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Messages - staehpj1

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General Discussion / Re: question for transam riders
« on: September 22, 2009, 09:09:40 am »
We met riders of all ages, but mostly either in their early 20's or 50-60's.  There some who were in their teens but most were with someone older usually a parent.  Nothing wrong with an 18 year old going alone though.

Don't sweat the planning too much.  If you manage to get to the start and a reasonable time of year, with reasonable gear, enough money, and the AC maps it will all fall into place.  Also I recommend doing it alone or with one or two friends and meeting folks along the way to camp or ride with if you want.  If you start at a "normal" time of year and direction of travel you will meet other riders.  That way you are not tied to or dependent on staying with a group, but will find friends along the way.

Gear Talk / Re: Big Apples vs. Marathon Plus for Trike Tour
« on: September 21, 2009, 07:57:00 am »
I have only used the Marathon Plus in the 700X32 size, so consider that when weighing my opinion.  In explanation of the riding like anchors statement, there are two pieces to this.

The first is weight.  They weigh more than double what most other touring tires the same size weigh.  Rotating weight has a lot to do with how a bike rides.

The second has to do with the way the tire rides.  Silk racing sewups are at one end of the scale and the MP is at the other.  The sewups feel lively and the MPs fell the opposite.  Something between the two extremes is called for IMO.

Personally I like the Continental Ultra Gatorskins, in my case in 700X28.  I used them on my last tour and was delighted with the ride and they are 308 grams vs 800 grams for the larger MPs they replaced (the 28 mm MPs are 740 grams still more than double the weight).

I used the MPs for a couple hundred miles and just couldn't stand them.  They now sit in my basement.  If I ever need to commute through some really hostile glass strewn road conditions I may put them back on a beater bike, but I will not tour on them.

Weight and ride quality are important to me.  If on the other hand puncture resistance is far and away your main concern the MPs may be just what you want.

Gear Talk / Re: Big Apples vs. Marathon Plus for Trike Tour
« on: September 19, 2009, 09:22:36 am »
Between the two I'd go for the Big Apples.  I found that the Marathon Pluses ride like anchors.  I have not used them in the size you are considering though.

If it was me I'd probably go with something narrower.  Personally I find myself feeling better and less fatigued after a long ride if I am using light tires with a lively ride.  I am willing to put up with a few more flats if necessary to have that lively ride, but I really have not found the difference in the number of flats to be that great.  Since you will not be in goat head thorn country I think flat resistance will be even less of an issue.

General Discussion / Re: older riders
« on: September 18, 2009, 11:35:36 am »
Thanks for sharing.  I'm glad you had fun.

Routes / Re: Los Angeles to New York May 2010
« on: September 16, 2009, 07:59:34 am »
I was initially going to cycle alone but supported, we are now traveling unsupported but i have already purchased my bike for training earlier in the year etc so am now faced with prospect of a small trailer on the back of my trusty Roubaix hoping this will be ok. (any advise as not the norm i know)
We met folks who were doing OK with similar bikes and trailers when we were on the Trans America.  You might consider going with wider tires than came on the Robaix.  I would go with lower gearing as well.  Beefier wheels might be a good idea, too but then you are getting to the point where maybe a different bike might be the answer.  If you stick with the Robaix use at least 25mm tires (28mm if they fit).  Also in my opinion at least, low gearing can't be stressed enough.  I found a 26/32 granny gear just barely adequate in the Appalachians and fine in the Rockies.  Also keep the load light especially with a bike like the Robaix.

May, June July - Assuming these these months suitable?
West to East  - Westerly wind (how important and factor that time of year)

Forget about prevailing westerlies.  The surface winds in the middle of the country will most likely be out of the Southeast by June.  In July we had a headwind the entire way across eastern Colorado and Kansas (the portion of the trip where winds mattered the most because they are open plains).  I'd be inclined to go east to west if starting in May.  That way you avoid some of the heat and humidity in the east and also avoid possible snow in the Rockies.

Personally if I were doing it again I would probably skip directness and again do the Trans America starting in the East this time (unless starting late in the season, then I'd start in the West).  If NY and LA were a must, I'd consider using Amtrak (train) at each end.  The indirect route along the Rockies was very nice and while I haven't ridden the Western Express it doesn't sound as nice.

General Discussion / Re: ocean in florence oregon
« on: September 16, 2009, 07:33:53 am »
I think we will start further up the coast.  Seeing the west coast is not old hat to us. I have wanted to get out there for sometime now. When i think about it i havent been past ohio. We live in maryland.
You won't regret it.  The coast is beautiful and good riding.  We flew in to Portland and got a one way car rental (medium sized SUV reserved from Enterprise $143.69 in 2007) to Newport and started the ride there.  It worked out well for the three of us.

I am from Maryland too (Parkville).  Check out our journal at if you are interested in details of our trip.  I tried to capture as much useful info as I could and we have some pretty good pictures.

Routes / Re: Riding on Interstates
« on: September 15, 2009, 06:58:54 pm »
I don't know what the laws are in New Mexico, but I've ridden on I-40 and other interstates there with no problems. 
I greatly enjoyed riding I-25 in New Mexico.  On my KC to Santa Fe tour in the New Mexico portion I rode from Springer to Santa Fe on I-25 (part of it on the frontage road) and found both the frontage road and the interstate to be very pleasant riding.  It was all posted as legal for bicycles.

General Discussion / Re: ocean in florence oregon
« on: September 15, 2009, 07:22:12 am »
Another option is to just start farther up the coast.  We compromised and started in Newport and rode to Florence to join the TA there.  It is worth seeing a bit of the coast unless it is old hat to you.

Routes / Re: Cross-country tour: Newest vs. Long Haul Trucker
« on: September 12, 2009, 04:48:02 pm »
I believe the Windsor Tourist above comes from BikesDirect, doesn't it?
Yes.  Some of their marketing leaves a bad taste, but I was involved in four very satisfactory bike purchases from them.  These included three Windsor Tourists, one for each of my group on the TA, and later a road bike (SprinTour) for me.  All of them were ordered by me and shipped to my house.  The only glitch was that one of them came in the wrong color.  They were happy to swap it for the correct one with the shipping being at their expense.  It is a little weird that they do all their transactions and correspondence either by web or email and don't take phone calls, but they have been very responsive to all emails I have sent them.  After 4 very satisfactory purchases I would not hesitate to deal with them again.

As far as the bikes themselves go, we have been very satisfied with them.  We all did 4200+ miles on the TransAmerica and all of us have put lots of subsequent miles on them.  They have stood up well to touring and in my daughters case to daily commuting.  The road bike has also been very good to me.

Routes / Re: Biking across America this fall: doable?
« on: September 12, 2009, 11:21:50 am »
Thanks for all the advice and encouragement! I've decided to do the Southern Tier. Not quite as appealing as TransAmerica to me, but I think I'll still love it. I think the Southern Tier will be much more enjoyable at this time of year.
A good choice given when you are going.  Have a great trip.

Routes / Re: Cross-country tour: Newest vs. Long Haul Trucker
« on: September 12, 2009, 11:20:22 am »
The Newest doesn't look like a good choice to me.  Any of the following (in no particular order) would be better:
  • Fuji Touring
  • Cannondale Touring 2
  • REI Randoneer
  • REI Safari
  • Windsor Touring
  • LHT
  • Trek 520
  • Jamis Aurora
  • A bunch of others that I am probably forgetting

General Discussion / Re: Camping on Blue Ridge Parkway?
« on: September 10, 2009, 08:11:18 am »
I hear you, Steaph.  We are experienced touring with doggie, but the amount of climbing on this route is giving me pause (paws?).  Our style of touring means doggie walks up any hill/grade of significance, and we scale back our mileage when the grades get big.

I am curious how having the dog walk hills works out for you.  Do you use a leash or is your dog just sufficiently trained to be safe off leash?  Off leash may be a problem in some areas and I expect it would on the BRP.  Maybe if you are used to having him (or her) walk and scaling back the mileage you might be able to manage the BRP.  It might be tough to do the BRP without doing longs days unless you either leave the parkway and descend or find places to stealth camp close to the parkway but still near the top.

Personally, while I love my dog, I prefer to leave her home when on bike tours.  I have kicked around the notion of taking her on a running tour (journey running carrying my stuff in a baby jogger).  I doubt that I will do it because she isn't that happy road running more than a couple miles.  She does love to trail run or hike with me though.

Routes / Re: Jeffrey city WY and Mrs happy
« on: September 08, 2009, 04:12:19 pm »
I figure you are lucky that there is a motel of any sort open in Jeffrey City.  It is pretty much a ghost town.  Tumble weeds and antelope were more numerous on the main street than vehicles.  That said I didn't stay there so I don't know how bad it was.

We camped in the (pretty much abandoned) Lions Club pavilion.  It was OK with me.

General Discussion / Re: Camping on Blue Ridge Parkway?
« on: September 08, 2009, 04:02:52 pm »
Personally I would advise against doing that tour on trikes with a dog in tow unless you really like to suffer.  It might be do-able for some, but I would expect it to be pretty tough.  The climbs in the Appalachians were the hardest part of our coast to coast tour (on the TA) and we were carrying a lot less.  No way I would want to do it with a dog and a 20 pound trailer.

On the BRP the camping spots are far apart unless you leave the parkway.  The problem is that leaving the parkway usually means a monster climb to get back up to the parkway.  Stealth camping is frowned upon and the rangers will bust you in a heart beat if they catch you.

I will probably do the BRP at some point but will travel very light if I do.

If you really want to do it look into places where there is private property close to the parkway.  There are places where the parkway boundary is close to the top.

Personally I don't like to stealth camp when I can avoid it am likely to avoid trips where it is necessary.  I have often stealth camped when canoe camping, but have not needed to yet when bike touring.

Routes / Re: Riding across America
« on: September 03, 2009, 06:57:29 am »
Thanks Fred - I'm new to this. I'm going to use one of the organized/supported ride companies and they seem to take either the northerly route (in early summer) or the southerly route (in fall). Because of work, time is an issue for me, so think I currently favor the southern route, which TrekTravel does in 4o days. Was hoping that someone may have done both and had comments or a preference to offer.
Just a few thoughts...

Everyone wants something different from a tour, so your preferences may be entirely different than mine, but bringing a support vehicle into the equation is a huge negative for me.  We did the Trans America in 2007 and found that the lack of car support made for a trip where we had more of an adventure, met more other riders, and met more local folks.  We were able to stay in hiker biker sites, were more likely to be invited to stay with local folks, and generally interacted more with people along the way.

Part of what the tour was about was the fact that we were riding across the country and not dependent on car/van support.

We did have a few days in Virginia where we stayed with family and friends and were picked up where we stopped for the day and dropped back there to start the next morning.  It was a nice change of pace and we enjoyed the great hospitality of family and friends.  That said we got the least feel for what the people and places on that part of the tour were really like.  I would do it the same way again for that minor portion of the trip, but there is no way I would want to have done the whole trip that way.

BTW, I really liked the Trans America route a lot.  I will probably do the Southern Tier and a Northern Tier at some point, but if I were only going to do one it would be the TA.

Personally if I was in the situation where I couldn't get enough time off, I would consider doing half one year and half the next.  I met a few folks doing that when we were on the TA.  In my case I just took enough time to do the whole thing in one year.  That meant that I had to take some leave without pay.  I was willing to quit my job if necessary, but they were supportive and said I definitely would have a job when I got back.  Strangely it seemed to actually have helped my career.  They must have missed me while I was gone.

Another option if you have limited time is to do the Pacific Coast north to south.

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