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Messages - staehpj1

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Gear Talk / Re: Kickstands?
« on: May 07, 2010, 08:18:59 pm »
"Do most people tour with kickstands?"

I'd say of the bike tourists I met (mostly on the TA), the majority did not use kick stands.  The split was probably 70/30 or so favoring without, but that is just an estimate based on the riders I met on one coast to coast tour.

I prefer to do without one.  I almost always can find a place to lean my bike, but also don't mind laying it on it's side.  An extra pound or two just isn't worth it to me.  Oh and most of the bikes I have seen blow over were on kickstands.  A bike already laying on it's side can't blow over :)

Routes / Re: cross-country WITHOUT ACA Maps
« on: May 07, 2010, 07:25:27 pm »
Interesting to see this old thread come up again...

Since I have done a moderate length (800 miles) tour without using AC maps since my last post on this thread, I'll say a bit more.  As I already knew from improvising sections when on the TA, I found doing a non AC route is quite do-able.  All things considered, I liked the AC routes better for two reasons I mentioned previously.  To recap them:
  • It was nice to have most/all of the recon already done.  The listings of services along the way are very handy.
  • I really prefer to meet another touring cyclist once in a while.  When not on an AC route for my tour last year I didn't meet a single cyclist.  For me meeting and comparing notes with cyclists I meet is a nice plus.  The way some folks talk you would think it was like being on Ragbrai to ride an AC route, but it is more likely you will meet one or two cyclists or small groups per day and some days none.

There really isn't much if any downside to using AC maps.  They do a good job of picking appropriately remote roads and research the available services well.

General Discussion / Re: Good morning America how are you?
« on: May 04, 2010, 07:45:11 pm »
Great subject line from the Arlo Guthrie song, BTW! ("City of New Orleans")
I wondered if the OP had that song in mind.

General Discussion / Re: Glacier National Park
« on: May 04, 2010, 07:44:07 pm »
One of my few regrets from the TA was that we were fairly close to Glacier and didn't get there.

We got a kick out of stopping at adventure cycling when were were passing through Missoula on tour, but I don't think I would go out of my way if not touring through there.

General Discussion / Re: Good morning America how are you?
« on: May 03, 2010, 07:00:17 pm »
Have a great trip and do report back on how it goes.

specifically will we expect far less wind north on Cascades and a more enjoyable trip DOWN the pacific coast as opposed to the other way around?

-- Stephen

Definitely.  Do not plan to go north on the Pacific Coast in the summer/early fall.  The winds inland will be variable, on the coast, not so much--just fairly steadily, and at times very strongly, from the north.
The inland winds while variable will still be likely to favor northbound riders.  As has been said the coast definitely favors southbound riders.

If you see a father daughter team on the road say hi.  We will be starting in San Diego on June 4th.

I think 32 is plenty wide enough for on road touring assuming a reasonably sized rider packing reasonably light.  I weigh between 190 and 210 depending on when you ask and I carry about 30 pounds including panniers.  I run 28 mm tires.  When I started touring I carried a good bit more and was still fine with 32mm tires.

You can manage a little gravel here and there, but if you plan on riding a lot of gravel roads then wider tires might be in order.

Gearing, I would be inclined to swap at least the inner ring for a 24 or 26 T or better yet just swap the crank.  You can find a Sugino 48-36-26 for under $100.  I found that was just fine for me in the Rockies on the Trans America, and just barely adequate in the Appalachians on the same trip.  That was with an 11-32 cassette.  I have since swapped the 26 for a 24.

Connecting ACA Routes / Re: Transamerica E-W but ending in Seattle
« on: May 02, 2010, 10:54:35 am »
Thanks to everyone, for responding with advice, you guys are so helpful, only 3 weeks to go and can't wait, Take Care, Michael
Have a great trip.  The Trans America is a very special experience.

Routes / Re: Hampton to Virginia Beach
« on: May 02, 2010, 10:03:40 am »
I am not sure about much of the route, but we did ride from Yorktown to VA Beach once.  We started with a ferry ride on the free Jamestown Scotland Ferry, and rode the nice rural Virginia roads until we got to Portsmouth. Some of the ride through Portsmouth as kind of seedy, but OK.

We rode the Elizabeth River Ferry across to Norfolk and proceeded through downtown Norfolk toward Virginia Beach.

Sorry that is kind of vague, but I will try to dig up more details.

Edit... You may get some clues at:

General Discussion / Re: Rest Days vs "half" days
« on: April 30, 2010, 06:15:52 pm »
I think half days once in a while are great!  I much prefer them to full days off.  I am a big fan of not taking full days off unless I am sick, injured, or want to do something that requires a full day.

On the Trans America we never slept the same place twice although we did take almost a full day off to go white water rafting.  We also had one negative mileage day when one of us was injured and needed treatment.  I wound up riding 40 miles that day any way (I went for a ride without panniers), but after all was said and done we were farther away from our goal than when we started.  I think the three of us wound up riding 12, 20, and 40 miles.

I actually find it a better recovery to ride 20, 30, or even 40 miles than to sit around all day.  Worse yet would be to sit in a motel room watching TV all day.  That is the last thing I want to be doing on a tour.   One of the keys to making this work is to not push so hard that you are ever wiped out enough to need a full day off.

All that said, I think I am in a smallish minority in this opinion.

General Discussion / Re: losing weight and touring weight
« on: April 30, 2010, 01:40:50 pm »
I have lost 10 pounds.  Can I carry 5-10 pounds more weight in my panniers and equal the same amount of work load while pedaling?
Probably, but it sounds like a bad idea to me unless you were unable to carry 20-30 pounds of gear to start with.  Better to just enjoy the reduced load.  It is a good idea, at least in my opinion to continually strive to carry less, at least until you get down to a gear weigh of 25 or so pounds including panniers.

Gear Talk / Re: Cross-USA touring bike choices
« on: April 30, 2010, 01:02:37 pm »
How would I know whether the wheels are bearing too much weight? What does a wheel failure look like - is it like it bends and I need to replace it or are we talking catastrophic failures?
The relevant factors are...  Are you a large heavy person?  Do you carry a lot of gear?

I didn't mean that you would know by looking at the wheels.  What I meant was whether a combination of you and your gear are in the heavier or lighter range.  I am not sure where the line should be drawn, but those wheels would almost certainly be fine for a rider that weighed 180 and was carrying 30 pounds of gear (not counting water and probably not counting food if you buy daily or at least as nearly so as is convenient).  It would probably be fine for a bit heavier combination as well, but at some point it wouldn't be.  I am not sure where the line would fall, but that should give you at least a vague notion.

So if you carry 70 pounds of stuff and weigh 250, I'd get some better wheels or at least a rear wheel.  That would probably mean 36 spokes with a good strong rim.

As far as mode of failure, if a wheel fails it would typically be spokes breaking and would most often not be catastrophic without prior warning.  More likely it would just mean stopping to replace spokes along the way, maybe multiple times on a long tour.  If you don't notice and fix them you would ultimately wind up with a completely ruined wheel.

Gear Talk / Re: Cross-USA touring bike choices
« on: April 30, 2010, 10:13:15 am »
Hey side question,

How bad of an idea is it to just replace the stem, spokes, shifters, cassette and handlebars on my bike now? Again I have a Trek 7.3FX, made of alpha black aluminum, 700x32 Bontrager Race Lite Hard Case tires and 32 spoke Nebula wheels, very similar dimensions to the 520 including chainstay dimensions, and braze-ons for front and back racks.

I know AC Mag recommended the 7.2 and 7.3 in 2008 for touring, but do you think a 4000 mile trip is pushing my luck? I'd love to do it because it would only cost about $400, 500 if I upgrade the derailleurs as well (right now Altus front, Deore rear)
No reason that couldn't work.  The length of the trip isn't that relevant as long as you are comfortable on the bike IMO.  I carry pretty much the same weight on a one week tour as I will for my upcoming 2500 mile tour and the same as I would if doing the Trans America again.  Also I have not personally found the comfort requirements to be very much different for a 4000+ mile tour as for a organized century.

I may be wrong, but it seems like you should be able to do it for less than the prices you quote.  My whole bike was $599 shipping included and I thought it was fine for the Trans America other than needing lower gearing.

I would think the Trek 7.3FX might be up to the task without many changes unless you carry a lot of weight.  If you are carrying a particularly heavy load the wheels may be marginal.  If you be sure they are properly trued, stress relieved, and tensioned and then pack reasonably light you would probably be fine.

I personally wouldn't use flat bars, but some riders are happy with them especially with bar ends.

If you are on a tight budget you could definitely ride the Trek 7.3FX pretty much as is.  If you have more to spend a new bike is always nice :)  Personally once I got into the $400-500 range you mention for changes I'd start thinking hard about either backing off a bit on the changes or spending a bit more for a new bike.  That is just my opinion though.

Routes / Re: Transamerica - First timers need help
« on: April 29, 2010, 03:41:38 pm »
Thanks, Scott.  I was considering the Katy Trail, but then I read several post about how many flat tires people had due to thorns from trees and the limestone base being washed out or hard to navigate on smaller tires.  Should we not be worried about that? 
I haven't ridden the Katy so I can't add any Katy specific info.  That said I will say this...  It depends on whether you personally would enjoy the Katy more than riding on the roads.  Personally I avoid bike routes especially unpaved ones.  If road touring I'd rather ride the roads.  Some people love trails like the Katy.

It looks like the Katy is a reasonable options if you like that kind of riding.  Otherwise stay on the Trans America until Chester, IL (home of Pop Eye).  BTW, other than the fact that it was over 100F when we were there, we enjoyed stopping for a while in Chester IL.

Connecting ACA Routes / Re: Transamerica E-W but ending in Seattle
« on: April 29, 2010, 10:46:57 am »

Many sections of interstate are not so bad--8 foot shoulders, rumble strips for protection.  I have ridden many miles on NW interstates.  The 2 main drawbacks are noise and debris on the surface you have to watch for.  I get more flats on the freeway, sometimes due to the tiny metal wire pieces left over from destroyed truck tires.  30 miles on the interstate is really no big deal in most areas. 

It depends on where you are. We rode the short portion of I-80 on the Trans America and it was OK, but we were glad to leave it.  The shoulder was pretty debris strewn and I did get a flat from a truck tire wire.  That section was maybe 30 some miles and while not especially aesthetically pleasing, it was also not a huge hardship.

I rode something over 100 miles on I-25 in New Mexico and found it delightful.  I really liked that section of the road part of which I rode the Interstate and part the access road (both were nice).

So it can be a mixed bag, but a day or so on the interstate isn't a big deal IMO.

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