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Messages - staehpj1

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Gear Talk / Re: Packs and pack weight for long tours
« on: November 19, 2015, 05:53:18 pm »
Not so, at least when you get east of the Mississipi. I'm a cider drinker too (the good stuff though), and my last two trips were an extended cider/IPA tasting tour. In moderation of course, maybe one or two every couple of nights.  There are a ton of great micro cideries on the eastern seaboard.

I lived in the mid Atlantic region for 64 years and never even knew there was such a thing as a cidery.  I guess I must have lived in a cave.  This post piqued my interest so I did some googling about it.  It looks like there are a quite a few in New England and they become less and less frequent as you go south.

Any way in New England it looks like you might find a few somewhere near whatever route you take, but I doubt you would find many by chance alone.  Further south they are quite scarce.

I'll have to add it to my list of things to look for and try.

Gear Talk / Re: Lightweight Slip-Jaw Pliers?
« on: November 17, 2015, 01:26:45 pm »
Avoid Harbor Freight and similar tool sources if you want quality.
Harbor Freight overall can be kind of hit or miss, but some of their Pittsburgh line and most of their Pittsburgh Professional line is pretty good.  I have  a couple sizes of their Groove Joint Pliers that have served well in fairly hard use for years.

OTOH, I have a hard time imagining carrying slip joint pilers on tour.

Would we be completely nuts to consider doing the ACA route down the coast this coming January? I'd love to hear from anyone who's done it at that time of year.
I think it would be doable, but the chance of cool or wet weather is fairly high.

General Discussion / Re: Getting out of Dulles Airport.
« on: November 12, 2015, 06:46:40 pm »
Sleeping in an airport usually is not a problem in my experience.  I have done it a number of times.  It isn't the most comfortable though.  I have not used Dulles much and never  slept there.

Gear Talk / Re: Looking for a combination road / light touring bike
« on: November 12, 2015, 03:09:26 pm »
I rode the Southern Tier on a very similar bike (1990 Cannondale Crit bike) carrying ultralight camping and cooking gear.  I used 23 mm tires at the start and when they wore out I switched to 25 mm.  The 25 mm buzzed a lot less and 28 mm would be even better in that regard if you have room, but I personally don't like to go to tires that barely fit.  It makes it way harder to deal with and wheel/spoke problems.

The bike was a good choice for my light camping and cooking Southern Tier IMO, but I wouldn't choose it if I was going to ride a lot of dirt/gravel.  By the way, I did use lower gearing.

Routes / Re: Trans Am Yellowstone bypass
« on: November 08, 2015, 12:35:56 pm »
Starting the first week of May in Yorktown is perfect. Eight weeks to Astoria is doable, but ten weeks is more fun.
Yep.  Eight weeks would be a lot more of a grind for most folks, but is possible.

Shortcuts usually increase traffic and/or miss scenery. But it's your trip, so do what makes you happy.
Maybe, but I find that there are many places where I can't understand why they take a longer way.  I often have puzzled over why they apparently thought something was more scenic.  I typically find a fair number of places on AC routes where I'd just as soon cut off a corner to trim a few miles here and there.  The problem is that it can be hard to tell where it makes sense and where it doesn't.

If I wanted to cut time, I'd take a bus or rental car from Walden to Dubois--the most desolate stretch of the TransAm.
Yeah, but you wouldn't be riding coast to coast then.  I'd rather just cut corners here and there.  That was a desolate piece of road, still some of it was pretty.

Bikes and Beyond in Astoria will do a good job of shipping your bike home. Take a bus from Astoria to Portland and fly home from there.
Most bike shops will.  I have just randomly ridden into a bike shop at the end of a number of trips and they were always fair on the price and did a good packing job.

If you want to cut a few miles using the Florence alternate might be a good idea.  Going the other direction, we sort of did that and I think quite a few people do (actually we started in Newport so we could see a bit of the coast).  I don't know the shop(s) there, but I am sure there is probably one that will box up and ship your bike home.

General Discussion / Re: Dogs n' bears
« on: November 07, 2015, 08:32:28 pm »
Bear boxes are containers to store/protect food that can be smelled/eaten by wild animals.  Bears, wolves, coyotes, etc.  They help to minimize contacts between people and animals at inappropriate times.  I think hunters use bear boxes.  If a hunter kills a deer, or brings a day or two of fresh food with them when camping, then they will put the raw/fresh food/kill in the bear box at night.  Very few bikers carry raw food with them.  Do you cycle with raw meat?  Most bikers who are cooking their food will carry rice or noodles or cheese or cans of tuna or oatmeal.  Many just buy the food they are going to cook that night and carry no food while riding and have no food left overnight.  I don't think Gu packs or energy bars or granola bars or fresh apples or bananas are foods that bears or coyotes are attracted to.  Bikers have these foods 24 hours a day usually.  On your biking travels, what foods do you have overnight in camp that would need to go in a bear box?

And bears are not very plentiful in the US.  They are very rare.  There are only a few places in the US with any bears.
On the notion that bears are mostly interested in raw meat...  That is just plain wrong.  Black bears are omnivores and additionally in some places have become habituated to stealing human food and they like pretty much any of it including cans.  In the Sequoia, Kings Canyon, and Yosemite parks they break into cars where the see pretty much any human food.  It is illegal to not put all food and scented products like toiletries in the bear boxes.  The ranger tells you when you enter the park, they make rounds reminding folks, and they write tickets with fines attached for violators.

For the entire western states, that is all of the states with the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, it averages out to one black bear per 7.8 square miles.  About 2.8 miles by 2.8 miles.  One bear in this area.  150 thousand bears in about 1.2 million square miles.  In California, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington, there are fewer square miles per bear.
What constitutes plentiful is debatable, but those numbers and my experiences don't line up with your "very rare" and "only a few places in the US with any bears" comments.  Yes I would stop short of saying they are plentiful, but I'd also wouldn't call them very rare either.

Depending on where you tour goes the chances of seeing a bear may be anything from non-existent to fairly likely.  For example I think that if you were to ride the Sierra Cascades route or even just the Yosemite, Kings Canyon, Sequoia portion you are probably more likely to see a bear than not.  In that section I think we saw 6 different bears in 4 different locations.  I saw bears there when I was backpacking as well.

Doing the TA, it isn't all that unusual to see a bear, but yes it is probably more likely that you won't.

So bottom line most folks won't see a bear when on tour unless in places where they are most common,but failing to use bear boxes where they are supplied would be foolish, illegal in many places, and people who don't use them are causing bears to become human habituated and ultimately be put down.

Gear Talk / Re: Front rack that will work without eyelets
« on: November 07, 2015, 05:22:46 pm »
Nothing on my back except a camelback.
If you are referring to my comment, I think you might have misunderstood.  I was referring to stuff on the back of the bike, not your back.

Can't use a handlebar bag due to the location of the brakes being on the inner handlebars. I would have to move them.
If you are referring to interupter levers, a lot of handlebar bags work fine with those.  You don't need much space to use the levers and some handlebar bags have a long enough bracket.  This is especially true if the levers are angled down rather than straight forward.  Rotating them down may be needed.

I will have a rear rack and rear panniers.
Do I remember correctly that you are the guy with the super light bike who plans to carry 20 pounds of gear?  If so why would you need front and rear panniers?

My brakes mount once in the middle of the fork above the tire. Sorry for not knowing the term of these brakes!
You might google "Sheldon fender nut" for one solution with that style brakes.  The are usually used to mount fenders on road bikes, but can work for racks too.  You may need to fabricate your own bracket though.

Where would I find these adapter plates?
I think Old Man Mountain might sell them.  Some axiom racks use a plate like that, but I am not sure they sell them separately.  I think Tubus may also have something.

Gear Talk / Re: Front rack that will work without eyelets
« on: November 07, 2015, 11:54:30 am »
I don't know of any carbon fork with eyelets or intended to accept a rack so you will either need a new fork or a trailer.  It is possible to mount a rack on a fork (or frame) with no eyelets using "P-clamps" but I wouldn't advise it on a carbon fork in any event.
I think that there is a perfectly acceptable way to mount a rack on a carbon fork.  You can get little adapter plates that use the quick release as the lower mounting.   The upper mounting can be either the brake bridge hole or the cantilever brake bosses depending on which one the fork you have uses.

There is also the option of using a bar roll or a maybe even handlebar bag instead, assuming that you are also carrying stuff on the back either on a rack or in a seat bag.

Are you sure Nashbar won't take that rack back?  Their return policy is usually very good.
Yeah, I was surprised that they wouldn't accept a return.  They have always taken stuff back when I was dissatisfied with it.

General Discussion / Re: camping sites in the Western USA
« on: November 07, 2015, 07:28:51 am »
Water and sanitation are issues in dispersed camping - a water filter and a trowel are essentials.
Also, water sources are infrequent - esp. in Utah and Nevada.
How useful a filter will be depends on the route.  I know that on my ST tour there was no surface water to filter probably for 2/3 of the trip.  On the SC route having a filter along was great.  There were lots of ice cold mountain streams and the cold water was great in the hot weather.  I'd expect that the WE is more like the drier part of the ST wrt lack of surface water, so I wouldn't count on a filter being useful there.

Routes / Re: Trans Am Yellowstone bypass
« on: November 06, 2015, 09:58:45 am »
I know I would miss some scenery but I was trying to figure out how to save about a weeks worth of road time.
How much time do you have?   How hard will you need to push to finish in that time?  If it is close just push a little harder and cut a few miles here and there where you can.  If you are running out of time when you get there, cut off the swing up to Missoula.  Remember that going will be pretty hard in the Appalachians and maybe the Ozarks, so you likely will be behind there, but on the plains you will probably be able to knock out high mileage days.  Things may slow down again in the Rockies and Cascades, but not as slow as the Appalachians and Cascades, besides you will be thoroughly road hardened by then.

It is really hard to plan how long it will take and I suggest you don't even try to plan the schedule much other than an approximate general pace.  I definitely would not even consider planning a day by day schedule in advance.  Flexibility in both budget and schedule is a joy and set schedules and budgets can suck a lot of joy out of the trip.  Maintain as much flexibility in both if you can.  You may find that you make way better or worse time than you expected.  There will be places where you need to plan ahead a couple days due to the spacing of the towns, but other than that it is nice to take each day as it comes.

Routes / Re: Trans Am Yellowstone bypass
« on: November 06, 2015, 07:40:54 am »
Skipping Yellowstone won't save you any time, but you can save time by not going up to Missoula. But then you'd miss the absolutely stunning Lochsa River valley.
I agree with that.

You can start (or finish) in Florence to save a few miles.  Also there are a lot of places where you can shave a mile here and there throughout the whole route.  Sometimes it seemed to me as if the route went out of it's way to climb a hill that would be better avoided and the route was no more scenic or better road.  I typically cut off some of those corners here and there.

Gear Talk / Re: Shoes/pedals for a cross country ride?
« on: November 02, 2015, 10:55:15 am »
Not trying to talk you out of switching if you want to, but...

Even though the shoe cleats are recessed in the sole they still came in contact with the roadway and you could hear and feel the grinding of the small pebbles against the metal cleats .. Hearing and feeling that gave cause to the thought ..was I damaging the cleat and thus creating a potential problem ..
FWIW, I have listened to and felt that grinding too, but the cleats still last a very long time, maybe as long as the shoes do depending on how much you walk and on what kind of surfaces.  Even when my knee was acting up and I was walking a lot they still held up pretty well.  So for me at least it is more of a theoretical problem than an actual one.

The other "Con" I found was while in granny gear stopped on a busy road with heavy traffic (semi's included) companied with a significant grade and narrow shoulder "Clicking" back into the pedal was precarious and down right dangerous at times .. I have since re evaluated my pedal choice and have switched over to Blackspire flat pedals which I think will  alleviate those issues .. I should mention that I have always cycled with clip or clipless pedals ..but for touring I think I,m making a change ..
It isn't that hard to pedal long enough to get going without bothering to clip in and then clip in at your leisure.  So again for me at least more of a theoretical problem than an actual one.

You may not, but I'd definitely miss being clipped in, probably even more so on tour where I will usually be riding every day for weeks or months.

General Discussion / Re: Dogs n' bears
« on: November 01, 2015, 07:37:23 am »
There are more than 100,000 black bears in the western states (more than 200,000 in Alaska).  Some may consider that rare, I do not.

I'd add that in portions of the East there are quite a few as well.  I don't consider them rare at all.  Seeing them on the Trans America isn't too likely, but it isn't unusual either.  On the Sierra Cascades route not seeing them would be unusual.  According to the Black Bear Society the population of black bears is as follows:
Alabama - 50
Alaska - 200,000
Arizona - 3,000
Arkansas - 4,000
California - 30,000
Colorado - 11,000
Connecticut - 350
Delaware - 0
Florida - 3,000
Georgia - 5,000
Hawaii - 0
Idaho - 20,000
Illinois - 0
Indiana - 0
Arizona - 3,000
Iowa - 0
Kansas - 0
Louisiana - 700
Maine - 25,000
Maryland - 600
Massachusetts - 3,000
Michigan - 18,000
Minnesota - 20,000
Mississippi - 180
Missouri - 200
Montana - 10,000
Nebraska - 0
Nevada - 225
New Hampshire - 5,000
New Jersey - 3,500
New Mexico - 6,000
New York - 6,500
North Carolina - 13,000
North Dakota - 0
Ohio - 70
Oklahoma - 800
Oregon - 27,500
Pennsylvania - 14,000
Rhode Island - 10
South Carolina - 1,200
South Dakota - 0
Tennessee - 4,500
Texas - 250
Utah - 2,000
Vermont - 4,100
Virginia - 16,000
Washington - 30,000
West Virginia - 10,000
Wisconsin - 35,000
Wyoming - unknown (I'd add that while the number here is unknown there are quite a few)

General Discussion / Re: Dogs n' bears
« on: October 30, 2015, 08:48:19 pm »
We were chased by dogs here and there on the Trans America mostly in Missouri and Kentucky, but it wasn't a big deal.

Bears...  Most places where bears are a problem there are bear boxes in the campgrounds.  We didn't see bears on the TA, but a number of times we just missed seeing one that had been in camp shortly before we arrived.  On the Sierra Cascades route we saw quite a few bears, ut again there were bear boxes in the places with the most bear problems.

I wouldn't carry a bear canister on a bike tour in the lower 48.  I do hang my food in some places.

BTW, often racoons are a bigger problem than bears, but I still wouldn't carry a canister on a bike tour.  I have only very rarely seen a bike tourist carrying a bear canister.

I think canisters are just too much extra weight, but they do make a nice seat if you are inclined to not mind the extra weight.

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