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Messages - staehpj1

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General Discussion / Re: boredom on cross-country?
« on: September 30, 2009, 06:10:35 pm »
No, I've never been on a solo tour and regretted it.  That said I greatly enjoyed riding coast to coast with my daughter and a friend of hers from college.  I'd happily tour with either or both of them again and probably will.  I will certainly also tour alone again.  Both ways can be great.

Gear Talk / Re: Info on Trainers please
« on: September 28, 2009, 07:33:30 pm »
I hope this isn't too off topic, but...
I find riding a trainer pretty boring and try to avoid it.  I am not saying others will or should feel the same way, but it is something to consider.   It is hard to stay motivated if it is boring.  That said I have found that I can stay in pretty good touring shape even when I am not riding much.  Both running and indoor rowing seem to keep me in pretty good shape for touring.

Before my spring tour I had only about 200 miles in for the year.  I had been running and trail running and had run a half marathon a few weeks before the tour.  I was able to average 80 miles per day for the 10 days of riding and even managed a 142 mile day at the end of the tour.  I did all this in reasonable comfort with a base of about 200 miles.

Similarly a year or two ago when I started riding after a winter of indoor rowing I found myself to be in pretty good riding shape (for some reason I find indoor rowing less monotonous that riding a trainer).  I am 58 years old and a mediocre athlete at best, so if it works for me it probably would for most folks.

My point is that maintaining general fitness is the main thing and to be in reasonable touring shape doesn't necessarily require a great deal of riding miles.

I'm not knocking the trainer if it works for you, merely suggesting that other options work well too.

General Discussion / Re: boredom on cross-country?
« on: September 28, 2009, 05:43:29 pm »
No.  I was sad to see the trip end whether it was coast to coast or 10 days.  This was especially true on the coast to coast trip.  Getting back into real life was tough.

General Discussion / Re: Eastcoast / Atlantic coast in November
« on: September 27, 2009, 11:25:14 am »
And in addition to that question: what about the 'Tidewater Potomac'?
I think that trip is dependent on the ferry which I don't think runs that time of year.  Check to be sure before committing.

I live in the Baltimore MD area and heading south from here should be OK weather wise.  It might be cold at times, but will probably not be too bad if you stay with the coast and out of the mountains.  Also chances of cold weather will be less as you head south.

I would pass on using a backpack for more than a few pounds if even that.

That said some off road tourists like them.

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.

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