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Messages - BikingBrian

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General Discussion / Re: How to safely ship my bike and who can recieve it?
« on: December 17, 2013, 09:18:20 pm »
Never said anything like that to me

Thanks for the heads up. That was an REI at the end of a tour route which said that to me. I'll check with my local REI and see what they say.

General Discussion / Re: How to safely ship my bike and who can recieve it?
« on: December 17, 2013, 04:05:06 pm »
Oh, so they will ship from one REI to another REI for cheap? Good to know.

Did you have to provide your own bike box at REI? The reason I ask is that REI has told me that unlike most bike shops where each new bike is shipped individually to the store in a cardboard box, with REI the bikes are shipped on their truck from their distribution center to the store partially assembled. So according to REI, they don't have the "typical" cardboard box that we would need.

I've also shipped a bike via Amtrak. That is cheap, and the nice thing about that is the boxes are huge, so you only have to remove the handlebars and pedals.

General Discussion / Re: Grand Canyon
« on: December 16, 2013, 12:17:49 am »
I've done two tours leaving Flagstaff, both in March. One was to Phoenix via Ash Fork, Prescott, and Wickenburg. The other was west on the old Route 66 to Barstow, CA. One was during a low snowfall year, the other was about a week or so after a storm. I would not hesitate to tour in the area in March again, though the early morning temperatures were cold in the 20s, but quickly became pleasant when I dropped down to the lower elevations. But then again, I live in the Los Angeles area and I have the flexibility to cancel the trip (i.e., no cancellation fees for airline tickets to deal with) if it looked like a storm would pass through at the start of my trip.

Also, on one December 31 I hiked from the South Rim, stayed at the bottom overnight, and then hiked back up on January 1. Other than some icy spots starting to form near the top at the end of the second day, the hike went rather well.

July should be good for the higher elevations, though be warned that you will feel the desert heat if your tour takes you to lower elevations.

Youth Bicyle Travel / Age for Two Fathers/Sons Summer Tour
« on: December 15, 2013, 10:29:37 am »
The dad of one of my son's classmates is also into bicycle touring! That gives the possibility of a combined father/son "big" tour.

Although I have a tandem, the likely scenario is four people riding single bikes. The boys are 8 years old now, clearly too young to ride their own bikes, but for future planning, any thoughts on "right" age? I'm thinking old enough to be safe on the road, young enough to still want to go with dad.

Timing would be summer, so I'm thinking Northern Tier, Transamerica, or Pacific Coast. The kids don't get as long of a summer break as they used to, and we live in Southern California, so that would drive it towards being a Pacific Coast tour. I've done most of the Pacific Coast so I realize there's some sections of 101 which would tend to bump up the minimum age. (Though the worst parts are in Southern California, which we could easily skip.)

It's just an idea at this stage, so any thoughts are welcome. We would have the opportunity to do shakedown tours, etc., close to home before going on a big trip.

General Discussion / Re: How to safely ship my bike and who can recieve it?
« on: December 15, 2013, 10:07:17 am »
There is a hostel in downtown Sacramento. The public bus runs frequently from the airport to downtown, with a stop near the hostel if I recall correctly. Maybe you could ask the hostel if they will take your bike, or if they know a nearby bike shop you can ship to?

Gear Talk / Replacement for Continental Top Touring Tires
« on: December 15, 2013, 09:38:02 am »
I need to make a last minute addition to my Christmas list: a new set of touring tires for the tandem bike. Unfortunately, it appears the 700c Continental Top Touring 2000 tires are now discontinued. Anyone know the intended replacement in the Continental line?

When the 27" TTs were discontinued, I switched to the Conti GatorHardShell on my old touring bike. Although those are listed as race tires on the Conti website, they've worked out well for touring. The sidewalls seem less prone to cracking with age, compared to the TT.

Gear Talk / Re: Can we survive the Transamerica with no cyclocomputer?
« on: December 07, 2013, 03:10:32 pm »
A few summers ago, the wire for my cyclocomputer was broken when I took my bike out of the box. So I was flying blind for the northern California coast, but had no problems. Though that route is probably easier than most in getting by without an odometer.

Gear Talk / Re: Solar Panel - Yea or Nay?
« on: December 07, 2013, 01:04:09 pm »
I ended up getting this, because it was pretty cheap and had a built-in battery. I will probably have AC much of the time, but this is small enough to have "just in case". If it works out well, I'll post back here.

I forgot to give an update after my tour! I found that I had enough access to AC power to charge a small battery pack, so that was sufficient as a backup to keep the phone/Garmin charged. So the solar panel ended up being excess weight.

GPS Discussion / Re: Open Street Map?
« on: December 07, 2013, 12:55:26 pm »
Download the map image in compressed format from The file ( that I downloaded on 30 March 2012 was 2.47GB.[/li][/list]


The following web site allows for building custom images from selected map sections:

I am using an Edge 800 and I've downloaded the Openfietsmap Lite (bicycle routable) Open Street maps from the second link above. They seem to be working well, but I haven't tried them outside of the area where I live. So would there be any benefit to also downloading the US map at the first link above?

My budget is limited so I use the iPhone in two ways:

- For family members with an Apple mobile device, they track me on 'Find My Friends' app

- For others, I use Google Latitude and they can track me on smart phones and web sites

These apps are always on, and they do not add too much drain to battery life.

Have you found an alternative to Google Latitude, now that it has been retired?

General Discussion / Re: Advice or Feedback for Pacific Highway Cycle 2014
« on: December 07, 2013, 01:09:22 am »
I'd have to agree with Raybo. If you aren't that pressed for time, take the 101 loop around Olympic Park. We did it in 2009 - journal here -> Have given considerable thought to doing this area again, and here's some of what I would change. From Fairhaven, consider stopping at Bogachiel and touring into the Hoh rain forest. Stay a day or two at Kalaloch. After Lake Quinault, consider going out towards Copalis before heading into Hoquiam and Aberdeen (no ferry across the mouth yet.). After that it's a pretty much a straight run to Oregon and the coast. To me the inland route in Washington is not appealing. There is the factor of rain which has a stronger presence on the WA coast. Best.

Thanks for your feedback, I just finished reading your journal, as I am considering the 101 loop this summer. (BTW, I am also a ham radio operator, and so I sent you an email asking about your APRS.)


General Discussion / Re: Homemade Fork Spreader Ideas?
« on: July 08, 2013, 01:01:38 pm »
Thanks for the suggestions. I was able to get a 5" long 1/4"-20 bolt, four wing nuts, and fender washers for under $3 at the big orange store.

General Discussion / Homemade Fork Spreader Ideas?
« on: July 08, 2013, 12:35:09 am »
I'm at the end of my tour, I got a bike box from the LBS today, and I just realized there's no plastic fork spreader. I need to pack and ship the bike home tomorrow, preferably before the LBS opens. Any suggestions for a DIY fork spreader, using parts from the nearby big box stores? My first thought was a 4" long wood block or PVC sprinkler pipe held in place with tape, any better ideas?

Routes / Re: Bus from Portland to Astoria
« on: June 29, 2013, 07:04:44 am »
One more thing - are there lockers available for at the train or bus stations for something pannier sized?

Routes / Re: Bus from Portland to Astoria
« on: June 28, 2013, 02:16:36 pm »
Thanks, I booked a hotel which is walking distance from the bus stop, though I suspect not walking distance with a boxed bike and a 25 pound box. ;D

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