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Messages - staehpj1

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General Discussion / Re: What roads can you cycle on?
« on: March 01, 2009, 10:40:46 am »
Pretty much.  In some places you can even ride on the interstates.  Just because you can ride on a given road doesn't mean you would want to though.

Where do you plan on riding?  Different parts of the country vary a lot.

General Discussion / Re: A Few Questions About the TransAm
« on: March 01, 2009, 10:36:38 am »
Take it from someone who knows. It is not a good idea to disregard warnings of heavy weather that might be coming your way.
I don't bother with a radio.  The locals will be quick to warn you when the weather looks dicey, especially if you ask.  You need to respect the weather, but then again I think it all to easy to be overly cautious to the point where you worry about every little thunder storm.  I don't think we would have ever gotten across Montana and Wyoming if we had holed up whenever there were thunderstorms in the forecast.  They were forecast pretty much every day.  And most of the time we could see one in the distance.  Yes they could be scary, we did have lightning all around us at one point up on a butte with nothing sticking up higher than us.  We probably should have gotten as low as we could and waited it out, but we raced as fast as we could for lower ground instead.  Maybe not the smartest move, but we lived to tell about it.

Routes / Re: I'm looking for a route . . .
« on: February 28, 2009, 07:10:08 pm »
But I have heard that the Blue Ridge is a lot harder than the TransAm
Not sure.  The limited part of the Parkway I have ridden was not too bad.  The climbs up to it are killer though.  The one at Vesuvius is about as bad as anything you will find anywhere else on the TA.  Out west you will have a lot of very long climbs but none are nearly as steep as the ones in the Appalachians.

The hardest part of the Trans America for me was the climbing in the few days before the BRP.  It was one of the reasons we started in the West.  That and we wanted to have air travel out of the way up front. 

If you want a shorter ride than the TA the BRP might be a reasonable choice.  If you live close to it you are probably pretty used to climbing.

If you don't mind flying somewhere, the Oregon coast would be a great warm up.  Beautiful scenery and enough hills to give you a good idea of what touring is like without beating you up too much.  Combine that with wonderful state parks with cheap hiker/biker sites to camp at.  Oh and great seafood too.  Ride a tour down the coast there and you will be hooked for sure if you aren't already.

Then again no warm up is really required.  Three of us did the TA as a first tour.  Two of the group had never even done a long day ride before.  One had done her longest ride a little over 30 miles unloaded and the other had done a little over 40 also unloaded.  None of us had ridden with a loaded bike at all.  They "trained" for a few weeks starting from scratch basically riding on the weekends.  We just took it easy for a week or ten days and did fine.

Gear Talk / Re: Bike Question - Specialized Roubiax
« on: February 28, 2009, 10:42:34 am »
Sounds like it could work OK.  Keep the load light if you can and don't add much weight on the bike with those wheels.  Since you are fairly light it helps.  You ought to be able to get below 30 pounds of gear if you watch your choices fairly carefully.  By all means stay below 40 for sure.

Good luck and have a great trip.

Gear Talk / Re: Bike Question - Specialized Roubiax
« on: February 28, 2009, 09:32:00 am »
I do know some riders that happily tour on carbon fiber frames.  Which Roubaix do you have?  It looks like there are models with different gearing and spoke counts.  One of the higher spoke count models may have sturdy enough wheels, but none of them even the triple have low enough gearing for the mountains carrying a camping gear IMO.  Pack light and add a 24t chain ring and they might be OK.

If going with the Roubaix, I would pack light and use a light trailer like the Extrawheel Voyager.  It is much lighter than the BoB and uses a 700 wheel so the same spare tubes or tires work.  It also puts less of the weight on the bike's rear wheel.

Maybe use the Old Man Mountain rack on the front.

General Discussion / Re: Weather Resources
« on: February 27, 2009, 06:37:24 pm »
Really different answers depending on which of those choices you pick.  I suggest that as a quick reality check you can look at the recommended seasons for the Adventure cycling routes that are closest to where you are going.

I don't advise going up the west coast.  That is against strong prevailing winds during the riding season there.  Don't worry too much about prevailing winds when riding across the US though.  That is almost a wash between on way and the other.  On the TA E-W is slightly favored.  Not sure about the NT or ST.

For going across the middle of the country.  The weather is likely to be good with a Spring departure in the East.  You miss the hot humid weather from Virginia thru Missouri and get to the Rockies when it has thawed well and snow is unlikely.

Doing a two way xc trip or perimeter tour needs to be planned carefully.  It works out the best by far if you go around the country in a counter clockwise direction.  I have done a bit of doodling about such a tour starting and ending in Baltimore and taking 6 months.  See the following for a bit more details:

General Discussion / Re: A Few Questions About the TransAm
« on: February 27, 2009, 05:04:17 pm »
that runner guy is incredible...when i biked the TA i "biked" into him halfway up togwettoo pass (sp?) climb and on way to dubois.  incredible guy...looks like he's still busy...running 
I wonder if we met?  I am assuming you met Bjorn in 2007.  I was traveling with two recent college grads (my daughter and a friend) at the time.  We were East bound and met Bjorn in Dayville Oregon June 19th.  We were in Dubois July 11th.  If you think we might have met look at our journal to see if you recognize us.  It is at:

If you met us you may know us as Erica, Lauren, and Pete or maybe as "Two Grads and a Dad".

Adventure Cycling is not offering a coast to coast supported tour.
They sometimes have in the past haven't they?

Gear Talk / Re: Four gears in hub.
« on: February 27, 2009, 07:51:49 am »
Check out the Rohloff (14 speeds and $$$).  I am not a fan for my use, but some swear by them.  They are often used for expedition type tours and off road.

Also look at the cheaper shimano-nexus 8 speed.

For using a triple on front, yes it is possible if you use the right type of chain tensioner.  Dig around on the sheldon brown site a bit.  I saw something there.

Also you could use a schlumpf speed drive.  I think it is also expensive.

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:  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.

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.

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:
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.

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.

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.

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. 

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