Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Stats from our 2007 ride

These stats are just for the GDR part of the trip (they do not include our post GDR ride to Tucson from Antelope Wells)
  • 2865 miles total.
  • 187,615 feet gain (based on an altimeter that uses atmospheric pressure; other reported gain statistics for the route are higher). Average daily gain was 3440'. Daily gain ranged from 840' to 5680'.
  • 53 1/2 days to ride from Banff to Antelope Wells
  • average miles per day was 54. Range was 32 to 95.
  • average riding speed for Amy = 8.2 mph (Jim was ~20% faster and spent a lot of time waiting for Amy to catch up.) Amy's range of daily average speeds was 4.9 mph to 12.6 mph
  • average time spent pedaling per day for Amy was 6.6 hours, generally spent over 9-10 elapsed hours. Minimum was 3.2 hours, max was 8.7 hours riding time.
  • number of rest days = zero. We did have several "half days" of riding, when we arrived in town in the early afternoon, spent the afternoon doing chores (update blog at library, bike maintenance, shopping, laundry, showers) and then spent the night in town. (day#4 Fernie; day#8 friend's house near Swan River; day#14 Helena; day#31 Steamboat Springs; day#36 Salida; day#39 Del Norte; day#52 Silver City)
  • Nights:
    • 7 nights in motels ($40 to $75 per night)
    • 4 nights as a guest in a home
    • 8 nights in free "official" campsites
    • 2 nights in paid campgrounds
    • 1 night in private RV park
    • 30 nights rough camping, mostly on BLM or USFS lands.
    • 1 night on somebody's front lawn in Hachita
  • showers: 12 hot showers. Many cold "showers" at the water spigots in USFS campgrounds.
  • weather: We had 39 out of 54 days where our notes about weather included the word "perfect" or the word "great". Oh so lucky. On the remaining days we noted these often minor imperfections:
    • cloudy and high temp of 60
    • an hour of rain when crossing Whitefish Divide and again at dinner
    • thunder& lightning at Huckleberry Pass, otherwise good
    • good until 4:00, then one hour heavy rain.
    • good except afternoon thunderstorm
    • cool & cloudy, very light and short rain in evening
    • a bit too warm - about 85 degrees
    • drizzle for 1-2 hours before lunch
    • light rain AM, good PM. Rain again starting at 6PM
    • good weather, but strong headwinds in afternoon
    • again, good weather, but stiff afternoon headwinds
    • intermittent light to moderate rain all day. Heavy storm at night
    • cloudy skies all day. One hour of heavy rain in afternoon
    • too warm, high ~90
  • mechanical problems: two flat tires. That's it! Mechanical maintenance: frequent chain lubing, one chain cleaning in Helena bike shop cleaning machine, worn out chains replaced in Salida, occasionally adjust chain tension using the slider dropouts, occasionally adjust brake pads.
  • dog encounters: too many to count, but only two that included contact (one caused crash, one bit hole in pannier)
  • Restaurants: we ate 41 restaurant meals in the 54 days. When we had an option we chose the "best" restaurant available, rather than the cheapest available.
  • Costs: $38 per person per day. This does NOT include the bikes and bike gear (i.e. reusable stuff) or the transport costs to and from the route.
  • Rude people: none. Nice people - too many to count.
  • Best unexpected part of trip: libraries in small towns were usually open, always friendly, and always busy. It's nice to know that in these days of budget cuts even very small towns still have funding to maintain public libraries. In addition to giving internet access to travelers like us, it means that even in small towns people who don't own computers can get internet access.


ikke said...

Hi Amy&Jim,

In April, i start my GDR adventure from S->N.
Your blog is a great help for preparing my trip!
I still have some unanswered questions - i'd be grateful if you could help me out with these!
1. my wife stays at home and i was wondering if there are (sufficient) internet-access possibilities on the route to communicate with the home-front?
2. bears... in Belgium they only exist stuffed ;-) no kidding, i'm not at ease on that subject! Any info would be helpfull !
3. the last part fo your route, will be my first (pre GDR ride to Antelope Wells from Tucson) Do you have info about the route you took / sleaping facilities (campsites)/...
In total, i have 99 days to cycle from Tucson -> Banff

Thanks for your info/tips - if possible.
Kind regards,
Tomas De Groote
Antwerp - Belgium

Amy L said...


I'm so glad you're planning to ride the GDR, you are very lucky. If you have more questions, feel free to contact me at my email address, which is "drongo" followed by pacbell dot net. Please send me your email address and web-site if you plan to have a blog.

1. We used public libraries for internet access. The Adventure Cycling Association map set includes information about which towns have libraries. (If you don't have the ACA maps, you must get those.) Almost every town with a population >1000 people had a library, generally there were libraries every 2 to 4 days. All libraries offered free use of computers with internet access. Some of the smallest libraries had limited hours though. We didn't carry a computer, so we don't know if any of the motels or restaurants had wireless access available.

If it's important to reach your wife more often, you can always ask people you meet to send her a note. People in rural areas are REALLY nice and everybody we met was interested in us and happy to help. You could probably just give your wife's email address to the waitress in a cafe or somebody you meet in a park and ask the person to send her an email. There are a few stretches of 3-4 days where this might not work, but I think in general you will usually be able to get a message to your wife every 2-3 days.

2. Read the info on this site:

There are two species of bears here. Black Bears are much more common. They are annoying because they steal food, especially at night, but they VERY RARELY injure people and you do not need to be scared of them.
Grizzly bears, on the other hand, are big and dangerous. They will attack people and you need to take them seriously. You won't get into the range of Grizzly Bears until late in the trip when you reach Grand Teton / Yellowstone National Parks.

When you are in the range of bears, try to be always be aware of your food, and don't leave food in your bike bags alone. Bears are similar to racoons or rats or any other pest -- if they can get at your food they will. If you leave your food alone in a campground, a bear might come and take it. If you are there and you yell at the bear, it will probably leave. But if you are not there, it will tear open your bike panniers and eat.

When camping in places where bears were possible we asked somebody else at the campground to store our food inside their vehicle for us. Most designated campgrounds in bear range will have bear boxes where you can store your food at night. If there is no bear box or neighbor with vehicle, you can hang your food at night www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/bearhang.htm
That website is describing a place where bears are common and habituated to people. Other than inside Teton and Yellowstone parks, you will not encounter bears that are such a problem, and you don't need bear canisters.

Usually, we just didn't worry about it, however we do hang food when in places where bears are common and used to people. There are many websites that describe how to hang food.
Personally, I'd be more worried about dogs than bears. I'm sure it's the same here as in Europe - occasionally dogs will chase bikes.

3. We do have information about the route from Tucson to Antelope Wells, but I will have to spend some time to get it organized. It is a nice ride, and I think you made a good choice to start your trip that way.

I think my biggest piece of advice is that people in rural areas you will be riding through are very nice and helpful. Don't hesitate to flag down a motorist, or knock on the door at a ranch, if you have any problems and need help. I think you will be treated especially well because you are visiting from Europe.

Good luck, and please send me your email address.