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Messages - staehpj1

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General Discussion / Re: New Mexico The Bicycle Friendly State
« on: February 01, 2011, 07:29:00 am »
Wow, sorry to hear this was your experience, original poster. But I gotta say: who judges a state's bicycling friendliness by riding the interstate shoulder from one side to the other? That's plumb insane, as my Pappy would say.

I just spent 5 days covering over 300 miles in southwestern NM and a tiny bit of southeastern AZ. Silver City, Hatch, Gila, Three Way, etc. and I can't tell you what a wonderful place it was. Perfectly maintained wide roads, almost all of which had wide well-maintained bike/emergency lanes, which we didn't even use because the regular car lanes were so deserted. Perfect November weather in the low-seventies, endless blue skies, friendly drivers and friendly restauranteurs, abundant and easily located stealth camping sites. What's not to love.

Not trying to argue, but I hope nobody reads this thread and crosses NM off their list because the interstates aren't particularly fun to ride.  ;D

I was a little surprised to hear negative comments about NM wrt to bicycle touring when my experience there was overwhelmingly positive..  It is good to hear that your experience in the south east part of the state was similar to mine in the north east part.  Based on my limited experience there (maybe only 250 miles) I'd rate NM right up there among my favorite states.  It was especially nice since it immediately followed some really lousy road in Oklahoma.

General Discussion / Re: New Mexico The Bicycle Friendly State
« on: January 30, 2011, 06:01:38 pm »
I really thought it was great cycling when I was there, at least in the sections I rode.  The roads were nice and the scenery was beautiful.

I had exactly zero negative experiences with the drivers there.  Granted I only rode there for two days though.

Rt 56 had nice clean and wide shoulders.  It was way nicer than Rt 56 in Oklahoma!  I-25 was great riding from Rt 56 to Santa Fe.  Good surfaces, reasonable traffic, and absolutely wonderful views of the Sangre de Cristo mountains.  This was true for both the interstate and the frontage road (zero traffic and often not even within sight of the interstate).

Other roads that I rode near Santa Fe were nice as well, but my riding there was limited to the ride out to Lamy to catch the train.  Again that was a very nice ride though.

Routes / Re: Getting Across The Desert
« on: January 22, 2011, 07:03:15 pm »
So.... I stick by my initial statement with one caveat. Due diligence!
I tend to agree that Google maps is a great tool if you realize it's limitations.  No way that I would trust it to pick a route without verifying though.

General Discussion / Re: Surly LHT: Need help setting my bike up
« on: January 22, 2011, 06:43:23 pm »
I haven't used it on a full blown tour but I have used it on 3 weekend training trips. Worked perfectly with no issues.

It is what I will be carrying when I take off around the country in May.

The Gobypod didn't work out well for me, but lots of folks seem to like it.  Good luck with it and I hope it works out well for you.

BTW, have a great trip!

General Discussion / Re: Surly LHT: Need help setting my bike up
« on: January 22, 2011, 09:52:57 am »
I think I have the trump card as far as lights go.
Have you actually used it on tour yet?  I ask because I was greatly disappointed with my Goby Gorilla pod,  disappointed enough that I gave it away.  I didn't use it with a light, but really didn't like it as a camera tripod (my Ultrapod 2 has worked out much better in that usage).  I can't imagine the Goby working all that well on the bike or holding up well.  With very little use, the legs kept coming apart and it never seemed very stable or attached as easily as it looked like it would.

If you will be riding a lot at night consider something like the Viewpoint Flare 5, but I prefer to just use a Petzl Tikka headlamp.  It is a gret lamp for in camp and works in a pinch if I get stuck riding in the dark once in a while.

Petzl Tikka

Flare 5

General Discussion / Re: Around the US
« on: January 22, 2011, 09:37:03 am »
Just my opinion here but I believe a supported trip severely inhibits your ability to do things on the spur of the moment and this ability can make or break the "adventure" aspect of a trip. You also will be traveling with your people and therefor have much less reason to interact with folks along the way.

Everyone can and should do their tour the way they want, but  I have to agree that having a car, van motor home, or what ever along very seriously impacts the experience.  For me it sucks much of the joy out of the trip.  There are a number of drawbacks including:
  • Greatly lessened feeling of self reliance.
  • And on the flip side greatly lessened opportunities to be the recipient of hospitality.
  • Lessened contact with local folks.
  • Much greater temptation to take rides.
  • A boring time for the driver. Who winds up with tons of time to kill in towns with a population of something like 50 and when they do have something to do it is shopping, running errands, and doing laundry.  I know that the spouses I have met who were driving the camper felt VERY stressed at times.
  • You won't be able to use hiker biker sites.
  • You won't get invites to stay in churches and peoples homes.
  • You will need reservations much more often in parks that are full in peak season.
  • Staying in town parks will be less likely to work.

Do it the way you want but consider those points before deciding and be sure that your driver realizes what they are getting themselves into.  Driving on a tour might sound like fun, but it is likely to be a real grind by the time the trip is over.  If your driver is a close friend or spouse consider the strain this might be on the relationship.

General Discussion / Re: Around the US
« on: January 21, 2011, 05:57:07 pm »
Litespeed I have so many questions, but  where do I start? I am estimating the trip to cost around $20,000 is that about right? :)
I personally can't imagine myself spending that much for the trip.  If you plan to go first class, eat lots of nice restaurant meals, get rooms often, drink lots of alcoholic beverages in bars or clubs, and so on you could possibly spend that much, but the way I travel I'd expect to be at or under $5,000.  I'd budget more ($7-10K maybe?) just so the budget wouldn't be a worry.

All that said I am sure it could be done for $2k and that someone might spend $20k.

Whatever way you go have a great trip.

Gear Talk / Re: Sierr Design tent fly
« on: January 20, 2011, 06:05:38 pm »
Thanks, David. The tent is 5-7 years old. I have tried Sierra Design, etc etc. SD now longer makes tht tent.  I was hoping to find an old Fly or someone parting-out their old tent.  Blackbear
A few possible options:
  • Try to find another identical tent on ebay.
  • Sew up a new fly.  (do you still have the old one for a pattern?)
  • Maybe find a more current model that has a similar enough fly and buy that fly.
  • Just shop for a new tent (that is what I would probably do).

Wait a minute!  I just googled that tent and it looks like a single wall tent.  If it is like the one I saw it never had a fly and isn't supposed to.  Is your's different or is it not just supposed to have a fly?

If I am correct I'd say use it as is, or sell it on eBay and replace it if you don't like single wall tents in general or this one in particular.  

BTW, single wall tents can be OK.  I am using one (MSR Fling) and like it pretty well.  I do have to wipe down the inner surfaces some mornings, but not most of the time if I am careful to ventilate the best I can.

Gear Talk / Re: Bike w/panniers Or BOB IBEX Trailer
« on: January 18, 2011, 08:18:10 am »
I have a Trek 520 with a full set of panniers all the way around. I also have a BOB IBEX Trailer. Which one would you tour with. I would have to guess if it was a really long tour, I would use the trailer. But then again with a shorter tour, having it all in the trailer and not on the bike could be a good thing. Let me know you thoughts?
I really don't see where length of the tour is a major factor.  I know that I tend to carry the same stuff regardless of the length of the tour.  If it is long enough that the season, geography, and climate vary widely I adjust by acquiring and disposing of things (usually by mailing them to and from home).

My preference is for panniers.  The reasons why I still might consider a trailer. 
  • If on an off road tour where I might want to unhitch the trailer to ride some single track for fun.
  • If I wanted to tour on a road bike that didn't easily handle panniers.  The lighter bike would hopefully offset the extra weight of the trailer.
  • If I had access to a trailer but not to panniers

Another thing to think about is that shipping or flying with a trailer probably adds more hassle to the logistics.  Getting a bike to and from the end points of the tour is enough hassle.

Generally a "racing style" bike - meaning one with drop handlebars - is easier on the back, since when you hit a bump the spine is curved and more able to absorb the shock.  Depending on the sort of curvature you're talking about, that may be part of the solution.

The unexpected truth.  But actually I wouldn't say "curved" particularly because I ride in a very low position with a nearly horizontal back on my aerobars all the time, for hours on end, but my back is still relatively straight; but the fact is that the back has the vertical flexibility to take the bumps in that position without damage, whereas sitting up straight is just asking for trouble with bumps putting extreme compression on discs since there's no give in that direction.

I agree, but also advise caution in the beginning if necessary.  Start out as low as comfortable, keep upper body relaxed, elbows bent, shoulders not hunched, and fingers draped loosely over the bars.  Ease the position lower as you adjust to riding more mileage.  Add that mileage gradually and change position a little at a time.  You need to decide how low is low enough, but riding very upright for long distances is hard on the butt and hard on the back.

Routes / Re: Getting Across The Desert
« on: January 18, 2011, 07:29:10 am »
Personally, I think east/west USA crossings are over-rated, because there's that big prairie in the middle that is so un-interesting.  It's one of those things that's super-cool to SAY but not that awesome to DO.   But I'm weird that way, I think many would not agree.
I don't think that is weird at all, but...

It depends of what you want from an east-west (or vice versa) tour.  If the goal is to experience a sampling of what US is like crossing the prairie is part of it.  Also I will add that while it isn't my favorite riding terrain, quite a few of my fond memories of the TA are from the great plains.  Most were the result of the people there rather than the terrain, but still I fondly remember the time riding across eastern Colorado and Kansas.  Overall I thought it was well worth experiencing.

While I definitely won't go that far, I know a few who found the prairie to be their favorite terrain on the TA.

Routes / Re: Getting Across The Desert
« on: January 17, 2011, 07:17:06 am »
Where are some of the MUST SEEs that I can't miss on my trip?
It is tough to say about "must sees".  The problem is that there are so many that you can't possibly do them all.

As far as route goes I'd advise something farther north in the west.  Oregon was probably my favorite state on my ride across the US, but everywhere we went had it's own charm.  I would suggest that the Trans America would be a good choice.  It really does a good job of sampling the varied geography of the US.

If you want to pick and choose your own way, I'd cross still cross Oregon, but try to maybe hit Glacier NP, then work my way down to Yellowstone NP, and then see the Colorado Rockies before heading east.

I'd skip the southern desert until you can do a trip in the cool months.  You will see enough desert in eastern Oregon.

Routes / Re: Newbie Route question
« on: January 15, 2011, 10:54:00 am »
ACA route planners do a pretty good job of picking suitable roads in my opinion.  They usually are a mix of all of the road types you mention.  BTW, 4 lane roads aren't always that bad and are often easier to deal with because they are likely to have rideable shoulders.  Not sure about the NT, but both the TA and the SC each had a short section on the interstate as well.  They weren't the highlight of the trip, but they were pretty safe with a very wide shoulder.

If you are especially traffic squeamish, there may be some sections that you don't care fore, but overall it should be do-able.

All that is based on my experience on the TransAmerica and southern part of the Sierra Cascades route.  I have not done the NT.

General Discussion / Re: East to West 80 days?
« on: January 15, 2011, 10:40:37 am »
ACA Maps arrived today, flights booked, passport sorted, travel insurance bought. Thanks for the help, see you dudees out there.

Peace & Harmony

What route did you decide on and when are you starting?  You will see some beautiful country and meet some nice people regardless.

In any case I hope you have a great trip.

Routes / Re: CO Routes 145, 50, & 160 - Safety?
« on: January 13, 2011, 02:09:09 pm »
I found 50 OK and enjoyed it fine.  I can't compare it to any other options though.

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