Cycling Advocates Ride to Pro Walk Pro Bike 2006

     
Daily Trip Log
Jack
 
     

from Vancouver B.C. to Madison, Wisconsin

Picture of Vancouver, BCGrouse Mountain Vancouver B.C.
from Billings to Hardin, MT
   
 
Date: 2006-08-14
Distance: 97 Kilometres
Cycling Time: 5.67 Hours
Average 17.13 Speed: kph
 
  Trip Distance since Leaving Vancouver - 1,859 Kilometres  

Thoughts for the Day

 

 
  Exploring Cycling Facilities in Billings    
  Off we went this morning in search of cycling facilities in Billings. With guidance from the Billings Bike Map we went on identified streets on the map. Our destination was a bike shop so that John could buy some puncture kits, having now three tubes that would not retain air.

We finally found a bike lane. It was well identified. Had a centre line strip and a cyclist stencil. It was located in the aisle in the bike store.

The store owner was very helpful with information for us on our continued travels.

 
  Different Types of Seats    
A bit of the past when John used to ride horses bareback. Today the bike steed needs a comfortable saddle. For me, I used to ride with an English saddle on my Arabian horse. What a sensation when galloping down the country roads and fields in gallop. The gait was so smooth that I never toughed my horse’s back. Sometimes I wish the bike was also like that.

 
  A Short Trip that Turned Long    
  Sometimes various maps and road distance signs have conflicting information. Sometimes we just misread maps. Today, was such a day.

We decided to set out later and go back downtown as we only had a short ride to the next destination. Well, so we thought.

 
  By noon, we left Billings and set out on a side road hat appeared to be connected t the I-90 by an intersection. John wanted to get away from the noise of the I-90. I wanted to escape the continuous obstacle course on the freeway shoulder with the broken of pieces from the truck trailer tires. After a steep climb the road changed to gravel. So, we stopped a truck and asked for directions. We were told that the road dead ends. So, the alternative was to cycle back 5 km to the last intersection in what now was a hot day and getting hotter. A buck deer crossed the road in front of me as I climbed the hill. The sun blazed with no clouds in sight. The other alternative was to strip the bikes to their naked self’s and lift all over a cattle fence with 3 strands of barbed wire at the top. The obvious solution, lift the bikes over the fence. We almost untied some barbed wire on what we thought was a fence. It turned out not to be so but a tension wire for the fence.

 
  From there it was up hill for many a kilometres and then with ridge riding to Hardin. The scenery was interesting with its shades of golden browns. We were cycling a plateau very dried out with some farming. The mountains at the edge of the plateau were nothing more than some dimples.

 
  Heat Effects    
    Cycling in mid-day under 30 some Celsius heat and a blazing sun with no relief from clouds does get to the body eventually. We ran out of water almost by the last rest centre.

 
       
Cycling Facilities  
  Billings Cycling Facilities    
 

Billings has a plan for making this town more cycling friendly. Currently there is a map. There is one trail that we saw. That is all. The Bike Route streets did not have any markings.

 

 
   
  Billings Bike Parking    
  Other than one small bike rack in the downtown area, we did not see any bike parking facilities.

 
  Billings Bike Map    
  Billings has a bike map (internet address - http://ci.billings.mt.us/Online/PDF/Government/planning/BikeTrailswrelief.pdf).

The map indicates the roads which are considered primary and secondary roads for cycling, as well as, roads that could be used as arterial bikeways and paved and gravelled trails.

A hard copy can be locally obtained from bike stores. The size is small making it a challenge for those whose eyes have passed their prime.

 
  I-90 Cycling, Litter on Road    
  And so continues the unkempt paved shoulders that are sometimes like an obstacle course trying to avoid the rethread tires, glass, gravel, and other debris.