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Messages - litespeed

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Whichever route you take, don't even think about riding 191 between Bozeman and the intersection with 287 (just north of W. Yellowstone). It's bad news - narrow, winding, shoulderless, hemmed in by the river and cliffs and full of impatient truck drivers. I rode 191 northward a few years ago and really regret not turning off at 287.

Routes / Re: Cape May, NJ Ferry
« on: May 29, 2013, 08:14:41 pm »
Not at all. Once a local cop passed me and another time a trooper went by me. Neither gave me a second glance. But once they started building the new bridge there was no shoulder so I had to detour. Been going through Egg Harbor City and Mays Landing ever since.

I have done St. Augustine Beach northward up the coast more times than I can count. Here is my route as far as Wilmington NC: Ride A1A north to and through Jacksonville Beach. Then go on to the Mayport Naval Station and take the ferry across the river.  Continue to Buccaneer Trail and take it till it ends at Amelia Parkway. Go left and go on to A1A right by the bridge. Go west to US17and head north. This is a good, albeit not very scenic, bicycling road.  You can skirt around Savannah by taking Dean Forest Road, SR307, to Port Wentworth and go over the old bridge. From Hardeeville SC continue on US17 and the old highway alongside the interstate until it ends. Then go over I-95 and up through Yemassee (KOA) and Hendersonville to Walterboro. From Walterboro go out 17 a few miles to Sidney's Rd. and go up it to 61. Ride 61 into Charleston then left on 17 and over the bridges. Immediately after the Arthur Ravenal Bridge turn right on 703 to Rifle Range Road and take it through Mt. Pleasant.

This all sounds a bit roundabout but the stretches of 17 and 17A south of Charleston and Summerville and 17 through Mt. Pleasant are truly bad stretches of road - high speed narrow two lane, totally shoulderless and heavily trafficked.

After Mt. Pleasant get back on 17 and follow it to North Carolina. You can avoid the worst of Wilmington by taking 211 to delightful Southport and taking the ferry. Then go up through the beaches to Oleander Drive and skirting around Wilmington to the east. Of course, if Wilmington is your destination you can plan your approach according to exactly where you want to go.

Gear Talk / Re: Underwear
« on: May 19, 2013, 09:42:26 pm »
I wear MB shorts with separate padded lycra shorts under. I like having pockets available. When buying shorts I always search out MB shorts with detachable padded inner lycra shorts. Then I can mix and match. I only pack two sets. And always get black or, at least, a dark color.

I have heard that the lycra inner shorts make fine swimwear although I have never tried this.

I wear long sleeve Under Armour jerseys. Red is the brightest color they have available.

Routes / Re: Cape May, NJ Ferry
« on: May 19, 2013, 09:17:02 pm »
I have ridden the Lewes-Cape May ferry and gone up US9 a number of times in the past 10 years. Originally I just went right up 9 and rode the Garden State Parkway shoulder for the 2 1/2 miles over the Mullica River near New Gretna. Then they did a multi-year rebuild of that bridge. I then detoured, taking 50, 563 and 542 through Mays Landing and Egg Harbor City. This is a peculiarly lonely stretch of road with very, very little traffic. Also poorly signed.

This detour also avoids the truncated US9 near Ocean City.

The ferry is flat huge (but very comfortable) for such a short run.

There used to be a ferry from South Amboy to Manhattan but that ceased. I now get off 9 at Toms River and go to Long Branch for the train (bikes allowed non- rush hour) or Atlantic Highlands for the ferry.

Gear Talk / Re: do I have too much crap?
« on: May 02, 2013, 12:09:47 am »
My total touring weight - bike and everything on it - is about 75 lbs. I pack no cooking gear and usually no food - just the occasional subway. Tent, sleeping bag and Thermarest pad are in a small duffle crossways on the rear rack. My Ortlieb panniers are only partially full except for the front left one (clothing and toiletries) that goes to the bathouse with me. I am not a real weight watcher. My tool bag is about the size of a football and, I admit, contains a few things that I have never used but you never know...

General Discussion / Re: The importance of always wearing a helmet
« on: May 01, 2013, 11:49:05 pm »
I always wear a helmet. I have crashed at least twice where I have been saved from serious head injury by my helmet (which had to be replaced a couple of those times).

That said, I once had a very rare accident in which I would have been better off without a helmet. It was at a spot on a sidewalk/trail where a telephone pole guy wire infringed on the right side. I was used to dodging it but once got distracted dodging glass on the sidewalk. The guy wire snagged my right shoulder and helmet, jerking me backwards and slamming me to the ground. I remember briefly looking up at my bicycle. It shattered the helmet and cut my shoulder. Very embarrassing.

As I said, this was a very unusual occurrence. I still wear a helmet whenever I'm on a bike.

Routes / Re: Help addressing Gettysburg
« on: March 16, 2013, 07:27:13 pm »
I've been to Gettysburg a couple of times. Both times the weather was rainy (the first time it really poured) so I passed on the KOA and got a motel a block from the visitor center. As I recall it cost me $60, a bit pricey, and was perfectly comfortable.

I'd love to go back when the sun is shining.

General Discussion / Re: Campsites and bike theives!
« on: February 26, 2013, 10:54:24 pm »
I have stayed in hundreds of campgrounds - KOA's and state, federal, municipal and public campgrounds. I lock my bicycle to the picnic bench with my beefy cable lock. I set up my tent so that the bike is visible to me while lying within it. I have never had anything stolen or, to the best of my knowledge, has anyone even tried.

The main advantages touring cyclists have is our strangeness (to most people) and the fact that most people probably assume that we really don't have much worth stealing. And we really don't. Most thieves are looking for jewelry, pricey electronics or guns.

General Discussion / Re: Self Contained Touring in Northern Minnesota
« on: February 05, 2013, 01:39:37 pm »
Minnesota and Wisconsin are fine bicycling states. Good shoulders on the roads, plenty of trails and campgrounds, lots of state and municipal parks with camping spots, lots of services and a bike-friendly populace. Also, the state parks have a policy of always finding a spot for bicycle tourists, even when full.

My only quibble is that there are often frost cracks on the highway shoulders every ten feet or so but this is hardly a major problem.

Routes / Re: Pedal to the Midnight Sun info...
« on: January 17, 2013, 11:41:59 am »
Tom Snyders, "The Bicycling Comedian", has biked Prudhoe Bay to Tierra del Fuego in stages. His website is You can e-mail him at He has toured all over the world and can give you tips. I met him three times while cycling up the east coast one year.

Gear Talk / Re: Bike Rack Advice
« on: December 07, 2012, 02:40:00 pm »
Another strike against putting a bike on a roof rack is that I have read that the high winds involved can blow the grease out of the headset and other junctures if they are not shielded. Frankly, I don't know if this is true or not. It might just be a myth.

I'd add Gorilla Tape - sold in any hardware store. It is a sort of super duct tape - very strong, durable and so sticky that it is hard to peel off the roll and requires some care in applying. It is great for patching tents, sleeping bags, the bags they come in and attaching most anything to anything.

I'd also add a small multitool, mainly for the pliers. That rare stuck valve nut can be a real problem.

Gear Talk / Re: Bike Rack Advice
« on: December 02, 2012, 11:18:48 pm »
Since I am hopelessly absent minded I refuse to even consider a roof rack. My sister, and ardent outdoorswoman, used to insist I should get a roof rack for my bicycle. I told her of my reservations. She confessed that she had torn the seats off a couple of bicycles on low branches.

Since I won't own anything but a minivan (hopelessly uncool but, in my opinion, the greatest invention since the zipper) a rack is not necessary at all. I have a sturdy cargo trailer that serves as my pickup truck.

Gear Talk / Re: sleeping bags
« on: December 02, 2012, 11:04:40 pm »
I pack two sleeping bags and use them in combination or individually as needed. One is a very lightweight bag that packs into a bag a bit smaller than a football. The other is a Mountain Hardware "40 degree bag" that is, frankly, only good down to about 50 degrees. Below that I use them both with the lightweight bag inside. Below freezing I also put on plenty of clothes and zip up the tent good and tight. If it is very warm I lie on top of both of them. I use a shorty Thermarest pad.

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