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Messages - staehpj1

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Gear Talk / Re: Recommendations for thermometers?
« on: March 23, 2017, 08:10:51 am »
The hard part is that "daily minimum and maximum" requirement. The thermometer has to stay out of the sun continuously all day.
Agreed that the maximum temperature where you actually are is a tall order.  The minimum on the other hand will usually come when it is dark or at least not sunny, so that is easier to record.

Thinking back to my tours, probably in excess of 95% of the time the low is overnight or more often around dawn.  In those cases looking at it when I get up in the morning yields a close approximation.  There have been a few cases where the low was in the evening while still riding when there was a high pass crossed late in the day, but again it comes at a time when I am likely to take notice of the reading.  So just noting the low, while not automatic, is pretty easy.  Similarly the high pretty much always comes at a time when I can note it manually if I care to.

Since the OP said the list was of the things they "liked about" the acurite that they had, I didn't take that to mean they were a hard requirements.  Something has to give somewhere if you are to capture high and low reading on the bike.  At the very least you are likely to have false readings on the high end with anything that reads constantly.  For me a good compromise is something that I can watch throughout the day and choose to read when it isn't prone to excessively high false readings.

Gear Talk / Re: Recommendations for thermometers?
« on: March 22, 2017, 08:40:46 pm »
Most thermometers are going to be useless for what you want. The biggest problem is where to put it where its readings won't be distorted. You can't put it on your body, nor in your bags. You need to put it in a well-ventilated shady spot that won't get reflected heat off the pavement. Where are you going to find that on a bicycle?
I find that the one in my Planet Bike cyclocomputer works surprisingly well.  Obviously it will give inaccurate readings if you park it in the sun, but if either riding at a decent clip or parked in the shade I find the readings typically fairly closely match official readings for the area.

My zipper pull thermometer was clipped on the zipper of my handle bar bag a few trips.  It was okay as long as I read it when it had been in the shade for a while.  Since I look for shade when I stop in hot weather I can usually read it a few times throughout the day.

Of course any thermometer will give bad readings if you put it in the blazing sun, so when shade is super scarce nothing I have used is satisfactory.

Gear Talk / Re: Recommendations for thermometers?
« on: March 22, 2017, 11:05:02 am »
That's right for current temperature at your exact location and for that info a little zipper-pull or similar thermometer is truly local.  However, the OP also wanted the daily temperature history and the cell phone app is about the best way to get that.
It depends on what the OP really wants.  I took their list as a "nice to have" feature list, since it was stated as what they liked about the Accurite.

A history of what nearby local stations report can be of 20 or even more degrees from the actual conditions where you are in the desert or the mountains.  So I think any one solution may be pretty limited.

I guess you pick and choose what you want/need and use what suits that.  I'd think that a combination of a cyclo-computer or zipper pull thermometer for local conditions along with the cell phone for forecasts probably covers the bases pretty well for most folks.

For myself, I seldom actually look at the forecast and mostly rely on just local observations.  I typically only record observations is they are for some reason exceptional.  Others may want more.

If what you want is a record after the fact you can always peruse the local stations at the times and places you were, but again they may differ substantially if you are at substantially different elevations than the nearest stations.

For a weather enthusiast something like the Kestrel 5000 might be nice.  It is essentially a full featured hand held weather station.

Lots of different answers may suit any individual, but they are are compromises in one way or another.

Routes / Re: Transamerica route question
« on: March 22, 2017, 08:39:37 am »
Another thing to consider is that the TA Route has a wide range of weather conditions. When I rode it in the 80s, I had 105 degrees near the OR/ID border to getting snowed on July 4th in Yellowstone with a high of 34 and lows into the upper 20s.  So some cool weather stuff is needed also.
Good point.  I have almost never been on a long tour where it didn't get cold at some point and hot at another.  On the other hand, I find I don't need all that much clothing in cold weather if I have a wind shell and I can wear most of what I brought all at once if necessary.

You can always mail it back home and/or buy more on the road.  Most of us have done that.
Another good point, but one that is most often used to justify taking more rather than less.  People tend to lean on the ability to mail stuff home and forget that they can also pack lighter and buy an item or have it sent from home too.  I'd advise leaning toward taking less than you think you need rater than more.

Gear Talk / Re: Recommendations for thermometers?
« on: March 22, 2017, 08:16:59 am »
If you carry a cell phone and remain in an area with coverage, your phone should have a weather app that will give you the current temperature and projection for that day.  You would also have  internet access (assuming you have a data plan) to the various commercial or government weather sites for both forecasts and history.
The problem with that is that a lot of the time on tour when I have cared the most about what the temperature was I was on top of a pass or somewhere that would be a lot different than the nearest weather station which even if you count all the little personal ones on WeatherUnderground, might be far away and thousands of feet different in elevation.  The differences can be pretty substantial.

Routes / Re: Transamerica route question
« on: March 22, 2017, 07:38:53 am »
I agree that jeans are a bad choice and two pairs would be one too many if you do take them at all.  I typically take one pair of light weight nylon zip off leg pants, 1 pair of tights, 1 pair of bike shorts, and one pair of running shorts.

Recently I have sometimes taken some ultralight wind pants instead of the zip off leg pants.  They are lighter and pack smaller, but are probably less presentable and not especially suitable if it is warm.

I typically am inclined to not be bashful about wearing my bike shorts just about everywhere.  When people know that you are riding coast to coast they will cut you a lot of slack about how you are dressed.

Gear Talk / Re: Recommendations for thermometers?
« on: March 22, 2017, 07:31:02 am »
I tried one of those zipper pull ones.  It was light and cheap and gave a general idea of the temperature, but it wasn't easy to get a very precise reading.  Mine was an REI house branded one.  As long as you don't need too much precision it is okay.

I have since started using a cyclo-computer (planet bike) that has a built in thermometer.  I like it very well.  It is surprisingly accurate as long as you are either in the shade or moving.  It heats up in the sun when sitting still, but I never found that to be a problem since when I read it I was generally either parked in the shade or riding.

Routes / Re: Northern Tier vs. TransAm
« on: March 18, 2017, 11:12:09 am »
1 On the NT you will have much more twilight. What does this mean? It means that you will not be surprised that it gets pitch dark too quickly. As the sun slowly sets you can still ride for a long time finding food and shelter and still set up tent in pitch darkness without a flashlight. This of course is important for people who really try do many miles a day. Overall you WILL have more riding hours each day (about 1 extra hour NT compared to TA).
It depends on how you look at it....  Personally I never found that to be an advantage.
Even on the TA, that is one thing I found kind of annoying while in the NW portion or the trip.  It seemed to stay light forever, long after I wanted to turn in for the night.  There were plenty of daylight hours in June to do 150 mile days in daylight, but few people really want to go that far IMO.

Since I like to get on the road at the crack of dawn and seldom do much over 100 miles on any given day, I often wound up wanting to sleep hours before it was dark.  Judging by how often I rolled into camp and found that there were cyclists already turned in for the night with the sun still high in the sky, I'd have to say I am far from alone on that.

Routes / Re: Northern Tier vs. TransAm
« on: March 17, 2017, 08:26:12 am »
If you're doing either one, you should consider the Eastern Express route that connects DC to the Transamerica route up through Pittsburgh (though there is a Pittsburgh bypass available as well). It misses the VA/KY hills and dogs. Not an ACA route, but they endorse it, kinda - ACA email is how I found out about it. Check it out...

Sent from my XT1080 using Tapatalk
Interesting I hadn't seen that option before.  It looks like it would be easier, but I am not sure I would want to skip the Kentucky and Virginia portions of the TA.  Yes they were the hardest part of the whole Trans America, but they were a great sampling of the heart of Appalachia.

I found that by the time we got to the East when going W-E you we were road hardened enough to handle the tough parts.  I could see using the Eastern Express if going E-W and not in shape for the very tough hills of Virginia and Kentucky.

Gear Talk / Re: GPS bike device for the Trans Am
« on: March 13, 2017, 07:58:54 am »
I have used a handheld GPS in a bracket for one off road tour where I needed the GPS to stay on a confusing route and it worked out okay.  I used regular alkaline batteries.  Last time I shopped for a GPS the handheld ones were easier to deal with wrt battery life than bike specific ones.

That said...  I'd reconsider using a separate GPS and consider using the phone.  They really work well these days and battery life is quite good if you turn off the features you are not using including the cellular coverage, basically use airplane mode with the screen off and the GPS on.  You can take one or more extra phone batteries and maybe a power wallet if you will be going far between charging options.

BTW, I found that you can find phone batteries for a fraction of the cost of the ones the service provider or phone vendor sells.

General Discussion / Re: Northern Tier cell phone service
« on: March 12, 2017, 08:51:05 am »
On the Northern Tier route, does anyone have experience with cell phone reception, as in which service providers do or don't have good reception?
I have not done the NT, but have done the TA, ST, and a bunch of other routes in the rural US.  I found that Verizon was pretty universally the best bet based on comparing notes with other tourists along the way, but recently others have been catching up.  I read that T-Mobile is pretty good now, possibly passing Verizon.  In the review that I last saw AT&T was next and Sprint after that.  I had Sprint with my employer before I retired and they had terrible coverage outside of urban areas.  It has been a few years so they are likely improved, but I would still avoid them myself.

My advice is to plan on leaving the phone off or in airplane mode all day to save battery.  When there is a poor or no signal it kills battery fast searching for a signal.  Also I found that even when the signal is really poor I can often send a text where a call would not be possible.  A text will go in a few seconds so a intermittent signal is easier to deal with.  Email works pretty well with an intermittent signal too.  That assumes text only with no attachments.

Routes / Re: Northern Tier vs. TransAm
« on: March 12, 2017, 08:36:53 am »
Going west the hills in VA are really demanding and they hit you like a sledge hammer after just a few days. This goes on also in KY. Then you will have annoying hills in the Ozarks again (MO).

That is a good reason for riding W-E on the TA and was why we chose that direction of travel.

I loved the TA.  For me the lore of Bikecentennial was part of it, but I think it had a wonderful diversity and was the best possible sampling of what life and scenery is like in the rural US.

Santiam Pass is plowed and is an alternate route shown on the Adventure Cycling maps.  It would be kind of a shame to miss McKenzie pass, but not the end of the world.  I think of getting to  McKenzie Pass when it opens to bikes but has not yet opened to cars as being the best time to go west to east.  I think that it was kind of fun to ride it before it is open to cars and while there is still snow on top.

Right now the ODOT web site says "The highway will open to motor vehicles on Monday, June 19, 2017 for the summer season."  I find that kind of surprising and wonder if it is accurate.  Typically the road opens to bikes a week or two sooner than it opens for cars, plus that is probably 250 miles into your trip, so it may be open to bikes when you get there.  If not you can take Santiam Pass.

General info about the pass:
Historic opening dates:

Another option would be to start in the East, but I'd go even earlier if I was doing  that.  BTW, don't believe those who say that the prevailing winds make that a bad idea.  In the Great Plains the summer winds tend to be out of the SE and the route runs NW-SE so the winds might actually slightly favor an E-W ride.  I wouldn't base the direction of travel decision on wind direction for this route though.

General Discussion / Re: Receiving mail on the road
« on: March 04, 2017, 09:56:04 am »
Like Pat, I found the postal employees who helped me with General Delivery stuff to be helpful, polite, and competent.  We never had a problem, ever, despite using General Delivery quite a bit.

I also used general delivery for backpacking restock points often in "post offices" that were just a cubby in a general store or outpost.  In those cases the people tending the "post office" were not actually postal employees, but they were generally helpful and in several cases were willing to retrieve my package for me even when the post office wasn't officially open.

The use of warmshowers hosts for me has always been one of those things that sounds attractive, but doesn't really pan out all that well in actual practice most of the time.  My touring style is such that I avoid any rigid scheduling, I find a rigid schedule sucks much of the joy out of touring.  I like being able to not decide where I will stop for the day even in the morning of that day.  I might decide that I want to knock off at a 30 mile day or may feel like pushing for a 130 mile day.  As a result I typically do not even know in what towns I will be actually staying in even the same day and definitely not exactly when I will pass through a town a few days down the road.

If using a post office you always have the option of changing the pickup location, by requesting that the package be sent further along on your route.  With a warmshowers host I feel committed to be where I say i will be when I say i will be there.  They most often quite reasonably expect notice of when and if you will be staying with them well ahead of when I typically like to make that kind of decision.  I often don't decide for sure where I will be staying until I actually arrive there.  I may roll into a town and decide to stop mid day or i may feel like riding late into the evening and knock out big miles.  To me having to commit to a time and place a few days down the road just doesn't fit my preferred touring style at all.

I know that not everyone tours that way and some plan out every stop even before they hit the road.  For them none of this is an issue, but it is worth considering whether it is for you or not.

Gear Talk / Re: Advice for long underwear while riding?
« on: March 03, 2017, 07:18:06 am »
I am going to be in some cold weather next month, and I was wondering what you guys wear under your pants to keep your legs warm?????
I don't wear pants (other than bike shorts, tights, or rarely a wind/rain shell) or underwear while riding on tour.

That said I have several different weights of tights ranging from thin silky ones to ones that are slightly brushed inside, to heavier ones that are windproof in the front.  The nap that is raised on the brushed ones adds a surprising amount of warmth.

I also have some ultralight wind pants and some light rain pants.

What I take on tour varies with where and when I am touring, but if I need any of that I choose one pair of tights and may take either the wind pants or much less frequently the rain pants.

The tights are much more frequently worn in camp in the evening or to add warmth at night, than they are worn for riding.  The wind or rain pants are also more frequently worn in camp.  I don't tend to wear the tights or wind/rain pants for riding until it is pretty cold.

I have not generally toured when there was consistently cold weather, but have often seen frost overnight and a few times weather down to the 20s or teens.  In all those conditions tights and wind pants were always sufficient.

In practice I find a wind barrier much more important than how much insulation I wear.  I have never actually taken the heavy windproof tights on tour.  I have used them for bitter cold conditions mountain biking or road riding around home.  They work great for quite cold weather.  The ones I have are "Performance Triflex Tights without Chamois".

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