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Messages - canalligators

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General Discussion / Re: Do you pack a Spare Tire???
« on: June 25, 2016, 12:24:13 pm »
Agree on starting with new tires, and make them puncture resistant (kevlar belted) too. I also recommend a bike using a using a common wheel size, so that you can buy a tire almost anywhere.  This is known as the "Walmart Test".

I generally do not take a spare. But consider special circumstances.  In my case with a recumbent tandem, no one makes a 20" tire that is actually rated for the load and failures are common, so we do pack a spare - even on local riding.

Routes / Re: Northern Tier Alternate
« on: June 25, 2016, 12:08:04 pm »
Regarding the Finger Lakes and hills, it's generally flat between the lakes.  They transition from very gentle rolling across the north to some real hills across the south. Getting out of Ithaca or Watkins Glen requires some climbing. Generally, going north-south is much easier than east-west, the glacierscarved the land with north-south grooves.  Bike 14 is flat to rolling and very scenic.  As long as you're not opposed to a moderate amount of climbing, the Finger Lakes have some really fine riding.

The Albany alternative is a good choice too. Bike 5 to Albany, most of which is good riding. Then Bike 9 can get you to northern NJ. Bike 9 is a decent ride, mostly going east of the Hudson. I agree that you shouldn't take 9W all the way from Albany.

There is a short detour on the canal trail, around a construction site at Hulberton, NY.  This is between Albion and Holley, NY.  Conveniently, a local road runs parallel to the canal trail, so it's just a hop off and hop back on for the trail.

The project is expected to take "several weeks".

The canal has a minor breach which has to be fixed before it becomes a major breach.  It will require draining the canal to fix.  The canal will be drained for a long stretch, between Albion and Brockport.  You'll get to see the canal drained, as locals do each winter.

General Discussion / Re: Aggressive Drivers During Transamerica?
« on: May 25, 2016, 02:53:53 pm »
I almost agree with the statement that aggressive drivers will be found randomly, but some areas are more likely to have them.  As a generalization, I have found suburban drivers to be most likely to be intolerant.  City drivers and country drivers less so.  But this is just a generalization.

Situations may dictate issues.  You might find a high volume highway that suddenly loses its shoulder, a state highway connecting two expressways, things like that.  Or times of day - quitting time around industrial sites, and the previously mentioned prime drunk driving times. 

And oddly enough, states with a lot of paved shoulder mileage can have issues on roads where there are none.  It's almost like the drivers don't know what to do, and the thought of actually slowing down or timing their passage just doesn't occur to them.  On the other hand, I've seen states with no paved shoulders that treat cyclists well, I'll cite Massachusetts here, and most of the Northern Tier states west of the Great Lakes.  Highways with very narrow areas right of the fog line are dangerous, some motorists expect you to stay over there even if they're passing with less than a foot of clearance - learn the best lane positioning practice.  (The Pennsylvania Bike Drivers Manual is excellent, see chapter 2).

Have a great trip!

General Discussion / Re: How to figure average miles per day
« on: May 24, 2016, 09:38:51 am »
For me, the main use of that information is for planning purposes.  I started out with a first estimate of fifty per day (quickly exceeded, I was younger).  Now I know what suites me, or us.  It depends on who is going and what the overall objective of the trip is.  If we're trying to squeeze in a last connection we may increase the distance.  If we're riding in a beautiful area to be savored, reduce the distance.

When others ask, they rarely ask about distance per day, in fact they seldom ask about total distance.  When they do, I practice modesty - I avoid the numbers or round down.  But I do agree, if you only told them ten miles per day, most will be overly impressed.

I never did hear back from DOT about dates or detour.  I'll just recommend that you detour:

- At Lock 30, go across the lock gate and take the local street past the fire hall, cross a small waterway, bear left on Erie St., continue to Main St. which is NY 31 aka NY Bike 5.
- Turn right/west, go 3.2 miles to Wayneport Rd.
- Turn right/north, go 1.4 miles to the canal trail. 
- Turn left/west to continue on route

- At Wayneport Rd., leave the canal trail.  Turn right/south.
- Go 1.4 miles to NY 31 aka NY Bike 5.  Go 3.2 miles to Erie St. North
- Turn left/north, keep right on Railroad St. (may not be marked).  Pass the fire hall.
- Cross the lock gate at Lock 30.  Turn right/east on the canal trail to continue on the route.

I bet my Rans V-Rex is more comfortable.  Unless recumbents are non-bicycles, of course.

My general rule is that, with a loaded bike, 8% is about the steepest I will try to ride.  Any steeper than that, even if you're geared to go slower, you'll have trouble balancing the bike.  YMMV, riders and bikes vary in low speed abilities.

My low gears were in the low 20s, as are ours.  There are places in the cascades where I resorted to walking.  I was eastbound.  Around the Diablo reservoir there were a couple of climbs that were a mile or so long, the first couple of miles east out of Tonasket, and a couple of miles on Sherman Pass.

I'd say you're geared low enough.

Gear Talk / Re: What did you forget to pack that you needed?
« on: April 25, 2016, 12:52:02 pm »
Tweezers are must-take.  They have three purposes: first aid, grooming and those damned truck tire wires.  But you need good ones, the tweezers on your Swiss Army Knife lack sufficient grip.  Get some good stainless tweezers and tweak them up by sliding a piece of sandpaper through them while you hold them closed.  Flip the paper and do it again.

Routes / Re: East Coast Greenway or Atlantic Route
« on: April 13, 2016, 01:01:25 pm »
Personally, I'd do my own route.  I would prefer to stay close to the coast. I'd shuttle across the Chesepeake Bay Bridge, ride to Lewes DE and ferry across Delaware Bay, ride up NJ to Sandy Hook, take the ferry to Manhattan, use the NYC bike routes out to Long Island, ferry from Orient Point to New London, then ride from there to RI.  On Long Island, plan on connecting a lot of local/county routes instead of using major roads.  NY DOT has a couple of bike routes you might use.

You can make a decent route using Google Maps, select Directions and Cycling or Walking options.  Go to street view to check a questionable road for shoulders.  Go to satellite view to find park roads and parking lots you can cut through on your bike.

Routes / Re: Erie Canalway Towpath trail
« on: April 13, 2016, 12:53:24 pm »
I wrote a guide to the canal and alternatives here  I update it about twice a year, last done a couple of months ago.

Gear Talk / Re: Installing rack and fenders tomorrow, quick question
« on: April 11, 2016, 12:47:29 pm »
Losing a rack or fender bolt on tour is common.  They vibrate loose and fall out.  Do three things: use blue Loc-Tite on the bolts, check them every week or so, and carry a couple of spares.

Gear Talk / Re: Wheels without spokes?
« on: April 11, 2016, 12:44:08 pm »
I second the sturdy wheels idea.  A conservatively built spoked wheel is not inherently problematic, in fact it's the opposite.  So you should not fear spokes.  Build wheels with strong rims, lots of spokes (36 for single bikes), a good brand of spokes, and you will be trouble free.

The trail is closed for three miles west of Macedon, NY.  The closure is between Wayneport Rd. and NY 350.  This closure is due to bridge replacement and trail improvements at Canandaigua Rd.  This project is scheduled to be completed at the end of 2016.

I've inquired of DOT as to how long the closure will be in effect, and whether a detour will be posted.  I'll update here when they respond.

The bridge construction also changes access to a commercial campground, Twilight on the Erie RV Resort.  The resort may still be accessed by detouring on the south side of the canal using NY 31.  Detouring to the north using Quaker Rd. will not give you access to this campground.  This facility has tent camping and two cabins, and RV parking if you're sagged.

Free camping at the hiker/biker site, at Lock 30 in Macedon, should still be available.

Gear Talk / Re: Lightweight Slip-Jaw Pliers?
« on: December 08, 2015, 12:54:31 pm »
Pliers are generally the tool of last recourse.  The only use I could think of would be to lift a hot pot when cooking.  And there are much lighter aluminum handles for that.

You can get a lot of different opinions on what tools to take, but I recommend only taking tools for the likely repairs: flats, broken spokes, broken cables, lost mounting bolts.  But along with this advice, I add that you should never tour on a bike where replacement tires can't be bought at WalMart.  And always make sure everything is in good working order before you leave: no "iffy" wheels, no old chain/cassette, properly broken in seat, etc.

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