos! I appreciate the detailed response you’ve given us. We probably can’t time our trip for the summer months you suggest- would we be foolish to tackle KVTrail in May with 40-ish mil tires?
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Old 01-16-21, 05:10 PM
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Which way are you heading across Canada.. West to east? This will help clarify the routing.

May is kinda early in the sense that you can have very variable weather, from nice to heavy rain patterns. You can also have snow at higher elevations and on the trail.
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Old 01-16-21, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
Which way are you heading across Canada.. West to east? This will help clarify the routing.

May is kinda early in the sense that you can have very variable weather, from nice to heavy rain patterns. You can also have snow at higher elevations and on the trail.

We’ll be going West to East. Our departure date is likely mid-May but that is an approximation - we are planning for 2022 so modifications are still on the table
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Old 01-16-21, 06:15 PM
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From some of your pics Happy Feet looks like you were in the area during forest fires. For some people (including my friend Andy) riding in forest fires smoke is a no go. Maybe an additional consideration.
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Old 01-16-21, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Jno View Post
We’ll be going West to East. Our departure date is likely mid-May but that is an approximation - we are planning for 2022 so modifications are still on the table
I see. Mid may is a bit early if you want to do the KVR but some people start out then for a cross can tour. Others set off beginning of June. Really depends on the weather patterns. It's a crap shoot because you want to set off with enough crossing time so you still have nice weather on the east coast. But, spring weather in BC and AB can be unpredictable.
You would have some snow pack at that time higher up on the KVR or could have flooding if there is a big spring run off. A question would be which route you want to choose running through the province which would determine access to trails like the KVR.

Once in Vancouver, look at Hwy 7 on the north side of the Fraser River. That is how you will get to Hope and the gateway through the mountains. From there, if you want some KVR/gravel action, there are two routes to look at.

1. From Hope (full services) ride up the Coquihalla (Hwy5) to Kingsvale. This gives you a taste of big steep climbs. Busy paved hwy but a shoulder.
At Kingsvale head east on Kane Valley Rd (gravel) to Hwy 5a.
South on The 5a to Coalmont Rd (turn right).
South on Coalmont (gravel) to Princeton (full services).
Head NE out of Princeton on the KVR trail (gravel) to Summerland.
Turn up Hwy 97 to Kelowna and over to Myra Canyon to do that part of the KVR (side trip).
Either continue up the Okanagan Valley to connect with the Rogers Pass route via Revelstoke or down the Okanagan Valley to connect with the Crowsnest Pass route via Osoyoos.

2. From Hope ride up Hwy 3 east through Manning Park to Princeton.
Repeat ride as per idea 1. or...
Follow the old Hedley Hwy east to Hedley.
Back east on Hwy 3 again, then the 3a through Keromeos (full services) and past Ollala.
Take Green Mt Rd (gravel) NE up and over to Penticton.
Try the KVR up to Myra on the east side of Penticton via Naramata.
If impassable due to weather, double back to Penticton and head up the Okanagan to Kelowna to get to Myra that way.

The third option out of Hope, which bypasses the KVR entirely, is the Fraser Canyon. It's scenic but has the worst shoulders and no smaller road bypass options. It comes out at Cache Creek and then west to Kamloops to connect with the Rogers Pass Route or... north on the Yellowhead (Hwy 5) to Jasper. The routes up through the Okanagan Valley can do that too. This Hwy goes N and then E to Jasper where you could then head south again via the Columbia Icefield Parkway to Banff. That would be an amazing route. I have ridden all of those Hwys on different trips but connecting parts of MAnning or the Coquihalla, the KVR, Okanagan, Yellowhead, Jasper, Icefields, Banff would be the full meal package.

Ahh... so many options

Originally Posted by bOsscO View Post
From some of your pics Happy Feet looks like you were in the area during forest fires. For some people (including my friend Andy) riding in forest fires smoke is a no go. Maybe an additional consideration.
Yep, that was during a particularly bad forest fire season a couple of years ago when the whole province was on fire. Usually late July or August for us. Last year however, there was nothing. Just depends on the year.

Last edited by Happy Feet; 01-16-21 at 09:05 PM.
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Old 01-17-21, 09:20 AM
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Jno, looking at Happys photos makes me think too of how the surfaces will have an effect on you over a days ride tired wise, in terms of bumping and all that compared to riding on asphalt.
Bum, hands, neck --I always notice this when I spend a day on these sort of roads or trails, even with my 45-50mm tires on my Troll.

So just be aware anyway, but the surface can vary so much and washboard stuff can change from week to week and whether places have been recently graded, or how much rain, how loose the gravel is---just lots of variables that can one day be easier on you and another day that can be slow and tiring physically due to bumping along and constantly watching your line trying for more solid surfaces and or "less worse" gravel that cause slides and bogging down. (stuff very much increased with a heavier loaded bike)
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Old 01-17-21, 11:28 AM
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Thanks for the responses

Thanks again for the responses. Some of our small group are relieved to learn that the bikes might, in theory, be adequate for some off-road stretches, be it to see more of the country or to avoid off-putting stretches of highway. We expect to get our bikes in May and will begin to test their capabilities (and ours).
Stay safe
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Old 01-17-21, 11:43 AM
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and this summer it will be fun for you and the others to do a bunch of riding loaded up on these sort of surfaces, even just to brush up on bike handling skills on a much heavier bike than usual.
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Old 01-17-21, 12:07 PM
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Hedley-Nickel plate- funny! I opened this thread because I had a near life-changing experience with nickle plating. Thought I would pass it on as a service announcement. Since the topic here is far from what I expected, I'll just say - if you nickle plate quality bicycle tubing, be very sure the plater heat treats it after plating. My experience - had a Columbus SL fork nickle plated. With bead blasting it looked very good on a ti bike. 2 years and 8,000 miles later, both fork blades cracked just under the crown. 1/3 and 2/3s of the way around. Hydrogen molecules had been driven into the metal structure by the plating process. A mild heat treat drives them out. Plater didn't mention heat treating though he knew, had the equipment nor mentioned that it would be an additional $30 (which I would have paid in a heartbeat). I learned this from the builder who took my fork to an engineering professor who specialized in metallurgy forensics. (When I showed the fork ot the builder, he tore off the 2/3s crack blade with his bare hands. I'd just descended 2000' on it.)

The red fork you see on my photo is conservative painted 531 that replaced it.

So, to come back to topic and sum up - don't ride Hedley-Nickel plate road on un-heat treated nickle plated frame! Please!
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Old 01-17-21, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Jno View Post
Thanks again for the responses. Some of our small group are relieved to learn that the bikes might, in theory, be adequate for some off-road stretches, be it to see more of the country or to avoid off-putting stretches of highway. We expect to get our bikes in May and will begin to test their capabilities (and ours).
Stay safe
Your road touring bikes will be fine for most general gravel roads in BC, as long as the gearing is adequate and you have a durable tire. The only exception being when you get into mud or sand where the thinner tire could bog down but those are mostly off road situations. Most well travel gravel has a hard packed base and is occasionally graded.

Another example where you could choose gravel routes over paved is on the prairies. A lot of secondary roads are gravel or even dirt based. On the dirt however, you need to avoid it if there is any chance of rain. The dirt turns into something called slip which becomes almost untravellable, even with a car. Fortunately, you can just detour laterally to a parallel road of pavement or gravel. One could spend years touring the gravel roads of the prairies.

Off the main roads in Sask. The drivers out there are so friendly that they will stop a 1/4 mile ahead of you at an intersection to let you go first - or maybe they are just amazed someone is riding a bike?

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Old 01-17-21, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
Hedley-Nickel plate- funny! I opened this thread because I had a near life-changing experience with nickle plating. Thought I would pass it on as a service announcement. Since the topic here is far from what I expected, I'll just say - if you nickle plate quality bicycle tubing, be very sure the plater heat treats it after plating. My experience - had a Columbus SL fork nickle plated. With bead blasting it looked very good on a ti bike. 2 years and 8,000 miles later, both fork blades cracked just under the crown. 1/3 and 2/3s of the way around. Hydrogen molecules had been driven into the metal structure by the plating process. A mild heat treat drives them out. Plater didn't mention heat treating though he knew, had the equipment nor mentioned that it would be an additional $30 (which I would have paid in a heartbeat). I learned this from the builder who took my fork to an engineering professor who specialized in metallurgy forensics. (When I showed the fork ot the builder, he tore off the 2/3s crack blade with his bare hands. I'd just descended 2000' on it.)

The red fork you see on my photo is conservative painted 531 that replaced it.

So, to come back to topic and sum up - don't ride Hedley-Nickel plate road on un-heat treated nickle plated frame! Please!
extremely unlikely that I will ever encounter this, but will try to stick this in a corner of my brain and remember it if necessary.
scary
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Old 01-18-21, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
Your road touring bikes will be fine for most general gravel roads in BC, as long as the gearing is adequate and you have a durable tire. The only exception being when you get into mud or sand where the thinner tire could bog down but those are mostly off road situations. Most well travel gravel has a hard packed base and is occasionally graded.

Another example where you could choose gravel routes over paved is on the prairies. A lot of secondary roads are gravel or even dirt based. On the dirt however, you need to avoid it if there is any chance of rain. The dirt turns into something called slip which becomes almost untravellable, even with a car. Fortunately, you can just detour laterally to a parallel road of pavement or gravel. One could spend years touring the gravel roads of the prairies.

Off the main roads in Sask. The drivers out there are so friendly that they will stop a 1/4 mile ahead of you at an intersection to let you go first - or maybe they are just amazed someone is riding a bike?
Oh man, the gravel road into Chute Lake (south of Myra) has a long stretch of sand. I remember struggling through there a few years back.
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