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Messages - geegee

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226
Routes / Re: Handcyle with wheelchair
« on: January 24, 2009, 01:46:17 pm »
I've seen several kits to convert wheelchairs into handcycles, but you're probably aware of them already:

http://www.davincimobility.co.uk/index.php?page=veloce_handcycle

Best of luck on your adventure. Don't fret too much about dogs, most of the worst behaved dogs are usually tied up or fenced. Plus, although you are lower to the ground, your three-wheeled set-up is more stable and you'll probably be able to reach for defense easier than an upright cyclist could.

227
Routes / Re: Prague to...
« on: January 23, 2009, 11:37:24 am »
I went right across the Czech Republic as part of a longer tour from Hamburg-Berlin-Prague-Budapest then on to Ljublijana-Venice-Innsbruck-Munich in 1999. There are some gems to the south of Prague, towns like Ceske Budejovice and Cesky Krumlov. If you want to stick in the Czech Republic instead of heading into Austria along the Danube (which is an overly trodden and touristy route), you could wander like I did though Telc, Znojmo and Mikulov which are really pretty historic towns. The rural roads along there go through interesting rolling landscapes, lined with apricot and plum trees (which I snacked on frequently, as they seemed to be on public land and fruit was just falling on to the road). At the time I went there things were ridiculously cheap -- Hotel rooms for $10 and full course meals including beer for less than $5 -- but I would imagine things have gone up with closer integration with the European Union. That year I also chased down the  total solar eclipse in the middle of Hungary along the shores of Lake Balaton which had a lot of western Europeans visiting the east.

228
Gear Talk / Re: Xtracycle
« on: January 21, 2009, 01:06:14 pm »
I have a Xtracycle Free Radical on my old mountain bike, but I've never used it for long tours because the gearing is too low and it is bulky. It's really comfy to ride (like a stretch limo) and it is great for shopping. I once loaded it with four cases of beer -- that's "96 bottles of beer on the bike, 96 bottles of beer" -- and it carried them like a champ. It's really great for heading into the city centre if I have to haul stuff, or going off on picnics and surprising friends by carrying a folding table and chars or even a portable barbecue :)   I'd consider taking it on short weekend relaxed local tours.

229
Routes / Re: Orlando FL to Houston TX
« on: January 17, 2009, 11:31:55 pm »
Thanks again for the extra tips. My travel arrangements are made and I'm all set for the end of February. I'm so excited that I've started to pack my panniers even though it's more than a month away.

I've decided to stick close to the Gulf coast and head into New Orleans because I've always wanted to see this part of the States. Here's my route, I'd like to know your opinions:
From Orlando, I've mapped out a route though mostly rural roads north past Gainesville (High Springs). From there it's US 27 to Perry (looks like good shoulders), then US 98 to Pensacola. I'll follow the ACA route south of Mobile bay via Dauphin island then US 90 into New Orleans (seems like it's the only way in). I really don't mind riding in considerable traffic though Biloxi if there are adequate shoulders. From New Orleans I'm planning on taking a combination of US 90 and LA 182 and connect with the ACA route at Opelousas.

I've got a bit of a tight schedule since I have a set event to attend in Houston. The nice thing about this route is that I'll be close to Amtrak service just in case I fall behind in my itinerary and if I need to make up one or two days riding at the end. I'll be completely out of shape at the start -- I've been trying to get as much winter riding where I am, but even with studded tires, the extreme bitter cold lately (-30˚C/-20˚F!!) and frequent snowstorms have limited my outdoor activities.

230
General Discussion / Re: How do you like the new forum?
« on: January 12, 2009, 04:00:58 pm »
I'm liking it. The old one used to time me out after a few minutes of writing a post. This one even remembers me when I return.

231
Routes / Re: Atlanta to New Orleans
« on: January 10, 2009, 11:28:25 am »
I was reading someone's blog on this route.

http://www.neiu.edu/~rkastiga/bike/may2000.htm

I'm contemplating cycling into New Orleans from the east in March. It seems like US 90 is the only way in, as the other bridges are not suitable for cycling.

232
GPS Discussion / Clueless
« on: December 30, 2008, 11:53:49 pm »
I have to say using a GPS has changed the way I ride. I used to stop a
lot to check a map and did a bit of second guessing at turns when I
couldnt. Now I find I can concentrate a lot more on the road and the
sights, and just wait for the GPS prompts to turn. On a long tour, a
days ride becomes more enjoyable and carefree, as I only have to pay
attention to the route when I hear a beep. My journal entries are also
more lyric, as I feel like I dont have to record tedious details like
distance, speed or the steepness of hills.

If you are confused with the choices out there (and rightly so), decide
on a set of criteria that are important to you as a cyclist. Mine were:
1) Size and weight
2) Battery type (I wanted one that used AA batteries like my camera and
other gadgets so I only carried one charger for all of them on a tour)
3) Battery life
4) Screen size
5) Expandability (memory cards etc)
at the time I had to make my decision, the Garmin eTrex Vista HCx fit
the bill. There are some cool new models out now like the Oregon
which has a touch screen.

George: the Garmin topo maps have the streets identified and will do
routing. What it does not have is the amenities (hotels, stores,
restaurants, etc). The topo maps use more memory, but you load
smaller select areas as opposed to entire states/provinces.




233
GPS Discussion / GPS info for Macintosh Users
« on: August 31, 2007, 12:53:29 pm »
You can now install maps using your Mac with

MapInstall for Mac
.

You willl also need to convert your Mapsource maps (using Windows!)
with

MapConverter
before you can load them.

This message was edited by geeg on 8-31-07 @ 8:57 AM

234
GPS Discussion / What is the best GPS for cyclist?
« on: November 26, 2007, 01:25:07 pm »
I just use the MapSource software. It just takes a bit of mucking around to
get the hang of it. You could subscribe to Google Earth to do some
awesome mapping, too.

I like using the Topo versions of maps over the MetroGuide or City
Navigator as well. Amenities are not that hard to find on my own and the
Topos seem to include quite a few trails that the other maps don't cover,
and it's easier to judge the hilly routes.


235
GPS Discussion / What is the best GPS for cyclist?
« on: August 31, 2007, 01:59:49 pm »
I got the Garmin eTrex Vista HCx which basically does the same in a
smaller and lighter format. The simplified buttons are great for one-
hand
operation. It's less than $300.

In my opinion, the Vista HCx is the best GPS for bicycle touring at this
time. It uses 2 regular AA bateries, which last 25 hours per charge,
which
means if you took a couple sets of spare and a lightweight charger, you
could tide a good week before a charge-up session

While the Edge 605 and 705 which are bike-specific
and now do mapping, the special batteries require you to charge it
almost every night.


236
GPS Discussion / Handlebar map
« on: August 31, 2007, 01:46:08 pm »
I used a Minoura Space Grip to mount my GPS on my bikeFriday which
has absolutely no room to put anything after my handlebar bag mount
is on.



I placed the Space Grip on the stem which has quite a large diameter.
I had this Space Grip on another bike and lost the larger metal band so
I modified a metal pipe clamp instead.



Nice thing about the set up is that it positions the GPS closer towards
your eyes, making it easier to read. Also it is simple to loop the lanyard
around the base of the Space Grip, just in case the mount lets go.
I have ridden this bike off road and the set up seems rock solid.


237
Routes / Pacific Coast Route Camping
« on: December 22, 2008, 07:37:16 pm »
Just make sure you arrive at the Amtrak station in advance to check in
your bike. They can refuse unboxed bikes.

I had a terrible experience in Whitefish MT when I showed up at the
station 45 minutes before departure but there was a long lineup at the
baggage counter and the guy took his sweet time checking people's
bags in. I was the next one in line when the train pulled in (15 minutes
before departure) and he closed the window on me and said I had to
wait for the next train, which was in two days! I was so mad, after
riding in the cold wet Montana autumn that this pencil-pusher
nonchalantly expected me to wait out a couple of days in an expensive
town just because he could not spend an extra few seconds writing me
out a tag  for my bike (which was lready preped for packing). Livid, I
hauled my bike up to the coach and refused to budge because I had a
paid reservation for both me and the bike. I explained my situation to
the conductor, and he ordered the baggage guy to reopen the counter
and write my tag. Of course he did it slow and said I had to buy a box,
and probably snickered as I barely made it into the baggage car
struggling with the bike and the box separately. I never boxed the
bike, as I got into the baggage car the train pulled out of the station
and I just secured it inside the roomy box car.


238
Routes / Orlando FL to Houston TX
« on: December 16, 2008, 11:20:10 pm »
Thanks for the great advice, I really appreciate it.

A question about cycling in the towns -- are cyclists in the south
harassed to use the sidewalks when there are no bike lanes? I rode in
Alaska last summer and I was surprised when I got to Anchorage after
the freedom of the highways, that cyclists there mostly used the
sidewalks (a motorist actually yelled at me to get off the road at one
point).

I'll try to stick to ACA routes west of Mississippi but I'll be tempted to
find shortcuts here and there. I will only have 2 and 1/2 weeks to do
this. Is tenting a bit chilly in early March?


239
Routes / Orlando FL to Houston TX
« on: December 13, 2008, 12:34:18 am »
I'm supposed to attend a family gathering in Houston in mid-March and
I'm thinking of getting there the long way by flying to Orlando at the end
of February then riding west. I've never to this part of the US. How is it for
riding, and at this time of the year? Any advice and suggestions
appreciated.


240
Routes / La Route Verte
« on: December 12, 2008, 10:58:14 pm »
Windrath-

I took the north shore route that time because I had gone down the
south shore three times before and I was looking explore something
different. In retrospect, no, I have no regrets, but I would never do that
route again! I have done the south shore route again since, and I now
enjoy looking at the other side of the river even more :)

The south shore is quite pretty and the sunsets are incredible. The
towns and villages in Bas-St-Laurent have more amenities and it is
cheaper. In contrast, the Charlevoix has sparsely spaced conveniences
and places to eat and stay tend to book up or close early.

To get out to Nova Scotia, I've done both the St John River valley route
through the interior of New Brunswick, and along the Acadian shore.
The shore route is beautiful, but getting over the Appalachian ridge is
easier via Edmundston along the rail trail. The shoulders on the
highway through the Matapédia valley to Gaspésie are intermittent,
even though it is part of the Route verte. New Brunswick has excellent
roads with extra wide shoulders.

This message was edited by geeg on 12-12-08 @ 8:01 PM

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