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Messages - zzzz

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General Discussion / Re: Waterproof printer paper
« on: January 27, 2015, 10:26:50 am »
This topic is perfectly timed for me as I will be taking my first trip w/o the benefit of being on a ACA route this coming summer and I was getting ready to tear pages out of the map books I bought.

I have a question that comes to mind ; Is the standard ink for a ink jet printer or copier not water soluble? I had thought it was.


Routes / Re: Sierra Cascades Route - Vertical Gain
« on: January 15, 2015, 09:04:09 am »
it's the same as the northbound ;). (sorry, couldn't resist)

I can't give you a precise number both because I didn't do the whole route and nothing but the route and because I added up the elevation gain a few months ago and did not write it down. I incorporated McKenzie Pass into my trip as well as some other misc. climbs that added elevation and then I got off route at LA instead of going all the way to Mexico so that subtracted probably a equal amount ±. The number I remember coming up with was 165,000'.


Routes / Re: Canada to Mexico through California
« on: January 07, 2015, 04:21:15 pm »
I like going on September rides. The worst of the heat is usually gone, many fewer tourists in their RV's on the road, you're very unlikely to get snowed on in the passes like you might later in the fall. But it is prime fire season in the western US.

My strategy is cross my fingers and hope for the best, there's nothing else to do. Your danger of being immolated is 0%. What your concerns are is smoke and road closures. I think there is almost always a way around although you may be adding a considerable number of miles to your day. The smoke is unpleasant to ride in but for a limited time I haven't found it that bad. Sensitivities vary of course.

Also keep in mind that geographically, this is a huge area. Even a really big fire is unlikely to be in your immediate path. The smoke can blow for a 100 miles or more but it's only going in the direction of the wind so you can probably vary your route and get away from that if needed.

It has rained (and snowed) a lot in California this fall and that's really good news. The entire state looked prepped to go up in flames last September. Even if it doesn't have another substantial rain again this year it should be better in 2015.

As far as water is concerned, don't count on the stores in towns w/ small populations (<500±) to be open. They appear to be under significant economic distress. Carry enough food & water to make it to the next decent size town no matter what the map or the web may say about what's there and you'll be fine. And if worse comes to worse and you are in some trouble, like you're out of water, you can always get help by asking a passing motorist or stopping at a residence along the way. Nearly everyone I've ever dealt with on the road has been great.


Routes / Re: Canada to Mexico through California
« on: January 07, 2015, 07:32:00 am »
Your resume makes me feel you will be fine. And your September start date means you should miss to worst of the heat. And if it keeps raining in California the draught will be good and broken which will make the possibility of fire smoke much less.

Have a great time.


Routes / Re: Canada to Mexico through California
« on: January 06, 2015, 11:25:28 pm »

staehpj1's post made me want to add these thoughts to my previous comments.

Whenever I read a post like your original post I think that I'm reading someone who likes to approach these trips the way I do. That is, I like to set up a ride thats at the edge of what I can physically do while going by some amazing scenery. This is a unusual way to approach a bike tour. There is another possibility and that is when someone posts a schedule like you have, they are being optimistic or even naive.

If what you want is in line with my approach, you 3 are experienced  riders, and you are traveling light for the first 2 weeks of your trip as a CC tour, and you will be supported during the last 2 weeks so you really shouldn't be carrying anything then except snacks and water, and if it's windy you'll keep a nice tight pace-line, and you are ready to deal with it if it's hot, or raining, or you're doing your second (or third) really big climb of the day and it's late in the afternoon, you should be okay as you've laid out your schedule.

Just keep in mind you are likely to be beat to exhaustion most every night. I certainly was on my trip over this terrain on a similar schedule. And while I saw a lot of cool stuff there was no time to explore places like Yosemite. So do the trip you want but make sure you're going into it w eyes wide open.

Changing gears....

"You just have to decide whether you should wait in line with the cars or skirt around them. You kind of have to read which is better at the crossing."

In September of 2013 I crossed from Canada into the US at the Waterton Lakes NP into Glacier NP border station. For those not familiar with that road it's a pretty good climb up to the border and that September day it was raining pretty hard and in the 50° range. When I got to the crossing itself as I was waiting between 2 RV's I started to get pretty cold and thought it made a whole lot of sense to walk over & wait my turn under the shelter at the border-cross building. The 2 guys working the crossing did not think much of that idea. It got pretty ugly, pretty fast. As a matter of fact, I think I can say it was the most unpleasant,most unprofessional encounter w a law enforcement agency I've ever had.

Ahhh, my tax dollars at work!

I'm not saying you will have a similar experience, I believe these two agents were exceptional. But take John's advice seriously about getting a read on the situation before breaking any kind of protocol, it may mean a much more pleasant introduction to the US.


Routes / Re: Canada to Mexico through California
« on: January 02, 2015, 08:39:34 pm »
Hi Martin:

The advice you asked for sounded more like a request for fine tuning that what I'm going to suggest but here's something to consider:

Last September I rode (solo) the "Sierra Cascades" ACA route in 28 days as a credit card tour which is similar to the inland portion of your trip and I was riding at a similar pace. I'm going to suggest you consider heading east while still somewhere along the Oregon coast and pick up that route.

I would make a left in Reedsport and get on 138 and take it in to Crater Lake which is one of the most spectacular sights you will ever see. And from then on for the rest of your trip I would follow the balance of the SC route (maps 3,4,& 5). It will take you through Tahoe,Yosemite, and Big Bear Lake like your route but you'll also see Shasta, & Lassen, & Kings Canyon and (the highlight of the trip for me) Giant Sequoia, indelible sights one & all.

Alternatively, you can head east earlier around Florence and go over McKenzie Pass (second coolest pass in the country) and then down into Sisters or you can head east at Gold Beach and head into Ashland but anyway you do it I think you'll get the best stuff to see on the SC route over what you've got laid out currently for your trip.

In particular I'm looking at that 300 miles of 395 in SoCal and I hear it can be quite lovely but that's a pretty major highway and over the ridge line is (mostly) quiet rural roads and some of the most beautiful landscape in the country.

The only negative thing I can say about the SC is that while all the roads are paved, you will run into some that could really use to be resurfaced.

Think about it....


And BTW: Make sure you're in really good shape before you leave because whether you take my suggestions or you stick with your original route, doing that in 26 days is going to be a test.

Gear Talk / Re: Seeking Feedback on new gear system
« on: December 28, 2014, 06:53:32 pm »
I realize this reply is a little late and I'm unlikely to be in your target market but....

I think you should film a new video with pedals attached to the crank and a rider on the bike. If it was hooked up to a trainer it would be still enough to film it and show the mechanical action. As was previously commented on, the cadence looks really lumpy on your current video but you're turning the cranks by hand. With the leverage and strength of a rider on board I would think it would have to look smoother.


Routes / Re: Southern Tier, highway 78 Glamis to Palo Verde, Ca
« on: November 20, 2014, 11:45:00 am »
The poster Westinghouse has laid out quite the scenario here for bicycle harassment.

And he has doubled and tripled down on it in his postings now so I'm sure these are deeply held beliefs.

And I have never ridden the Southern Tier route.

And over the 40 years and 100,000+ mile I have ridden a bike I have run into my fair share of drivers of every stripe that were clueless or malevolent and what I am about to say in no way exonerates drivers who put a cyclist's life in danger because they are clueless or stupid or psychotic.

Having qualified all of that, What he has described here does not remotely pass the sniff test.

The claim that over a course of 5 states and 2000± miles there is a cabal that lies in wait (I can only presume for hours) for passing cyclists, while in coordination with another driver coming in the other direction, just so they can pass said cyclist simultaneously on a bridge or some other tight spot for some mysterious motivation is simply not feasible. If for no other reason then the majority of truck drivers are paid by the mile they are not going to sit by the roadside in wait for a rider just to get there jollies(do they throw camouflage netting over their trucks so you won't recognize what is going on when you ride by?).

Everyone is entitled to believe what they want and I'm quite sure Westinghouse will continue believing very strongly that this is happening. But I am writing this for anyone who has not spent much time on the road and wants to know if it's safe out there. You will always be somewhat more vulnerable on a bike than in a car. But the take away I have had and you hear again and again and again from people when the come off a tour is that these long rides reinforce a belief that the vast majority of people are decent and  you will run into a number of people whose kindness will stay with you forever.


General Discussion / Re: Useless advice/help
« on: November 14, 2014, 10:14:16 am »
I was going west to east on the Western Express route. I got to Cedar City, Ut and took my bike to the bike shop in town to have it thoroughly cleaned up. As it was being worked on another customer came in and we were talking. He was a local and had apparently done a lot riding thru-out Utah. He asks about my route and I show him the ACA map.

For anyone not familiar w that area there's a pretty stout climb right out of Cedar City that tops out above 10,000' and on paper it looks kind of intimidating. At the top is something called Cedar Breaks. So this guy is going on and on that he wouldn't climb all the way to the top, he would turn at this intersection before the top and head straight to the next town. Nothing that terrific to see at Cedar Breaks.

So the next morning I start the climb up the hill. I'm thinking from what the guy said that the climb was going to be a total beat down and when I get to this early intersection I'll make up my mind then if I'm going to take his short cut. The climb turns out to be perfect. It was substantial but never so steep that you couldn't keep your rhythm the whole way up. And I keep looking for this intersection for the short cut, 8000', 8500', 9000', finally at around 9500' I see the turn off. I'm thinking to myself "Really?!, I'm going off-route to save 700' of climbing?! I don't think so!".

The icing on the cake was that the view of Cedar Breaks was easily within the top 5 things I saw on that trip.


General Discussion / Re: Touring Bicycle
« on: November 03, 2014, 02:54:25 pm »
Uh,oh... somebody's calling out cyclists for "grade inflation". There's always someone who brings a ruler & scale to the fishing camp!

I've ridden a bunch of these of these big Rockies' passes also and they always seem to be 2800-3500' of elevation change @ 8-11 miles for a average grade of 5-7%. And actually the 20% grade on the short stuff doesn't pass the math test either, at least for anything longer than 50± yards anyplace I've been in the Appalachian's.

But never mind the hyperbole, it's still a good idea to check yourself against what you're likely to run into before you make any assumptions about what you need for a low gear before you leave.

Also, these threads can wander but note that the OP started it by stating his ambitions, which specifically precluded any big mountain crossings.


Routes / Route from Southern Idaho to Cedar City,Ut
« on: November 01, 2014, 11:10:44 pm »
Hi All:

I'm looking to put together my trip for next year. I have the month of September and based on previous experience I figure 2500± miles. The final 550 miles of the trip will be ACA's Grand Canyon route.

After pouring over some road maps I'm figuring on starting in Spokane, go east for a few miles into Idaho and pick up 95 going south into 55 into Boise. There I'll pick up 21 into 75 and go see Craters of the Moon NP.

How best to get from there to Cedar City, Ut. is my question.

I'm trying to figure out if it would be better to make my way over to Flaming Gorge and then cut diagonally across the state to Cedar City or if I can piece together a straighter north to south route that manages to skip the traffic/congestion of the Logan/SLC/Provo metroplex that still has plenty of attractive scenery.

I've done the Western Express before and while I wouldn't consider riding those same roads again a hardship I would prefer something new.

Right now I am completely open to suggestions, so if you feel there's must see stuff that falls somewhere between Spokane and Phoenix, please mention it.



Routes / Re: Sierra Cascades; desert heat in July
« on: October 26, 2014, 12:27:23 pm »
I just rode most of this route (Canadian border to LA) this last 8/30 - 9/28.

I can't speak to your original question about the heat & water because I think you were referring to the last 250 miles that I missed and because I was fortunate enough to encounter a rare late September cold snap when I came thru SoCal, mornings in the high 40's & highs of 65°±. Although I will say (particulerly in SoCal) there were several stores marked on the map that were closed, do not put yourself in a situation where your well being counts on the next place on the map being there.

But I would like to address a couple of other things. You say this is your first major trip, I have no interest in dissuading you from this route but it is a tough one. All the climbing can feel pretty relentless after awhile and the pavement on a lot of the descents is crap which can make them pretty intimidating. Actually, a lot of the pavement is crap period but it's scarier at 40 mph than it is at 7 mph. Which is to say I hope your competence as a cyclist is very high and your fitness level is high.

The other thing I will bring up, since it sounds like you have some flexibility, is to leave in the spring from the south. As I'm sure you're aware California has been going through a record drought for years now. As you go through it the entire state feels like a tinder box. Short of a very wet winter and spring this year it's likely to still be ready to burn next year. And September is prime forrest fire season. This year for much of August the "Hat Creek" fire was burning, when you go down 89 north of Lassen you will be riding along it's path for miles. In late August and early September there was a big fire just south of Yosemite. There was the huge "King" fire right when I was coming through Tahoe in mid September. You get the idea. I have perhaps never been so lucky in my life as to the way I threaded the needle on missing the effects of these fires. I had some smoke in the afternoon in Sierraville north of Truckee and some smoke in Yosemite when I dropped down into the valley. In both cases in the morning it was gone. You should not count on being so fortunate.

If you can leave in the spring from the south, keep an eye on the snow pack in the southern Sierra's over the winter, I would think Ca DOT has a web site listing when the passes are open and I would leave in mid April if you can. The rivers and creeks will be charged, the waterfalls in Yosemite will be flowing and you'll beat (at least some) of the crowds there and by the time you get north it will have warmed up.

Good Luck,


General Discussion / Re: Touring Bicycle
« on: October 25, 2014, 10:04:45 pm »
If "ozroller" is evaluating himself accurately as a strong climber and he's packing light he should be fine w a 30x30 (27" gear) and certainly w a 30x34 (23.8"). Just make sure you take a drive over to Colorado and test how it all feels with accurate weight in your panniers before you leave on a long trip. Loveland Pass should tell you everything you need to know. Or since Kansas is a big state you can go the other way and spend a couple days going up & down in the Ozarks. Be very honest w yourself after your test, pulling too high a gear can lead to issues w your knees.

I fancy myself a pretty good climber and I pack light and I just take my regular road bike. My low gear is 34x28 and it's served me well and I've gone up plenty of long and steep stuff (SC, all of the GPN & 1/2 of the GPS, WE, & the TA between Missoula & Co. and then again east of the high plains to the Va. coast).


This can also be over analyzed.

To the OP:

A lot of issues with fit don't come up until you spend a fair amount of time on the bike, you're on a tour, or you're riding more than 100 miles a week. Or when you've gotten old and creaky.

Are you still young and spry, say under 30? I started w a hand-me-down bike that was 2cm shy of my ideal size when I was a teen and raced & rode it for several years w/o incident for 1000's of miles a year. Even now, if we have visitors who ride, I will give them my bike and I will take my wife's, which is also 2 cm short for me, raise the seat and go and it is never a problem, even on a 100 mile ride.

You've gotten different advice here and it may be correct for you. But FWIW here's my opinion.

You said there were a few 58's to choose from. Go ride them and see which one feels best and buy it. If you have a pal you can take along and knows enough to be of help evaluating the bikes and getting your seat height right, take them with you. Proper leg extension is very important. If you're feeling cramped in the arms and shoulders, get a longer stem. Then go ride it for a year or two (or more) until you have some experience to draw on and you know what you want.

Unlike a frame thats too big for you, there are riders that actually prefer a frame size thats technically a little small. Also, really tall frames can start to have some handling issues.

Maybe you'll love riding, and if you do you'll want to step up the quality in your next bike anyway. At that time you can worry about things like crank length and frame geometry and really dial in the details to get a bike that's your ideal set-up. If it turns out that ridings not for you then your investment in tight times didn't brake the bank.


General Discussion / Re: Knees.... not the bees knees...
« on: October 14, 2014, 11:04:05 pm »
The way I read the original post was that she started the ride w/ cleats and then stopped using them when her knees started to hurt. Although if she was clipped in that would certainly narrow the possibilities as a maladjusted cleat is more likely to put your knee in a bad way than the seat height being off.

Not to make this a chorus but the advice to see a doc is spot on. If you're on a 2 or even 4 week trip and somethings hurts and you decide to bull through it, that's one thing. You're on a 10,000 mile trip, that's completely different. That's a bad sign that you were off the bike for 6 weeks working and the first day back riding your knee was hurting.

The other point I'll make is just how subtle these things can be. I was having some small amount of foot pain shortly before I left for my trip in September (also in the Sierras). I went to a podiatrist and he thought it was too close to my leaving to do anything permanent to my insoles so he put a little piece of adhesive foam, maybe an 1/8" thick under my insole where he thought it would help. I went riding and it felt good. A week into my ride my knee started hurting in a way it had never hurt before. The only thing I knew that was different was that 1/8" thick foam. Pulled it out and the pain went away within a couple of hours. If you make a change to your position, ride with it for a little bit unless the pain is getting specifically worse. Be very cognisant of changes that made things slightly better (or worse) and slowly dial it in.

I'm sure this is very frustrating for you. Good luck getting it right.


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