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Messages - litespeed

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General Discussion / Lazy North Americans?
« on: November 19, 2006, 11:43:17 am »
I live in Florida and would love nothing more than to see the price of gas go to $10 a gallon. It would thin out the auto traffic nicely. I drive about 4000 miles a year but would probably do about half that if gas were really expensive or the roads were more bicycle-friendly. Most of my driving is for building supplies (You don't haul cement or lumber on a bicycle) but I could get smaller stuff and groceries on a bike without much effort. I ought to put an plastic crate on the back of my old Trek and use it for small stuff like groceries.
    If everyone spent 3 to 6 months a year (or at least their vacations) bicycle touring around the country as I do it would make the US a better place.

This message was edited by litespeed on 11-19-06 @ 7:43 AM

General Discussion / Do I really need to carry a spare tire?
« on: December 19, 2006, 11:57:58 am »
"Just to clarify for others.  You do not have to carry the exact same spare tire as you run normally."

If you're doing some serious touring in the middle of nowhere, such as Nevada, and destroy a tire it would be best to have a good sturdy spare tire - the same as you're using. A doubled-over and taped-together tire forms a circle about a foot in diameter and can be stuffed into a rear pannier without taking up too much space. Put the tire in first then other stuff. This avoids having to wait for a new tire to be ordered in the next good bicycle shop which might be hundreds of miles off. A light folding tire might not make it under a heavily loaded touring bicycle or heavy rider or both.

General Discussion / Do I really need to carry a spare tire?
« on: November 13, 2006, 05:05:24 pm »
After a few years of touring around the country, including a circumnavgation of the US in 2004, I finally cut a tire badly last year. I had never carried a spare tire but always plenty of tubes. Anyway,I was only about 200 miles from home and heading west. I was able to patch up the tire somewhat and with much stopping to pump it up,made it 30 miles to the next KOA. I had two tires at home    so the easiest and cheapest thing to do was to rent an SUV, throw in the bicycle, drive home and get them. If I had been way out I probably would have had to wait for a shop to order one for me as I use Continental Top touring 37's and no shops carry them except in Missoula MT. I now carry a spare tire doubled over and taped up in a rear pannier. By the way, I tried a folded up dollar bill. It didn't work worth a d*mn.

« on: November 06, 2006, 08:57:22 pm »
212 over Beartooth Pass is reputed to be an epically difficult climb. The highway was closed a while back due to slides but I suppose you'd know if or when it reopened. Avoid 191 between Bozeman and West Yellowstone - tight, shoulderless two lane road hugging the river with fearsome truck traffic. Yellowstone can be very crowded between Memorial Day and Labor Day but you can usually get a tent spot in the campgrounds even when they say Full. Don't miss the Western Art Museum a couple of miles north of Jackson. The building alone is worth a trip. There is a fine little campground on a river near the visitor's center on the north end of Jackson. Handy to everything.

General Discussion / i would love some advice
« on: October 24, 2006, 11:44:07 pm »
I agree with valygrl that you might consider doing the west coast for your first major tour. It is epically scenic with plenty of tail winds and you'll meet lots of other touring cyclists. Or even the east coast if that's where you live. 60 days is a bit tight across the country unless you do the southern part or have little trouble with 100+ miles a day. I'll admit, though, that my trips across the country have always been under 60 days - usually well under.
A very important thing is good, sturdy wheels and, even more important, good tires. I use Continental Top Touring tires. I replace them every 2000 miles and rotate them halfway - 1000 miles out. And don't forget the tire liners. I use Mr. Tuffy's.

General Discussion / Trailer vs Panniers
« on: October 21, 2006, 06:55:01 pm »
Every one I have met in my travels with a bicycle trailer has the same complaint: "I'm just carrying too much stuff". BOB trailers make it too easy to throw in extraneous gear. I use Ortleib panniers and very sturdy wheels (Ultegra hubs, 36 spokes, Rhynolite rims, 37mm Continental Top Touring tires). My panniers are usually about 2/3 full (Although I'll admit my bike fully loaded is heavy - about 80 pounds). In over 20,000 miles of loaded touring around the country I have never had a breakdown - just the occasional flat. And on my last trip out west I went almost 5,000 miles without a flat. BOB trailers seem to do all right on straight pavement but when the surface gets rough they seem to come undone - lose pins, break joints, etc. Also they use Wal-Mart size tires and seem to suffer a lot of flats.

This message was edited by litespeed on 10-21-06 @ 2:58 PM

General Discussion / Help needed in Tucson
« on: October 10, 2006, 01:00:56 am »
No problem. Just go to any storage outfit and rent their smallest unit  usually about 5' by 8' or 10'. It's a one month minimum and will cost you about $30. You'll need your own padlock. Just put your bicycle in it the day before your flight and get a motel that night. When you return go straight to the storage unit and ride off on your bike.
   On my tours I bicycle tour a month at a time, flying home for two weeks and returning to continue my travels. I get free plane tickets so I can afford to do this. Last year I did three stages: Home in Florida to Lubbock TX to Wichita Ks via Utah and on home.

General Discussion / going south
« on: October 10, 2006, 12:44:56 am »
In my loop around the country in 2004 I had fairly good weather from Florence OR to San Francisco in late September and early October but very rainy, stormy weather in late October from San Francisco to Guadalupe. I don't recommend bicycling the Pacific coast after the end of September. The wind was never a problem but the rain sure was. Another problem is pesky bums and winos in the parks and campgrounds in coastal southern California. Some of the state parks actually lock up the restrooms/showers to keep them out. They get worse the farther south you go. That's the reason I left the coast and cut inland at Guadalupe.
    If you decide to go south east of the Sierra Nevadas be ready for long stretches of nothing.

General Discussion / Loaded Weight
« on: September 15, 2006, 04:28:34 pm »
Your load sounds plenty light to me. I have logged some 25,000 miles around the country. I don't carry any food or cooking gear and the total weight of my bicycle fully loaded was 78 lbs. at the end of my 5,000 mile tour out west this summer. If you're having tent problems you might consider sticking with North Face. I've always used their smallest model (Canyonlands and Particle 13) and never had any problems. Above all, don't skimp on equipment. Get the best.

General Discussion / Pacific Coast Route
« on: September 09, 2006, 12:19:08 am »
I've never heard of an organized ride for the whole Pacific coast but check the back pages of Bicycling Magazine. Might be something. Whatever you do get your trip over with before the middle of October. That's when the storms start.

Pete Wilford
Holiday FL

General Discussion / Watering holes on TransAm
« on: November 06, 2006, 08:41:54 pm »
I carry two water bottles and, if things look iffy, throw a couple of bottles of water in my panniers. Only a couple of times have I come close to running out of water but I nursed the bottles and made it all right. I've never carried a total of over a gallon of water. Utah and Nevada are probably the toughest states for long, hot, empty stretches of road. The hottest weather I've ever encountered was in the Badlands of South Dakota - 114 degrees. Yes, I made it a short day.

General Discussion / Numbness in the Seat
« on: December 02, 2006, 08:55:02 pm »
If you REALLY want to make a hit with your wife get a Bilenky Viewpoint. They are expensive but it's one bicycle for both of you and she will be reclining while you, her big strong man, can do most of the work should she slough off. These are very well made bicycles. Couples have crossed the country on them.

General Discussion / Numbness in the Seat
« on: October 24, 2006, 11:10:30 pm »
I use a Terry gel touring saddle (I'm a guy). I don't ever have butt pain except a little when getting back on the bike after many, many miles of cycling and then it's just for a few minutes. It completely cured numbness.
But, I agree, if I were really suffering sustained butt pain I would go to a recumbent like the Tour Easy and put up with the poor climbing and visibility. Recumbent riders certainly look like happy people.

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