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Messages - staehpj1

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1606
General Discussion / Re: ‘Camping’: Is it really necessary?
« on: February 08, 2009, 07:16:06 pm »
I haven't done the NT, but the AC maps are pretty complete when it comes to listing available services.  I'd say if you are pretty sure about the trip the maps would answer your questions very well.  Hopefully some one here can give a better answer.

1607
General Discussion / Re: ‘Camping’: Is it really necessary?
« on: February 05, 2009, 03:04:24 pm »
Crossing the US on the TA we never had trouble finding a place to camp with permission, but I can think of a lot of places that we didn't see motels.  Our preference was to stay with hosts first, at free camping spots next, at cheap campsites next, and KOA type places as a last resort.

I think there was at least one and probably a few places where the motels were 80-100 miles apart.  It may have been possible to cut the distance by modifying the route, but I am not sure.  It would require some long days at the least to avoid camping.  It is certainly possible though and folks have crossed the US without camping.

1608
Gear Talk / Re: Which type of mini stove?
« on: February 02, 2009, 06:53:53 pm »
Here is the previous stove thread:

http://www.adventurecycling.org/forums/index.php?topic=5063.0
That thread said most of what I would add, but I will mention a few things.

On the TA we didn't find isobutane fuel from Pueblo Colorado until Kentucky and it wasn't easy to find there.  We stopped in dozens of places and wasted hours looking for it.  You can have someone mail it to you via general delivery (read the thread in the link above for postal requirements).

Regarding propane, both the stoves and the cartridges are too heavy to suit me.  They are readily available and rugged though.

1609
Routes / Re: Southern Tier & Fuel for cooking advice please
« on: February 02, 2009, 06:43:54 pm »
Don't count on getting canister fuel along the way.  Either make arrangements for someone to mail it to you via general delivery or use something else. You can mail isobutane fuel via ground mail (domestic mail only). The package must have the following label attached on the address side of the package:
"Surface Mail Only
Consumer commodity
ORM-D"

Alternately alcohol, gasoline, and white gas are generally available, but the white gas is often in gallons.  Someone mentioned sources for alcohol already, so I won't go into that.  I would probably take a pop can stove or a mini trangia if I was going solo.


1610
General Discussion / Re: April too early? (Westbound TA)
« on: February 01, 2009, 05:17:37 pm »
You could probably get by, but I'd be inclined to wait until late April.

1611
Gear Talk / Re: Where should the weight go?
« on: January 28, 2009, 07:44:59 am »
Personally I didn't see all that big of a difference in handling as long as I didn't do anything really stupid.  I try to get a good bit of weight up front to reduce the load on the rear wheel when using panniers.

Back when I used a trailer I just put everything in the trailer.  I prefer panniers though so I sold the trailer.

1612
General Discussion / Re: Long distance cycling and supliments
« on: January 27, 2009, 06:32:25 pm »
Ha Ha!  We took Flintstones chewables on the Trans America!  I am not a big believer in supplements, but my daughter took them and handed me one each day.  I can't say the did or didn't help.


1613
Gear Talk / Re: Drivetrain questions
« on: January 26, 2009, 12:08:44 pm »
Easiest and cheapest change is to replace the 28T chainring with a 24T.  It's a bigger % change than going from a 32 to a 34T rear cog and much less expensive than changing the cassette.
I agree.

Quote
Are you sure you don't already have a long cage rear derailleur?  Almost all bikes with triple cranks come with them and your current gearing would be very limited if your rear derailleur is now a short cage.
I agree here too.  It seems unlikely that you have an 11-32 and a triple and do not have a long cage RD already.

1614
Routes / Re: Pennsylvania to Oregon
« on: January 26, 2009, 08:56:57 am »
Check out the Transam route on this site. Also google the DOT website in each of the states you will travel through. Many offer free road maps and some have state bicycle maps and routes.
I would second that.  the TransAmerica is a great route and the maps have a wealth of information including lots of free places to camp, contact info for libraries, post offices, stores, bike shops, motels, hostels, camp grounds, police, and so on.  Well worth the price.  You can buy the maps and just start riding with zero route planning or research on facilities.

1615
Gear Talk / Re: Drivetrain questions
« on: January 26, 2009, 06:55:43 am »
I'm in the midst of upgrading my bike for a TA tour. I did consider buying a new one, but it was far too expensive. I've gotten to the point of looking at my gearing, and from the few thousand miles I've put on it on day trips I think I need some lower gearing. It's an 8 speed, and currently I'm running 28-38-48 up front and 11-12-14-16-18-21-26-32 on the rear. I was thinking of Sheldon Brown's custom cassette:13-15-17-19-21-23-26-34. Has anyone used these before? Does the combination work well for you? Should I also perhaps find a smaller front sprocket? Would it be worth it to upgrade my derailleur to a long cage version? I realize vastly different solutions work well for different people, but I was just wondering what everyone thinks about this topic.
There are personal variables, like your preferred speed and cadence, what you weigh, and how much you will be carrying.  Some folks like super low  or rather high gearing and some get by on less extreme combinations.  Three of us did the TA on bikes that came with  30/42/52T paired up with and 11-32.  We all replaced the crank with one that was 46-36-26.  One of us put a 24 on in place of the 26 before the start and another did the same in Missoula.  I did the Whole TA with the 46-36-26 and the 11-32.

I didn't feel the need for anything lower than the 26-32 in the Cascades or the Rockies.  There were a few places in the Appalachians where a 24 would have been nice and I have since installed one.  Still the 26 was "adequate".  Personally I used the 46-11 high gear a lot and would not have wanted to lower the top gear much if any lower.

1616
Gear Talk / Re: Front Racks Low Rider vs Expedition Rack
« on: January 25, 2009, 10:00:32 am »
It is just personal preference, but I like low riders.  I don't see a need for a platform in the front.  I have a handlebar bag that puts enough weight up there without stacking more stuff on a platform.  I keep small but heavy stuff in the front panniers and lighter, but bulkier stuff in the rear panniers and on top of the rear rack.

I like the inexpensive low riders from Nashbar or Performance (Blackburn clone).  They are cheap light and sturdy.  The Tubus racks are nice and if money is no object you might go that route, but I would buy the cheap Performance or Nashbar ones again if I didn't have any.

1617
I forget exactly which stores there were in Frisco and nearby by Silverthorne and Breckenridge, but you should have no trouble finding fuel there.  I think there are 3 or 4 hardware stores and a Walmart.  I am pretty sure that one of the bike shops had it was well.  Sorry I don't have addresses, but it should be easy to find some.

1618
Gear Talk / Re: front rack with shelf
« on: January 20, 2009, 07:39:21 am »
although the weight is a bit high, I suspect that more weight on the front would be better to counter balance any weight from a trailer. i now own two trailers one is a burley nomad, which im not concerned with, and the other is a bob yak which ive read in other forums that it takes weight off the front of the bike when fully loaded and makes it more difficult to steer on soft ground so instead of taking weight off I actually want to add as much weight as possible to the front of the bike so the surly rack should work well.
It is high in two ways.  First it is double the weight of most lowriders and second the weight is up high.  I can see wanting a rack top for light bulky items, but you are using a trailer so you should have an abundance of space for bulky stuff.

It isn't hard to get some weight on the front wheel by just using smallish panniers on lowrider racks and putting small dense items in them.  The advantage of the weight being low is significant, especially in the front.

Think about this...  A BoB Yak weighs 13.5 pounds and a Surly Nice Rack weighs 2.95 pounds (slightly more or less depending on which hardware your bike needs) add an extra inner tube for the trailer and you are up close to 17 pounds.  There are people who manage to tour carrying less than what just the trailer and rack add to your load!

If there is one thing that I learned while riding the Trans America and other shorter tours it is that weight carried matters.  A pound or two are a big deal and a few ounces here and there quickly add up to pounds.  If you take too much "stuff" you can always mail things home, which many tourists wind up doing even after they are pretty experienced.  If the weight is in racks and trailers it isn't that easy to reduce the load.

I don't know your experience level, if you have logged tens of thousands of miles happily hauling hundreds of pounds of stuff, ignore me.  If you have not yet done a multiweek tour, please at least consider my suggestions one more time.

1619
Gear Talk / Re: front rack with shelf
« on: January 19, 2009, 01:42:46 pm »
im going with the surly rack, thanks again for the help tourista :)
If you are at all weight conscious, check the weight of the Surly before buying.  I think it is something like 2-1/2 pounds.  If that doesn't bother you disregard this.

1620
Routes / Re: cross country polio fund raiser for newbies
« on: January 17, 2009, 02:58:43 pm »
We are in the planning stages of doing an across the US - West 2 East ride to raise money for polio for the Rotary.  Being new to riding we want to avoid hills :-)
One of the three Adventure Cycling routes is what I would recommend.  The Trans America is great.  The climbs in the west are long but not very steep.  My two companions had almost no miles under their belts and just started off with shorter days in the first couple weeks.  They did fine.

The Northern Tier is supposed to be nice too.  The Southern tier is shorter and flatter, but you don't want to do it in the Summer.

The hard climbs are the short steep ones in the east and if you are going W - E you will be in shape by the time you get to them, Just be sure to pack light and have low gears.

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