Pampered by cycling in Quebec and Europe: - Mackinac Island after abandoning the USBRS (US Bicycle Route System) - CycleBlaze

Pampered by cycling in Quebec and Europe:

Why the USBRS?

On recent tours we enjoyed riding bicycle signed bicycle routes in Quebec, Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic. The road design and surfaces are identified as "bicycle friendly" and the signage lessens the chance of getting lost. However, getting from or home in West Virginia to Quebec or Europe can be expensive and a logistical challenge. When researching places to tour closer to our home this spring I searched for an interesting routes to a desirable destination (Mackinac Island in Lake Huron). Our plan is follow two routes (50 & 35) in the developing US Bicycle Route system starting in my home place in Pittsburgh. We originally planned to start at our doorstep and ride up the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) to Pittsburgh but we've ridden it several times and wanted to save a few days on the tour. On cycling tours I enjoy not knowing what is around the next corner and while we have ridden in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan for much of this tour we will be on roads new to us.

The planned route.
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For the first time I used "Ride with GPS" to plan the route and paid for the Basic subscription to be able to download it to the "Ride with GPS" app our phones. Interestingly, I was able to download the route including the maps to both of our iPhones which should result in both of us being able to navigate the app at the same time although Rhona as the stoker is the primary navigator. She has a Quadlock Bike Kit attached to her handlebar.

Quad Lock attachment for iPhone6.
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The case is specific to the iPhone6 and includes a detachable rain cover.
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Rhona and I have been on a variety of tours on our tandems over the last three decades, some which included rugged camping, but have now reached the point in our lives when we don't sleep well on sleeping bags and too thin pads. This will be a credit card tour, possibly availing ourselves of Warmshowers hosts and AirBnb. We've enjoyed hosting several Warmshowers cyclists but have never yet been guests ourselves. We are planning to ride less thatn 50 mile days, but adverse weather including headwinds as well as availability of accommodations may result in adjustments. We may finish by Memorial Day weekend but being retired we can extend the tour into early June.

I'm going to attempt to update this journal each night. I'm taking the pictures on an iPhone 6 and hope the wifi signals in the hotels are sufficient to upload the pictures. I'll also be writing the text and picture captions on the iPhone. From past experience I struggle to detect many spelling and grammatical errors, some the result of speech to text gremlins. I'll clean it all up after finishing the tour.

This will be our first tour on our newly refurbished Co-motion Speedster which has essentially been upgrade to the "Equator" model. It features a Rohloff rear hub and Gates carbon fiber belts, so no worrying about greasy chains or glitchy shifting on this trip.

Co-motion Cycles "Equator" image.
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We considered pulling our B.O.B. trailer, but instead decided to load our Arkel GT-54 Classic Cycling bags to avoid having to detach the trailer and muscle it in and out of hotel rooms. It is hard enough maneuvering just the tandem at the end of a tiring day.

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