Cycling Advocates Ride to Pro Walk Pro Bike 2006

Daily Trip Log

from Vancouver B.C. to Madison, Wisconsin

Picture of Vancouver, BCGrouse Mountain Vancouver B.C.
from Big Timbers to Billings, MT
Date: 2006-08-13
Distance: 144 Kilometres
Cycling Time: 6.42 Hours
Average Speed: 22.44 kph
  Trip Distance since Leaving Vancouver - 1,762 Kilometres  

Thoughts for the Day


The evening storm, last night    
Last night in Big Timber, a thunderstorm passed through with some rain. A magnificent rainbow was left behind with the vegetation taking on a gold hue.  
Cycling the I-90
Cycling the I-90, the tube manufacturers’ paradise

    There is a beer sold in Montana called the FAT TIRE.
Promotion of the beer uses a bicycle as an icon.
We are having a Flat Tire competition on the way.
John is leading it 4 to 1.
Kindly, I wish John to win the event.

  Morning in Big Timber

  It is a cold morning.
Dew has settled on the cars and the vegetation.
I am dressed for it with wind pants on, layered up with a vest and a fleecy.
Long liner gloves are under the cycling gloves.

  John is wearing a short sleeve cycling jersey and a thin vest. He finds the weather very comfortable.

  As we leave the front door of the motel, John announces that he has a flat in the rear wheel. So, the next half hour is spent watching John sitting in a car parking space changing a tube.

  While I was waiting and learning about a backpacker's 8 day walk in Yellowstone National Park, I decide to check my tires. The front wheel was clean. In the back tire I removed a glass chip; a wire logged sideways, and pulled out a piece of wire stuck straight in. Another flat saved.

  Later that day, I stopped on the highway so that John could catch up. I watched him in the rear view mirror for a minute cycling up to the bike. As he did not seem to arrive when I thought he might, I looked down again into the mirror and see him walking up to me. The nemesis of I-90 strikes again, a flat wire logged straight into the tire. At this stage it was hot. The sin was blazing down. There was no shade on the highway. Laurel, a town, was just 5 kilometres away.

  John does not like hot sun. He likes shade. So, the decision was to pump up the tire and hope that shade can be made. 5 fill up later, john was sitting in the shade of a gas station in Laurel fixing his flat. The wire had pierced the tire by about 20 millimetres. How did the tube keep the leak to be a slow one? Must have been a good tube. John now had three tubes in reserve, each with a hole. So, tomorrow is tube repair time or to the store for new tubes.

  Wires and flats

    This is the saga of cycling on I-90 in Montana. Many places where I have been, there have been signs on ‘No Littering’ with penalties posted from modes amounts of $100 to a thousand or two. Yet, the greatest loiterers, the truck drivers and their equipment seem to get off free. Exempted from law, one has to wonder. The very people that litter the most are not targeted for compliance. The sufferers of this policy or action are the cyclists that have to negotiate through the crap on there paved shoulders.

    What is the solution? Ban rethreading of tires? Have the price of rethreading a tire include a sweeping of al roads levy? Force all trailer owners to pay into a road sweeping fund? Government adopt a practice of sweeping all highways and major roads once a day?

  Today's ride

  Today’s ride was as good as one can expect. A cool sunny day with winds mainly from the rear. The road slopping mainly downward with some hills having long climbs at reasonable grades. There were one or two hills that got the blood moving. Comfortably wide paved shoulder to cycle on. Only an occasional, long bridge that was not wide enough for a cyclist and two passing vehicles. One just had to look up the road for any trucks coming. Seeing out of the corner of the eye two trailer wheels zipping by you just made one a bit cautious.

  Deer Country

  Yes, this is certainly deer country. The evidence is there a one cycles through the majestic views. One can either see the deer (bodies) or smell their rotting carcases. Some times the crows circle above pinpointing the location. There was a sign by the road with a deer symbol on it. By the base lay a deer carcase.

  These were not the only animals undergoing the nightly carnage. Racoons, prairie dogs, possums, skunks were also there.

  From Mountains to Plateaus to Plains


The land kept transitioning from mountainous, hilly, treed land to wide plateaus being farmed. The mountains are getting farther into the horizon. On one farm a van was parked in front of a corn field. The seed part of the corn stalks was about 30 centimetres above the van roof.


  Into Billings, a refinery city for the night stay. The city has sandstone rim rocks circling it. One could picture a big quarry having been mined and then a city built into it.

Cycling Facilities  
  Conditions of Pavement

Much has been said of the poor maintenance of the I-90 shoulders in Montana. They are littered with rethreads making it a war zone for cyclists to navigate.

  Billings Bike Path

What is more frustrating than to cycle down an interstate highway with its traffic nose and not be aware of a bike path paralleling it, not knowing how to get on to it, sand not knowing where and how far the path goes. Again, for how many times, it happened in the afternoon while cycling on the interstate through Billings.

Is it too much to ask for the bicycle planners to undertake information and direction program for all cycling facilities as part of installing the facilities? There should be maps at trail heads and where cyclists may be that may want to take these facilities. There should be information signage on parallel roads making cyclists aware of the facilities.

  I-90 Bridges

  Most bridges have wide shoulders. Some have a white edge line and about .75 metres, the width of a bicycle without panniers of space net to the inner lane. Some on these bridges need upgrading considering the fast speed, 120 kph, and the number of trucks using the highway.