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Messages - litespeed

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General Discussion / Re: Riding on the US Interstates
« on: September 07, 2014, 10:33:00 am »
As a general rule you can ride the shoulders of interstates (well away from large cities) west of the Mississippi. I once rode interstates most of the way from southern California to San Antonio TX. In states like Montana, with no large cities, you can ride them most anywhere. It is often convenient and sometimes there is no choice.

When I finally decided to wear oversize shoes and keep them plenty loose I pretty much got rid of foot pain. I also set my SPD cleats as far back on my shoes as possible to take the pressure off the balls of my feet.

General Discussion / Re: Bike / Hike Campsites on southern PCR
« on: July 24, 2014, 03:36:08 pm »
The major problem in the parks on the southern California coast is not lack of camping spots it is the "homeless" (to use a polite term) stumbling around. The last time I went down the coast they were such pests that I cut inland at Paso Robles to get away from them.

If I sound unsympathetic it is because I got to really know them after I got out of the army. I spent a few years knocking around the country, staying in cheap rooms and working out of rent-a-drunk labor outfits and government employment centers. I always had a buck in my pocket, clean clothes on my back and a roof over my head because I was willing to work at whatever I was offered. I never met any homeless person who was "down on his luck" or mentally ill. They ALL had simply made a life decision to beg, drink cheap wine and use drugs instead of work.

General Discussion / Re: dogs and security
« on: July 24, 2014, 03:09:49 pm »
My favorite trick is to swerve back and forth if there is room to do it safely. This really confuses the dogs. I have had them run into signposts, telephone poles and culverts, get all tangled up with each other and go down in a tumbling, dusty heap, even just trip all over themselves. They can't handle a swerving target.

Routes / Re: Virginia
« on: June 24, 2014, 09:21:49 am »
Swerving back and forth (if traffic allows) really confuses chasing dogs. In doing so I have gotten them all tangled up in each other, had them run into ditches, trip all over themselves and once even had one run head on into a signpost.

Gear Talk / Re: solo bike security
« on: April 07, 2014, 05:57:08 pm »
I pack a beefy Bell cable lock. I generally lock my bike to something if it will be out of sight. I sometimes don't bother if I am just zipping into a convenience store. In campgrounds I lock it to the bench on the picnic table and place the tent so I can see it while inside. The more I bicycle tour, the more casual I have gotten about security. A loaded touring bike is a very specialized item. Some 99% of the population would really have no use for my bike or gear. What would Joe Average do with it? Sell it on ebay?

Still, it is the most valuable thing I own that isn't cash or real estate so I guard it well.

Routes / Re: Wind Direction Going Cross-Country
« on: April 03, 2014, 11:19:44 pm »
The preceding "prevailing winds in July" map gives you a pretty good picture of what winds to expect but any front rolling through will change the wind direction. For instance I once fought northerly winds going northward in the eastern US but it was a very rainy year. Also I once fought SE headwinds going all the way across Colorado and half of Kansas until a front came through and gave me a tailwind from Dodge City to Wichita then little wind at all after that. I have also had to lay over a day to wait out strong headwinds once while going westward in the Texas panhandle and once going northward in the Outer Banks. Sometimes you just have to hunker down for a day or two. On the other hand, there will be days and even weeks of bicycle touring where wind simply isn't even a factor.

Be sure to take advantage of a good tailwind. I remember a howling tailwind pushing me the 115 miles from Lordsburg NM to Las Cruces. I used my big chainring and arrived at the KOA in Las Cruces at 3:00PM. What a day!

Routes / Re: Yellowstone to Rapid City, SD
« on: November 14, 2013, 10:37:52 pm »
I rode Mt. Rushmore to Yellowstone on US16 and 14 (and some stretches of interstate) nine years ago. I made it all right. There are some lonely and some difficult stretches but nothing unsurmountable. Descending east down out of Yellowstone is narrow, winding and shoulderless. Try to hit it at low traffic times if possible. Climbing over the Bighorns will give you serious bragging rights. Climbing up on 14A is 10% for 13 miles. I understand 14 is marginally easier. There is nothing at Ucross so water up between Sheridan and Clearmont. Ditto between Spotted Horse and Gillette. There is also nothing (that I recall) between Lovell and the Bighorns. Going through Greybull and Buffalo on 16 might be easier.

Routes / Re: route from MN to CA mostly on bike paths
« on: November 04, 2013, 11:22:04 am »
Minnesota and Wisconsin are loaded with bicycle trails - much more than most states. Your most direct route to California would be through South Dakota, Wyoming, Utah (or southern Idaho) and Nevada (or southern Oregon). There are few bicycle trails in these states. You might join Rails-to-trails to find out where the trails are.

I would suggest heading west on US14 and doing a somewhat northerly route. This would hit such scenic hotspots/parks as the Rapid City area and Jackson/Yellowstone.

Routes / Re: Ride across Nebraska route advice
« on: October 24, 2013, 09:32:21 am »
Your biggest problem will be goathead thorns flatting your tires. Make sure you stay on the pavement to keep punctures to a minimum. And have good, thick tire liners.

I crossed Nebraska E to W a few years ago on 34, 30 and 26. Plenty of south winds and usually good shoulders on the main roads. I had no trouble finding accomodations - plenty of campgrounds and motels - and meals. Very friendly people. I got a flat near Lincoln and four cars stopped to offer help, including a trooper.

General Discussion / Re: Natchez trace open?
« on: October 15, 2013, 07:28:54 pm »
I just biked up to Natchez, planning to do the Trace. I got as far as Rocky Springs. I was able to camp at the campground but all the bathrooms and office were locked up and the water turned off. There was a trail crew camping out there using a standpipe - the only water. They let me pitch camp that night but I was told that all facilities would be closed to everyone the next day. So I left the Trace at Jackson and came back home to Florida.

Routes / Re: Florida
« on: September 03, 2013, 10:25:15 am »
I live in Holiday, FL, about 30 miles north of St. Petersburg. I know (bicycle touring) Florida north of St. Pete like the back of my hand but have never bicycled south.

You could probably go to, say, Sarasota and on down the Gulf coast to the Tamiami Trail (US41), across the state and on down to Key West. There are intermitent trails alongside the Overseas Highway. The Sunshine Skyway (I-275) south out of St. Pete is closed to cyclists. This is a trip I have had in the back of my mind for years. Unless you have a tolerance for heat you should do it in the dead of winter. I have lived in Florida since 1976 without air conditioning so am well acclimated but northerners often have a hard time here.

The west coast is, frankly, a lot more scenic and interesting than Florida. If you could do a trip there between Labor Day and mid-October you should have a fine, if physically demanding, tour. This would avoid the summer crowds and the winter storms.

Routes / Re: New York to Chicago routes?
« on: August 24, 2013, 10:10:44 am »
The states you will be going through generally have good roads with adequate shoulders. There are also plenty of facilities - state parks, campgrounds, motels, restaurants, etc. I have done this route a couple of times. Just make sure to pick your way around  the cities - particularly in Ohio. I have also found that the parks/campgrounds tend to get raucous on weekends if they are within 100 miles of a large city. City people tend to make a lot of noise and smoky campfires.

You will get in some climbing - plenty of short, steep climbs as far as northern Ohio. You can avoid a lot of this by going the Erie Canal bike route then clinging to the shores of the Great Lakes.

Apparently the US17 "Blue Bridge" over the St. Mary's River (FL-GA line) is down for lengthy repairs. Poo. This will somewhat interfere with my impending ride up to Savannah. I usually get there in the late afternoon so I suspect that I could sneak/clamber my way through but it would be a gamble. 

I will probably take 108 west to Hillard and Folkston. Then I'll stay there the night, not having enough daylight to get to the KOA at Kingsland. Then 252 back to 17 at White Oak the next day and on north. This will add 20-30 miles to my trip.

A bike shop in St. Mary's (Camden Bicycle Center 912 576-9696) is offering free shuttles up I95 around this obstacle. I might give them a call before I leave.

I am 72 with genetically low blood pressure and VERY low cholesterol and an affinity for plodding away at hard, endless, tiresome tasks - ideal for long distance bicycle touring. As for diet I eat out (don't camp cook) but usually manage to get reasonably proper meals. That's what Waffle House's, oriental buffets and Subway's are for. I usually knock out 100 mile days. If I get tired I take a rest day.

After a tour I feel great although I have never specifically checked my BP or cholesterol upon returning home. I think bicycle touring is a healthy lifestyle. One big advantage of cycling is that it is not weight bearing and therefore easy on the joints. My brother and sisters (all younger than me) have all had joint replacements (hips and knees) but, as the only touring cyclist, I have been spared.

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