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Messages - litespeed

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Routes / saddles for touring
« on: January 26, 2007, 11:56:26 am »
I wouldn't use anything but a Terry Gel Touring saddle. And I'm not alone in this opinion. I've met a lot of people using them and they are unaminous in their praise. They are very comfortable and last forever. You can get both men's and women's models. It's the only saddle I've used that doesn't cause me pain or numbness.

Routes / Road tourists: gravel roads?
« on: December 09, 2006, 11:44:45 am »
For non-paved bicycle travel it's best to have tires no smaller than 28mm. I have 37mm tires on my touring bike. It will go most anywhere. If your rims are too small a set of custom wheels are a good investment.

Routes / Circling nj
« on: February 17, 2007, 09:48:15 am »
I don't recall riding the Garden State Parkway near Gretna or how I got across the Mullica river there. I might have ridden the shoulder of the Parkway for the 2 miles or there might be another  bridge. I don't really remember but I don't recall any problems there. I did ride 9 all the way from Cape May to South Amboy where I got the ferry to Manhattan. It gradually turns into a freeway after Toms Ferry but is perfectly rideable. I recommend this route all the time.

Routes / Circling nj
« on: December 07, 2006, 12:05:13 pm »
Google "bicycling new jersey". There is a ton of stuff available. I recommend US9 from Cape May to South Amboy or at least to Toms River. The southern portion below Toms River is great cycling with big shoulders and plenty of facilities. You can avoid the Newark area by taking the ferry from South Amboy to 34th St. in Manhattan, going up Broadway (Easy. Just get in the bus lane and hammer) to the George Washington Bridge and crossing over to 9W - a good cycling road with little traffic. There is a bicycle trail on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River in the Frenchtown/Trenton/Phila. area. Brace yourself for some fairly tough climbing in the Greenwood Lake (on the NY line) area and along the upper Delaware River. New Jersey is a fine bicycling state. You'll have a fine trip.

Routes / So Tier San Diego to Phoenix
« on: December 02, 2006, 09:19:47 pm »
I've done El Centro CA to Tuscon AZ. I just rode the shoulder of I-8 when I had to and parallel roads when I could. I don't know the AC route but there isn't much alternative to this. It was a pleasant enough ride although 2004 was a rainy year. Interstate 8 is lightly travelled but don't even think about I-10 between Phoenix and Tuscon (Illegal for bicycles anyway). Non stop heavy traffic day and night. But you will probably be getting off at Gila Bend and going up to Phoenix. I went this way because it was late in the year and I wanted to stay as far south as possible. You shouldn't have any trouble finding motels.

Routes / Safety of Pan American Highway
« on: November 05, 2006, 10:19:57 am »
I wouldn't worry too much about safety in Mexico. They'll think you're a little screwy but no one will bother you. You don't say how much of the Panamerican Highway you plan to do. Alaska to Tierra del Fuego or just south from Arizona? The nice thing about Latinamerica is that you can get a bite to eat and lodging most anywhere as long as you're not too fussy. Most people skip Colombia - fly from Panama City to Ecuador. In Centralamerica Guatemala is the most interesting country, Cost Rica the most pleasant and Honduras the poorest.

Routes / Mentor,OH to Greenwich CT
« on: November 09, 2006, 11:16:36 pm »
Your trip has two things going for it. Northern PA is fairly scenic and pleasant cycling and you will have virtually no cities or even major towns to skirt. I avoid major cities unless I have to get something done. I have cycled northwest PA and did just fine. You will have some climbing but nothing like western NY state (The Finger Lakes region is very tough). Going straight east to Connecticut should be a very nice ride. Wouldn't mind doing it myself.

This message was edited by litespeed on 11-20-06 @ 2:31 PM

Routes / East to West in March
« on: October 26, 2006, 11:36:34 am »
March is a bit early. April or further south would be a lot better. I think you'll be surprised at how changeable the weather will be, especially as you get to the center of the country. In any case, bring warm clothing and a good sleeping bag. I use two sleeping bags - a lightweight one and a very lightweight one. I use them alone or together, depending on the weather.

Routes / northern tier
« on: October 19, 2006, 06:49:10 pm »
I learned the hard way to eat well. Get your fruits and veggies. Don't try to eat out of convenience stores. Oriental buffets are the best. Or good home cooked meals at cafes and restaurants. If you can't get a well rounded meal pick up a couple of apples at a supermarket. And eat all you want. Overeating is not a problem. I have NEVER eaten powerbars and the like and never will. I'd rather eat sawdust.

Routes / northern tier
« on: October 19, 2006, 06:40:20 pm »
I have crossed the country 5 times, more or less. Mostly east to west. I've never done the Northern Tier exactly, although I've come close. A detour I'd recommend would be to take the huge ferry across the middle of Lake Michigan between Manitowoc, Wisconsin and Ludington, Michigan. It's a nice break. And be sure to stop in Reed City, MI. Their municipal campground is one of my favorites.
I consistently do 100+ mile days with little problem and I am well in my 60's. Also I have a fairly heavy rig - 80 pounds total bike fully loaded. If I get wasted, or just want to take in the sights, I take a rest day.
I see the Northern Tier route hugs the shore of the Great Lakes. Good idea. Going through the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York state can be very tough with endless steep climbs and descents.
I stay at KOA's if possible. Consistent quality with no unpleasant surprises.

« on: February 20, 2007, 11:47:30 pm »
The main problem with old US highways is that they were laid out in pre-freeway days and go right through the middle (right in front of city hall) of every town and city on the route. Also I think you'll find that US40 disappears (is usurped by interstates) for various stretches. Still, it would be an interesting trip. I have actually considered doing it myself.

Routes / Pacific Coast, Vancouver to San Diego
« on: October 09, 2006, 09:26:58 pm »
The rainy/stormy season is roughly October to April. May should be okay. 60 miles a day is easy for a fit touring cyclist. I did a lot more than that heavily loaded. If you are camping out you'll find the state parks in Washington and Oregon better than California. KOA's, of course, are the same everywhere. Be prepared for serious climbing, particularly Route 1 between Legget and San Francisco. You'll need low gears.

Routes / newbie to ride short pacific route
« on: November 11, 2006, 10:35:27 am »
If you are going in October leave as early in the month as possible. I left Petaluma on October 22, 2004 and went down the coast as far as Guadalupe before heading inland and east. In the six days two storms came through. LOTS of rain. The stormy/rainy season usually starts in the middle of October

This message was edited by litespeed on 11-11-06 @ 6:36 AM

Routes / Southern Tier in Winter?
« on: September 15, 2006, 07:21:10 pm »
I did San Francisco to home (Florida) in November-December. The coldest days (barely freezing) were in Ventucopa CA (high desert) and, surprisingly, Mobile AL. But that was just in the night and early morning. My main problem was rain (2004 was a rainy year) and a lack of expected tailwinds (jet stream ate Texas). The days were short but with a little luck I was able to get in 100 mile days. Except for Interstate 10 El Paso-San Antonio I stayed as far south as possible. The worst roads you'll find are in Louisiana, the best in Texas. I'd say go ahead.
Holiday FL

Routes / Best route to traverse America
« on: October 21, 2006, 03:07:13 pm »
I have only been chased by dogs, and not very often, in the rural southeast - Mississippi, Alabama, etc. I've never been bitten.
Personally I prefer to camp but only in proper campgrounds - state parks, KOA's, municipal (town) campgrounds. The best are in the upper midwest - Wisconsin, Minnesota and thereabouts. I've stayed in plenty of cheap motels but often regretted it - noisy people living it up in the parking lot, times when I couldn't get a nonsmoking room, etc. Also, I tend to watch tv and stay up late. In my tent I just crawl in and sleep. Camping saves a LOT of money
Kansas is very windy and if it's against you it can be very tough. The worst headwinds I ever fought were SE winds Grand Junction CO-Pueblo CO-Wichita KS. On the other hand, a foreign tourist might find Dodge City a blast.
Unlike most touring cyclists, I just love KOA's. They are consistently clean, friendly, well organized and, being family oriented, very quiet at night. One exception: they are often near a main freeway or highway so if you are bothered by traffic noise you might avoid them.
Crosing Nevada, particularly in summer, can be very tough - hot as hell and long stretches of nothing. Oregon, while fairly tough in the eastern half, is better cycling. Also all touring cyclists love the town of Mitchell.

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