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Messages - staehpj1

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1591
General Discussion / Re: A Few Questions About the TransAm
« on: February 27, 2009, 07:26:22 am »
Since you don't even have the dog yet, I'd advise doing the trip and then getting a dog after.  A dog will be a hassle on a trip of that nature.  You don't need it for protection.  For company make it a point to meet the local folks.  You will be likely to find tons of chances to chat with them.  Also if you camp in hiker biker sites, city parks, and churches you will probably be able to camp with other cyclists if you want.

That said as far as walking the TA...  I don't know of anyone, but we met a guy who ran a shorter route across the US.  He was on the TA part of the way but his route was maybe 1200 miles shorter.  His site is at: http://www.suneson.se/index.php  Check out his Oregon to Virginia trip.

I also would advise that you will not need to stealth camp most of the time.  Why stealth camp in places where you are welcome to camp in plain sight?  It is a personal choice, but when bike touring I prefer to camp in city parks or sleep in churches rather than hiding in the woods.  You get to meet more people that way, and the extra human contact is nice.  I think we paid to camp less than half the time on the TA and never needed to stealth camp or knock on doors to get permission.  On the TA the trails have been blazed in that respect.  Places that will let you camp are mostly known.  Churches that will let you sleep there are known, etc.  Some places will feed you either breakfast of dinner.  It is a nice experience.

Where there aren't free places to stay there are often cheap camp sites for cyclists.

1592
General Discussion / Re: A Few Questions About the TransAm
« on: February 26, 2009, 06:20:38 pm »
I have my doubts about this for a lot of reasons, but...

I would expect problems in Kentucky and Missouri.  We were chased by dogs multiple times a day in both those states.  I would have to guess we were chased by at least 30-40 dogs and probably more, sometimes 2-4 of them at a time.

I know that day after day we had 100F heat on our TA.  Most dogs do not do well running in 100F heat.  I have a dog that runs with me and I wouldn't make very good time trying to cross the country at her pace and daily mileage in hot weather.

Personally I wouldn't expect my dog to go faster or farther than I would on foot.  A lot does depend on the breed and age of your dog though.  If I were going to take my dog I would either let her ride in a trailer on the flats and downhills and get up the climbs under her own power or I would skip the bike and walk/run carrying my stuff in a baby jogger.

As far as how often there are vets offices...  There won't even be towns closer that 40 miles apart fairly often and once I think they were 80 miles apart.  Some of these towns had a population of less than 50 people.  You may well be several days to a week's ride from a vet at the pace I would be willing to push my dog.  And if she was sick or injured it would be ugly.

You will have difficulties in some places where dogs will not be allowed.  I am pretty sure you won't be able to take fido into any national parks and maybe some state parks.  You can probably work around this one, but it may be a hassle at times.

1593
Routes / Re: Perimeter Tour
« on: February 26, 2009, 01:20:48 pm »
In that case I will say that yes, I have considered it and may even do it when I retire.  I estimated 6 months.  It is probably important that you go south on the Pacific coast and that you are in the right places at the right time weather-wise.  Here is some doodling I did:
Miles
Days
Start
Finish
Baltimore to Bar Harbor10001606/01/??06/17/??
Northern Tier42956906/17/??08/25/??
Pacific Coast18362908/25/??09/23/??
Southern Tier31595009/23/??11/12/??
St. Augustine to Baltimore10001611/12/??11/28/??
       11290   miles    
        180     days

This was done with a bias toward starting and finishing from home.  The weather would be easier to schedule for if the beginning and end were in the south.

1594
Gear Talk / Re: Tri-Cross
« on: February 26, 2009, 07:46:24 am »
I'm new to biking, and I plan to ride across America this summer.  I know very little about bikes.

The guy at the bike place I went to really pushed a Tri-cross.  I'll be taking about 50-60 pounds with me.  I told him I wanted to research it online, but I don't see much about loaded touring on one anywhere.  Does anyone have any advice or recommendations?
50-60 pounds is quite a bit.  I personally would be inclined to either pack much lighter or get a touring bike.

A trailer would work OK with the Tri-cross though.  I am not a trailer fan, but some folks love them.  For me I found panniers worked better and the thought of having a trailer to ship to and from the start and finish points sounds like an extra hassle.   There are some special circumstance where I might like to try a very light weight trailer with a light load (<20 pounds) and a road bike, but not on the typical XC tour.

1595
General Discussion / Re: ACA Maps?
« on: February 25, 2009, 01:43:25 pm »
The AC Trans America maps are very easy to follow as you go and I assume the Western Express maps are too.  I do recommend picking up a state map when you enter each state, just in case you decide to go off route.  You can pitch it or give it to someone going the other way.  It will probably be a while before you start meeting folks going the other way with such an early start though.

1596
I would imaging they don't want to have to carry a trike in the sag wagon if the need should arise.  I am neither a trike fan or a recumbent fan, but agree that it is better to just do it on your own. 

1597
Gear Talk / Re: Touring on a Recumbent Trike
« on: February 20, 2009, 09:25:03 am »
Bents aren't my cup of tea, but we met a number of bent riders on the TA, several on trikes.  They were doing fine and really like their choice.

1598
General Discussion / Re: Flat Tire - Safety Alert
« on: February 18, 2009, 08:40:20 am »
With the advent of disposed syringes with hypodermic needles on the urban road sides and suburban parks and trails, there is an emerging concern about using finger drag tests for discovering hard to see causes of flat tires [to digress, not all causes of flat tires are immediately evident].
Sounds kind of paranoid to me.  What are the odds that you would get a puncture from a syringe, prick yourself, and contract something.  Got to be one in a billion or something.  I would be willing to bet that this is something that has never happened to anyone anywhere and never will.

That said I have seldom resorted to the finger drag test.  If I know how the tube was in the tire and find the hole in the tube, I then have a very small area of the tire to look at.  At that point I have always been able to find the offending object visually as easily as with the finger drag method.  The times when it is hard to find it visually there is nothing sticking out so the finger drag doesn't work either.  In those cases flexing the casing (sort of pushing a section inside out) in the suspect area sometimes helps.

I have heard that dragging a cotton ball will leave a bit of cotton on the object, but I have never tried it.

1599
Connecting ACA Routes / Re: Transam E-W to Florence OR - bypass Missoula
« on: February 17, 2009, 10:23:52 am »
Not sure, but I considered similar when planning my TA.  We wound up just going to Missoula and didn't regret it.  We did regret getting that close to Glacier and not visiting.  That said If you don't get a real answer here try on Bike Forums touring forum or on the crazyguyonabike forums.  There is a guy there who will definitely know the answer.

1600
Routes / Re: Dedicated Across America Bicycle Path
« on: February 17, 2009, 10:17:38 am »
A TC bike path like I am thinking of would definitely have to be built with the long distance bicycle tourist in mind. Off-path times and distances to towns and stores and services would absolutely have to be reasonable. I mean something like an Appalachian trail, only for cyclists; joggers, hikers and walkers too. Of course, cyclists would need to plan ahead too. There could be makeshift camps at intervals like the shelters on the Appalachian trail, but with running water. It could go through verdant green forests, mountains, prairies, and pasture lands the air is clean and noise is nonexistent. It could keep everyone near enough to services that it would not be a concern. However, in western states on some stretches, even on highways, keeping food and water enough can be a concern if one does not plan ahead.

The construction and linking of such a trail(s) and its maintenance would provide jobs. It seems like a win win situation to me.
I prefer riding on the roads, but I can see where it would be a good thing in many ways for many people.

The one negative I see is that it adds yet more ammunition for those who would like to see bikes forced off the public roads.

1601
General Discussion / Re: Is it worth installing a kick stand?
« on: February 17, 2009, 07:27:52 am »
Purely personal preference.  I wouldn't have one on my bike; others love them. 

1602
Routes / Re: Help Me: Advice routes from Boston, Ma to San Francisco, Ca
« on: February 11, 2009, 06:23:31 pm »
I have looked on the crazyguyonabike webpage and he has some really great stuff. He did the trip west to east which would change the dynamic of my ride.
He?  Which he?  There are a ton of Journals on crazyguy.  The founder of the site did his TA E-W as did lots of the others who have journals there.  You should go back and read some of the other journals they might be helpful.

BTW: If you aren't dead set on starting in Boston, it wouldn't be too difficult to change plans and just do the TA starting in Yorktown.  Rent a car or hop on a train.  It depends on what you are looking for, but using an AC route really simplifies things and makes it easy to find free or cheap places to stay.  Improvising your own route has it's charms too though.

1603
Just one person's opinion, but...

With the TA maps I didn't find a GPS worth carrying.  I sent it home after a week.  The AC maps were easy enough to use that we felt no need to supplement them with anything but a state map picked up each time we entered a new state.  We did intentionally go off route once in a while using an alternate route that the AC maps did not cover and that was the only time the GPS would have been used.

On the 705, I don't think it is really a good design for touring.  Keeping it charged will be a hassle and the features aren't really there for touring.

1604
Gear Talk / Re: new crankset
« on: February 10, 2009, 02:52:33 pm »
You might find that the less expensive Tiagra FD works better with that range of rings.  Never done it with 10 speed though.

1605
Gear Talk / Re: big, wide feet need touring shoes
« on: February 10, 2009, 02:50:11 pm »
I love my Sidi Mega Bullet 2s.  They worked out fine for tours ranging from short to a TA (73 days).  They were fine for short hikes.  We seldom hiked more than 2-3 miles though.  We carried Crocs and wore them (off bike) for a change of pace part of the time and always in camp.  They were fine for short hikes too.

Sidi's in the Mega models are great for wide feet.  The Bullet 2 was my choice over the Dominator, because they are cheaper and I like the velcro closure better than the ratchet buckles any way.

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