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Messages - staehpj1

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As I said "different strokes".  It is a judgment call and if you feel you need to, by all means do, but I think there are other things more likely to fail that I don't carry.  In 50 years of riding I have had only a very few sidewall failures (none while touring) but was always able to boot, stitch, or tape them up well enough to ride until a replacement could be found.  Where the OP will be touring isn't a remote area where it would be tough to get a tire.  My guess is that it would be much less likely to be a problem there than on a ride like the TA where in my experience a small minority seem to carry a spare.

Traveling in remote places I probably would carry one.

Different strokes, but a spare tire is probably overkill. 

Gear Talk / Re: panniers
« on: June 05, 2009, 08:03:07 am »
Like most things you get what you pay for
Sometimes, but often relatively basic gear is as good and in some ways better than the high end stuff.

Racks an panniers are one place where this can be the case.  Some of the high end stuff is way overbuilt.  In some cases it is so extreme that it is possible to find a set of racks and bags that weigh 18 pounds empty!  Four Arkel panniers, an Arkel handlebar bag, and a set of Surly Nice Racks come in at something like 18 pounds depending on which panniers you pick.  You couldn't get me to tour with that much weight in empty racks and bags if you paid me to.

Keep adding "high end" stuff like heavy brooks saddles and pretty soon your bike weight with no gear is up over 50 pounds!  Some people manage to camp and cook with a total load including clothing and gear that is about that.

Granted not all high end gear is heavy and not all low priced gear is durable, but for me the sweet spot is still in the low priced range for many items.  Some of them I would use even if price were not a factor at all.  On the other hand I do splurge on a few high priced camping items and feel it is worth it.

I like the Nashbar or Performance Waterproof Panniers very well.  They weigh a lot less than most of the panniers usually recommended, are very durable, keep their contents dry and hold up well.  Three of us used some combination of panniers including at least two of these on our 73 day, 4200+ mile Trans America and I used 4 of them on my recent 800+ mile tour.  I addition my daughter had used two of hers for commuting for a couple years.  All in all they have seen quite a bit of use and have been very satisfactory.  I have no complaints at all.

BTW: For racks we used Nashbar or Performance clones of the old Blackburn Lowrider (front) along with a Blackburn EX-1 (rear) and were well satisfied with them.

Routes / Re: NYC to SF - Best route over the rockies?
« on: June 04, 2009, 10:35:00 am »
%grade=100* rise/run

So climbing at 45 degrees is 100%.  Seems weird, but that is how it is calculated as far as I know.

Check out for clarification if that doesn't make sense.

General Discussion / Re: transam advice needed
« on: June 03, 2009, 06:56:09 pm »
My impression was that the climbs were probably steeper E-W.

You can hit the weather better going E-W,  Start in the spring and you will miss the worst heat and humidity in the southeast and will also miss the coldest weather and remaining snow in the Rockies.

On the TA in Summer the winds are likely to be more favorable going E-W especially in Eastern Colorado and Kansas where the winds were the worst. 

We went W-E because I like getting air travel out of the way up front and because we wanted to hit the Appalachians when we had some miles under our belts.  The Appalachians are the hardest part of the trip IMO.

Gear Talk / Re: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
« on: June 03, 2009, 07:03:12 am »
Thanks for the guess on the Americano's weight.  It sounds overbuilt for general touring with moderate loads.  I guess it depends on where and how you tour though.  On rough roads with heavy loads it might be just the ticket.  Personally I'd rather keep the load light enough to not require such a sturdy mount.

Gear Talk / Re: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
« on: June 02, 2009, 01:29:00 pm »
How heavy is the Americano?

Gear Talk / Re: Selle SMP saddle?
« on: June 02, 2009, 01:08:33 pm »
Can't help with the Selle SMP as I have not ridden on one.

I will comment that I don't get what all the fuss is over saddles.  I guess this is a minority opinion though.  I have been happy with the saddles that came with my bikes.  I would do a multi-month tour on any of them.  Personally I can't see myself spending $200+ for one of the higher end Selle SMPs or putting up with a B17 that weighs over 19 ounces.  It seems to me that unless the saddle is especially unsuitable, the biggest factors in saddle comfort are:
  • Bike fit and adjustment (when set up as I like it there just isn't that much weight on the saddle)
  • Riding form (most of the weight supported on the legs, hands lightly resting on the bars, bars well below saddle)
  • Conditioning of the bottom to the miles

If you haven't already, I'd say log at least several hundred miles over a few weeks at most before changing saddles.  My experience has usually been that after I have a few hundred miles with it I get acclimated to the saddle whatever the model as long as it is not some big wide, heavily padded thing.

I freely admit that my experience may not be the norm.

Routes / Re: NYC to SF - Best route over the rockies?
« on: June 01, 2009, 02:35:48 pm »
In general most routes over the Rockies are not all that bad.  We found the Rockies to be a very pleasant part of our TransAmerica and found the Appalachians much harder.  The grades in the west tend to be long, but not terribly steep.  That and the fact that by the time you get there you will have ridden yourself into shape if you weren't already.  Bottom line...  I would just pick a fairly standard route like the Western Express.  I have not done the Western Express so I can't comment specifically.

General Discussion / Re: Furthest Distance
« on: May 08, 2009, 07:22:31 pm »
Do you mean in a day of for a tour.  I did 4244 mile tour.  The longest day was on the tour was 115 miles.  I think my longest day not on tour was about 120, but I am unsure if that is the exact mileage.  All that is pretty ordinary.

General Discussion / Re: Pacific Coast Route vs. TransAm
« on: May 08, 2009, 06:36:33 pm »
I guess that's what I've heard, too many accidents and it is more of a dangerous route. Does anyone have other suggestions on routes? We only have about a month and a half but I want to make sure we're taking a good route, I know they all have their perks but I'm a little more hesitant to take the Pacific Coast one.
My estimation is that the TA probably has worse sections than the PC and I thought the TA was great.  The PC is pretty close to ideal touring IMO.  I wouldn't let the traffic worry you to much unless your tolerance for traffic is very low.

General Discussion / Re: Pacific Coast Route vs. TransAm
« on: May 08, 2009, 06:53:49 am »
It is a beautiful route.  I have ridden some and driven some of it.  Either the AC maps or the Kirkendall and Spring book (or both) would be helpful.  The most recent version of the book is hard to find.  We used the book for a minor portion of the coast and found it useful.  AC maps are good (I haven't used those particular ones) and easier to find than a recent version of the book.

Services are more frequent and readily available on the PC than the TA.  Lots of stuff to see and do and lots of hiker/biker campsites.  Enjoy the trip!

Gear Talk / Re: Check list for the trans am
« on: May 07, 2009, 11:00:28 am »
If you want to read the experiences of three first time Trans America riders, you may find our journal useful and/or entertaining.

There is a packing list and a "What Worked and What Didn't" section.  I tried to share what we learned there.

Routes / Re: Sierra Cascade Route
« on: May 07, 2009, 10:05:28 am »
No I didn't but I think their web page says winter of 2009-2010 for it to be available.  I wondered how reliable they typically were in that regard.

I will email them and report back.

Routes / Re: Chose my next bike route!!!!
« on: May 07, 2009, 09:32:06 am »
You should be able to go from east coastal Florida to Bangor, Maine in a month. It would be flat along the Atlantic coast. ACA has special maps for it.
It depends on what you call flat.  It will be hilly in places, judging by a quick look at the maps.  I am not familiar with the whole route but much of section 3 is hilly.  Don't get me wrong it isn't in the mountains, and will probably be pleasant, but it does have some steep if not all that long climbs.

It might be a good choice, just don't expect it to be flat the whole way.

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