Adventure Cycling CDN GDR Update

What road?

What road?

Photos of Doug and I were used to illustrate a post on the GDR over at the Adventure Cycling Blog. Maps from this organization made it really easy to plan my first CDN GDR tour back in 2009. I’m glad to see the route continue to get some attention as it is really a fun ride through some beautiful country.

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11 thoughts on “Adventure Cycling CDN GDR Update

  1. Vik are you planning to do this? My buddy and I are in this year! Would love ot meet you, been following your blogs and advise I feel like a know you. I don’t but you get it.

    • @TD – no plans to ride the GDR in 2014. I have some trips planned further west in BC this year.

      Are you guys doing the Tour Divide or just a tour on your own? How much of the GDR do you plan to ride?

  2. I’m strongly considering a TDR this summer and I’m blindly considering using my 700C long haul trucker. I have heard – and have not yet had opportunity to test it – that the LHT will take a 50mm tire, which rolls it in right around 2inches.

    Think its a crazy idea or the makings of a perfect off road touring rig?

    • @Jeff – keep in mind I have only ridden the CDN Part of the GDR, but I have read many TD reports so I at least have some idea of what it’s like further south.

      I have owned a 700C and still own a 26er LHT.

      Could you ride the GDR on a 700C LHT = for sure.

      Perfect GDR rig = no way.

      Your idea of running big tires is smart. Not so much for grip as for cushion.

      If you are running drop bars and a typical touring setup for sizing I think the biggest issue will be the challenging descents. You’ll end up walking or hanging on for dear life where you might be having a blast cruising twice as fast on Karate Monkey for example. You may also end up walking where a MTB could keep climbing, but I don’t think that’s all that important in the big scheme of things.

      The LHT BB is low so there will a bunch of pedal strikes on rougher sections, but I don’t think that’s a deal breaker on the GDR.

      Ultimately if you are riding the GDR for fun the two things that matter are:

      1. your bike can reliably cover the terrain
      2. you enjoy riding it on that terrain

      If you are racing I’d add in your speed is sufficient to meet your goals.

      If you want to use your LHT I would find some terrain that mimics the GDR as much as possible and do a 2-3 day tour on it with your GDR load. I don’t think it’s a crazy idea, but do test it out to confirm how you’ll feel on it.

      • For whatever reason, I cannot sign in via Twitter like normal, but I wanted to ask a few more questions Vik.

        First off, what a great summary of the LHT flaws. I posted this on my blog, too, and received plenty of warnings about requiring wider tires.

        So, that brings me around to the Surly ECR/Krampus wheels. Hey, if I can’t ride a skinny-tired LHT, I might as well over react.

        How do you find the Krampus? I have wanted one for a while and this seems like a good excuse. I am worried about the energy I’ll lose to the large, somwhat bouncy tire. Would you tackle this ride on the Krampus, or would you be looking for the middle ground (and a more boring bike IMHO) like an Ogre/Karate Monkey?

      • @Jeff – the Krampus is a great bikepacking rig. I’d highly recommend it. The Knards roll exteremely well for a MTB tire and offer a perfect amount of cushion for a rigid bike.

        Have a look at these links:

        IMG_6519
        IMG_6169
        ml77
        IMG_5683

        I don’t keep using gear that I don’t like so if the Krampus wasn’t awesome for dirt touring I would be replacing it as we speak. Two of my friends that are hard core MTB tourists are moving to 29+ platforms for 2014.

        You can always use a 2.4″ 29er tire on the Krampus so you are not restricted to running Knards 24/7.

        For any bikepacking trip like the GDR I would use my Krampus. I would have a spare set of tires at home and get them mailed to me along the route if needed.

        Having said all that a “normal” 29er would work just fine as well so if you don’t want a Krampus a Karate Monkey would be a fine choice.

  3. Thanks Vik.

    Two more questions for you.

    1. What’s your gut feeling on the ECR? I like the braze-on features for other uses (more loaded touring requiring racks) but the lower BB height would eliminate the option to use the 2.4″. Itd probably get away with the 2.75″ surly tire that is coming.

    Looking at the geometry doesn’t help me too much, as I am more a get on and ride kind of guy, but reading the reviews the ECR sounds like it handles extremely well, if somewhat less nimble.

    2. You picked up a medium, which is an 18″ frame (some as your On One if I remember right). Sadly, nobody stocks Surly’s close to home, so I’d have to size it up. I could go either way between the XL and L, but I’m curious if you found the Krampus fit it’s size well, as in a person who has ridden lots of medium frames would want a medium, a person who usually rides a large would want a large, etc.

    • @Jeff – I am not a fan of the ECR’s lower BB, smaller headtube and longer chainstays. I can attach anything to my Krampus that you can attach to an ECR. Last summer I used a rear rack and panniers on one trip for example and I put a large water bottle cage on my downtube. I could attach waterbottles to my Krampus fork, but I’m not a fan of stuff mounted there. I also think the paint on the Krampus is much nicer.

      I run my Krampus with the rear wheel all the way forward for a short wheelbase and find with the big 29+ wheels I get tons of stability even when bombing downhill at high speeds on loose surfaces. I wouldn’t want it to be more stable or it would be a boring bike to ride.

      I ride a medium Krampus. I could also ride a large Krampus no problem. My Pugsley and Big Dummy are Surly mediums. My On One is a large 19.5″ frame. The Krampus has a low and long TT compared to the Pugsley for example.

      You’ll most likely be able to fit onto two different sizes of Krampus with a stem adjustment. Just depends if you prefer bigger frames or not.

  4. Thanks Vik. You are too helpful.

  5. Vik, I’m back with another big question!

    Where should I, could I go bikepacking in western Canada from June 1-18.

    My TDR attempt just hit a major snag, as one of my biggest clients moved a job scheduled for June 1-10 back to late June. Now racing would mean losing an important job and have an even larger financial impact on my already wacky self-employed income stream. So it may have to wait until next year, but rather than being free and clear from June 12 onwards, I find myself commitment free from today (May 25) to June 18.

    If I wanted to get out and do a significant bikepacking tour, where should I be headed? I’ve looked at the Idaho Hot Springs Route, heading to Oregon for the Three Rivers Trail, but it might be nice to stay in Canada. Anywhere without snow that you’d recommend?

  6. The ideal time of year for the Idaho route is Sept. I’m not sure what conditions are like this time of year. There is a thread over in the bikepacking section at MTBR.com you could ask there about Idaho conditions. It looks good, but I am waiting for the first tour reports to come in to get the full picture.

    The other option is to start in Banff and ride south on the GDR until you use half your time and then ride back. The CDN portion is really nice and worth seeing more than once. It would also let you get your gear and your TD race plan dialled. So you’d have a strong start to the event.

    I can hook you up with a route on Van Isle that would be a great ride someplace not yet on the bikepacking radar.

    The Kettle Valley Railway is another option.

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