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Topics - dombrosk

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1
General Discussion / In praise of rest days...
« on: October 18, 2012, 08:25:23 am »
Looking back over past threads, it seems that a lot of the discussion of rest days revolves around whether they are necessary and how often they should happen.  Kind of like how most folks approach the idea of a colonoscopy.    :)

I'd like to open up a thread for riders to share stories of memorable rest days.  Perhaps this could be a resource for people who are new to bicycle travel, or experienced riders who are looking ahead to their 2013 rides.  To kick it off, I'll share stories about two past rest days and one that I'm planning for my next tour.

1st - Colville, Washington, 2005
After cycling west out of Seattle and heading north across Whidbey Island to Anacortes, I'd turned east onto the Northern Tier headed for East Glacier.  By the time I reached Colville I was ready for some time off the bike.  I found a cheap motel with doors that opened right into the room, wheeled my bike in, and found some reasonably clean clothes to change into after a shower.  My first night was a hot meal in a friendly cafe followed by a movie at the Alpine Theatre.  I love old main street movie houses, and it was great to be able to visit and support another one.  The next day I slept late, then put on my rain gear and very little else and headed to the nearby laundromat.  Such a luxury to have every bit of clothing clean and dry after 10 days of travel including heavy cold rain on the coast and scorching dry heat around Okanagon.  Once I had clean clothes it was time for a nap before heading out the explore the town. 
There was an impresssive amount of sculpture!

After a visit to an ice cream parlor, more walking, and dinner, I found myself on the hill overlooking town in time for the lighting of the candles for a Relay for Life at the local high school.  By the time I got back to my room it was getting dark, but still enough time for a serious look at my bike and gear before another sound nights sleep. 
The next morning I headed east refreshed and amazed to see the world turn green before my eyes as I headed into a new climate zone.  By intentionally 'breaking' the touring mentality for a day I had managed to get a fresh pair of eyes on the world.  And, it was amazing how much stronger I was after a full day off the bike.

2nd Schiermonnikoog, The Netherlands, 2011
If you've ever run across a children's book called "Paddle to the Sea", you can relate to the theme of this ride which was "Pedal to the (North) Sea".  After cycling south from Amsterdam to Cologne, I'd looped back up to meet my wife in Amersfoort before heading north to Friesland.  The last 2 days heading north were into intense headwinds, so it was a real joy to board our ferry to Schiermonnikoog.  Most of this island is national park, and cars are very limited.  Even for a country with such a cycling tradition, this was a cyclists dream.  Being June, the beach crowds had not yet arrived and we enjoyed having a sleepy village and open spaces stretching to the sea largely to ourselves.

It was during this rest day that my wife christened layover days as a 'vacation from our vacation', which for me sums up the notion of a day to hit the reset button in as many ways as possible.

And next?  Wernigerode, Germany 2013 ?
As I'm planning next summer's ride from Amsterdam to Berlin, I'm already looking forward to a layover in the Harz Mountains in the former East Germany.  This will probably be more than one day, because there's a steam train up Der Brocken, famous for Walpurgisnacht and a role in Goethe's Faust.  And, who knows what else I may discover while wandering about...

I'd love to hear other forum members share their stories of rest days that were about more than 'just' rest.

Happy riding (and resting)!




2
Gear Talk / Rohloff- two questions
« on: February 02, 2011, 05:30:29 pm »
I'm having a new frame custom built and considering Rohloff...

1) I'd be curious to hear from anybody who has actually toured with one what their experience was, especially just how noisy they can be in use.

2) I'm not very mechanically literate... but if I understand the system, to get a lower 'granny gear' you adjust the size of the front chainring.  I'd love advice from the many mechanically blessed members of the forum on a good front ring for touring for this 58 year old rider who doesn't mind going uphill at 4 mph as long as I can keep pedalling. 

Here's where to get some useful numbers that I don't understand:

http://www.rohloff.de/en/products/speedhub/sprocket_ratios/index.html

http://www.rohloff.de/en/products/speedhub/gear_range_comparison/index.html

Thanks in advance, and I hope people have good daydreams going about 2011 tours!

3
Gear Talk / Panniers- EZ on/off
« on: July 19, 2010, 12:47:10 pm »
In U.S. touring, my panniers always stay on the bike... seems like I'm either camping or in a budget motel where I just wheel the whole bike into the room.  The fact that my Jannd attachment system is not quick and easy has never been an issue.

BUT, in my first European tour recently...  every lodging I stayed at happily provided a secure place for my bike, but then I needed to unpack-repack my panniers.  My Jannd expedition panniers simply were not designed to come on and off easily while loaded.

I envied the local cyclists who simply lifted their rear panniers off the bike at the hotel and carried them in as their luggage.

Any recommendations for rear panniers with a large capacity that will easily and repeatedly go onto and off of a bike with a Jannd Expedition rear rack?

Thanks in advance!

4
GPS Discussion / After-Tour Track Maps
« on: July 16, 2010, 02:16:27 pm »
During a recent tour I had my Garmin capturing daily tracks files, which I downloaded to my computer. 

I'd like to be able to easily see each days ride on a map.
mapmytracks.com  seems to be a great site,
easily produces a map with elevation profiles for each day.

You can choose to have maps private or public,
here's one day I made public:
http://www.mapmytracks.com/explore/track/59059

Do folks have recommendations for other tools/sites for the after-tour part of the ride?

Thanks in advance!


5
GPS Discussion / fietsersbond / Netherlands
« on: June 01, 2010, 03:29:29 am »
There's a great web planning resource at:
http://www.fietsersbond.nl/fietsrouteplanner
that lets you plot door-to-door tours using
the extensive bike network for the Netherlands.

Each customized tour has a download GPS option.

Have any forum users tried this feature?
Any tips for a newbie?

I'm using a Garmin GPS 60CSx with the Garmin
Europe city map set.

Thanks for all the prior advice on this forum!


6
Gear Talk / Sunscreen
« on: May 18, 2010, 05:20:06 pm »
Bike commuting doesn't call for much sunscreen here in Minnesota during the winter, but when I did my first 50+ weekend ride last Sunday to get ready for summer touring, I was reminded of the need for some protection.

For us folks with sensitive/reactive skin, who can't use just any product, what brand/formula keeps you happy?
 8)

7
Routes / BENELUX / Mosel
« on: April 04, 2010, 09:10:08 am »
I'm planning a June/July tour from Amsterdam through Haarlem, Urk, Arnhem to Maastricht, then down Eastern Belgium and Luxembourg to Trier, Germany, finally along the Mosel Valley to Koblenz.  (taking trains with my bike back to Amsterdam for return flight)

I'd love to hear from folks who have experience with any parts of this tour, or general tips for European touring and getting my bicycle safely across as baggage on my flight.

8
Cycling Events / Minnesota MS TRAM
« on: June 02, 2007, 10:23:28 am »
This year will be my 7th time out on this five day tour.  

The 2007 route, riding July 22 to 27, includes a connection to the Northern Tier in Itasca State Park, headwaters of the Mississippi River.  Ride is supported with luggage trucks to carry gear, most riders camp each night.

Friendly community of riders, family atmosphere, all riding levels welcomed, professional routing (with help of Adventure Cycling!)

Excellent financial management, most funds raised go directly to cause of assisting people with MS and researching new treatments.

For more information:
  http://www.mstram.com


9
Gear Talk / Surly Cross Check?
« on: August 08, 2007, 06:54:25 pm »
Does anybody have personal experience using the Surly Cross Check frame for touring/commuting/all-around riding?  My old reliable heavily modified Diamondback Lakeside has become my Minnesota winter bike, so I'm looking for a new good all-purpose ride.

p.s. I know about the LHT, the frame geometry doesn't work for me.


10
Gear Talk / Frames for Upright Riders
« on: March 25, 2007, 08:23:55 am »
Im beginning to explore having my LBS build me a new bike, and finding an awkward tradeoff.  Many touring frames have top tube lengths that assume you use drop handlebars.  A stock frame that maintains enough stand-over height requires pushing the handlebars very far in front of the stem.  I like my current handlebar setup and am not eager to change just to accomodate a frame.

The Rivendell Bleriot seems like a good possibility, but Im curious to hear from other upright tourists what frames have worked well for them.

Yes, I know as a frequent reader of these forums that many readers would advise me that I should change to drop bars!  I appreciate and have read many such postings, but for this thread, Im really interested in hearing from other riders who, like me, enjoy upright style bars.



11
Gear Talk / Prescription Sunglasses
« on: August 23, 2004, 09:54:23 pm »
After many years of being happy with "clip-on" polarized sunglasses over my regular glasses, I'm now finding that my eyes need more protection from the wind and dust of the road.
What experiences, good or bad, have folks had with prescription inserts for those high-tech wrap-around bike sunglasses?  Feel free to mention specific models!
Thanks in advance!


12
Gear Talk / Rain clothing?
« on: May 11, 2004, 09:38:14 pm »
I'd be curious to hear what folks have found works best for riding in the rain.  There are some lower priced options out there using a new 3M fabric, then there's the high-price Gore-Tex.  My hiking outfit just seems to channel water down my butt, so I'm looking for tips on biking-specific gear.
Thanks in advance!


13
Gear Talk / Panniers
« on: April 04, 2004, 02:44:06 pm »
After several years of supported touring, I'm moving into self-contained touring at age 50.  I've signed up for the Intro to Road Touring class, but realized that I'll need panniers before then.

I'd greatly appreciate any experiences/opinions on these panniers (or others you think I should look into)

1. Madden ($208 from Adventure Cycling)
2. Cyclite ($186 from Adventure Cycling)
3. REI Keystone ($130)

My future plans are to ride the Northern Tier, splitting the trip between two summers, and I'd like to get panniers that will serve for a trip of that scale.  

Thanks in advance for all comments!


14
Routes / Northern Tier - Curlew Alternate
« on: April 04, 2005, 07:11:45 pm »
Does anyone has experience regarding staying on WA-20 vs. the Curlew alternate for the Northern Tier in central Washington?  
The Adventure Cycling addenda page for the alternate gives good riding information, and the alternate loop looks pleasant on my Rand McNally, but it would be nice to hear from anybody who's ridden either course.
Thanks!


15
Routes / Seattle - Anacortes
« on: March 08, 2005, 10:16:41 pm »
Very *specific* route question.
In June I'll be taking Amtrak from St. Paul, MN, to Seattle, staying for a few days with my niece in West Seattle, then peddling home along the Northern Tier.
Question:
I'd like to ride up Whidbey Island to Anacortes.
What's my best route?
 1. Seattle inland to Mulkiteo-Clinton and north?
 2. Seattle-Bainbridge to Townsend-Keystone?
If you know the area, I'd love as many *specific* tips as possible.  Feel free to forward this note to friends in the Seattle area, or to reply personally to my email:  dombrosk@visi.com
Thanks Adventurers!


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