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Messages - staehpj1

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1441
Routes / Re: Atlantic Coast route, best time for weather?
« on: October 14, 2009, 07:12:18 am »
April will probably be pretty wet.  August will be really hot and humid.  Either will be doable though.

Personally I go in October if I had the choice.

1442
Gear Talk / Re: Pacific Outdoor Panniers
« on: October 12, 2009, 07:19:54 am »
The other issue being that my tour will be self supported and I am wondering what size panniers I should be getting to hold everything I will need. Any thoughts?
That depends on how much you carry and how you pack.  I found that with front panniers of about 1000 cubic inches and rear ones of about 2300 cubic inches I had plenty of room even on a coast to coast tour where I was carrying a good portion of the community gear.  On my last tour they were nowhere near full, but I packed fairly light and carry the tent on the rear rack.  If you are more of an everything but the kitchen sink packer and want everything inside the panniers they might not be adequate.

Arkels were mentioned.  Keep in mind that they are well made and will last forever, but also are substantially heavier than other options.  That may or may not be a problem depending on your preferences.

1443
Gear Talk / Re: Pacific Outdoor Panniers
« on: October 11, 2009, 06:11:51 pm »
Hmmm .. I did think that having compartments would be a big plus for me.
It may actually work out to be for you.  Some find them a big plus.  I may be in the minority on this one so don't make the decision based solely on my opinion, but do give some thought as to whether they are really better for you.

Good luck finding the panniers that work best for you.

1444
Gear Talk / Re: Pacific Outdoor Panniers
« on: October 11, 2009, 11:19:54 am »
Thanks for your input. I am hoping someone will contribute to some of the positives of the semi waterproof panniers so I can make an educated decision between the two, unless there aren't any positives. :)
Well since I have used both.  I'll take a stab at that.

The rain covers are usually a high visibility color which is a plus.  They are generally adequate for keeping stuff dry, but you may want to double bag using either ziplocs or trash compactor bags.

The other advantage or disadvantage that comes to my mind is that they tend to have pockets and maybe divided compartments.  To me that is a minus because I like the one big compartment approach and organize my stuff with ziplocs.  If you like pockets that might be a plus for you.  It is personal preference.  I thought I would like having multiple pockets, but in practice it didn't work out as well for me.

I find that for a particular listed volume the ones with pockets and multiple compartments tend to hold a bit less since you are likely to just have an item or two in a pocket rather than having it full.  I don't think that is a big plus or minus, but might be something to consider when picking the size you buy.

Also I think the ones with multiple pockets tend to be a bit heavier, but that varies some from brand to brand.  Some are a lot heavier others less so.

1445
Routes / Re: portland to SF realistic time frame and advice needed
« on: October 11, 2009, 11:07:17 am »
Most folks probably take between 10 and 20 days.   I think the Kirkendall and Spring book has this at about 15 days for that section if you use their listed days and stops.  I think a good portion of the folks on the route do exactly that so if you do you can expect to meet the same folks every day, which can be nice.

I'd recommend getting either a copy of Bicycling the Pacific Coast by Spring and Kirkendall or the Adventure Cycling maps for the route.  I think the Kirkendall and Spring book is great, but it is out of print.  Try to find the Fourth Edition many of the ones for sale are the 3rd edition and a bit out of date.

I have only ridden a small portion of the route and driven  some more of it, but from what I have seen it is a beautiful ride.

1446
Gear Talk / Re: Pacific Outdoor Panniers
« on: October 10, 2009, 10:35:06 am »
I have no experience with the Pacific Outdoor Panniers, but I will say that I have used waterproof panniers and panniers with rain covers and prefer waterproof.

I usually put stuff in big ziplocs to organize it, but don't think that is necessary for keeping things dry.  I also don't put wet stuff in panniers if I can avoid it.  The tent stays out of the bags and on the rack rolled with the bottom on the outside.  It can stay out in the rain all day and not get wet inside when rolled that way.

If I have a lot of wet clothes I put them in big ziplocs before putting them in a pannier.  More often I just hang wet clothes on the outside to dry as I ride.  If it is raining and I have a lot of wet stuff I try to find a laundromat to wash and dry everything.

My personal preference is for the inexpensive waterproof panniers from Nashbar or Performance.  I used them for the Trans America and some shorter tours and was very happy with them.  None of my gear ever got wet and I had no problems with them.  They are a good bit lighter and much cheaper than just about anything else on the market while still being quite durable.  My two companions on the TA also used them without problems and one has also used the small ones for daily commuting also with no problems.

I have heard that some folks have had problems with the mounting system, but we found it completely adequate.

The two minor issues I will mention are...  One, that the hooks on the bungees could fairly easily be lost if you aren't careful when you carry the bags when off the bike.  We just pulled the bungee so that the hook was kind of captibe in a slot the bungee passes through.  And Two, the the little velcro tabs can be torn off if you aren't careful.  It really isn't a huge problem though since they are easily sewed back on and the panniers are usable with them missing.

1447
General Discussion / Re: Transporting a bike: box or bag?
« on: October 08, 2009, 08:09:10 am »
Not too sure what the air carriers cost plus, never too keen to cycle from airports as always seems to be very busy highway traffic.
On the other hand, I like riding directly out of an airport.  Not sure why, but I get a kick out of not using any ground based transportation other than my bike at that point.

I have done a few different options.  One trip I packed the three of our bikes in airline boxes, I have used Amtrak, I have flown with my bike packed in bike shop box, I have rented a car, and I have used shipbikes.com.

All of those had their advantages and disadvantages, but all worked well in one situation or another.  With the airlines increasingly becoming a pain to deal with I think I am more likely to use shipbikes.com, Amtrak, or FedEx in the future.  I really liked the fact that the shipbikes box and the Amtrak box both required almost no disassembly of the bike.  Shipbikes.com seems to be able to negotiate a better price than if I deal directly with FedEx myself.  They also ship door to door even to and from residential addresses. The shipbikes box is a clever design, but is $99 and is only good for maybe 4 uses on average.  They do offer replacement for the outer cardboard for 30 or 40 dollars.  It looks like they now also ship plastic cases.  The thing is that it is a bit of a hassle to deal with a case (or the shipbikes box), especially if like me you usually fly out to one place and home from another.

So far I have not found one answer that works to my satisfaction for all of my trips and just do what seems to fit the situation.  On my last tour I had the luxury of being able to ship my bike to a friend's house and then back again from there.  It was nice to be able to leave the shipbikes box there.  Since my tour actually ended 850 miles from his house I had to take Amtrak for that short leg of the tour where my box was.

Amtrak is great if you are going to and from locations that have baggage service and are not in a hurry if the distance is long.  I found the boxes to be huge and the service to be good.  The ride was a good bit longer than I could have driven it though and if there were several of us we would have probably been better off both in cost and time to rent a car.

1448
Gear Talk / Re: Marathon tires. Schwalbe. Tires. Wheels.
« on: October 07, 2009, 05:57:06 pm »
I don't know if the marathon you bought is a schwalbe, but some of the schwalbes are listed as using "india rubber" could that be what you have?

1449
General Discussion / Re: boredom on cross-country?
« on: October 06, 2009, 02:18:05 pm »
Tried audio books but they always send me to sleep, which isn't a bad thing after a days riding, but the battery tends to drain.  Not sure that is useful or not only that's why they don't work for me. 

Or do you listen to them whilst riding is really what I would like to know.
If I am tired enough that I would fall asleep, I just go to sleep and don't bother listening.  I have never fallen asleep while listening to an audiobook.  I know that won't work for everyone though.

I generally don't listen while riding, but have on occasion.  In the flattest, emptiest, most monotonous parts of eastern Colorado and Kansas it can be a nice diversion.

1450
General Discussion / Re: boredom on cross-country?
« on: October 06, 2009, 07:15:09 am »
Avid reader, me too.  I bought a Sony E reader and now carry around 100 books with me, including manuals.  Absolutely brilliant and even has a "page Light" so no need to mess with torches, candles etc, in a tent at night. Plus a bonus for me (62) you can enlarge the text.
I find that for me an iPod shuffle loaded with audiobooks works out well and allows me to carry 7-10 books at a weight of about two ounces including a light weight third party charger.  Similarly I can load audiobooks in my blackberry if I am taking it anyway.  It can take a 4gb memory chip so it holds a lot of books.  Using either you can even read while you are riding though I am generally not inclined to.

1451
Routes / Re: northern tier or transam?
« on: October 01, 2009, 07:12:47 am »
I haven't done the NT so I can't compare, but I thought the TA was a great route.

1452
General Discussion / Re: boredom on cross-country?
« on: September 30, 2009, 06:10:35 pm »
No, I've never been on a solo tour and regretted it.  That said I greatly enjoyed riding coast to coast with my daughter and a friend of hers from college.  I'd happily tour with either or both of them again and probably will.  I will certainly also tour alone again.  Both ways can be great.

1453
Gear Talk / Re: Info on Trainers please
« on: September 28, 2009, 07:33:30 pm »
I hope this isn't too off topic, but...
I find riding a trainer pretty boring and try to avoid it.  I am not saying others will or should feel the same way, but it is something to consider.   It is hard to stay motivated if it is boring.  That said I have found that I can stay in pretty good touring shape even when I am not riding much.  Both running and indoor rowing seem to keep me in pretty good shape for touring.

Before my spring tour I had only about 200 miles in for the year.  I had been running and trail running and had run a half marathon a few weeks before the tour.  I was able to average 80 miles per day for the 10 days of riding and even managed a 142 mile day at the end of the tour.  I did all this in reasonable comfort with a base of about 200 miles.

Similarly a year or two ago when I started riding after a winter of indoor rowing I found myself to be in pretty good riding shape (for some reason I find indoor rowing less monotonous that riding a trainer).  I am 58 years old and a mediocre athlete at best, so if it works for me it probably would for most folks.

My point is that maintaining general fitness is the main thing and to be in reasonable touring shape doesn't necessarily require a great deal of riding miles.

I'm not knocking the trainer if it works for you, merely suggesting that other options work well too.

1454
General Discussion / Re: boredom on cross-country?
« on: September 28, 2009, 05:43:29 pm »
No.  I was sad to see the trip end whether it was coast to coast or 10 days.  This was especially true on the coast to coast trip.  Getting back into real life was tough.

1455
General Discussion / Re: Eastcoast / Atlantic coast in November
« on: September 27, 2009, 11:25:14 am »
And in addition to that question: what about the 'Tidewater Potomac'?
I think that trip is dependent on the ferry which I don't think runs that time of year.  Check to be sure before committing.

I live in the Baltimore MD area and heading south from here should be OK weather wise.  It might be cold at times, but will probably not be too bad if you stay with the coast and out of the mountains.  Also chances of cold weather will be less as you head south.

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