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Messages - staehpj1

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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.

Gear Talk / Re: Bike w/panniers Or BOB IBEX Trailer
« on: January 12, 2011, 12:22:48 pm »
O.K.  Here's a link of someone we met on our last tour who laid unconscious for two hours in a ditch because her BOB trailer whipped her bike out of control. Fortunately a passerby found her. Her Trans Am trip was way-laid for months.

General Discussion / Re: Novice coming to America !
« on: January 11, 2011, 07:44:44 am »
County roads are generally better for cycling than state routes, state routes better than US routes, US routes better than interstates. However, the roads that are better for cycling are almost always longer and hillier than the major roads, but cyclotourists are not usually after the shortest path between two points anyway.

A lot of road choice depends on personal preference. Some prefer broad shoulders on high-traffic roads, and others prefer no shoulders on low-traffic roads. It's seldom you get both shoulders and low traffic.
I agree that a lot depends on personal preference.  It also varies with geographic location and individual road.  That said I don't find smaller better in many cases.

Interstates - Can be ridden in large portions of the west.  They can be quite pleasant, quite unpleasant, or something in between.  I have ridden sections of Interstate that I hated and sections that I really liked.  For example I-25 in NE New Mexico was very nice.  Good views of the Sangre de Cristo mountains, clean shoulders, gentle grades, and light traffic made for a very pleasant ride.  I'd go out of my way to ride there.  The section of I-80 on the TA was loud, not scenic, and the shoulders were wide, but somewhat debris strewn.  It wasn't completely awful, but we were glad to be off of it.  Access roads for interstates can be quite nice.  You do have to be careful because sometimes they just fizzle out.

In the continuum from US routes to county roads I find that which works the best depends on where I am.  At home (Baltimore area) when just out for a meandering ride I find county roads nice.  In more remote and rural areas I less often ride them though preferring somewhat larger roads much of the time.  When going longish distances in these more remote parts of the country I'd rather stick to the fairly direct route and minimal need for complex directions provided by US or state routes.  I do like to ride some sections on smaller roads for variety.

In the Ozarks and Appalachians I enjoyed the tiny roads.  In the Cascades, the Rockies, and the plains I mostly liked US and state routes.  In the Sierras I enjoyed a mix with a bias toward state routes.

BTW, I have a low tolerance for roads in poor condition and avoid dirt or gravel roads if at all possible.  If I want to ride off pavement I'll do a MTB tour and try to go all dirt, otherwise I prefer well surfaced roads.

General Discussion / Re: need tips for first tour
« on: January 10, 2011, 07:00:54 am »
Hey Henry,

When carrying cash, cards Etc, carry them in different places. Not in the same pannier or wallet. This way if you lose one, you have a backup. Also, when I left for my trip, I got all new cards. Those magnetic strips always fail at the worst times. And check the expiration dates!
Whatever works for you is fine, but I do the opposite.  That stuff, all my electronics, and any other theft worthy items stay in the handlebar bag.  It makes it much easier to keep them with me at all times and I am therefore very unlikely to lose them.  The handlebar bag is the only thing that goes with me into diners, stores, attractions, and into the tent at night so it is the logical place for stuff that needs to have an eye kept on it.

General Discussion / Re: Chain Cleaner
« on: January 08, 2011, 03:23:23 pm »
BTW, we got horrible build up when we tried a wax-based lube (White Lightning)
Have you tried their "shedding formula"?  I expect that probably fixes that problem.
Not sure what the stuff was, but I think the claim was that it was supposed to shed.  This was in 2007, not sure if the formulation has changed since then.

General Discussion / Re: Chain Cleaner
« on: January 08, 2011, 11:40:46 am »
My approach is to lube with T-9, wipe off, and ride.  I am convinced that cleaning often shortens the life of a chain by allowing grit to penetrate deeper and killing the lube there as well.  On those few occasions where the chain gets so gritty that the lube and wipe isn't sufficient, a light rinse with water or WD40 is in order, but I try to limit that to only once in a great while (like twice or maybe three times in 10,000 miles).

I typically get 10K miles or so from my chains so I don't think the lack of cleaning has been a big problem.

BTW, we got horrible build up when we tried a wax based lube (White Lightning), and yes we applied according to the instructions on the bottle.

I really like Boeshield T-9, but Pedro's and Phil Wood lubes have both worked well for me in the past.

General Discussion / Re: Camp Shoe ideas????
« on: January 07, 2011, 12:31:37 pm »
Crocs or the nock offs

Bulk isn't a problem just hang them on the back somewhere with a carabiner.

A few key requirements for me are:
1. Must be easy to just step into when leaving the tent.
2. Must double as shower shoes.
3. Must be OK for walking a few miles.
4. Must be light weight.

Crocs meet all of those requirements nicely, but If I will be hiking a lot I might consider adding a pair of trail running shoes.  Most trips I do not find that necessary, since my hikes while on tour are typically just short walks.  That said when we spend a week in Yosemite Valley I bought a pair of light trail running shoes.

BTW, I own a pair of Vibram Five Fingers and enjoy running in them, but they do not meet requirement #1 since they are a pain to put on.  Also they are not optimum as shower shoes (item #2).  They are fine for hiking though.

John's answer is good.  I will add that when we rode coast to coast on the TransAmerica we averaged less than $5 per night and could have done better if we had to.  We resorted to expensive sites only a few times.

In the rural US away from the coasts I often just camp in the little town parks.  If there were no signs forbidding it and no obvious place to ask I often just pitch the tent and stay.  If the town is big enough to have police I generally ask them.  If not I might ask the clerk at the general store if he thinks i am likely to be run off.

If that is not an option for some reason, asking around often works.  Store clerks, wait staff, librarians, and just folks I met have been good contacts that led to a place to stay whether it was in someone's yard, a fire house, behind a general store or minimart, or a church lot. hosts are also a good bet where available.

General Discussion / Re: Wear eye glasses/sun glasses while riding
« on: January 06, 2011, 11:17:27 am »
Unfortunately, my vision is so bad that I can't get a prescription lense made from anyone, in a cycling-specific model. I tried. So, I'm stuck with inserts. I have to call Lensecrafters, in advance, so they can order in the material for my lenses. Otherwise, I wait a week on any new pair of glasses. Most people's eyes aren't this bad. The Doc assured me that I won't go totally blind. We'll see.

Interesting, I had more trouble finding someone who could do the inserts in my bifocal prescription.  If you haven't already I would check with Sportrx to see what they have to say.  I would advise actually phoning or emailing them, because I got better advice from Rob via email than what I could glean from their web page.  They just might be able to recommend a model that will work for you.  For example, I know that with the Project Rudy Horus model they were able to accommodate my bifocal prescription and I was unable to get that for my inserts.

My companions brow beat me for the entire TA since I was the one with the map holder and I couldn't read the map while riding without my bifocals  because I was only able to get my inserts in a single vision prescription.  Now with my new glasses it is no problem.

If he is still there, I would email Rob at next time you need glasses and see what he suggests.

General Discussion / Re: Wear eye glasses/sun glasses while riding
« on: January 06, 2011, 06:49:52 am »
You definitely need to look into cycling-specific glasses. The ones I have are from Rudy Project and have prescription inserts. Cycling glasses have much better eye coverage, arms that grip the sides of your head without the need to wrap around your ears, and lenses that are designed to filter UV rays. They're not cheap, but, your vision, safety, and comfort are worth it.
I agree that it is worth spending on some cycling specific glasses.  That said, I found that for me inserts were not as nice as just having the lenses be prescription.  The inserts made for extra surfaces to fog up or get dirty.  I used glasses with inserts on the Trans America and they were OK, but I like my new cycling glasses much better.

I got really good service from Sportrx online.  The guy who helped me (Rob) was an avid cyclist and an optician and seemed to really know his stuff.  The price wasn't that bad either.

General Discussion / Re: What about your Bike??????
« on: January 05, 2011, 12:01:19 pm »
Sounds good... I have a combo lock cable I will just take with me for good measure.

I would always use it.  I've got too many friends who have lost their bikes to theft.  In one case, the thief took the bike right outside the window the owner was watching from, hopped on the bike and rode away.  The owner gave chase on foot and almost caught the guy but could not keep up when they hit a downhill.  I use a 6' cable with a combo lock and a lightweight 4' one with an inline barrel lock and lock to a tree or picnic bench, etc.
A lot depends on where you are touring.  In a tiny town with a population of under 100 where no one locks their doors even when away on vacation, and the next town is 40 miles down the road, I don't bother to lock at all.

On the other had in bigger towns and cities especially bike friendly ones, you need to be super careful.  The few instances of touring cyclists having bikes stolen that I have heard of were in these larger bike friendly towns.  Eugene OR, Pueblo CO, and Baker City are the places I recall hearing of bike or gear thefts on tour in the US.

General Discussion / Re: Bike boxes
« on: January 05, 2011, 11:47:51 am »
Thanks so far. but I had in mind a bike shop, so a recommended one would be most helpful.  Well accustomed with air travel with a cycle so no problem there.
There are a ton of bike shops in San Diego and I'd probably just google it and pick one close to the airport or maybe close to my hotel if staying in one.  A google search for "san diego bike shops" returns dozens, several of which are within a mile of the airport.

Another option might be to look up warmshowers hosts nearby.  In a town like San Diego I am sure there are plenty.  They often provide varying levels of assistance ranging from advice, to hospitality including a bed, meals, and even transportation or errand running like picking up a box for you.  Ask them what they advise and see what they offer.

All that said when I was planning a trip starting in San Diego and online friend recommended the following shop:

Zumwalt's Bicycle Center
6425 El Cajon Blvd
San Diego, CA 92115

I have not used them myself, but the guy who recommended them was a San Diego local.  It looks like it is about 8 miles from the airport though and several others are closer.

General Discussion / Re: Bike boxes
« on: January 05, 2011, 08:02:46 am »
I'm not sure I'd want to use an Amtrak box to ship a bike on a plane.  I've used the Amtrak boxes when I travel by train but knowing how they pack a plane I'd be afraid they would load the box in such a way that the wheels could be tweaked (bent).  If I were traveling by plane I'd want a regular box like you can get at any bike shop.  San Diego has a pretty good trolley system that should have stops that are reasonably close to a bike shop.  You should be able to have them box it up.  If it isn't rush hour you should be able to take it on the trolley back to your starting point.  You may have to take a cab to the airport as I don't think they have a line that goes to the airport yet.
Airline policies are vague enough that I try not to push it with a bigger than necessary box.  I figure that the smaller the box the less chance there will be a problem checking it.

General Discussion / Re: Wear eye glasses/sun glasses while riding
« on: January 05, 2011, 07:58:40 am »
Despite many years of riding and touring and putting up with a sore neck finally figured it out.  I've tried all sorts of adjustments to the bike but it has just dawned on me that my glasses slip down slightly or just block out my upward field of vision causing me to lift my head slightly higher than is natural and I think that this is the cause.

However, I don't seem to be able to come up with a solution, does anyone else have this problem, maybe like me you don't even realise it, and what have you done?

Thanks Tony

I do two different things.

1. Most of the time I wear a pair of sunglasses with photochromic lenses and my bifocal prescription.  They were chosen specifically for cycling and running and avoid the problem you mentioned.  The photochromic lenses allow me to wear them day and night.  I do find that they have a "space alien" look to them that seems to alienate local folks so I take them off when speaking to local folks along the way.
2. In the few cases I ride with my regular glasses I let them slide down a bit and look over them when looking down the road only looking through them to read the map or cyclocomputer or to look at the road surface right in front of me.

Gear Talk / Re: How accessible is propane on the TA Trail/good stove?
« on: January 05, 2011, 06:58:30 am »
I feel that gear for bike touring has to be durable enough to take a good whack.  You never know when you will take a fall or hit something.  So I use a conventional fuel bottle for my opened alcohol bottle.  I feel pretty confident that foil on the top of the HEET bottle provides thet needed seal.  I am less confident about the HEET bottle once you peel the foil off.

As for fuel bottles, alcohol is supposed to be corrosive to aluminum.  Trangia makes a nice plastic fuel bottle.  Others make an epoxy lined aluminum fuel bottle.  MSR fuel bottles are not lined. I have an 11 ounce MSR fuel bottle that I sometimes use.  I no longer use it for white gas, and I check the bottle for corrosion.  You will have to decide what standard you want to follow.  I wrap my windscreen around the fuel bottle.
The Heet bottle is actually my first choice as a fuel bottle.  It is light, the right size, has a long thin neck for easy pouring, and I have never had a problem with leaking.  I own a few different "real" fuel bottles and actually prefer the Heet bottles over any of them.

BTW one nice thing about alcohol is that even if it did leak it wouldn't be too big of a deal as compared to other some fuels.

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