Cycling Advocates Ride to Pro Walk Pro Bike 2006

Daily Trip Log

from Vancouver B.C. to Madison, Wisconsin

Picture of Vancouver, BC

Grouse Mountain Vancouver B.C.

from Superior to Missoula, MT
Date: 2006-08-07
Distance: 98 Kilometres
Cycling Time: 5.25 Hours
Average Speed: 18.71 kph

Trip Distance since Leaving Vancouver 1,150Kilometres



Thoughts for the Day


Hot! Hot! Hot! So says John. The clouds did not move in until the last half hour of the ride. Then the dirt winds started up for about an hour. The temperature dropped for a short while and then returned to the hot state that has been experienced for the last few days.

This morning, while walking to the grocery stores for the food of cyclists – bananas – I ended talking for a while with a Montana State Trooper. Rather then cycling on I-90 out of Superior, he suggested using a county road #10 just across the river for 20 or so kilometres. A paved road with little traffic adjacent to the St. Regis River without too many challenging hills was his rational. So we started off in morning heat. The suggestion was good and we enjoyed the stereo sounds of birds singing on the left side and the sounds of cars on the Interstate on the right.

Then a stretch of cycling on the Interstate followed as the road made its way through a narrow river valley between two mountain ranges with dry, semi-arid hills and ponderosa pines. There were hills to overcome which was made a bit more challenging under the blazing sun. Our water became hot enough to make coffee with. But then hot water seems to be a better thirst quencher than cold water.

We pulled into Alberton for lunch. After searching the main street and consulting with locals we found only one place to eat. The chicken sandwich was rather good.


  Back on the Interstate until Frenchtown where we routed on to a county road for the ride into Missoula. A hawk protecting its nest on top of an electrical pole provided some relieve to the blazing sun. There are those words again – blazing sun, day after day after day. Am I complaining? No, I prefer this to rain.

    From there it was a flat ride into Missoula. At the outskirts we were treated to bike lanes that took us downtown. What a pleasure to encounter bike lanes.

    Finally, the local standard restaurant menu was forsaken for a night for a dinner of sushi.

    We encountered two local cyclists at a café and then a lengthy discussion of cycling in Missoula and US politics following. A Pedersen bicycle locked to a bike parking stand was the spark for the conversation. They commented on the growth of cycling in the last few months. Their explanation was the rise in price of gasoline.

    Missoula is a pleasant city that is working on making its downtown area alive. Being a university town certainly helps. The downtown streets are lined with trees and potted plants. Some form of traffic calming was implemented. One block of a street was closed for a transit bus terminal. Sidewalk café’s and restaurants abound. The buildings were mainly built with red brick. As mentioned elsewhere here, bike lanes and bike parking on the streets were plentiful. A path system bordered the river.

Cycling Facilities  
Superior, a small village No cycling facilities s were encountered on the streets. The main street had a car parking lane against the curb that served as a bike lane. The bridge across the St. Regis River had a 0.75 metres, approximately, wide lane demarked with a white edge line that could be used for cycling.

County Highways Some had sections of paved shoulder while others did not. The motorized traffic on the roads was light enough to allow for pleasant cycling.

  Interstate 90 The some of the shoulder sections today were more pleasant to ride. Usually, these were the older sections asphalted with rumble strips separating the motorized lane from the shoulder. The rumble strip could be cycled across. It was continuous. For about 20 miles the shoulder was refreshed with chip paving which so less appealing to cyclists as it is rougher and requires more cycling energy.

  Most bridges had wide shoulder for cycling making the river crossing quite enjoyable. One long bridge had only a white edge line and a 0.75 metres, approximately, lane that made cycling quite nerve racking if a transport truck screamed by you. This definitely would not attract the more risk-aversion and less confident or family cyclists.

  Entrance to and off the Interstate at some intersection was complicated with cattle guards. These do make some cyclists nervous to cycle or walk over. A small strip of walking plate would make the transition across much simpler for cyclists without compromising the controls of range cattle from the Interstate.
  Missoula Cycling is certainly part of the culture of this small city of about 100,000 people. We saw plenty of people cycling wearing ordinary clothing. Downtown streets were lined with bike parking stands. This certainly puts the City of Vancouver to shame.

    Tomorrow these bike lanes and bike trails will be explored. The only comment for today is that the lane cleaning leaves lot to be desired.

On the way in to Missoula we noticed a new housing development. At this stage the road infrastructure was being installed. No homes were under construction. We noticed that the developer, as part of the package, was providing bike lanes on the road and a bike path along Highway 263. Now, should not all developments start this way? The local transit service also had bike racks on the buses.