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Messages - staehpj1

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Gear Talk / Re: Bicycle Head Light ?
« on: September 01, 2009, 06:19:40 pm »
May I ask some dumb questions?  Do you put the headlamp over the helmet?  It doesn't stretch the headlamp elastic too much?  Does the headlamp unit stay in place?  One would think it would slip up and off.  Does the little visor thingy on the helmet interfere with the angle of the beam?  Thanks for your thoughts ~~

Basically I don't.  I put it on my head and then put the helmet on.  I guess it may depend on how low your helmet fits on your head, but it works fine for me.

General Discussion / Re: ACA Maps are Way Small.
« on: August 30, 2009, 04:11:29 pm »
I found them to be a bit difficult when wearing sunglasses with only my distance prescription, but managed OK... barely.  I'd have to stop from time to time when in doubt especially if the light was dim.  Much of the time turns are few and far between.  At times when we were in a town with a lot of turns I put on my bifocals.

I since then bought a pair of Project Rudy sunglasses with Transitions lenses and my bifocal prescription.  They set the bifocal prescription extra low so it is out of the way.  They are great for running and riding.  I bought them on line from SportRX and they were very helpful.  They cost a bundle, but have been worth it.

Routes / Re: camping on the pacific coast route
« on: August 28, 2009, 06:54:18 pm »
"Absurd pitching fees"?

Oregon hiker/biker sites were $4 per person when I last checked.  Cheap in California too.  No way that a shower isn't worth $4 at the end of the day, plus you get to hang out with other bike tourists.

General Discussion / Re: Why SPD pedals?
« on: August 12, 2009, 02:13:38 pm »
Yes, Litespeed good bike shoes seem to hold up really well.  My Sidis also seem to last forever.  That is nice compared to running shoes that seem to need to be replaced all the time.  It makes it much less painful for me, somewhat of a tightwad, to spring for more expensive shoes.

I find SPDs to be a good choice.  The fact that they are pretty universally available and work well is a plus.  It seems like if you are likely to want to ride someone else's bike or take a spinning class your cleats are more likely to work if they are SPD than if they were anything else.  Also if you need a replacement pedal or cleat when on tour they will be the easiest to find of the clip less choices.

Gear Talk / Re: panniers
« on: August 10, 2009, 11:20:31 am »
any help on arkel panniers are they worth the money?   :)
I tried to respond yesterday, but I see my post isn't here so I'll try again.

The Arkels are well made, durable, have lots of pockets, are heavy, and are expensive.  If that set of features suits you buy them.

Personally, I like one big waterproof compartment and no pockets.  I value light weight, and prefer a low price.  The Nashbar or Performance Waterproof ones meet my requirements nicely and have held up well for me at a fraction of the cost.

That said any choice will be a compromise and you need to figure out what works for you.

General Discussion / Re: older riders
« on: August 08, 2009, 09:14:06 am »
I started touring at 55 with a coast to coast ride.  I am now 58 and expect to do longish tours for a many years to come. My preference would be to take 6-12 weeks at a time and be home a while before heading out again.  It would be nice to be able to keep working but be able to take a long trip (2-3 months) once a year or so and maybe some short ones (two weeks or so) in between.  If I can't work out a schedule that is flexible enough to do that I plan to retire in 4 years.  Some of my future trips may be backpacking or motorcycle touring but bike touring is usually my first choice.

Routes / Re: Best route from Providence RI to Key West FL this October
« on: August 05, 2009, 08:10:10 am »
I have the maps from Adventure Cycle but they stray west more than I would like.  Is there a good way to follow the coast more.  would a bike gps work?  thanks Tom
For what it is worth I have not found a GPS to be all that useful for bike touring despite the fact that I am an avid GPS user in other activities like sailing, kayaking, and hiking.  I find that plain old paper maps work better for me especially if using the AC maps.  YMMV

Riding Aug 10 -15,16  i will be riding the atlantic coast route from phila to obx.  I am looking for anyone who may be open to letting me set up a tent in their yard for the night and possibly letting me take a shower in their home. This will be my first tour and i am a little unsure about just setting up a tent anywhere or on the side of a road. If you are willing please e-mail me and then we can exchange phone numbers. Thank you Andrew 
What is your approximate planned route?

Maybe the folks who maintain the route will have a better answer, but my impression is that the length of the TA has nothing to do with "avoiding obstacles like particularly unsupported areas or difficult passes".  It seems if anything to avoid large towns and keep you in the boonies most of the time.  It also seemed at times to intentionally do more climbing than absolutely necessary.  That said, I found it to be a great route.

Seven weeks is tight but still doable and you could cut mileage in a number of places along the way.

I really liked the TA, but if you want a shorter more direct route you can always:
  • Plan your own route.
  • Do the Southern Tier.
  • Follow one of the fast crossing routes used by races (like RAAM) or tour companies who specialize in fast crossings

Personally I think you are missing out if you focus on too much on "the ultimate goal of crossing the country" at the expense of seeing the sights and meeting the people, but different strokes.

Another option might be to do half of the TA this year and half next.

Connecting ACA Routes / Re: Colorado Detours Along TransAm Route
« on: July 29, 2009, 02:56:07 pm »
Thanks for the info.  I probably won't hit all of those spots, if any, but was curious as to what it would entail.  Maybe I'll see if my friends want to come visit me instead of the other way around.
Depending on how far off route they are... Maybe they could pick you up for a visit and drop you back on route right where they picked you up.  We did a bit of that in Virginia and it worked out well.

Routes / Re: TransAmerica alternate bypassing Missoula
« on: July 28, 2009, 06:58:33 pm »
The author said Idaho was the most scenic state.  

That wasn't my observation, but I didn't ride that specific route.

General Discussion / Re: Cycling in thunderstorms
« on: July 25, 2009, 06:08:09 pm »
I'd say that if we didn't ride when thunderstorms were forecast on our 2007 TransAmerica we might still be there waiting in camp.  Same way on my Kansas City to Santa Fe this year, thunderstorms almost every evening.

We were usually lucky to have shelter available when the storms rolled over us, but not always.  It was pretty scary when we were on top of a mesa with no shelter anywhere for miles with lightning all around and not so much as a ditch to hide in.

My companions both said they felt a shock from seatpost to thigh.  They rode like crazy for lower ground.

General Discussion / Re: Prep for my first trip
« on: July 24, 2009, 07:01:48 am »
Take a train, plane, rental car, or bus back.  Possibly take the bike as baggage or ship it.  Personally I kind of like to get the transportation out of the way up front when possible by ending the trip at or near home.

General Discussion / Re: Ketchum Idaho to Missoula Mt
« on: July 21, 2009, 07:30:41 am »
Does anyone have any information on touring from Ketchum Idaho to Missoula Mt?  Anything would be helpful!

The route you probably would use in Montana is along the TransAmerica.  I rode that and it was pretty nice riding for the most part.  You can check my journal for some pictures and spotty notes at:
Also there are many other TA journals on the crazy guy site that would cover that same section.

I can't address the part in Idaho.

General Discussion / Re: Motel/hotel discount
« on: July 20, 2009, 02:54:56 pm »
On recent tour I used hotels & motels, had I been a member of AAA I could have got a discount - just wondered if anyone has ideas on how to get discounts as coming from UK and not member of AAA I had to resort to fantasy reasons ie senior (actually thats not not a fantasy) being a member of SOLMOB (Silly old man on a bike) even when I explained what it meant and that I was the only member having made it up I did get some discounts.  One time a receptioonist said it didn't matter as long as I was a member!  and being a veteran but not from a USA conflict - we have plenty of our own. 

Seriously does anyone know if we get discounts beinga member of ACA?  If not maybe they could take it up.
We often got discounts on campsites and while we didn't stay in motels much the one time we did they gave us one.  We did this just by saying that we were riding bicycles coast to coast and asking if they had a cyclists discount.  Even if they didn't have a policy that said they did, they usually offered one anyway.

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