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Messages - litespeed

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General Discussion / Re: Tales of Calamity and Woe
« on: October 31, 2012, 07:25:57 pm »
I once had the cogs in my rear wheel go out just after leaving Reed City, Michigan on a Sunday. Suddenly I was pedalling and going nowhere. Fortunately I had met a retired couple in town. I called them up and wound up staying with them for a couple of days. He took me into Big Rapids on Monday for new innards for my wheel. I still correspond with them.

On the second day of TOSRV South (Tallahassee to Albany GA and back) my Modolo stem broke right off. I came down hard on the post and fortunately didn't crack my sternum. I have heard that it can be right painful. Support provided me with a bike for the rest of the ride.

In Lancaster CA an incompetent bike mechanic didn't pin a new chain correctly and got the chain length wrong. It came apart as I was leaving the KOA the next day. Fortunately the buses there have bike racks so I was able to return to the shop and get a new one from the guy who owned the shop.

Peugeot once made a frame of aluminum with the joints pressed together - no welding or gluing. It was an interesting idea - get the tolerances tight enough and the aluminum will weld itself - but didn't work out. Mine failed at the front of one chainstay. I took a couple of spills before I figured out what was going on. I gingery pedaled back to my van and discarded the frame when I got home.

Connecting ACA Routes / Re: Niagra Falls to NYC
« on: October 19, 2012, 12:42:10 pm »
Erie Canal Trail to the Hudson River. Get a copy of "Cycling the Erie Canal" from Parks and Trails New York. I recommend taking 9W down the west side of the river. It is lightly traveled as most of the traffic is on the interstate. Then cross over the George Washington Bridge to the city.

When I lived in Hoboken my ride of choice was to go north on 9W.

The quickest route? That's easy. Just ride 190 to where it joins I-10 then ride the shoulder of the interstate to Fort Hancock. It would be a good idea to get off there and take 20 into El Paso to avoid heavy interstate traffic around the (relatively) big city.

I did this in reverse a few years ago - left El Paso on 20 then I-10 to Kerrville where I took local roads into San Antonio.

Routes / Re: Trip from DC to Mobile, Alabama
« on: October 13, 2012, 01:08:04 pm »
Here's a thought: You could go a few miles west from DC to Front Royal VA and get on the Skyline Drive/Blue Ridge Parkway. At the end at Cherokee NC you could head west over the pass to Gatlinburg TN and on to the northern terminus of the Natchez Trace just south of Nashville. You could ride it to the end at Natchez and double back to Mobile. This would put you on very scenic, bicycle friendly roadways for 80-90% of your trip.

The Blue Ridge involves a lot of climbing and would be chilly in October. Also it requires a lot of planning, camping and packing your own food.

I haven't done either of these scenic roadways because they were never on my route but for your route I would certainly consider it.

Gear Talk / Re: Panniers - dry bag vs. traditional
« on: October 04, 2012, 06:42:38 pm »
I started out touring with Bruce Gordon racks and panniers but after a rainy tour around the 48 states in 2004 I was thoroughly sick of messing with rain covers. So I got Ortlieb panniers and handlebar pack and have used them ever since. They look as good as the day I bought them and have never leaked a drop. I am also a real fan of the very convenient attaching/dismounting system. I don't miss the lack of compartments as all the things I need during the day are right at hand in the handlebar pack and in the clear plastic map holder on top.

The Bruce Gordon racks, by the way, have done fine duty, only coming off the bike once for a paint job.

General Discussion / Re: Overcoming butt pain
« on: October 02, 2012, 04:03:45 pm »
I don't know if it would work for everyone but I wouldn't use anything but a Terry Liberator Y Gel saddle. The Y is the guy's saddle. The X is for women. I position the saddle as far forward as possible, level and fairly high. The only time I get any butt pain at all is after 80 miles in one day and, even then, just a little bit after a rest stop.

Routes / Re: Outter Banks direction of travel
« on: September 14, 2012, 10:14:36 am »
I have done the Outer Banks south-to-north four times. Once I had a southerly tailwind but was told by an experienced touring cyclist that it was quite unusual. And once I had to lay over a day to wait out a howling NW headwind. Other than that I have had inconsequential winds or mild headwinds. As a general rule doing the Outer Banks in a southerly direction is probably a safer bet but there is no guarantee. That area sticks out into the Atlantic and catches some wild and flukey weather.

Routes / Re: Atlanta, GA to Miami, FL
« on: September 10, 2012, 08:31:40 pm »
I have done Holiday, FL (near St. Pete) to Savannah numerous times. If you can make it to Savannah you could head south on 17 (a good bicycling road albeit not very scenic) to Yulee, FL, just over the line. Then go east on A1A and down the coast. I have never been south of Ormond Beach on a bicycle but I love A1A that far. You are rarely without shoulders or parallel trails except in the towns. And bopping along the shore is very pleasant with frequent ocean views and plenty of services.

I'm a big fan of paralleling interstates as there is usually little traffic. You might consider going alongside 75 and 16 to Savannah although I would skirt Macon. It's a tough town to bicycle through.

Routes / Re: Country Bumpkin meets NYC
« on: September 10, 2012, 08:05:36 pm »
Why go all the way to New Jersey and double back through NYC to Long Island? There are ferries from Bridgeport and New London, Connecticut across Long Island Sound. You could then bicycle along the north shore and down to Uniondale. I have never gone this way but I rarely pass up a chance to ride a ferry while bicycle touring.

If you insist on going to NJ and back to NYC, don't worry about bicycling in Manhattan. It's a snap. New Yorkers are the best drivers in the world. When you exit the train station just pull out your compass and head east. The Brooklyn Bridge is a blast on a bicycle.

General Discussion / Re: Numbness, Tingling and Loss of strength in hand
« on: September 01, 2012, 02:03:54 pm »
I have congenital, chronic carpal tunnel syndrome and large hands. I use the widest drop bars I can find - 44-46cm -with a nice straight section on the front of the drops. I change hand positions all the time and try to keep my arms and hands as relaxed as possible. I'm not in top shape right now but I have less arm and hand pain when my arms are strong and well exercised. Pain in my forearms is about the worst thing I have to deal with when I'm touring.

I have also found that loose, comfortable clothing, including shoes, is big help in every way.

Routes / Re: NYC to Baltimore?
« on: August 29, 2012, 12:31:02 pm »
[quote author=Joshie2b

"For the NJ side, you have lot of options but the coastal route is nice. Stick right be the coast through seaside heights; then cut over to toms river, take route 9 through Tuckerton. You then must cut inland to lower bank, where you can cross the river. Then you have a choice; inland route straight down, or take the route 30 bridge to Atlantic city and go down the coast to wildwood before cutting across to the ferry."

Cutting over to Toms River from Seaside Heights requires going over the route 37 bridge. This one, like many bridges along the NJ shore, is forbidden to bicycles. You are expected to walk along the narrow sidewalk. I have ridden over some of the short bridges anyway but this one is a problem. As I recall it had no shoulder and was mighty long - some 3 miles - and heavily trafficked. I'm not familiar with the route 30 bridge to Atlantic City and would really like to hear if it is passable on a bicycle.

As Joshie said, you can cut inland at Tuckerton but you can also go through New Gretna before cutting inland to the bridge at Lower Bank or Green Bank.

Routes / Re: NYC to Baltimore?
« on: August 14, 2012, 10:51:25 pm »
Indyfabz's advice is sound but I have a couple of additions. The old bridge over Great Egg is closed but the last time I went that way I ignored the closing and went on over it. I figured if people were fishing off it I could bicycle it. Of course it may be impassable by now.

The real problem for the last few years has been the new bridge construction over the Mullica River near New Gretna. If it is done by now you can just scoot along the shoulder of the combined Garden State Parkway/US9 for the 2 1/2 miles. I used to do this many years ago. Both times I was passed by police cars who ignored me. If the construction is still going on (ask in New Gretna) you will have to detour west through Egg Harbor City and Mays Landing. This stretch is almost eerily devoid of traffic and people.

Routes / Re: What is the best route from Virginia to New York?
« on: August 10, 2012, 06:50:09 pm »
I have gone up the east coast from Florida to NY a number of times. From Virginia I go to Lewes, Delaware where I catch the ferry to Cape May. From there I go straight up US9. If the bridge is still under construction over the Mullica river near New Gretna it requires a detour to the west on 50. From Toms River I cut towards the coast on 70. To get into Manhattan I take the train (off hours) from Long Branch or (much more relaxing) the ferry from Atlantic Highlands.

Gear Talk / Re: Bar End shifters vs
« on: July 18, 2012, 08:54:09 pm »
Hopefully you can still edit your comment and fix the obvious error.  Shimano introduced STI (brifters, dual control brake/shift levers) for road bikes in 1990.  That was about 22 years ago.

Apparently you are right. I would have sworn I got my 105 STI in 1980 or earlier but, checking my records, it was the early 1990's - probably as soon as they came out with it.

I have heard so many bad things about bicycling through Houston that I always avoid it by swinging south and bicycling along the Galveston waterfront. This is a beautiful ride - miles and miles of wide esplanade along the ocean. I recommend it highly. You also get the relaxing ferry ride east of town.

The Beaumont/Port Arthur area is difficult, congested bicycling. You might want to buy a county map to help you pick your way through the area.

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