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Messages - John Nelson

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1
I don't remember any 13% grades on the Northern Tier. Going To The Sun Road is the most significant climb, and very little of it is over 6%. Same with the Cascades. Sure, there are some short, steep hills in Wisconsin, but they're only 50 yards long. You'll miss the steepest hills by skipping New England.

2
Routes / Re: TransAm trail - how fit
« on: May 01, 2016, 02:16:35 pm »
A fit cyclist can comfortably do it in 10 weeks. A reasonably-fit cyclist should have no trouble doing it in 13. You'll be fine.

3
Routes / Re: TransAm trail - how fit
« on: April 30, 2016, 02:45:31 pm »
The only difference being in shape makes is how long it takes you.

4
General Discussion / Re: East to West Transam start suggestions?
« on: April 16, 2016, 09:31:12 pm »
The "traditional" wheel dip is not at Virginia Beach, but at Yorktown, where the official start of the TransAm is. Some have issues with Yorktown is that it isn't officially on the Atlantic Ocean, but it's close enough for most people. If you decide to start in Yorktown, you can fly into Newport News, assemble your bike in the airport and ride the short distance to Yorktown. If you decide to start at Virginia Beach, it's not possible to ride directly to Yorktown, but you can ride to Jamestown, a little ways down the TransAm route.

5
Routes / Re: Minneapolis to the UP of Michigan
« on: April 15, 2016, 06:58:38 pm »
You're in luck. The ACA has a fully-mapped route for most of this ride: The North Lakes Route will get you from Minneapolis to within 40 miles of Ironwood.

6
General Discussion / Re: wild camping in WA, OR and CA
« on: April 11, 2016, 11:19:16 am »
There are so many $5 and $6 campgrounds along the coast, it's hardly necessary to wild camp unless you really want to. I understand that it's legal to camp on some beaches and illegal to camp on others. Unless somebody with more experience can give you a better answer, you'll have to ask locally. I'd guess that the illegal spots are much more plentiful than the legal spots. In the cities, I think the police do a vigilant job of keeping the beaches free of campers.

7
Routes / Re: Erie Canalway Towpath trail
« on: April 11, 2016, 11:15:39 am »
I rode the 100 miles from Lockport to Palmyra in 2012. I spent a delightful night camping on the canal bank at Middleport. It was free, clean, comfortable, had restrooms and showers, and within a 100 yards of some nice restaurants. The canalway surface is crushed stone, but was almost as good as pavement on my 35 mm tires. It's dead flat. You will only use one gear. Resupply is easy as towns are conveniently spaced. You're entertained by the various boats on the canal.

Your chain, however, will need cleaning because it gets covered with dust.

8
General Discussion / Re: Paniers vs. Trailer
« on: April 07, 2016, 04:19:45 pm »
The ACA has a number of articles on this subject. They sum it up this way:

Panniers excel on paved-road riding and single-wheel trailers are at their best on rough, unpaved terrain, but both can work well for nearly all types of touring. Personal preference is the ultimate arbiter.

Here are a few articles to get you thinking:

http://www.adventurecycling.org/default/assets/resources/panniersversustrailer_03.pdf
http://tomsbiketrip.com/the-trailer-versus-panniers-debate-continued/
http://travellingtwo.com/resources/biketouringbasics/chapter-13-loading-up-the-bicycle/trailers-or-panniers-which-is-best
https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?page_id=8360
http://www.bikeroute.com/TrailervsPannier.php
http://www.bikeforums.net/touring/25268-bob-trailer-vs-panniers.html
https://backpackinglight.com/forums/topic/30815/

If you trip includes travel by air or bus or train, a trailer may involve extra effort and/or expense.

Obviously, if your bike won't take panniers well (full carbon, short chainstays, no fittings, etc.), you will probably use a trailer.

The ultralight people will say the answer is "neither".

For me, I go with the wisdom of crowds.

This is more religion than science.

9
And which airport?

Call the airline you plan to use at the airport you plan to use. Ask them about box availability and box size. It's going to vary.

And be sure to have a backup plan and time to execute it if they happen to be out of boxes that day.

There's too much uncertainty in all of this for my taste. I'd be a nervous wreck. I prefer to get a bike from a bike shop ahead of time, and then find a method of transportation to the airport that can handle the box.

10
Routes / Re: TransAm question
« on: April 01, 2016, 10:40:08 am »
The Western Express is the standard way to cut miles off the TransAm. It cuts off 476 miles, or about a week. On the Western Express, you'll see a somewhat more scenic part of Colorado, and the wonderful canyon country of Utah. But you'll miss Wyoming (not much of a loss), Grand Teton and Yellowstone (a huge loss), the Lochsa River Valley of Idaho (stunning) and the southern Cascades.

Do what you gotta do. We all have constraints, and tradeoffs to make. It'll be a great trip either way.

11
Consider flying to Bellingham instead of Seattle. It may even be cheaper (it was for me—twice). It's an easy ride from Bellingham down to Anacortes along the Pacific Coast Route. You don't have to go all the way to Anacortes if you don't want to. You can join the Northern Tier at Bay View.

12
Gear Talk / Re: What did you forget to pack that you needed?
« on: March 25, 2016, 03:24:17 pm »
I propose we exclude things that we intended to take and accidentally left behind.

Bicycle Route 66 involves quite a bit of riding on the interstates. Interstate shoulders have quite a few exploded truck tires. Exploded truck tires have a lot of tiny wires that get embedded in your tires. Some of these wires are very hard to pull out. I failed to appreciate this problem and did not bring tweezers. Easily solved as almost ever drug store and many grocery stores sell tweezers.

Other than that, nothing really.

13
Gear Talk / Re: Mirrors
« on: March 24, 2016, 05:27:23 pm »
Love it. Helmet mirror. Visor mounted. Taped on (valuable tip I got from Friedel of the Travelling Two). Helmet mount allows me to aim it where I want. Allows me to see if the road is clear enough to swerve around that pothole while at the same time allowing me to keep my eyes on the pothole. I wish I had a mirror while walking.

And I love the visor. In addition to providing a good place to mount the mirror, it's great for rain and when cycling into the sun or a dust storm, and helps keep your nose from getting sunburned. Some people say it has a downside of forcing you to hold your head up a bit more, but that's not been a problem for me.

14
General Discussion / Re: How many bags do you carry on your bike?
« on: March 24, 2016, 05:19:57 pm »
I like a tidy appearance too. I have four panniers, a handlebar bag and my tent on the rear rack. I occasionally have stuff on the outside of my panniers, but only if I have wet stuff to dry or need to keep my raincoat handy when rain is threatening. I never use bungee cords. The handlebar bag is essential for me, because that's where I keep food that I can access on the move.

A tide appearance improves safety too, as there's less chance of stuff getting caught in your wheels.

15
General Discussion / Re: Flying with bike racks...?
« on: March 23, 2016, 08:55:12 am »
When packed with your clothes, I find that racks take up very little room in your luggage.

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