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Messages - jimbo

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Gear Talk / Re: Trek 520
« on: June 09, 2010, 10:18:09 pm »
I was new to touring after 15 years of using a Trek 7000 mtb mostly as a road bike. Bought the 520 4 years ago and went coast to coast in 08. For me the bike is perfect. I am 6'2 and 210. I had to replace the rear wheel due to rim cracks at the spoke heads but the other components have been fine. It has been ridden just 8K so far so still a young bike. Ideally you could test drive both popular bikes for a week, but the reality is you will be lucky to get a 2-4 hour test ride.  Buy from an experienced shop where the staff ride to work daily.
They should mount the bike and you on their "fit" station and check you and it out for proper fit.
There is no one "best" bike out there. The 520 is among the "best" group.
Have fun with the decision.....and all the miles.

I did a west-east trip in 08 and we used the "towpath" et al from Buffalo to around Johnsburg and then back roads up to Saratoga Springs and east from there into VT, NH and landed at Wells. ME. The "canal towpath bike route" is a mixed bag of on/off the towpath. My sense was about 1/2 the time we were off the path on adjacent roads. Most of the towpath was fairly firm surface of stone dust.
Details at :  "coast to coast for conservation".  We used the NT route about 5 weeks and Erie Connector as well. There is a Erie Canal Towpath guide for cyclist that is available. It is not always 100% obvious how to access the off the canal routes, but we managed ok. ( I live in the Finger Lakes )

Good luck.

General Discussion / Re: What is the best bike to tour with?
« on: June 08, 2010, 10:11:48 pm »
I am not a bike techy and I am sure you will get some well qualified is my less than techy unqualified reply ( I did the NT on a trek 520...standard steed for the job)

What size tires will you be using on the Madrone? I am trying to imagine a 700x25 pulling a trailer.

General Discussion / Re: cross country north teir 2011
« on: May 04, 2010, 09:25:30 pm »
VT....the ACA NT maps  point out the campgrounds along the route. We did a modified NT tour supported with a pop-up tent camper in 08 and had no problem finding sites. That did include the usual private and public sites, but also municipal parks with gracious Town Clerks, a motel backyard, fairgrounds, and  a few off the grid USFS sites etc. Depends how big the RV is I suppose.
Jim K

Routes / Re: Across Wisconsin- LaCrosse to Milwaukee
« on: April 17, 2010, 10:18:38 pm »
Hi Turk...I took a bike trail from LaCrosse to Sparta and then the Sparta-Elroy rail trail which goes thru 3 tunnels. They are a blast.  I assume it continues on to Madison..we left it at Elroy to get to Manitowac.  You should have a nice ride.  We rode in the tunnels as we were alone. ( you need some illumination)

General Discussion / Re: 25 years on....
« on: April 16, 2010, 10:40:57 pm »
Good learning curve took several months and two falls. It happens when you least expect it. ( Which is why it happens maybe)

hey'll get  varied opinions on this so here's view comes after only reading ACA and CGOAB forums for 3-4 years. Your question comes up every year... and what I recall is that "almost all"  forum participants responding to that issue do not support mixing raising funds for charity and paying for the trip. doesn't mean some people won't support you for both, but just not seen as a very good practice.
"warm" and ""  are sites that have members that offer free rooms for cyclist.  (one way to beat some costs and meet people)
good luck...

Routes / Re: East West Route starting in May
« on: March 15, 2010, 09:52:31 pm »
Stu; We did west to east in 10 weeks in 2008 and used about 6+ weeks of N Tier as well as Erie Connector and Great Lakes in Mich.
We did NT route from Anacortes WA to Glacier Park; then left NT to go to south to Yellowstone/Black Hills/Badlands; SD; southern MN; central WI; ferry across Lake Michigan and then picked up the Great Lakes, Erie Connector, Erie Canal +NT thru most of NY; VT, NH Southern ME. (3700 miles) Details at:  It was a relaxed pace with stops at all Parks etc.
No matter what route you decide will see rural USA.

Regarding leaving Yellowstone and picking up NT. In 08 we went from Glacier (NT) south on 83 (Swan River Valley..beautiful ride) to 200  to 279 (Flescher Pass) to Helena and 280/284 Canyon Ferry Rd to 12 to 89 which took us south to Mammoth Hot Springs/Yellowstone. We camped and had no problems with the route. The worst traffic using NT routes was in Whitefish-Glacier area. Survivable but ugly. The other roads were great.  Details at Coast to Coast for Conservation at:

Routes / Re: Help planning from WI to Yellowstone
« on: February 22, 2010, 08:37:51 pm »
Erik....I posted a few days ago buy the text went south.  I have done most of the trip you are planning..tho from west to east. Check out our 2008 blog "Coast to Coast for Conservation" at:

You would be further north being at Chippewa Falls ( we crossed into MN at LaCrosse and took the Root River Trail in SE Minn and then stayed south of I 90 across south MN.) But we felt that #44 across SD was a good road and showed the rural culture of small towns of SD very well and leads into  the Badlands and Black Hills. Try to include Devils Monument en route to Yellowstone. We liked 14/16 through much of WYO and loved Shell Canyon as the route over the Big Horns...but we loved climbs so were not looking for the least elevation over the Big Horns. Our trip was supported but we camped the entire route and had no issues with finding sites.


Routes / Re: Help planning from WI to Yellowstone
« on: February 19, 2010, 10:12:02 pm »
 We went west to east in 08 and stayed in Yellowstone ( after coming from Glacier via Anacortes and the NT). We also took in Devils Monument, Black Hills, Badlands... used SD#44 to NE Iowa to Lake Okobojie (sp) to Jackson MN and south of I90 to Root River Bike trail in SE Minn to LaCrosse WI  to Sparta-Elroy Trail ( with 3 tunnels..a BLAST) up to Green Lake WI and then ended up in Manitowac. 
Exact route on our blog "coast to coast for conservation" at (

General Discussion / Re: Which Erie Canal guide book "best"?
« on: February 19, 2010, 09:54:55 pm »
Also used the PTNY book from Buffalo to St Johnsville. It was good enough, though we had some confusion getting started on the "trail" after entering Buffalo from the Peace Bridge. You should not have that problem since you are ending in Buffalo. There are numerous sections that put you back on roads so you need to stay alert.  We found painted signage on the road surface (white circle with a directional line) a huge help. Those signs were from the annual 400 mile Erie Canal ride (

Hey most have pointed out..April can be a challenge in the east. Regarding route along the Erie Canal Path we used it in 2008 and found it worth it. We had 700x32 tires and did not find the fine stone on the path an issue..BUT we were not loaded. We did go thru Buffalo and used the Peace Bridge. For details go to and click on New York and Ontario. 

Routes / Re: Northern Tier-ish
« on: February 03, 2010, 09:40:51 pm »
We were heading east but regarding the Buffalo area we used the Peace Bridge and found our way somewhat quickly thru the maze after the Bridge to the Niagara River Trail. True, though the roads in one stretch of a few miles were crappy, but it did not last long. We used ACA map and the Erie Canal map and then found the painted signs of the NY Parks Buffalo to Albany bike route to guide us when we were confused. The River Trail was fun. I don't know if there is a perfect route.

General Discussion / Re: Your first long distance tour...
« on: January 24, 2010, 07:25:16 pm »
My first long tour which was my very first tour ever  was coast to coast in 2008 at age 62, and my first thoughts were "how will a 30 mile uphill in the Cascades feel"...and as the temps went to 105º+ my thoughts quickly changed to "can I ride in this heat for a week". I found living in the moment was all I wanted to do and it worked for me. At the end, the 3rd week of Oct. in Maine, it was a cold cold day with a NE wind and all I thought about was getting off the beach after the toast. Not very profound.  
I had some profound thoughts on the long long Hwy#44 in SD where the moments ran into days. My riding companion had lots of profound thoughts, but as the blog writer, and a writer by trade, (  he had to be thinking of profound discoveries along the route.
For me it doesn't have to be profound to be meaningful. Just be.  Ride and live.

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