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Messages - staehpj1

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Smoke can really cause havoc for a tour.  I have had some trips ruined and trips rethought.

I hope you can find a smoke free route.  Maybe hop on a bus or rent a car and go somewhere with no smoke?  Pacific Coast maybe?

You may spend more time sleeping on top of it, for padding, than in it for warmth.

Yep that is very likely.  Still even one cold night might justify taking a bag warm enough for the coldest night.

In the mountains temperatures can be crazy variable.  I think we saw 110 F and 32 F in the same 48 hour period on the Sierra Cascades route.

On my TA it was mostly very hot, but there were a few moderately cold nights (32 F maybe).  We left a little earlier in the season than the OP is planning, but still in the mountains some pretty variable weather can happen.

On the bags, would it be overkill to have a 32 degree bag for the high elevations in the West and then ship it home once into ... Kansas? We will have friends sending us re-supply items via General Delivery as we go along, so I am thinking a swap to a "lighter" bag could be accomplished.

Does your 32 F bag have an EN rating?  The manufacturers ratings can be really optimistic if they don't do EN testing.  I'd say that given your time table you ought to plan on maybe having a few nights that might hit an actual low of 32 F.

On the mail drops...  I always found that I used the mail much more for sending home stuff that I thought I needed and found that I didn't, but yeah mail drops work.

We are wondering the same but for a July 1(ish), 2016 start from Portland to Astoria, then to Yorktown. Based on some other threads here, I am thinking a 32 degree bag. I sleep just a bit warmer than my wife, but I also have very cold feet.

A 32 degree bag sounds about right.  The two big variables do apply and could make something warmer or colder a better choice.  They are how warm you sleep and how optimistic the rating is.

On the cold feet...  If your feet tend to be cold it makes sense to be certain that you have a loose fitting and dry pair of socks to wear at night.  When touring where it is cold at night I sometimes keep a warm pair specifically for sleeping.

Routes / Re: Las Vegas to Los Angeles
« on: August 24, 2015, 06:21:17 pm »
I recommend that you take Hwy 95 south from Las Vegas.  It will run into ACA's Route 66.  This will take you into LA.  You could take I-15 but it would be a very noisy ride with lots of truck tire debris that will likely result in flats.
FWIW, I actually like riding the interstate when in the desert.  Some hate it though, so YMMV.

Routes / Re: Southern Tier Shortcuts
« on: August 24, 2015, 06:17:55 pm »
The ST is fairly direct already, but there are places where you can go shorter.  Typically you will miss things that Adventure Cycling thought were worthwhile though.

My suggestion is to play it by ear as you go.  That is what I did.  I think that I was in a better position to know where I might want to shortcut and where I would be happier following the AC route that way.

My preference was to use the interstate a good bit more than was suggested and to also go a bit more direct in some other places as well.  I thought at the time that if doing it again, I'd stay with US 90 a lot more, possibly even using it for it's full length.

Routes / Re: Pacific Coast Route- Smokey??? Cell phone service?
« on: August 19, 2015, 11:26:22 am »
Given that the prevailing summer wind is out of the NW and that the route hugs the coast pretty closely I would expect to not have long sections where smoke was bad.  You may have some smoke here and there, but isn't like being up in the Sierras.

Gear Talk / Re: 9 speed or 10 speed for my new bike build up?
« on: August 14, 2015, 09:27:04 am »
Note to Slow and Slower: Yes, the recent generation of Shimano 10-speed barend and downtube shifters do lack a friction option.  It's unfortunate but friction shifting a 10-speed cassette is a bit tricky due to the close cog spacing and barend and downtube shifters are so reliable that perhaps the friction option as a bail-out was deemed unnecessary.

At first I thought that it was a shame that they eliminated friction mode for the rear derailleur and then upon thinking about it I realized that I have never used friction mode anyway in recent years, at least on newer bikes.  Even on my older 7 speed bikes indexed shifting has been pretty flawless.  In fact my 7 speed with indexed 105 down tube shifters is one of the most reliable and smooth shifting bikes I have ridden.

I do find indexing kind of pointless for the front derailleur, but it works well enough and is pretty reliable so I won't complain.

Gear Talk / Re: 9 speed or 10 speed for my new bike build up?
« on: August 13, 2015, 11:26:27 am »
[The problem of balance and control comes when you suddenly are going downhill and not uphill at that gearing.
That's why bikes have shift levers.  When the grade breaks, you shift to a higher gear.  Roads don't suddenly change grades like falling off a cliff, you should be able to easily see it approaching. 

And, yes, I've ridden back roads in both Virginia and Kentucky, particularly in Western Virginia, and have never had to "dive suddenly" to the side of the road.  If I'm climbing slowly i'm already at the edge of the pavement.

That pretty much sums up my take on this as well.

I am a bit puzzled by the references to diving suddenly to the side of the road as well as balance and control problems related to lower gearing (at least any gearing options that I have used) and I too have ridden across Kentucky and southwestern Virginia on little back roads.  I am not doubting that it is a problem for SlowerAndSlower, but I have a hard time relating to it, since for me it seems to be a complete non-issue.

As a result I have no suggestions other than to say that it seems like something one ought to be able to get used to with a bit of attention to traffic, the grade, and where one is on the road.

On a different note:
The biggest annoyance I had on the back roads of Kentucky were drivers who refused to pass even when they could see well ahead and I waved them by.  We ran across a few of them and I found them really annoying.

Gear Talk / Re: 9 speed or 10 speed for my new bike build up?
« on: August 13, 2015, 07:45:14 am »
Several models of Salsa Vaya and Fargo already use SRAM - that is how I became aware of it.
Hopefully other manufacturers will do the same as Salsa and/or Shimano will offer a solution to avoid losing the touring and adventure markets.

Gear Talk / Re: 9 speed or 10 speed for my new bike build up?
« on: August 12, 2015, 04:40:56 pm »
Back to the original issue, is there a way to use drop bars and brifters with a full modern group to get to 20 gear inches or below?
With 9 speed, sure easily.  Do you consider 9 speed modern?

Too rich for my blood, but with 10 or 11 speed MTB Di2 mechs you reportedly can use road Di2 brifters.  Not sure if there are other solutions for really low gears with brifters.  I have not done it so you may want to verify before going that route.

Edit: Good to know that SRAM has a solution.

Gear Talk / Re: 9 speed or 10 speed for my new bike build up?
« on: August 12, 2015, 08:56:02 am »
I find all the gearing below 20 inches some what perplexing. So I am grinding up hill using 20 inch gearing and now have to dive towards the side of the road. No way I can spin fast enough to maintain control of the bike and stay out of the ditch!!
I don't understand what you mean by that.  I can't say I have ever had a problem with that.  Why would you be diving toward the side of the road and why would it make you unable to maintain control?

Routes / Re: Biking in Yellowstone
« on: August 12, 2015, 08:48:38 am »
Good advice above.  Riding early helps.

What days of the week you are there can be a factor as well.  By mid afternoon Sunday a lot of the traffic has cleared out and it remains somewhat lighter until the week end gets close.  Avoiding Friday - Mid day Sunday helps.

All in all, we enjoyed passing through there on the Trans America.  We rode into the park late in the day on a Sunday.  Yes there was traffic, but it wasn't that bad.

Gear Talk / Re: Gearing for Touring Bike Followup
« on: July 30, 2015, 09:35:20 am »
I have 52/11 and very often wish I had a higher gear, and I have never raced.
Really?  A 52/11 is 127 gear-inch and gives 38 mph at 100 rpm.  Can you really ride that fast except on a big downhill where you would go as fast or faster by just tucking in and coasting?  My problem with the excessive use of 11T cogs is that you give up a far more useful interior cog to get it.
Seems pretty extreme to me, but I can kind of understand.  I used to want a big gear, in part so I could pedal lightly against a little resistance on long down hills to keep my legs moving.

I have since gotten used to not having a big ring at all on some of my bikes.  I went with a big gear of 39/12 on the ST with an ultra compact double (39-26) made by taking the big ring off of a triple) and found that I really didn't miss the big gear.  It took a bit of a mental adjustment but wasn't really a handicap even though I was riding with a fast young rider.  I had no trouble staying with him on the flats, down hills, and rolling hills.  I did have trouble keeping up on the uphills for the first part of the tour, but that is an entirely different problem having more to do with inadequate training :)

General Discussion / Re: Bicycle tools for a cross country ride
« on: July 29, 2015, 10:58:15 am »
I have never broken a cable nor a chain or a spoke. Doing a cross country trip you will not need to adjust your brakes - if you ride during the summer. I believe if you use some Loctite 243 thread locker your screws and bolts will never unwind unless you did not clean the threads before application.

Never need to adjust your brakes?  I worn out brake pads that were new at the start in the middle of a long tour (TA) where there were quite a few mountain passes and I definitely needed to adjust them in between.  On the Sierra Cascades route I definitely needed to adjust the brakes even though I only went from San Diego to Reno.  On the flatter Southern Tier I think I managed to do the whole thing with no brake adjustments, but I wouldn't count on it even there.

I have gone coast to coast a couple times and done a bunch of other longish tours and I too have never broken a cable or chain, but I have used my chain tool to fix a companions bike on two occasions.  Even for a weight weenie like myself I can't see leaving the multi-tool with a chain breaker at home.  It weighs a about 3 ounces and fits all the bolts on my bike as well as having a chain breaker.

Cables on the other hand I can see leaving behind.  Unlike broken chains, broken cables won't leave you walking and breakage is unlikely if you keep an eye on them.

My Unior cassette cracker weighs less than an ounce so while I can see not taking one, there isn't much to save there.

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