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Messages - roadrunner

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Gear Talk / Re: Biking Shorts/Pants
« on: December 20, 2010, 10:29:21 pm »
For utility (pockets), comfort, and my own preference for not wearing lycra on tours, I've settled on wearing biking briefs under nylon zip-off pants.  In warm weather, I ride without the "legs," when it's cool I zip on the legs.  At the end of a day's ride, I change from the biking briefs to regular skivies and wash out the briefs.

This combination reduces the amount of clothes needed.  One pair of zip-offs, a pair of regular nylon shorts, and two pair each of biking briefs and regular skivies is all I need, as far as pants go.  Nylon shorts can also be used as a swimsuit.

General Discussion / Re: DIY Tips
« on: December 20, 2010, 10:14:47 pm »
We can probably all benefit from others' experience and ideas.

Finding multiple uses for items cuts down the amount of stuff (and weight) to carry. 
a. Sunscreen does a decent job of removing greasy chain-residue from hands and legs.
b. A small squeeze-bottle of dish soap works for bathing and washing hands and clothes.  Refill it with hand soap in restrooms.

A 7" spike is handy for making holes for tent stakes in hard ground (using a rock as a hammer).

Gear Talk / Re: ToUrIng SHoEs
« on: November 22, 2010, 11:49:00 pm »
A differing viewpoint from the "clipless is the only way."  The best pedal/shoe combination I've found for touring and all-around riding is platform pedals with PowerGrip straps and stiff-soled running/tennis shoes.  The straps hold shoes securely to the pedals and are easy to get out of; the shoes are comfortable both on and off the bike, and there are no problems walking in dirt or mud.  I've tried many cycling shoes and haven't found any comfortable for all-day wear or walking significant distances.  With my size 12 shoes, it's nice not to need to carry another pair for off-bike wear.  It's a low-cost combination that's worked well for many multi-week tours.  The combination works with about any shoes (even Teva-type sandles for up to about 30 miles), avoiding the need to put on "riding shoes" for quick jaunts around town.  I made "platform" pedals by adding thin metal plates to cage pedals.

Routes / Re: Transamerica - First timers need help
« on: April 30, 2010, 10:36:28 pm »
I would recommend riding theKaty Trail to cross Missouri for several reasons.  A prime one is to avoid the never-ending short, steep hills that cover most of the state; surveys of some TransAm riders have rated Missouri as the toughest part of the route.  Also I found the Katy scenic, and and it's relaxing -- not having to deal with traffic and being able to communicate easily with other trail users.  The trail can get somewhat soft after rains and, when dry, will leave your bike dusty, but it's a great ride.  What ever way you get to the St. Louis area, you might want to take the Great River Road along the Mississippi north from there to about mid-Illinois, then head to your destination.  Southern Illinois is also very hilly.

Gear Talk / Re: Touring Shoes, Cleat Selection and Toe Clip Survey
« on: April 09, 2010, 11:18:50 pm »
I've tried several brands/types of touring cycling shoes, none of which were comfortable for walking and off-bike use.  I usually spend more time off the bike than on it when touring and don't want to carry an extra pair of shoes (other than flip-flops) for my size 12 feet.  The solution that works well for me is a pair of stiff-soled tennis shoes (mesh for hot weather, leather for cold) and Power Grips straps.  I added thin metal plates to cage pedals to distribute the foot pressure.  It's a low-tech system, but works great for me -- secure, comfortable, and no worries about mud or sand in cleats.

General Discussion / Re: Oregon Trail
« on: December 22, 2009, 02:57:32 pm »
Sidburg -- I did a self-contained tour of the Oregon Trail route in 2001 from Kansas City to Oregon City riding roads nearest the original trail.  It's a great route, with many historical sites, good scenery, and mostly light traffic.  "Traveling the Oregon Trail," by Julie Fanselow, is an excellent reference for touring the trail.  Written for driving the route, it describes the trail's history, has maps of the trail and nearby roads, and lists lodging, campgrounds, and restaurants in towns along the route.  The book is available from for about $10.

If you'd be interested in riding the trail on your own, I'd be happy to e-mail you the itinerary and journal of my tour.

Routes / Re: Washington DC to Chicago (or vice versa)
« on: November 20, 2009, 12:13:35 am »
Mitch -- I'm home now.  My e-mail address, which should show up on my profile, is  If you'll send me an e-mail with your address, I'll send you the itinerary and journal of the tour.

Routes / Re: Washington DC to Chicago (or vice versa)
« on: November 14, 2009, 08:59:27 pm »
mitch537 -- I'm traveling now, so will send you the information when I get home around November 21st.

Routes / Re: SE to NW or NW to SE - ?wind direction
« on: September 15, 2009, 06:01:34 pm »
The following website: (it's easier to Google "wind rose" and select this site than type it in) provides wind roses by month for many cities in the U.S.   A wind rose provides information on the proportion of time the wind is from each direction and and the velocities from each direction.  I've found it handy for planning tours.

Routes / Re: Riding on Interstates
« on: September 15, 2009, 05:45:04 pm »
Whoops, hit the wrong key and posted an incomplete reply.  I don't know what the laws are in New Mexico, but I've ridden on I-40 and other interstates there with no problems. 

In Kansas, a polite highway patrolman told a group of us riding on I-70 that we had to get off, because interstate riding was prohibited and could result in a substantial fine.  (I-40 doesn't go into Kansas).

I don't know the legality of interstate riding in Texas, Oklahoma, or Missouri, but doubt that it is allowed.  I've looked into riding old Route 66 in Texas and Oklahoma.  It looks like one could ride across both states on the old route or I-40 frontage roads (in Texas), which would be much more interesting and enjoyable than on the interstate itself.

Routes / Re: Riding on Interstates
« on: September 15, 2009, 05:34:45 pm »
Here's a partial answer to your question of riding on interstates.
Arizona: all of I-40 is legal to ride.  Any interstates can be ridden in Arizona except in the Tucson and Phoenix metro areas.

Routes / Re: Washington DC to Chicago (or vice versa)
« on: August 15, 2009, 12:51:31 pm »
Eric -- I haven't received your message.  Did you send it to my "jpwettack3" address?

Routes / Re: Washington DC to Chicago (or vice versa)
« on: August 09, 2009, 02:35:21 pm »
Eric - e-mailing the itinerary would be the easiest way to get it to you.  My e-mail address is listed in my profile (click on my "roadrunner" user name).  Just e-mail your address to me and I'll forward the itinerary and journal to you.

Routes / Re: Washington DC to Chicago (or vice versa)
« on: August 07, 2009, 11:44:30 pm »
I did a tour in 2006 from Baltimore to Rock Island, Illinois, that went through D.C. and Kankakee, so passed near Chicago.  An objective of the tour was to include as many trails as practical.  From D.C. I rode the C&O Canal Trail and GAP Trail to Pittsburgh, the Montour and Panhandle Trails south and west of Pittsburgh to Stubenville, Ohio, on the Illinois-Ohio border, then across Ohio (through New Philadelphia, Mt. Vernon, Marion, and Lima) and Indiana (through Blufton, Logansport, and Rensselaer) to Illinois.  Other than a half day of climbing on the south end of the GAP Trail and two days of stiff hills in eastern Ohio, the route involved almost no hills and was on trails or country roads.  Rode the I&M Canal and Hennepin Canal trails across most of Illinois to Rock Island.

I can send you the itinerary and journal of the tour if you're interested.

The easiest route from Oregon to the east side of Nebraska (Missouri River) is the Oregon Trail route used by Oregon-bound immigrants in the 1800s.  (They had to find the easiest way for their wagons.)  The trail crosses the continental divide at South Pass in Wyoming, the only place wagons could cross the divide, and follows rivers (the Columbia, Snake, Sweetwater, and Platte)for much of it's route.  I rode the route in 1990 -- not much climbing and lots of westerly winds.

Cross Iowa north of Des Moines to avoid the hilly southern part of the state.  Northern Illinois and Indiana and the western 2/3 of Ohio are very flat. I haven't ridden east of Iowa, but I'd guess sticking close to Lake Erie and then following the Erie Canal would be the flattest route to Albany.

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