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Messages - staehpj1

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Gear Talk / Re: Parrafin heads only
« on: April 24, 2014, 01:59:00 pm »
As far as all the trouble to wax every 500 miles, it's less trouble for me to wax than to clean and oil type lubricate chain, and, as explained, I enjoy extra long life from my drivetrain components.

Having used both methods over the years...  I have to say that I find it hard to believe that it isn't a lot more trouble than what I do or that chains last longer than mine do.  I believe in avoiding any cleaning beyond a quick application of lube and wipe down.  I believe that cleaning more aggressively than that actually shortens the life of the chain.  So the cleaning part is pretty close to zero effort.

As far as chain life...  I have been getting 10,000 miles on a chain before it measures 12-1/16" for 12 links.  I don't think I ever did that well when I used paraffin.

The topic originator asked that there be no lube wars. Keep that in mind when you think you have a clever comeback.

For one thing no one has suggested a particular lube other than paraffin.  Also threads always drift so even if someone was promoting a particular lube other than paraffin, I wouldn't fault them since we aren't obligated to honor that request. 

General Discussion / Re: TransAm season
« on: April 24, 2014, 08:53:33 am »
Don't let the Great Plains in mid-summer fool you into sending the tights, jackets, etc. home.   
That or if you do, plan on having them mailed back to you before you are back in the mountains.  Never count on it being warm in the mountains or at night in the desert for that matter.

Gear Talk / Re: Parrafin heads only
« on: April 24, 2014, 08:49:39 am »
I use paraffin riding locally and touring; have done so for decades. Weight of my can of paraffin is 10 oz; could reduce amount of paraffin. Application touring lasts me about 500 miles. This means for a 1000  mile tour I wax once on tour.
So what, 8 times on a the Trans America?  I'd say no thanks to that.

Can anyone fill me in on likely weather conditions in Mid-May on the Florence Alternate portion of the TransAm?  (This is in western Oregon). We don't want to cycle that far south along the coast before heading east if weather/road conditions aren't conducive to cycling.  Thanks...
I think it would be open and fine for the alternate portion.  It might be wetter than later though.  After you rejoin the main TA you may find McKenzie Pass still closed at that time some years.  It opened May 16 last year, but is sometimes closed into July.  It does open for bikes a bit ahead of when it opens for cars.  If it is closed Santiam pass is generally open, but it would be a shame to miss McKenzie.

Routes / Re: Sierra cascade route question
« on: April 24, 2014, 03:27:44 am »
It has a ton of climbing.  Almost certainly more than any other AC route.  It is on small remote roads a lot but not all of the way.  You will have to deal with traffic at times.  The scenery is spectacular.

General Discussion / Re: TransAm season
« on: April 24, 2014, 03:21:58 am »
Several questions, so please pardon. I am moving from long distance hiking to cycling, and am looking at doing the TransAm. Given variables in weather from year to year, is there a typical "season" or start date for doing the TransAm going West to East?  What about going East to West?  If anyone keeps stats, do most riders go Eastward or Westward?  Is there a cycling "bubble"?  If so, when do the bulk of the riders start at each coast?  Thanks for any info you can provide.
Not sure when the bubble is, but we started W-E early June in the west and McKenzie pass was not yet open to cars but was for bikes.  That was perfect that year, some years McKenzie might not open until sometime in July.  There is an alternate route, but I'd hate to miss McKenzie.

Going E-W I'd go a good bit earlier.

Gear Talk / Re: Parrafin heads only
« on: April 23, 2014, 05:14:41 pm »
I stopped using parafin years ago, but remember it working pretty well.  Still, it seems like way too much effort for on tour. too much crap to carry, and just generally not worth it.

Food Talk / Re: Food by Mail
« on: April 23, 2014, 02:40:39 pm »

I have done mail drops and would again, but only where I couldn't buy just food as I go.  Since I don't know what you mean by GWD I am not sure how necessary it is for your route.

Do you have some particular reason to want or need to do mail drops of food?

I found that it was a bit of a hassle to deal with mail drops because small town post offices tend to have weird and short hours and I am not one to stay on a schedule.  It sucks to get to town and find the post office is closed the next two days.  Also I tended to not be ready for a package when I got to town.  On the other hand you can stop at any post office and they will arrange to forward your package further down the road.

I figure it is a useful approach if you are bikepacking where you will need to stock up for several days or more at a time and the food choices in local stores will be too limited wrt lightweight foods.  Otherwise I personally wouldn't bother.

My preferred approach is to buy food once a day where that is possible.  Also I like to mix in some diner meals where that is possible.

Gear Talk / Re: 11-32 vs 11-34
« on: April 22, 2014, 02:34:11 am »
As you said, the math is the math.  It works out exactly right.  As for 8.8% seeming low for the hill, well, that is the right percentage.
Yes that is probably the correct average percentage for the climb, but I can't think of two reasons why it seems low.  First, the climb is not really steady so if it certainly has sections that are steeper than the average and probably some short sections are substantially steeper.

The second reason is that many of the grades we are mentally it to comparing have signage with a percentage that is much higher than the actual grade.

Gear Talk / Re: 11-32 vs 11-34
« on: April 21, 2014, 08:55:39 am »
Lookout, KY was perhaps the worst grade going west.
If that is the grade I am remembering that doesn't surprise me.  It was a pretty crazy descent for us.

And there's no shame in walking.
Many folks will go to extreme lengths to avoid a bit of walking and I used to myself.  I have in more recent years found that it is nice to walk a bit sometimes just for a change of pace even where it is definitely not necessary.

Gear Talk / Re: 11-32 vs 11-34
« on: April 21, 2014, 08:49:11 am »
And yes, I remember well those Missouri river valleys, especially the valley formed by the Current River between Ellington and Houston. The Ellington park manager told me, "You got some hellacious mountains ahead of you!" Well, being from Colorado, I don't call them "mountains" but they were certainly difficult.
The Ozarks were kind of weird to me.  I kept wondering when we would be in the mountains and never really saw anything that seemed like a mountain on the TA in the Ozarks even by Appalachian standards.  Hills into and out of river valleys, yes and very steep ones at that.  It got to where I dreaded seeing the Ozark Scenic Riverways signs.  Those signs always meant a steep descent and then a steep ascent back up the other side.  It was especially rough since it was crazy hot when we were there. and dealing with rafting company buses on the shoulder-less roads was "interesting".  Still, as I said, I don't think they were as hard or as steep as some in the Appalachians.

I think one of my Trans America companions found that type of hill harder though and I think she would tell you the Ozarks were the hardest part of the trip for her.  I definitely don't feel that way myself.

Gear Talk / Re: 11-32 vs 11-34
« on: April 21, 2014, 06:14:56 am »
Slopes of  8 degrees is about the maximum you will see on the TransAm.
I think you'll find a lot of people who would dispute that.

Did your remark take into account that I mentioned a slope of 8 degrees? More often slopes are expressed as the ratio of rise over run, which for an angle of 8 degrees amounts to a grade of 14%?
I don't know abut John, but I missed the "degrees" and thought "%" automatically.  Degrees seems like an odd way to express the steepness only because "%" is pretty much universally used.

Oh and based only on my impression of them...  The hills in Missouri climbing up out of the river valleys were pretty tough, but a few in the Appalachians definitely were harder for me so I'd assume they were steeper than the ones in Missouri.  Two that I remember were at Vesuvius and another that I think it was at Big A mountain.  Those were climbs for eastbound riders.  There were a least a couple others that seemed steeper to me than the ones in Missouri.

That said I don't have accurate numbers for any of them.  Furthermore I have decided that we seldom know the actual grades because the signs posted are often way off and even the maps can be pretty misleading.  Also the grades on smaller roads are generally extremely variable along their length.  So do you call the grade by a 100' section that is steepest, by the average from bottom to top, or something else?  In any case the numbers can be misleading wrt to the difficulty in riding them.

Routes / Re: Western Express in July
« on: April 20, 2014, 04:26:55 am »
2. Be aware that Nevada and California will have extreme fire risk this year.
Many of the campgrounds could be closed by mid-summer to reduce fire danger.
There will likely be fires in Calif because of the extreme drought.
Some of the WE highways could be closed requiring detours because of fire proximity.
Don't discount this when deciding.  I have found that breathing forest fire smoke for days on end can be downright miserable or even dangerous and that can happen even when the fires are a long way off.

General Discussion / Re: Logistics of shipping equipment for touring
« on: April 18, 2014, 08:20:30 am »
I guess there was so much conversation about shipping via airplane and only one comment about FedX/UPS, it was starting to sound like the obvious choice is by air.

Maybe because the original poster specifically asked about shipping by plane.  They said:
My wife and I are planning to do some touring in the midwest (from California), and need to fly there with our bikes and equipment.

Also if flying to a tour IMO it does make sense to fly with the bike to the tour.  It is nice to be able to just ride out of the airport.  I do prefer to UPS the bike home after the tour though.  It is nice to just dump it on a bike shop and pay them to box and ship it home.  That has generally cost me about $100 including the shipping and the bike shop's fee.  It is so nice to not have to deal with boxing and schlepping the box to the airport in a strange town at the end of a tour.

General Discussion / Re: Logistics of shipping equipment for touring
« on: April 17, 2014, 01:32:14 pm »
It may not have changed. Nothing you learned is in conflict with what Pete reported. Pete didn't say that they didn't do it; he just said he didn't like the terms under which they did it.
Yes that is correct.  They were still willing to do it then.  The differences were as I recall them:
  • Where they used to use their distribution system they at that point said that it would go UPS and the full UPS costs would of course be payed by me.
  • Additionally they would insist on reassembling it at the receiving store for another iteration of the same fee.  A fee that in the past was the total cost of packing shipping and receiving.  So bottom line was twice as much, plus the full UPS charges.
  • I do not recall the exact dollar amounts, but it was not only way more than they used to charge, but also a lot more than I have ever been charged by a bike shop to pack and ship a bike to my home address.
I will not claim that is all completely accurate as I am going strictly from my sometimes faulty memory.  That said, I definitely found it worse than any of the numerous bike shops I have used for the same purpose and to no longer be a decent deal at all.

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