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Messages - staehpj1

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General Discussion / Re: Touring Wired, Wireless, Etc.
« on: April 28, 2009, 09:40:24 am »
Electronic stuff is neat to own, but how do you keep it from being stolen while you're in the market replenishing your food stuffs?  How do you keep it dry?
My handlebar bag goes with me everywhere regardless and is waterproof so neither of these are concerns.

I agree that less is more, but...  I am starting to shift more toward using some lightweight electronics in lieu of paper.  It is getting to the point where taking an ipod shuffle with audio books and something like a Nokia N800 can be less weight and bulk than a paper notebook, pencil, and a paperback to read.  I spec'ed out both ways and come up lighter with the ipod and N800 even including all the associated chargers and so on.  My thinking now favors using electronics over paper even more if your cell phone is email capable like for example a black berry.  Emails to home can easily serve as your notes and journal entries.  I prefer not to pay for data service on my cell though.

I don't want to carry even a mini laptop though.  Still, I can see how others might choose to given how small and light they are becoming.

Gear Talk / Re: Impressions on the Jamis Aurora Elite (2009 Model)
« on: April 25, 2009, 07:22:58 pm »
Personally I think a lot of the components on the regular Aurora actually more suitable for touring.  Nicer tube set and wheels are a plus on the elite, I don't think the 10 speed stuff is.

I consider STI to be a plus and the Tiagra stuff is fine.  STI is plenty reliable and much nicer IMO.  Some like bar end shifters and that is fine, but I think you will like the STI if you give it a chance.

On the size issue...  23" for 5'9" sounds big to me unless he is all legs, but I like small frames.  It depends more on inseam than height though.  If your dad indeed has a 23" frame it might be fine for you if you aren't into the big frame thing.  Some folks like the kind of fit Rivendell advises.  They are on the extreme large end of the scale though.  I use their chart as a reality check, but go 2 sizes (that is sizes not inches) smaller.

My point is that none of this is etched in stone.  While I am 5'9" and an 18 or 19" frame is ideal for the riding position I prefer someone else may be happy on a 23" frame even with the same height and inseam as me.

The Elite or the regular Aurora are both OK for a long tour except the gearing is pretty iffy especially on the Elite.  I would recommend at least a smaller inner ring.  Personally I think the regular Aurora is more suitable for a Trans America type tour especially if you fit a 24 or 26t inner ring.

General Discussion / Re: Safety issues for solo biking
« on: April 22, 2009, 07:41:07 pm »
I definately agree with the cell phone suggestion.  That is the most important thing I carry with me!
Not me.  It never has occurred to me that a cell phone was an essential safety item.  That may be because I grew up years before they existed.  A cell phone is handy for checking on available camp sites or for calling home once in a while.  I call the police or sheriffs office, but only to touch base on where we are staying.  I think it is a long shot that it would ever be used in an emergency except an accident, in which case everyone else on the road has a phone.  We did have one time when one of us was injured in a crash, but there was no signal any way.  I'd say that a very substantial portion of the time on the TransAmerica we had no signal.  We flagged down a car who gave her and her bike a lift back to the town we had passed that morning so she could get treatment there.

All that said, if I didn't need to call family once in a while I might not bother carrying one.

General Discussion / Re: Safety issues for solo biking
« on: April 20, 2009, 02:26:02 pm »
To me the risks are mostly traffic related and pretty much that same as when riding at home.

Gear Talk / Re: Inexpensive Touring Gear
« on: April 20, 2009, 02:23:59 pm »
If you could guarantee trees on your route, you should consider a camping hammock instead of a tent.  I think these are in the $130-$150 range.  This is a about the price of a low end solo tent, and no Thermarest is needed.  I might try to go this route, but I upgraded my tent and mat last season.  The hammocks are strung between trees, and you enter from the bottom.  They looked really nice.  I thought REI carried them at one point.  Googling camping hammock should get you close.
Since the OP said they were doing the TA I would advise against the hammock.  There were a lot of places on the TA where I didn't see trees for days.  I think it was for good reason that the cyclists I met on the TA pretty much all were using tents.  I don't have anything against hammocks and would consider one myself, but on a route like the TA I consider it a poor choice.

Gear Talk / Re: 4 Front (small) panniers?
« on: April 19, 2009, 06:57:05 pm »
Yes.  I have done exactly that on a 73 day tour.  It worked fine. 

General Discussion / Re: RI TO Key West tour
« on: April 19, 2009, 11:20:41 am »
Get a bike and panniers. Get maps. Go.
Seriously that is about it.  The Adventure Cycling Atlantic Coast route is what I would probably do.

Will you be camping? Cooking?  Have you toured before?  Are you an experienced camper?  Those would all affect my answers if you want more details.

Gear Talk / Re: I want to tour …cheeply
« on: April 16, 2009, 07:22:35 am »
Check the "Inexpensive Touring Gear" thread in the general discussion forum.

Gear Talk / Re: Does anybody bring a cooler on the tour?
« on: April 16, 2009, 07:19:27 am »
Nope, never done that and never seen anyone on the road with one.  For beer it would only keep it cold for a very short while unless you carried ice.  Drink your beer while it is still cold, drink it warm, or cool it in a mountain stream.

Gear Talk / Re: Inexpensive Touring Gear
« on: April 15, 2009, 12:20:30 pm »
Panniers for $250 is grose overkill in my mind.  The ATB Nashbar Panniers are listed as $19.99 right now and using the code "APRIL20" will get you another 20% off for a total of $15.99 before shipping ($6.99)  And that's for the pair!  2350 cubic inches, from Nashbar:

I like the waterproof ones from Nashbar or Performance better though,

I also like these:

Check for coupon codes for either place at:
for additional 10-20% off most of the time.

For Racks I like the Blackburn EX-1 on the back and on the front the Nashbar or Performance clones of the Blackburn Lowrider.

Tents and sleeping bags can go fairly low budget too.  Eureka has some nice low end tents and Slumberjack has some decent low end sleeping bags.  I would buy a nice sleeping pad though.  I like Thermarest.

Between the three of us we used all this stuff on the Trans America and found it all quite adequate.   Check our journal for more ideas of cheaper gear at:
See the packing lists and the "what worked and what didn't" section.

It is personal preference and either can work.  I bought a trailer, used it for one trip, hung it on the wall for a year, sold it.

I am of the opinion that weight is very important and that I can go lighter with panniers.  Then again if you select the heaviest racks and panniers a trailer can be lighter.  I am also of the opinion that flying with or shipping an trailer is a extra hassle.

I do wonder about going light by using a light bike and the extrawheel voyager.  It seems like an interesting option and would allow the weight and shipping issues to be optimized.

Gear Talk / Re: compact sleeping bag for mt. riding.
« on: April 06, 2009, 07:42:00 am »
Down is the best for this.  It only compresses so much and variation from bag to bag is not all that much for bags of similar warmth.  You can maximize compression by selecting a stuff sack that really has effective compression straps.

That said, I don't sweat bulk of items that much and just strap some of the more bulky items on top of the rack rather than try to squeeze everything in the panniers (I use smallish panniers).  For me the bag goes in the panniers, but the pad and tent go on top.  Weight is a way bigger factor than bulk IMO.

General Discussion / Re: Living on my bike
« on: April 06, 2009, 07:36:18 am »
Three of us had three very different experiences with regards to weight gain/loss on tour.  We all ate a lot, but one lost a lot of weight, one lost a moderate amount, and one gained a few pounds.  I ate maybe 5000 calories a day and still lost quite a bit the first 30-40 days and put a bit back on in the second half of the trip.  I found that for me it is just a matter of my body taking a while to adjust to life on the road. 

General Discussion / Re: East Coast -South
« on: April 06, 2009, 07:29:47 am »
Thanks for info....I hear the winds are more south in the summer, but north the rest of the time. Hopefully May is more like spring than summer winds.
On the east coast I wouldn't sweat the wind direction so much.  It isn't as big of a deal as it is on the west coast.

Time of day can be a big factor, so observe what the patterns are at the time and use them to your advantage.

General Discussion / Re: New to Touring
« on: April 03, 2009, 04:28:30 pm »
Trail condition varies widely depending on how the recent weather has been.  In wet periods it gets quite messy.

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