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Messages - John Nettles

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1
Routes / Re: USGS maps for touring anybody?
« on: March 29, 2015, 11:02:37 am »
Your assumptions are correct.  The USGS maps are very detailed thus you would need to have a lot of maps.  A better, less expensive, choice is to buy used ACA maps.  The maps, while a tad pricey, are very good if you plan to stay on the ACA route as they are cyclotourist specific, i.e. lists campgrounds, groceries, motels, bike shops, etc..  eBay (at least in the US) frequently has used maps as does CrazyGuyOnABike's classifieds.

Another alternative is to buy new maps and then sell them.  Your net cost would be about 1/2 after you sell them.

Finally, you could always just use state maps and determine your own route but that may not be the best solution if you friend has never cycled in the US before.

EDIT:  I just realized you are fairly knowledgeable about ACA (based on your posts) so sorry about the basic info on the maps. At least the info is good for beginners.

2
Routes / Re: Need additional Rider or Riders ASAP.
« on: March 24, 2015, 01:39:55 pm »
Lars, I should mention that while I mentioned the TransAm, the info is the same regardless of the route.  I have done the AC also so was not putting down the AC but strongly prefer the TransAm and feel the TA would arguably be a better route for a first timer.

Sorry if I caused some confusion.  John

3
Routes / Re: Need additional Rider or Riders ASAP.
« on: March 24, 2015, 10:37:59 am »
Lars,

I can empathize.  My first "long" trip was only a month but I was 15 and my parents made (rightfully) me go with an older person.  Since I wasn't murdered, robbed, and/or raped, my parents let me go on bigger trips.

When I was 17 and the summer before my Senior year in high school, I wanted to do the TransAm.  My parents decided I had to have others to go with me.  I arranged through BikeCentennial (ACA's predecessor)  to ride with two others.  We took off and in less than 3 days, I knew we were not compatible as one (the oldest @ 25) had misrepresented himself.  I am a meat eater, prefer to ride in the morning and be done by 2pm-3pm, and wanted/needed to ride about 55 miles per day on average so I could be back to school in time in August.  Unfortunately, the oldest was a vegetarian, like to ride in the afternoon until dark, and didn't want to be tied to a schedule/deadline.

After 10 days, I convinced my mom to let me try it myself.  I finished the trip, again without being murdered, robbed, and/or raped, in Lewes, Delaware (I went through DC instead).  Best trip of my life.  Mind you, when I say best, I have 50k+ miles of loaded touring and 36 years experience.  About 1/3 if this was during summer bike rides before I graduated college and started life.  Heck, my Dad is 92 and he still somewhat worries about me. 

To you parents I would say:  If Lars (and the other rider) is truly responsible and mature (at least for his age), he should be fine.  Thousands ride the TransAm every years.  The route is well-established route.  Locals tend to definitely look out after the young, female (not being sexist, just real), and retired.  When I was under 27, I could get help most anywhere, i.e. police would tell me where to camp, look after me while camping, etc.  Between 30 & 50 (I am 50), the help decreases then increases like an inverted  bell curve with 45 being the worst.  Perhaps the locals think what is a fully grown man riding a bicycle and wanting to camp.  He must be a bum.  The retired are thought of as "s/he is just enjoying something.  Great for them".  But I digress.  in today's era of cell phones, it is pretty difficult to be without communication.  Combined with a phone card, make Lars call home every night when possible.  NOTE:  Some nights it just won't be possible due to no cell service and no pay phones available.  But Lars will tell you when he is going out of range, right Lars!.  Finally, to alleive Mom's fears, Lars will carry a satellite tracker so you can track him live (every 10 minutes).  There are two brands, SPOT and InReach.  SPOT is cheaper but InReach is more reliable.  The InReach allows you to text each other also anywhere in the world.  If Lars is NOT responsible and mature for his age, make him wait or go with at least one older (40+) person as they will probably be too tired to get into much trouble.

Lars will occasionally ride with other riders on the TransAm.  Not everyday, but not unusual.

Yes, Lars could get hit by a car and die.  However, that is unlikely.  Especially, if Lars rides conservatively, uses a mirror, and wears a helmet.  The TransAm is old enough so that bikes are expected on certain roads so the locals know to be on the look out.

As an FYI, my daughter and son both have taken solo bicycle trips under age 20.  My son (just turned 21), rode from Jasper, Alberta, to La Paz, Baja California, Mexico, by himself this past late summer/fall.  He was not murdered, robbed, and/or raped.  He was greeted most days with "that is awesome" comments, met the Governor?? of Baja South Department (state), etc.  Yes, I worry about them like any parent should.  But I also know the pluses outweigh the risks of trip.  My wife, a cyclist also, definitely worries when any family member tours, and thus requires me to use the tracker. But she also knows the pluses outweigh the risks. 

Parents, go over to CrazyGuyOnaBike.com and review the 1000s of journals about the TransAm.  Plan on meeting him in a couple of places, i.e. the Yellowstone or near a relative who lives near to the route.

This truly can be a transformational experience for Lars.  He will come back a changed person.  Definitely more fit, but with a quiet sense of accomplishment and appreciation of America and its people.  As I get older, the trips, while meaningful, do not impact me as much.  Perhaps this is due to my extensive travels or with age but regardless, the TransAm is by far my favorite trip.  Should you, or Lars, wish to contact me, feel free.

Best wishes, John

4
Routes / Re: Need additional Rider or Riders ASAP.
« on: March 23, 2015, 07:32:15 pm »
Lars,

While this trip is not for me (I have already done it), I am curious as to why you "must" have 3 people to go?  I did it solo and many more cyclists do it solo or with just 1 other person than with 2+ persons.

Hope you can find a buddy, John

5
You can buy what ever individual segments you want.  I "think" you just get a price break if you buy the entire set, i.e. all of the TransAm, not just Section 10.  If you are not an ACA member, you should join as a lot of times the the map discount pays for the membership on longer trips.

I highly encourage you to have maps, even if just a AAA map in case the GPS runs out of batteries, craps out, etc.  The ACA maps are wonderful.

Hope you have a great ride!

6
GPS Discussion / BR66 GPS Data
« on: March 05, 2015, 11:47:32 pm »
Out of curiosity, when will the BR66 GPS data be made available?  The riding season is rapidly approaching and some of us like to bring a GPS.  Thanks!

7
General Discussion / Re: Donate to ACA through Amazon (no cost to you)
« on: March 02, 2015, 02:12:27 pm »
Heck, as much as I use Amazon, it will be like a double or triple membership each year.  Hope it helps you guys out.  John

8
General Discussion / Donate to ACA through Amazon (no cost to you)
« on: March 02, 2015, 10:49:59 am »
Normally, I hate fundraisers but I enjoy both Amazon and ACA so I thought I would let you know about this.

Today, I had the option to use "AmazonSmile" http://smile.amazon.com/gp/charity/about.html/ref=pe_830720_114782360_smi_em_wel_ft_abt so I could donate to ACA.

From what I gather, if ACA decides to signup, they will get 0.5% of my purchases as a donation.  No additional cost is added to my bill, no special codes to enter every time*, etc.

If ACA chooses not to accept the donations or you prefer a different charity you can change at anytime.  There are a surprising number of local small charities also.

This is what AmazonSmile is:
"AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support your favorite charitable organization every time you shop, at no cost to you. When you shop at smile.amazon.com, you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to your favorite charitable organization. You can choose from nearly one million organizations to support."

*=The big caveat is that you have to begin the Amazon purchase (after you have signed up with AmazonSmile) with the smile.amazon.com website (as opposed to the regular amazon.com website).  I just changed my bookmark so it is no big deal.

Also, be sure to search for "adventure cycling" on the link as there are a few "primary" organizations so you have to search for ACA and select it instead.

Please note, I am not affiliated with Amazon or ACA other than a heavy user of Amazon and an avid touring cyclist who has been with Bikecentennial/ACA since the magazine was printed on newspaper-type paper (way back in the 70s which would be a really cool way to celebrate the 50th year by printing that issue in newspaper stock but I digress).

I hope ACA signs up (ACA, please let us know if you decide NOT to and why) and that you consider ACA if you use Amazon.

9
Routes / Re: Flint Hills Nature Trail
« on: March 02, 2015, 10:12:06 am »
A couple of years ago, a few of us were considering it as part of a tour from Tulsa to the Katy Trail in Missouri.  After speaking with someone connected to the FHNT it sounded like it was, then at least, still fairly rough, i.e. original ballast, etc.  so we decided against it.  You might consider calling them for an update as it did seem like a potentially good trail.

John

10
Routes / Re: Jacksonville FL to New Orleans...
« on: March 02, 2015, 10:07:56 am »
It may be bad in summer but we had an enjoyable trip through Pecan Island and along the coast in October.  Biggest problem there is not too much services, especially camping with a shower.

11
Classifieds / Re: Sondors E-Bike
« on: February 17, 2015, 07:24:45 pm »
Sounds good.  I guess since that was your very first post to the forums and you were posting a link (yes, I saw it too) to a fundraiser, that looks a lot like spam.  Hope you understand.  John

12
Classifieds / Re: Sondors E-Bike
« on: February 17, 2015, 04:21:04 pm »
And in what way are you connected to the company?  Gotta say, this look a lot like spam and would not be appreciative if it is.

13
Routes / Re: Miami to Bakersfield, want'n to stay out of Texas
« on: February 16, 2015, 04:43:24 pm »
Mathew,

Yes, we highly respect people's property, land and otherwise, in this part of the country.  However, Texans, as a whole, are generous and friendly people, especially out in the country.  If you ask permission and act respectful, you generally will be given the OK or at least a suggestion on where else it might be OK to camp.  Usually, the fire departments and/or churches are pretty good options.

John

14
Routes / Re: From Nashville to Atlanta
« on: February 12, 2015, 10:26:35 am »
The only dangerous animal would be humans in cars  ;).  The problem with the area is that there are relatively few low traffic paved roads.

Tennessee has a traffic count website http://ww3.tdot.state.tn.us/TrafficHistory/ so you can follow your route to see if it is within your comfort range.  Look at google streetview over various points of your route.  They also have a bike info page http://www.tdot.state.tn.us/bikeped/routes.htm but a lot of the routes seem to be put together by non-cyclists as only highways are used (no county roads).  Most of their proposed routes have fairly high traffic.  If you have a GPS, time to develop the route, and have enough time, you can use county road maps http://www.tdot.state.tn.us/Maps/county/default.htm to stay off the highways and get a much truer flavor of America.

Georgia has a statewide bike map that might be useful http://www.dot.ga.gov/travelingingeorgia/bikepedestrian/Pages/default.aspx.

Typically, US routes avoid roads that have traffic counts greater than 2500 (# of vehicles per day on average), especially if there is no shoulder.  I glanced at several points along your route and has heavy traffic and/or no shoulders.

All that said, your route is not too bad.  I personally prefer less traffic so would take many more county roads but then again you do have time constraints.

Another thing to consider is that you realistically can fly into any commercial airport unless you do not want connections.  If you were to consider other airports, your areas to utilize greatly increase.

A final option, and probably my preferred choice, is to do a week long tour and rent a car one-way to Atlanta.  For instance, you could do part of the Blue Ridge Parkway (a beautiful ride in October) by flying into a city further north, say Charlottesville, VA, and end of in Asheville, NC.  A one-way rental car to Atlanta would cost about $130.  This route would be more scenic with a lot less traffic.

Whatever you choose, have an enjoyable trip!


15
Routes / Re: ROUT HELP! Chicago, IL to Hilliard, OH
« on: February 01, 2015, 09:37:42 am »
While I am not overly familiar with this area, I do have a question that might help others.  Is this route just for you or for a "mass tour" like a MS150 tour?  If the latter, a much safer route may be required due to the wide variety and sheer number of riders.  Also, what requirements do you have, i.e. camping, hotels, restaurants, cooking own food, etc.?

Regardless, I wish you a successful fundraiser.

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