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Messages - dougstetson

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1
Urban Cycling / why bike?
« on: February 19, 2007, 09:11:02 pm »
I relearned to ride a bike in San Francisco -- I discovered that bikes were about as fast as the local mass transit, but more reliable in terms of arrival at a destination. I enjoyed getting exercise while doing something necessary (visiting clients, friends, chores), not waiting for the next bus, streetcar, what have you, and putting one less car, even a mass transit car, on the road. In Virginia I can bike to the office in about 30 minutes. Takes 15 minutes to drive, so for the "cost" of 30 extra minutes I get an hour of aerobic exercise, and the feeling that I'm helping reduce the fossil fuel consumption and CO2 production (though, to be honest, only very slightly). I'm constantly aware, however, that it's dangerous. Despite my urban riding skills I realize that some car, truck or SUV can end it all for me. The local roads make sharing the road a challenge.

Doug Stetson
San Francisco bound

2
Urban Cycling / commuting by bike
« on: February 19, 2007, 01:56:10 pm »
When I lived in San Fransicso I biked in preference to using the mass transit -- not faster, but more reliable, and better exercise. Never drove. Had a folder to take on the subway and the train to the peninsula. Here in SE Virginia I was fortunate to have a job only 8 miles from home -- good bike commute, with the only problem being getting drivers on two lane no shoulder roads accustomed to seeing this brightly dressed guy heading out and back with a briefcase pannier nearly every day (needed a car to attend meetings out of the office). Rain generally not a problem, but railroad track were a real threat!


3
Urban Cycling / what bike do you use for pure urban ridin'?
« on: April 07, 2007, 09:25:22 am »
My best commuter was a folding Dahon Helios I used in San Francisco. Jay Gaerlan, a gifted bike guy in San Francisco, (http://www.gaerlan.com/)used the Helios aluminum frame and added front suspension, seat post suspension, 24 gears, fenders, a rear rack that allowed me to carry a briefcase pannier or a grocery sack pannier without hitting my heels or the ground, and combo SPD and platform pedals as well. He chose Vuelta rims that never went out of true, and Schwalbe Marathon tires that never suffered a puncture despite daily rides through SF streets with debris and potholes.

The big advantage of the folder in SF was being able to take it on the BART subway trains, folded, at any time of the day. Ordinary bikes are restricted to the first and last cars, and forbidden during rush hours. Busses and the CalTrain communter train allow bikes all the time in special facilities, so folding was not an advantage there, but being able to take the bike into a restaurant or hotel or library, folded, was a huge advantage. I had a hybrid stolen, while locked with a Kryptonite cable lock to a standpipe in a lighted, covered garage patrolled by an off duty SF policeman at an in-town SF hotel. The cable had been cut and no one saw anything. After that, the folder came in with me when I was visiting in town. Most places simply accomodated it as they would a wheel chair (which the folded bike sort of resembles). Great commuter -- carried my gear to work and back, and on errands. Quick to set up and take down, every bit as fast as the public transit in SF, but with a reliable schedule: I could leave when I wanted and be on time at the destination.


Doug Stetson
San Francisco bound

4
Classifieds / Companion wanted for Trans America/Western Express
« on: March 19, 2007, 10:12:40 am »
Lee -- I'm intersted in your trip. I'm planning the same route, dipping the back wheel in the Atlantic in Virginia Beach, and the front wheel in the Pacific off the end of Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, where I used to live, about 10 weeks later (but no firm schedule). I'm in Chesapeake, VA, now, and planning to leave end May (after Appalachian snow is gone). I also plan to camp, occasional motel, and some rest days in interesting places. Even if we don't travel together, I'd like to keep in touch with you as I plan for this treck (see discussion "Western Express"  in the Routes topic area). My email is in my profile. -- Doug

Doug Stetson
San Francisco bound

5
Routes / Northern Tier May 1 Departure
« on: April 09, 2007, 06:06:00 am »
Stalls -- May 2007 or 2008? I'm leaving in 2007.

Doug Stetson
San Francisco bound

6
Routes / Northern Tier May 1 Departure
« on: April 08, 2007, 06:24:50 pm »
Stalls, BostonMc --

I'm heading east to west to San Francisco as well, leaving the Norfolk VA area about end of May, camping, motel when useful, some cooking. Planning the TransAm route to Pueblo CO, then the Western Express. Would like to correspond with you about the route, experience with the Western Express, and maybe we can travel part of the time together. My email is in my profile. I'd like to hear from you.

Doug Stetson
San Francisco bound

7
Routes / Western Express
« on: March 24, 2007, 08:54:02 pm »
Thanks, Anna. The heat, emptiness and lack of water are issues that I have not found well addressed in the journals I've read and I appreciate your real world experience. OTOH, my real goal is SF, and the L&C is pretty much out of the way. If slow and easy can do the job, I'd be interested.

Any other experiences with the Western Experss in summer out there?

Doug Stetson
San Francisco bound

8
Routes / Western Express
« on: March 22, 2007, 05:56:59 pm »
Jeff & Mary -- Good to hear you enjoyed the Southern Tier and you're both going back for more. If you're willing, I'd like to exchange email. My address is in my profile. Thanks. Doug

Doug Stetson
San Francisco bound

9
Routes / Western Express
« on: March 19, 2007, 09:05:04 am »
I'm planning an east to west TransAmerica, using the ACA Western Express from  Pueblo to San Francisco. The ACA maps have arrived and the riding conditions described for Utah and Nevada are pretty grim. I expect to leave Virginia mid- to late May putting me in NV and UT in mid-July and August. As I pursue this insanity I would really appreciate advice from those who have gone before on the Western Express. Thanks!

Doug Stetson
San Francisco bound

This message was edited by dougstetson on 4-8-07 @ 5:28 PM

10
Routes / Virginia Beach to San Francisco -- When?
« on: February 20, 2007, 08:02:42 pm »
Thanks, Sean. Have you made this east to west trip? Other comments I've read echo your greater discomfort with midwest humidity than the high desert. I just hope the snow has left the Appalachians by end May.

Doug Stetson
San Francisco bound

11
Routes / Virginia Beach to San Francisco -- When?
« on: February 19, 2007, 01:50:51 pm »
Planning a TransAM east to west starting in Virginia Beach to Pueblo, then Western Express to San Francisco, unsupported, about 50 miles a day, 6 days a week, more when possible and fun, social and sightseeing stops, camping when possible: I'm guessing 70-85 days. My first such trip. Question is, when to start. I want to avoid snow in the Appalachians, and heat in the western deserts. Anyone with experience on this route willing to offer suggestions? I'd like to get in touch.


12
General Discussion / Eating and spending on a two month biking spree
« on: April 07, 2007, 09:06:36 am »
Here's a link to the Dirt Rag article. Pretty interesting. Very encouraging.
http://www.dirtragmag.com/print/article.php?ID=859&category=features

Doug Stetson
San Francisco bound

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