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Messages - litespeed

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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.

Routes / Southern Tier W to E in mid-January?
« on: December 14, 2006, 11:40:02 am »
I did El Centro CA to my home in Florida in November - December 2004. It was the final stretch of a circumnavigation of the US. I generally followed Interstates 8 and 10, or nearby roads, as far as San Antonio TX, avoiding major cities. My main problems were rain (It was a wet year) and, surprisingly, mild headwinds (Jet stream ate Texas causing NE winds).
After San Antonio I followed the Gulf coast except for Louisiana where I went north of Baton Rouge. Following the Adventure Cycling Route should keep you out of trouble with the bad Louisiana roads like 190 and bad coastal stretches like around Biloxi. Surprisingly the coldest weather was in Mobile - cold snap, just under freezing in the morning. But otherwise I suffered little from the cold. January and February would certainly be colder than when I did it. Have layered clothing. The best cycling roads you'll find are in Texas, the worst in Louisiana. You might be lucky but don't depend on tailwinds just because you're going west to east. One of the highlights of the trip was bicycling along the Galveston waterfront - miles of fine esplanade. I have also been fervently advised to NOT go through Houston. US90 in the Florida panhandle is a good bicycling road although 98 along the coast is more scenic.

This message was edited by litespeed on 12-14-06 @ 7:43 AM

Routes / Rocky Mountain critters, red in tooth and claw?
« on: October 03, 2006, 12:29:55 am »
I've toured all over the country, including the west. I've never carried any food - extra water occasionally - but never any food. It's amazing the eating places you'll find in the dinkiest western towns. But one thing you might watch out for: On my last trip I fought strong E and SE headwinds from Grand Junction CO all the way across Colorado, through Pueblo and on to Dodge City KS. They were the worst sustained headwinds I'd ever faced. The people in Kansas didn't consider the SE winds unusual. It was very tough.

General Discussion / Winter Pacific Coast tour
« on: January 03, 2009, 11:05:30 am »
There is no way to predict the weather but that is the rainy season and you will probably be dealing with storms rolling through at the rate of two a week. Not fun. You might get lucky and get a break in the weather but you should bring good rain gear and a good tent.

I rode Petaluma to Guadalupe CA at the end of October and got hit with two storms (bringing low temperatures) and a lot of rain.

This message was edited by litespeed on 1-3-09 @ 8:11 AM

General Discussion / Question Regarding Wheel Strength
« on: December 16, 2008, 11:39:18 pm »
"You probably wasted your money on the new wheels. Open Pros will accept much wider tires than 28mm.  Cyclocross riders routinely use 35 and 37 mm tires on these rims".

I did once put a 37mm Continental Top Touring tire on my rear Mavic Open (emergency) but it bulged out so much it looked ready to roll off. It's hard to believe cyclocrossers do this.

General Discussion / Question Regarding Wheel Strength
« on: December 16, 2008, 12:49:42 pm »
As long as your wheels are sound you should be all right. But unless you have wide rims you will be limited in tire size and ability to ride on unpaved surfaces.

My Litespeed Blue Ridge came with 32 spoke (I think) wheels with Mavic Open rims. This limited me to 28mm tires. I had custom 36 spoke wheels made with wide Rhynolite Sunrims. I can now use 37mm tires. I do a lot better on unpaved trails plus they make for a more comfortable ride. Also big tires last longer.

In all my touring - about 30,000 miles -I have broken exactly one spoke.

General Discussion / route 66
« on: December 08, 2008, 05:05:20 pm »
Google "Route 66" or put it up on there are plenty of books, maps and information available.

General Discussion / What Touring bike would you suggest?
« on: November 04, 2008, 11:40:45 am »
I agree with windrath. To the best of my knowledge international flights will let you bring along a bicycle and gear for free or little charge. If you are at all mechanically inclined you could check your bicycle as baggage and assemble it here. There is nothing like having your own familiar ride as long as it's in good shape.

I have shipped my beloved touring bike and checked it as luggage many times. I have disassembly and packing (or unpacking and assembly) down to an hour or so - maybe a bit more. Not hard once you get the hang of it. Make sure you have spacers for the fork dropouts. Any plastic pipe or tubing will do.

This message was edited by litespeed on 11-4-08 @ 8:47 AM

General Discussion / Favorite book
« on: September 27, 2008, 09:38:54 pm »
As an ex-touring sailor I'm happy to re-read "Sailing Alone around the World" by Joshua Slocum or "Tinkerbelle" by Robert Manry anytime.  

The best tough guy/mystery/noir novels are the Parker novels by Richard Stark (pen name of Donald E. Westlake, one of the finest writers living).

For light reading I love Carl Hiaasen's books, especially since I live in Florida.

There are plenty of good (and plenty of bad) books by touring cyclists. Every touring cyclist is different but there is always something to learn.

General Discussion / Injured Cyclist
« on: July 16, 2008, 01:02:15 pm »
I had my right foot badly crushed when I was 23 (1963). About 8 operations. I was in casts for months and in pain for years. The doc put me in walking casts but I kept pounding them to rubble. They might have something sturdier than just plaster nowadays. Ask your doctor about a good walking cast. You might be able to rig up something you can bicycle with.

You probably already know about showering with a plastic bag and elastic bands to keep the cast dry.

General Discussion / Where to camp
« on: July 16, 2008, 12:50:35 pm »
KOA's are often located near train tracks or freeways. The only one that bothered me was the one in Scottsbluff, NE. A train every few minutes plus a crossing requiring blasts on the horn. Still, I got my sleep. The only things that really bother me at night are drunks and barking dogs.

You might consider crossing Lake Michigan on the ferry from Ludington MI to Manitowoc WI. It's a huge, well-appointed ship and, believe it or not, runs on steam. A very enjoyable ride.

My favorite campground of all is the municipal one in Reed City MI. It's on your route. It's a delightful facility and well worth a stop.

General Discussion / Where to camp
« on: July 14, 2008, 03:40:53 pm »
In order of preference I like KOA's, state parks, municipal campgrounds and private campgrounds. There are also campgrounds owned by water districts, the Forestry Service, etc. For KOA's pick up a catalogue at any one of them or go online ( and ask for one. Good road maps or road atlas's (Rand McNally is best) indicate campgrounds with little green triangles.

The upper midwest - Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan - is the best. Plenty of the towns have their own campground. Lots of bicycle tourists camp in the wild but I like my shower and a bit of security.

KOA's are always quiet at night. State parks and private campgrounds are occasionally noisy on the weekends, especially if they are near a big city.

On your route campgrounds abound.

General Discussion / WHAT IS THE BEST VALUE PANNIER.- help
« on: May 20, 2008, 11:18:25 am »
After a rainy tour around the country in 2004 I got thoroughly sick of fooling with the rain covers on my otherwise excellent Bruce Gordon panniers. I bought a full set of yellow Ortleibs including handlebar pack. They are simple, extremely convenient (pop off with just a yank on the carrying handle) and totally waterproof. I've put about 10,000 miles on them. It's hard to beat German ingenuity. Also I was surprised at the low price. I bought them through REI which has excellent customer service. This message was edited by litespeed on 5-20-08 @ 7:20 AM

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