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Messages - Patco

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Gear Talk / Re: Any feedback will help.
« on: March 25, 2015, 07:02:27 pm »
When it comes to touring, there are very few truths with which everyone can agree, but lots of opinions. That said, Pat did provide advice regarding flats and tires that are likely common to most, and John expanded on the maintenance items you may wish to consider.

What follows are other thoughts you may find helpful as you plan your trip. These are just thoughts as you will decide what works best for you.

I ride on Continental Gator Hardshells, 28's. I tried Schwalbe but did not like the feel (felt like I was pedaling through molasses). 

I do not ride ultralight, but I do like to minimize weight while trying to stay comfortable (similar to backpacking), so I do not mind paying for weight-savings. Again, similar to backpacking, an ounce saved here and there can make a difference in the ride. Toward that end, at one time I traveled with the two person tent I used for backpacking. Now I have switched to a one person tent, Copper Spur by Big Agnes. With the footprint, it packs small and weighs less than three pounds. I am six feet tall and weigh 180 to 185, so compared to a two person tent it is not  terribly roomy, but it works for me and I enjoy not having the extra weight.

I also have a Big Agnes Lost Ranger sleeping bag, with a sleeve into which I use a neoair sleeping pad. Again, backpacking gear.

I generally carry four water bottles. I ran out of water on one of my earlier trips when my planned water stop had a sign that said the water was not potable. I did not enjoy the next twenty some miles without water. Hence, I travel with four, which is likely overkill but is helpful when I have had to dry camp.

I take three sets of bike clothes (wear one, pack two). When I first started touring I had two sets. For me, three works better.

Consider wet weather gear, depending on where your trip takes you. I have spent a full day riding in rain and having rain gear that kept me somewhat dry made the day less trying.

I do not take any cooking gear (I do not want the weight). I generally eat at restaurants, when available, and I do carry a number of bars for when restaurants may not be available. I also carry two Mountain House granola breakfasts. Add cold water and you have a meal that provides you with needed nutrition. Again, this is for those days when I may not find a restaurant. On one of my trips I stayed at a rest area that was miles from anywhere. Those bars and the granola breakfast made that doable.

I now carry a Kindle Paperwhite for reading. The battery last several weeks before I need to recharge.

I try to limit the amount of electronics I take. Again, weight. And frankly, the reason I like riding is for the solitude. I do have a cell phone and I take a Samsung Galaxy Tab that is not dependent on WiFi (I started with a 3G, now I use a 4G).

I vacillate between taking a foldable tire or not. The last two trips I have not taken a foldable tire but I do take a kevlar tire boot. Again, on one of my earlier trips the nut holding the rear rack failed, which led to the rack falling and shredding about six inches of the rear tire, exposing the tube. I was more than 50 miles from a bike shop that had my size tire. It was a challenging two days. So now I carry a tire boot or a foldable tire.

I carry four tubes. Yes, it is overkill but all overkill has a story behind it.

I only have one pair of shoes, and those are the shoes in which I travel. They are MTB shoes, with frog clips, so I can walk normally. I do take flip flops. My earlier tours were with pedal cages. I now like the frogs.

I take extra nuts and bolts used on the bike and the racks and I carry a couple of zip ties.

I now tour with front and rear fenders. When roads are wet and someone is following you, they will appreciate that you have fenders. Hell, your front and back will appreciate that you have fenders on wet roads.

I carry bike maps for each trip. I like maps. I mail home maps I no longer need.

Depending on where I am traveling, I will take TP and a latrine trowel (backpacking supplies) when I find myself camping somewhere that may not have facilities.

Okay, that is enough. Enjoy the ride.

A number of states have maps that are bicycle specific (size of shoulder; traffic counts; elevation gains and losses, etc.). On one of my trips I decided the route then I contacted the transportation department or bicycle coordinator of the states I would be crossing and obtained the applicable bicycle map. As already noted, while the ACA maps are good, they are 'strip' maps. As long as you are on the route, they are very good. Want to change your route? Having a state bicycle map will provide greater flexibility.

Routes / Re: Route from Sacramento to San Francisco
« on: January 19, 2015, 01:03:09 am »
As suggested, from Winters take 128 toward St. Helena/ Rutherford. Before reaching Rutherford take a right onto Silverado Trail toward Calistoga. 128 is generally a good road, with some shoulders, but traffic is light. Silverado Trail is a good bike route. Nice shoulders. Silverado Trail bypasses the traffic on 29, which is the main road from Napa to Calistoga and is heavily traveled with wine tourists. Once in Calistoga get yourself to Calistoga Road (also know as the Petrified Forest Road) toward Santa Rosa. About a mile on this road you will want to take a right onto Franz Valley. You will not want to take Calistoga Road all the way to Santa Rosa. Hell, I get nervous when I drive that road - narrow and zero shoulders. Franz Valley is very lightly traveled. Franz Valley will take you to Mark West Springs Road. Mark West is generally okay. Since you want to travel the Coast I suggest taking Mark West Springs all the way to U. S 1 where you can pick up the Pacific Coast Route (Adventure Cycling has maps). Mark West changes to River Road on the west side of U. S. 101. River Road will take you through Guerneville on the way to the coast. I have biked this route, along with others in this area, and this route bypasses some of the more pucker factor roads, be it traffic or just rotten roads, while getting you where you want to go. Hope this helps.

Routes / Re: A "trip not a tour" Portland Oregon to Colorado Springs
« on: January 01, 2015, 02:01:41 pm »
I can offer some experience with what you would like to do. Vale can be reached using U. S. 26 or U. S. 20. While, from Bend, it is shorter to use 20 I would suggest using 26. There are more services; it is a nicer, more scenic ride; and less traffic. 20 is the truck route. I have ridden both ways. I like 26, and once you are east of the junction to Baker City, traffic is almost nonexistent from that point to Vale. From Vale I stayed on 26 to Ontario then U.S. 30 to Fruitland, Idaho. I took U. S. 95/30 south from Fruitland (it takes you through New Plymouth), as I approached I-84 from the north I took 3rd avenue east to Sand Hollow Road/Old U. S. 30 and followed that road until I picked up Idaho State Highway 44 east.  Once I started to enter the Boise metro area I started to pick my way south (Linder Road South to Ustick Road East to Locust Grove Road South to Victory Road East). I stayed on Victory Road to Gowen Road (which takes you south of Boise Airport). At Gowen Road I used I-84 until Bliss, Idaho, where I picked up U. S. 30. In hindsight I would rather have tried Old U. S. 30 at Glenns Ferry. I-84 to Glenns Ferry was actually okay. Large shoulders, rest areas. But east of Glenns Ferry...there were sections that were not much fun. I stayed on 30 until Burley, where once again I used I-84/86 to Pocatello where I picked up U. S. 91 to Idaho Falls. From Idaho Falls I took U.S.26 until the intersection with U. Sl 191, which I took South through Pinedale, Wy. (There is a good museum in Pinedale- the Mountain Man Museum - who knew?!). I stayed on U. S. 191 to State Highway 28, which takes you over South Pass. It is a somewhat gradual climb over the Rockies. State highway 28 interesects with U. S. 287, which I took South/East to State highway 228 to Casper. From Casper I continued east, so I don't have any info on how you could travel from Casper to Colorado Springs. In general, this route may meet your requirements of being somewhat direct while avoiding the worst of the steep grades. Shoulders were generally good. Traffic was generally light. Services? Plan your stops for Wyoming. There is a great deal of nothing on some stretches of this route. But do stop at the Mountain Man Museum. Very interesting. As for riding on I-84. I am not fazed by traffic so riding on I-84 wasn't an issue but there are hazards. In particular, lots of blown tire debris means lots of little steel pieces that will pierce your tire and create a slow leak. So, stay alert and take extra tubes because trying to find one of those leaks while on the roadside is damn near impossible unless you have a tub of water in which to place your tire to find the leak (and even then it is difficult because we are talking tiny, tiny holes). This route was taken in 2012 so there may have been road changes since then. Hope this helps.

Gear Talk / Re: What lube to use for touring.
« on: December 31, 2014, 12:51:03 am »
Responding to Froze's question - I do not know how many miles between lubes. It isn't something I track but similar to John Nelson, I do lube after I have been riding in the rain, but then the chain is generally making some noise. As for the Dumonde Tech, yes, it is the best I have tried. As indicated earlier in this thread, like much about riding, lube is in the eye of the beholder. And to be clear, I use Dumonde Tech, LITE (it is not a heavy lube). It is a small bottle; no issues with leaking; and it doesn't take much to be effective.

Gear Talk / Re: What lube to use for touring.
« on: December 30, 2014, 01:11:30 am »
Similar to John Nelson, I, too, use paper towels that I pick up along the way but my first choice is the small shop rag that I carry with me. As for lube, I take a small bottle of Dumonde Tech (lite). I place a drop on each chain link then I wipe off with the shop rag, and I only do this when I begin hearing chain noise.

General Discussion / Re: Wireless computer on touring bike
« on: October 20, 2014, 02:54:01 pm »
I have not had a problem with interference with the wireless I purchased four years ago. It is in sleep mode until I begin riding, then as soon as the wheels begin turning it is on and providing information.

Routes / Re: contemplating riding TransAm in many questions!
« on: September 29, 2014, 01:02:08 am »
You mentioned "canned goods". No, do not carry canned goods, It is unnecessary weight. As a backup, as noted earlier, for emergency food you may wish to consider nutrition bars. I also carry two dehydrated packages of granola and blueberry cereal from Mountain House. Add cold water and you have a nutritious meal. I do not cook. Again, a weight thing, and I do not want to spend my time cooking. So, I will eat at restaurants and if not available, subsist generally on bars, bananas, and fig newtons.

For what its worth, east to west or west to east might depend on the time of year you wish to depart. Earlier in the 'season', then east to west may be a better choice. Leaving in mid June or later? Then perhaps west to east.

I now carry four bottles. One of my earlier rides, when I carried two bottles, resulted in my riding some 25 miles without water because the planned water source had a 'not potable' sign. I was not a happy camper. So I now overcompensate. It also makes it easier if I find myself having to dry camp. I would suggest at least three water bottles.

Also as noted earlier, if you keep your phone off except when you need it then it will last a long time. I personally do not take any extra batteries or power sources. I do not want the weight. I rely on the ac plug in. I use my phone three times a day. I check in with my significant other when I start my daily ride, midway through the day, and at the end of the day. Probably about six to ten minutes per day. It lessens her anxiety level.

Enjoy the adventure.

Routes / Re: Possible route Seattle to Boise.
« on: September 07, 2014, 08:29:19 pm »
I can't speak for your Washington route, but once in Oregon I would suggest taking 206 off of US 97 then 19 to US 26 outside of Dayville. Otherwise, US 26 is okay. Generally light traffic, good road, and very light traffic once you are south of Unity. Once I was in Idaho I looked for more country roads that paralleled 26, but 26 is okay.

General Discussion / Re: Pacific Coast Tour Oct - Nov
« on: September 02, 2014, 09:22:50 pm »
What is your intended route?

Routes / Re: Bakersfield California to Darby Montana
« on: July 01, 2014, 08:06:23 pm »
I have biked some of the route you are suggesting through Northern California and Oregon. I biked 45 to 162 to Willows, then I took 99W to County Road A8 to Red Bluff. 45 was okay. Light traffic. No shoulders. I liked 99W. Some shoulders. Light traffic (generally) and while I could see
I-5, I could not hear it. From Red Bluff I joined SR 36 then took a number of local roads (Beegum to McCoy Rd to Hooker Creek Road to Bowman Road to Draper Road to Main Street in Cottonwood to Locust Road to SR 273) to travel to Redding. I had originally considered taking 36 to A6 to 44 as you are planning, but decided to use 299 from Redding. The challenge with the route I selected from Red Bluff was the McCoy Road section. This was gravel for about three miles.

299 from Redding was not bad. Yes, shoulders are minimal but generally drivers were considerate. I took 299 to Bieber. At Bieber, rather than continue on 299 to U.S. 395 to U.S. 20 in Oregon, I took I took the Lookout Hackamore road out of Bieber. This is a very lightly traveled road through ranch land and the Modoc National Forest. Excellent road. This road connected to SR 139 to Tulelake. A more traveled road, but with a good shoulder.

I continued on SR 139 to Oregon 39 to Oregon 140 to U.S. 97 to Bend. Good shoulders in Oregon. Traffic is not bad, even on U. S 97, which has, for the most part, excellent shoulders. I decided against U.S 395 because there is a whole lot of nothing on that route.

From Bend eastbound I decided against U.S 20 because, again, there isn't much on that route. I would suggest U.S 26 eastbound to pick up your route to Montana.

Routes / Re: Eugene Or. TransAmerica vs. Lewis & Clark to Missoula
« on: May 16, 2014, 02:26:37 pm »
I will be the contrarian...I do not consider 97 traffic as being heavy, and the shoulders are quite good. The further north you travel on 97 the less traffic you will find, particularly once north of Madras where you will have a variety of options - such as taking 197 to The Dallas (Cycle Oregon used this route from Tygh Valley to Dufur a number of years ago), or taking 218 to Fossil before heading north. However, given the choice, I would follow the TA to Baker City to Missoula. Since this is your first trip you may wish to use a route that others have already blazed for you. 

Gear Talk / Re: 11-32 vs 11-34
« on: April 18, 2014, 12:38:01 am »
My touring bike has the same setup that you are contemplating (except I ride on 700X28's). I have elected to have low end gears I may not use versus high end I use on the downhills only. I haven't experienced the need to walk on the steeper and longer climbs....but that doesn't mean I don't stop for a break.

General Discussion / Re: Logistics of shipping equipment for touring
« on: April 15, 2014, 08:36:54 pm »
Another thought for your consideration. I have generally packed my bikes in cardboard boxes built for shipping bikes (as has been suggested, a box for the bike and a box for gear, although I generally have three boxes since I ship my wheels in a separate box) and then I use UPS and have them delivered to my first night destination (generally a hotel near the airport of my start point), where I put the bike together, take a test ride, and leave the following morning. I have never had a problem with a hotel accepting the boxes for a future guest. I generally ship so that the boxes will arrive two days before I arrive. I want a cushion. I have found the cost to be less, and the hassle to be less.

Routes / Re: Gravel Road Touring in Napa Valley with a 4 year old
« on: February 25, 2014, 12:38:41 pm »
I am not aware of any significant gravel roads in Napa or Sonoma County, particularly for a four day trip. The roads in those counties are generally paved, small to no shoulders, and loaded with traffic, some of which are exploring the hundreds of wineries in those two counties. Of the two counties, Sonoma would be a better choice for biking (Alexander Valley, Dry Creek, Russian River) or, perhaps, Mendocino County (Anderson Valley). 

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