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Messages - staehpj1

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1606
Gear Talk / Re: Oxford Low Rider panniers
« on: March 07, 2009, 04:39:48 pm »
Last question - how easy are those panniers to remove every night?   The one big thing I like about Ortliebs is how easily they come off for transport/securing.
Mine stay loaded and on the bike for pretty much the whole tour.  I don't take stuff into the tent at night, so for me it isn't much of an issue, but...  The Nashbar waterproof come off easily enough.  Actually I don't see how they could be any easier.  The top has hooks and the bottom a hook on the end of the velcro.  Just lift the top off and the unhook the bungee if it doesn't fall free on it's own.

The Transit ones are harder to remove.  If you tighten them real tight that are a bit of a pain to remove.

1607
Gear Talk / Re: Oxford Low Rider panniers
« on: March 06, 2009, 04:59:34 pm »
Cheers.  I had seen those Performance panniers but those reviews about the fastenings coming off, etc. had put me off.  Good to know that these are reliable bags...

Thanks for the help!
Yeah, I have seen complaints too.  We did a 4244 mile tour in 2007 and my daughter used two of them much of the time for daily commuting for since then.  No problems with fasteners coming off and the bags are still in great shape.  We definitely did not baby them either.  We often just laid the bikes on their side on the panniers, etc.

At least one guy who complained about fasteners coming off said that he was having trouble because the hooks were designed for a rack with smaller diameter tubes than his had.  We had no such problems with the racks we used (Blackburn EX-1 rear and Nashbar or Performance clones of the Blackburn lowrider).

1608
Gear Talk / Re: Newbicycle trailer
« on: March 06, 2009, 04:47:49 pm »
I know you say you don't care, but it is way to heavy for touring if you ask me.  Even a couple pounds make a big difference 33 pounds is a huge handicap if you will be riding any hills.

I guess it depends on how you want to use it though.

Maybe check out http://www.amazon.com/Burley-FLATBED-Bicycle-Cargo-Trailer/dp/B001MS4JDS/ref=pd_sbs_sg_2 It is lighter, but still heavy and is rated to carry more.

1609
General Discussion / Re: What roads can you cycle on?
« on: March 06, 2009, 12:30:18 pm »
Along with the Advbenture Cycling maps there is a mapping web site www.viamichelin.com that allows you to specify a "bicycling" option so their suggested route avoids prohibited Interstates, etc.
Interesting that Bicycle routes can't exceed 200km on that site but auto routes can be thousands of miles.  What is up with that?

1610
Gear Talk / Re: Oxford Low Rider panniers
« on: March 05, 2009, 02:19:05 pm »
Nashbar unfortunately doesnt ship to India... Performance does, but they dont really have anything that stands out.

Any other options for bags with good, robust rain-covers?  Worst case, I can probably get covers made locally but it just saves a lot of time to get them together.

V.
They sell the same Waterproof panniers as Nashbar and also the Transit line.  Both were acceptable and I would buy either again.

1611
Gear Talk / Re: Oxford Low Rider panniers
« on: March 04, 2009, 05:42:48 pm »
I wasn't crazy about the Nashbar MTB panniers, but like the Nashbar Waterproof ones quite well.  I also like the Transit line from Performance.  Three of us used a mix of Nashbar Waterproof, Nashbar MTB. and the Transit Epic The Epic was supposed to be a front pannier, but I used them on the rear and found them plenty big enough to suit me.  The ladies I rode with wanted one bag with pockets so they each used one of the MTB panniers on the front with a Nashbar waterproof on the other side.  All of the bags mentioned worked fine and held up well.

Sorry but I can't comment on the Oxford panniers.

1612
Gear Talk / Re: Should I get a new bike?
« on: March 04, 2009, 01:26:01 pm »
You overstate the complexity by a considerable amount.
I agree.  I have built wheels that held up very well using Sheldon Brown's instructions.  I am reasonably mechanically inclined, but it wasn't all that hard.

1613
Routes / Re: East to West
« on: March 04, 2009, 01:21:57 pm »
....DO NOT USE GREYHOUND BUS....
From the Harry Chapin Lyrics to Greyhound:
Take the Greyhound.
It's a dog of a way to get around.
Take the Greyhound.
It's a dog gone easy way to get you down.

That about sums it up.  I will say that if you are looking for an "adventure" the Greyhound will likely provide that.

1614
Routes / Re: How much to save to do the TA
« on: March 04, 2009, 12:39:06 pm »
I think saying you could do it easily on $2000 is a little unrealistic.  You have to be really committed to being cheap to do that.  Not saying you can't, but you're not going to be showering very much, not eating in restaurants at all, not drinking any alcohol, not staying in a hotel even if the weather is really horrible or you're sick, etc.

Note that if you are solo it is more expensive per person, because you can't split the cost of lodging (camp sites & hotels).  Also, food can be a bit more expensive solo, because it's pretty hard to cook a healthy varied meal for yourself and not end up with leftovers that you can't use - so you end up either cooking really boring stuff with only a few ingredients, carrying leftover items which may spoil before you eat them, or eating out a bit more.

3 months is probably a little more than most people take. 

Everyone is different.  $2000 is about what I spent and it was probably a bit less.  I am naturally frugal, but did not feel like I pinched pennies much on that trip.  I think I only drank alcohol twice on the trip (a beer with a meal).  No I didn't stay in motels much (one night we paid and one night a friend put us up), but I did eat in restaurants a good bit (usually second breakfast or lunch).  There were three of us sharing expenses and sometimes we saved by splitting expenses, but more than half of the time we stayed for free.  In addition when we did pay a good portion of the time it was priced per person.  So we saved a little by being in a group of three, but I don't think it was all that much.

Additionally there were places we could have cut costs further.  The $2000 included things like shopping at the Patagonia outlet and having stuff sent home, buying some clothing and gear along the way, stopping in tourist traps like the "Sea Lion Cave", a night in a cabin, a night in a tee pee, several stops at expensive KOA style campgrounds, and a day of whitewater rafting.

On the other hand we probably got more invites to stay with folks than I would have gotten if I was alone.  People assumed we were a father and two daughters and I think that made us very approachable.

All that said it is a good idea to allow plenty of extra, just in case.  I had allowed $5000, but still had $2500 in the account at the end.  Bear in mind that airfare, a car rental, a night's motel stay before we started the tour, and a day of sightseeing in Newport before the trip all came out of the $5000 in addition to all daily spending during the tour.

Bottom line...  For me I could see doing the trip for as little as $1500 without being a complete cheapskate or as much as $3000 depending on what the trip was like.  If I went at a good clip, didn't do a lot of tourist stuff, and pinched my pennies I think my daily expenses (not counting airfare etc.) could be as little as $1500.  If I took my time and did more tourist stuff I can imagine it being as much as $3000.

I agree that 3 months is at the longer end of the range and that it would mean higher trip cost because of more meals and campsite fees.

1615
Routes / Re: Hancock MD to Front Royal/Skyline via 522?
« on: March 04, 2009, 09:08:24 am »
Can't comment on 522, but the TA to Richmond was nice enough.  Still, you might consider riding some or all of the BRP.

Maybe check out:
http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/TourDeTrails

1616
Routes / Re: East to West
« on: March 03, 2009, 10:39:09 am »
Have you had good luck with Amtrak for coast to coast?  I like it in concept, but have heard other complain of delays in the range of days not hours.

1617
Gear Talk / Re: Touring Stove
« on: March 03, 2009, 08:43:20 am »
You could always try a solar stove, they are super light, no fuel required, and easy to DIY. Only problem is that its a slow cooker, kinda like a crock-pot. Here is a link to the one I'm gonna try out . . .

http://solarcooking.org/plans/windshield-cooker.htm

and a nice article on solar cooking . . .

http://www.thecleanestline.com/2008/09/solar-cookin.html


Looks interesting...
The problem I would foresee is that they are slow and work best mid day, not the time I want to wait on a slow cooked meal.  The sun is low in the sky by the time I am ready to make camp most days.  It also could be pretty limited by cloudy days and in thick tree cover.

So I like the concept, but have trouble imagining it being practical on the tours I have done.

1618
Routes / Re: East to West
« on: March 03, 2009, 07:56:42 am »
Hello, I'm fairly new to the world of biking but I've started to entertain the idea of going cross country next summer. I've been reading what I can find online and it looks as if most people bike from West to East because of the prevailing winds. I live in New York and was hoping I could start at home but it looks like that would be a little more difficult. My question is, if I wanted to start in the West and head towards home how would I go about getting my bike and all my gear to the starting point? I can't imagine what kind of fees I'd have to pay to bring my bike on a plane. Would it be easier to just ride E-W rather than worrying about getting myself and my bike to the other side of the country?

East to West has a slight edge on prevailing surface winds for the TA. not sure about the NT or ST.  Summer winds in Kansas and eastern Colorado tend to be out of the SE and the TA goes kind of into them.  That said prevailing winds should not be the main factor in your decision.
http://home.comcast.net/~staehpj1/pics/julywinds.gif

As far as the worries about shipping the bike...  My preference is to have the air travel out of the way up front.  Easier to buy tickets when you know the date you need them.  You generally know when you are starting a trip, but unless you are different than me you only have a general idea when you will finish.  It is nice if you finish near home.  Being greeted by family and friends after the TA was a great experience.  It brought tears to my eyes when I saw them there to welcome us.  They had a van all painted decorated up and they threw us a nice cookout at the finish.  It was worth picking the direction of travel for that alone.

1619
Routes / Re: How much to save to do the TA
« on: March 02, 2009, 07:13:24 pm »
Hey everyone, I am coming from NZ to cycle the TA, and am keen to get an idea of how much I will need to save to ensure I dont run out of money!

I will be camping the majority of the time, and have my cooker with me, trying to do it on the cheap. Thinking 3 months shuould be enough to cross.

Any rough ideas? Thanks in advance!
Scott
It is really variable depending on your choices.  It is best to have plenty available and just spend what you want/need to.  $2k or so very do-able.  $1k is possible, but you have to watch your pennies.  That said some folks might spend $5k.  I prefer to keep it down to $2k, but like to have a good cushion so I don't have to watch too closely.  Having 1.5-2 times what you expect to spend keeps it laid back.

It was pretty easy to stay for free better than half the time without stealth camping.

Some of the little things tend to add up.  Snacks, energy drinks, sunscreen, and other small items add up.  Food can vary a lot depending on your choices, but it is nice to eat well.  Still if you watch yourself you can keep costs down.

Three months is plenty unless you really want to take your time.  Again it is better to not have a deadline.  We allowed 12 weeks but took 73 days.

1620
General Discussion / Re: What roads can you cycle on?
« on: March 01, 2009, 05:58:32 pm »
I'm starting the transam + western express next thursday as part of my round the world tour. But now have to get to San Fran within 40 days. So I'm looking at taking a few shortcuts.
That will put you at high altitudes in the Rockies way too early.  Iffy weather and a firm deadline can be a recipe for disaster.  Be careful.  That is a fairly ambitious schedule in good weather.  That time of year you really can't count on good weather.  Don't let a deadline get you into trouble.

Given your starting time and deadline, you might be better off to use the Souther Tier.  Ride the ST and use the train to go up the coast to SF.

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