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Messages - staehpj1

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Gear Talk / Re: Sleeping Pad Issue
« on: October 23, 2009, 07:52:53 pm »
I have a ProLite Plus.  I don't think I could do a NeoAir.  All that work just to save 10 ounces. 
I love my NeoAir.  It is one of my favorite pieces of gear.  It packs to the size of a waterbottle, weighs 10 ounces less than the Prolite Plus, and is much more comfortable.

I really don't get the fuss over inflating it and have a hard time thinking of 15 breaths as "All that work".  It takes all of 30 seconds to inflate.

So far my only complaint is that it was expensive, but It is so much nicer than my regular Thermarest that I think it was well worth it.  That says a lot because I am a bit of a cheapskate and usually lean toward fairly inexpensive gear.

Gear Talk / Re: Sleeping Pad Issue
« on: October 23, 2009, 07:34:32 am »
A bike pump will take thousands of strokes to inflate an air mattress.  It takes me 15 breaths (about 30 seconds if I don't take any breaks) to fully inflate my medium size (72"x20") NeoAir.  I have a hard time imagining it being a big deal to inflate, unless you either have a problem with how you are inflating it or a respiratory problem.

If it isn't a respiratory problem, are you maybe are letting air escape between breaths? or maybe not opening the valve all the way when inflating?  Watching others inflate air mattresses I see that a lot of folks let air escape between breaths, that makes it a lot slower and wastes effort.  Keep a seal around the valve with your lips and when ready to close the valve, either close off the valve with your tongue or a finger tip.  If you get winded easily try giving it one breath, breathing normally for a moment, then give it another, and so on.

There are high volume pumps designed for inflating air mattresses, rafts, or exercise balls.  The ones that come with exercise balls are fairly small and light and could be adapted.  They would still take quite a few strokes, but much fewer than a bike pump.

Routes / Re: Suggestions For Our Next Trip
« on: October 22, 2009, 06:57:52 am »
If you like lots of company RAGGBRAI, a yearly ride across Iowa, might be good for you. It's an organized ride done by several thousand people. Iowa is not flat, on-road, and I believe they camp.
There are a lot of other similar cross state rides, if that sort of ride appeals to you.  Personally I don't think they are much like the typical tour and are not the best way to get you feet wet if more typical touring is the goal.  They are really a very different type of experience and it is likely a rider may like one and hate the other.  They are often more party than tour.  If that sounds appealing then they may be a good choice.

General Discussion / Re: Potential Resale Value
« on: October 17, 2009, 01:21:28 pm »
While morally not acceptable, it's not fraud, as REI does offer an unconditional money-back guarantee, which would presumably cover "changing your mind."
The reason I consider it fraud is that the original purchaser set out expressly to buy, use and then return the item.  He/she didn't "change their mind", they used the return policy as a specific tool to get value from someone else's property with no intent to pay for it.   

Yeah, I agree that would be fraud since they never planned to keep the item.  REI specifically mentions that they will take back any item that you are not 100% satisfied with.  Buying it with the intention of using it for a trip and returning it would seem to fall outside of the spirit of that.  In any case it would be pretty slimy.

If on the other hand you bought it with every intention of keeping it,used it for the tour, and actually decided you were unhappy with it after the fact it would be nice to be able to return it before your trip home.  Personally I wouldn't feel right about even that unless the bike was a real dud and seriously disappointed me to the extent that I would have returned it in any case.

Routes / Re: Maps other than ACA -
« on: October 17, 2009, 08:59:38 am »
Can anyone let me know who prints the kind of maps that cyclists would find useful and where can I buy them.
I always just pick up state maps when we enter each state and give/throw them away when we leave the state.  I can usually get them for free from state visitor centers.  Also when going cross country some places that usually sell them gave them to us for free, that may have been mostly because my companions were attractive young women though.

There have been only a few times when I had a little trouble finding one, but in those cases someone always let me use theirs to look ahead and plan the next few days.

General Discussion / Re: Penna to Georgia
« on: October 17, 2009, 08:50:19 am »
I'll second the Rt 11 recommendation.

Skyline Drive and the BRP are great cycling, but...  They may or may not suit you because of the lack of services on the BRP.  Services there are infrequent and often require leaving the Parkway.  Leaving the parkway usually means a steep descent and a corresponding steep ascent to get back up to the parkway.  I am not saying it won't work out, but be aware of what you will be getting in to.  It is a beautiful ride though and the climbs on the parkway itself are not too bad.

Routes / Re: Atlantic Coast route, best time for weather?
« on: October 14, 2009, 07:12:18 am »
April will probably be pretty wet.  August will be really hot and humid.  Either will be doable though.

Personally I go in October if I had the choice.

Gear Talk / Re: Pacific Outdoor Panniers
« on: October 12, 2009, 07:19:54 am »
The other issue being that my tour will be self supported and I am wondering what size panniers I should be getting to hold everything I will need. Any thoughts?
That depends on how much you carry and how you pack.  I found that with front panniers of about 1000 cubic inches and rear ones of about 2300 cubic inches I had plenty of room even on a coast to coast tour where I was carrying a good portion of the community gear.  On my last tour they were nowhere near full, but I packed fairly light and carry the tent on the rear rack.  If you are more of an everything but the kitchen sink packer and want everything inside the panniers they might not be adequate.

Arkels were mentioned.  Keep in mind that they are well made and will last forever, but also are substantially heavier than other options.  That may or may not be a problem depending on your preferences.

Gear Talk / Re: Pacific Outdoor Panniers
« on: October 11, 2009, 06:11:51 pm »
Hmmm .. I did think that having compartments would be a big plus for me.
It may actually work out to be for you.  Some find them a big plus.  I may be in the minority on this one so don't make the decision based solely on my opinion, but do give some thought as to whether they are really better for you.

Good luck finding the panniers that work best for you.

Gear Talk / Re: Pacific Outdoor Panniers
« on: October 11, 2009, 11:19:54 am »
Thanks for your input. I am hoping someone will contribute to some of the positives of the semi waterproof panniers so I can make an educated decision between the two, unless there aren't any positives. :)
Well since I have used both.  I'll take a stab at that.

The rain covers are usually a high visibility color which is a plus.  They are generally adequate for keeping stuff dry, but you may want to double bag using either ziplocs or trash compactor bags.

The other advantage or disadvantage that comes to my mind is that they tend to have pockets and maybe divided compartments.  To me that is a minus because I like the one big compartment approach and organize my stuff with ziplocs.  If you like pockets that might be a plus for you.  It is personal preference.  I thought I would like having multiple pockets, but in practice it didn't work out as well for me.

I find that for a particular listed volume the ones with pockets and multiple compartments tend to hold a bit less since you are likely to just have an item or two in a pocket rather than having it full.  I don't think that is a big plus or minus, but might be something to consider when picking the size you buy.

Also I think the ones with multiple pockets tend to be a bit heavier, but that varies some from brand to brand.  Some are a lot heavier others less so.

Routes / Re: portland to SF realistic time frame and advice needed
« on: October 11, 2009, 11:07:17 am »
Most folks probably take between 10 and 20 days.   I think the Kirkendall and Spring book has this at about 15 days for that section if you use their listed days and stops.  I think a good portion of the folks on the route do exactly that so if you do you can expect to meet the same folks every day, which can be nice.

I'd recommend getting either a copy of Bicycling the Pacific Coast by Spring and Kirkendall or the Adventure Cycling maps for the route.  I think the Kirkendall and Spring book is great, but it is out of print.  Try to find the Fourth Edition many of the ones for sale are the 3rd edition and a bit out of date.

I have only ridden a small portion of the route and driven  some more of it, but from what I have seen it is a beautiful ride.

Gear Talk / Re: Pacific Outdoor Panniers
« on: October 10, 2009, 10:35:06 am »
I have no experience with the Pacific Outdoor Panniers, but I will say that I have used waterproof panniers and panniers with rain covers and prefer waterproof.

I usually put stuff in big ziplocs to organize it, but don't think that is necessary for keeping things dry.  I also don't put wet stuff in panniers if I can avoid it.  The tent stays out of the bags and on the rack rolled with the bottom on the outside.  It can stay out in the rain all day and not get wet inside when rolled that way.

If I have a lot of wet clothes I put them in big ziplocs before putting them in a pannier.  More often I just hang wet clothes on the outside to dry as I ride.  If it is raining and I have a lot of wet stuff I try to find a laundromat to wash and dry everything.

My personal preference is for the inexpensive waterproof panniers from Nashbar or Performance.  I used them for the Trans America and some shorter tours and was very happy with them.  None of my gear ever got wet and I had no problems with them.  They are a good bit lighter and much cheaper than just about anything else on the market while still being quite durable.  My two companions on the TA also used them without problems and one has also used the small ones for daily commuting also with no problems.

I have heard that some folks have had problems with the mounting system, but we found it completely adequate.

The two minor issues I will mention are...  One, that the hooks on the bungees could fairly easily be lost if you aren't careful when you carry the bags when off the bike.  We just pulled the bungee so that the hook was kind of captibe in a slot the bungee passes through.  And Two, the the little velcro tabs can be torn off if you aren't careful.  It really isn't a huge problem though since they are easily sewed back on and the panniers are usable with them missing.

General Discussion / Re: Transporting a bike: box or bag?
« on: October 08, 2009, 08:09:10 am »
Not too sure what the air carriers cost plus, never too keen to cycle from airports as always seems to be very busy highway traffic.
On the other hand, I like riding directly out of an airport.  Not sure why, but I get a kick out of not using any ground based transportation other than my bike at that point.

I have done a few different options.  One trip I packed the three of our bikes in airline boxes, I have used Amtrak, I have flown with my bike packed in bike shop box, I have rented a car, and I have used

All of those had their advantages and disadvantages, but all worked well in one situation or another.  With the airlines increasingly becoming a pain to deal with I think I am more likely to use, Amtrak, or FedEx in the future.  I really liked the fact that the shipbikes box and the Amtrak box both required almost no disassembly of the bike. seems to be able to negotiate a better price than if I deal directly with FedEx myself.  They also ship door to door even to and from residential addresses. The shipbikes box is a clever design, but is $99 and is only good for maybe 4 uses on average.  They do offer replacement for the outer cardboard for 30 or 40 dollars.  It looks like they now also ship plastic cases.  The thing is that it is a bit of a hassle to deal with a case (or the shipbikes box), especially if like me you usually fly out to one place and home from another.

So far I have not found one answer that works to my satisfaction for all of my trips and just do what seems to fit the situation.  On my last tour I had the luxury of being able to ship my bike to a friend's house and then back again from there.  It was nice to be able to leave the shipbikes box there.  Since my tour actually ended 850 miles from his house I had to take Amtrak for that short leg of the tour where my box was.

Amtrak is great if you are going to and from locations that have baggage service and are not in a hurry if the distance is long.  I found the boxes to be huge and the service to be good.  The ride was a good bit longer than I could have driven it though and if there were several of us we would have probably been better off both in cost and time to rent a car.

Gear Talk / Re: Marathon tires. Schwalbe. Tires. Wheels.
« on: October 07, 2009, 05:57:06 pm »
I don't know if the marathon you bought is a schwalbe, but some of the schwalbes are listed as using "india rubber" could that be what you have?

General Discussion / Re: boredom on cross-country?
« on: October 06, 2009, 02:18:05 pm »
Tried audio books but they always send me to sleep, which isn't a bad thing after a days riding, but the battery tends to drain.  Not sure that is useful or not only that's why they don't work for me. 

Or do you listen to them whilst riding is really what I would like to know.
If I am tired enough that I would fall asleep, I just go to sleep and don't bother listening.  I have never fallen asleep while listening to an audiobook.  I know that won't work for everyone though.

I generally don't listen while riding, but have on occasion.  In the flattest, emptiest, most monotonous parts of eastern Colorado and Kansas it can be a nice diversion.

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