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Messages - staehpj1

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Routes / Re: Best resupply points on TransAmerica Route?
« on: May 25, 2010, 10:40:10 am »
Just a few thoughts...
Each one is in a city that has multiple bicycle shops, and each represents the largest city which the TransAmerica Route passes through in its state.  The five of them are close to evenly spaced, resulting in a reasonable distance between chain replacements even for riders who are particularly aggressive about chain replacement.
Chains last much longer than the length of the TA for me.  Additionally they don't totally fail suddenly.  As long as you measure once in a while you get plenty of warning before the rest of the drive train is damaged.  Bike shops are listed on the AC maps, just be careful east of Pueblo as there is quite a distance with no bike shops on route there unless things have changed since 2007.

The thing that might be useful to other riders is that on the above page I've also made note of the best place within that city to receive packages: my first choice was FedEx locations which offer the Hold at Location service and which have extended weekend hours, and where that service isn't available,I indicated the exact address you should use to arrange to pick up a package at a U.S. post office via general delivery, along with the address/hours/phone of the post office where your package would be held.
FedX locations tend to be only in bigger cities which usually means extra effort finding them and getting there.  We found it more convenient to use the US Postal Service and general delivery than to use FedEx.  Pick a smallish town and the post office will not be off route.  It is really easy to deal with the USPS, stop by any post office and tell them where the package is being held and they will arrange to forward it to another post office.  This is very handy if you pass through the town in question when the post office is closed or are not ready for the package.  All you really need to know is the zip code which is already on the AC maps.

General Discussion / Re: mountain v. road clipless shoes/pedals
« on: May 25, 2010, 10:28:17 am »
I am planning my first tour this summer.  6-7 days along the OR and CA coast.  I have both MTB SPD shoes/pedals plus road shoes and pedals with Looks style cleats.  I really like the idea of using my MTB set up for the comfort and ease of walking around.  That said the fit of my bike is very important as I have found myself to be very biomechanically sensitive.  A centimeter off and I suffer on long rides.  My bike is perfectly set up for me and changing something as important as shoes, pedals, and cleats is not worth it.  I will be sticking with my road shoes and cleat covers.  If I wasn't so finicky I would be using an SPD set up with MTB shoes for sure.

I can see doing that.   While I prefer to tour in MTB shoes, walking in Look cleats with Kool Kovers is really not that bad at least for going into stores and other short walks.  I don't think I would want them to be my only shoes, but if you have Crocs, running shoes, or sandals to change into in camp and for hikes I don't see the Looks as a huge hardship for short distance walking.

Routes / Re: Best Cross Country Route with Hotels ever 50-70 miles
« on: May 24, 2010, 07:13:11 am »
Thanks guys.  I am really open to which route I will take.  I will leave around July 15th if that makes any difference.  I can do some days over 70 with no problem.  I just can't do them consistently.  I want a leisurely trip at my own pace without over doing it.  As much advice as possible is GREATLY appreciated.
In that case the TA would probably be fine too.  Do be sure to call ahead, since sometimes the situation changes and places close either for good or temporarily.

Routes / Re: Best Cross Country Route with Hotels ever 50-70 miles
« on: May 23, 2010, 07:22:37 pm »
It might be kind of tough on the Trans America.  You might have to do some short days to set up for the longer stretches and I think you would definitely need to do a few days that were longer than 70 miles.

Gear Talk / Re: Tool kit?
« on: May 21, 2010, 11:36:08 am »
It depends on the bike, but for my bike the following works well:

2 - 8mm/10mm wrenches (one open end and one box, both ignition wrench sized)
1" stub of an 8mm allen wrench (used with 8mm box end)
Spoke wrench
Tire levers
Swiss army knife
Multi-tool (a very basic one)
Chain rivet tool
Cassette removal tool (Unior)
Tire pressure gauge

If you need to pack or unpack the bike for the plane or train a pedal wrench is needed.  A 15mm cone wrench will suffice if the pedals are not super tight.  The Park Bicycle Tool RW-3 Headset Pedal Wrench Combo is another option.  It is a short stubby wrench.

When we passed through that area we didn't have any trouble finding canisters.  Personally I think canister stoves are the way to go unless they are hard to find where you will be.  We did find them nonexistent in the middle of the US starting after Pueblo.  Even there I might consider mail drops via general delivery for resupply.  They can be mailed surface mail only.

In the area where you will be I'd carry two cartridges and start looking for a replacement when one is empty.  If you use a lot of fuel, go with the largest cartridges you can find (16 ounce) otherwise the medium sized ones (8 ounce) are about right.  We mostly used the 8 ounce ones, but if traveling alone I might use the 4 ounce ones.

General Discussion / Re: Bike security when touring in the USA
« on: May 21, 2010, 10:51:47 am »
I tend to tour mostly in rural and small town areas in the US.  For that I would almost be willing to go without a lock.  I figure that a light cable lock is a reasonable compromise and I just resign myself to the fact that in larger cities I have to be extra careful and also accept some risk.

To me a heavy cable or U lock isn't an option and carrying both is just totally unacceptable.  Some of those cable locks are heavy and some U locks weigh over 4 pounds!  I strive to get my total gear including panniers below 30 pounds at most and hopefully to 25 pounds.  That makes carrying 6 pounds of locks a completely out of the question.

It helps that I don't ride a very expensive bike or use very expensive gear.  There is something nice about being able to afford to replace all of your gear if necessary.

General Discussion / Re: Rocky Mountains questions
« on: May 20, 2010, 07:24:14 pm »
As to the Camping Gaz, I'm not an expert about this, but I kind of think we *don't* have that product in the US.  You'll have to do your own homework.  There is a big out door store in Salt Lake City (and lots of other places) REI ( and camping stores in Jackson, so you might end up needing to buy a new stove here.
I have seen the Camping Gaz name on more than one type of cartridge, but mostly on the ones that have no fitting.  I have seen those and the snap on ones with that name on them in the US but only rarely.

General Discussion / Re: bears and food storage
« on: May 19, 2010, 12:34:43 pm »
+1 On that route, we found that bear boxes were generally available where needed.

General Discussion / Re: Accomodation in Portland
« on: May 18, 2010, 09:07:30 am »
This is my first post here so not sure how it works.  We are meeting in Portland to start Transam.  Looking for bike friendly accomodation (motel/hotel/guest house) to spend a few days sorting ourselves out as we are flying in from Australia and UK.  anyone have any suggestions/past experience of where we might stay or look for accomodation :-\ Big Rod
We stayed at the the TravelLodge which I think was on 82nd.  It was nice and they were accommodating.

Lots of stuff to see and do in Portland...

Get breakfast at Cameo's... this great if kind of weird place on 82nd.

For our arrival day there check out:

General Discussion / Re: Rocky Mountains questions
« on: May 18, 2010, 08:59:52 am »
1.- Are there "Camping Gas" in America? Camping gas is a kind of stove, very popular in Spain.

Would I be correct in guessing that you mean the gas cartridges for the stove?  If so there are several types sold in the US.

The most common are the ones that MSR and others sell that the stove connection screws on:

The next most common snap on and are a lot less commonly available.

Then there are the ones that puncture the cartridge.  They are sometimes called "Camping Gaz".  These might be fairly hard to find here.

Lots more info at

Routes / Re: Roads from San Francisco to Yosemite NP
« on: May 12, 2010, 12:35:01 pm »
You can also take BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) which is a regional train system, from San Francisco (it does go to the airport) across the bay - this is very easy and cheap, and the bike can go on the train (except during rush hour).  It costs just a few dollars to cross the bay.  You don't need a reservation, you buy the ticket at the station.  Here's the web site to learn more:

You can also get a ferry boat ride across the bay, but I've never done that - I think the adventure cycling route recommends that, but I would just take BART, it's so easy, and the trains run very frequently.
I have ridden the ferry and the Bart train and both were pretty easy to deal with even for us clueless out of towners.  We did not have our bikes along but in both cases saw others who did.

Occasionally you find a place where you can stay free (ACA maps tend to indicate them).
Depending on where you will be you can probably stay for free more than occasionally.   On the TA we stayed free about half the time and quite often paid less than $10 when we did pay (over a 73 day period).  Last Spring I never paid for a site on my 10 day tour, but did stay in $40 motel rooms several times.

Most small town parks are fine.  In the west if there are no signs that say it is prohibited I usually set up near the picnic pavilion.  Asking around in small towns will usually result is a spot to camp.  If there are police I ask them.  If there is a store clerk available, I ask if they think I will be run off (rather than actually asking permission).  I try to set up early so if I am going to get kicked out it will be early enough to find another spot.  I have not been run off yet.

It may be harder in the east, but in much of the west it is usually pretty easy to find a free spot to pitch a tent for the night.  At least that has been the case for me so far.

Gear Talk / Re: Kickstands?
« on: May 10, 2010, 12:33:47 pm »
"Do most people tour with kickstands?"
An extra pound or two just isn't worth it to me. 

The click stand is about 75 grams.  That would be less than 3 oz.  ;D

That may be true for the Click Stand, but it certainly isn't for some of the other options mentioned.

Gear Talk / Re: Will a racing saddle work for touring?
« on: May 10, 2010, 12:31:32 pm »
A lot depends on his riding position.  Will he use the same riding position that he uses for his other rides?  If so I would stick with the same saddle.

If he switches to a sit up and beg posture, he would probably be miserable with a racing saddle.

I would suggest he stick to his current saddle and do the former rather than the latter.  I personally think I would be miserable if I was forced to ride in the more upright postures many tourists adopt.

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