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Messages - staehpj1

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Gear Talk / Re: Gear for a three-day tour
« on: March 04, 2010, 05:38:59 pm »
Everyone's tolerance of the cold is different, but here is what has worked for me...

The temps you mention sound like the temps I had on my Spring tour when starting in the early darkness.  I started in shorts and a short sleeved jersey with a wind breaker over it.  As the day warmed up I took off the windbreaker.  That was fine for me.  My legs might have been slightly chilly when starting but quickly warmed up.  The coldest mornings were 40 (F) or so.

If I wanted a bit more warmth I'd probably use either thin tights or leg warmers (maybe 40 to the mid 30s).

If it was substantially colder (lower 30s?) I have some tights that are slightly brushed inside.  They are substantially warmer.

If it were really cold I have some tights that are windproof in the front they are good in bitter cold weather (0 and single digits), but I'd probably never take them on tour.

Generally I would guess what the temps would be and the the one of the three that seemed to make sense.  Worst case I'd wear the rain pants or have something mailed from home.  That hasn't happened yet though.

I carry light weight rain pants but have never worn them while riding.  It is nice to be able to be dry in camp in the evening though.

On the thin tights vs leg warmers issue... 
Leg warmers are easy to take off as it warms up and lighter. 

On the other hand tights were nice to wear under my zip off leg pants in camp on cold evenings. 

Wearing bike shorts all the time is not acceptable to me I need a break from them in the evening.

Gear Talk / Re: front/rear pannier loading for credit card touring
« on: March 04, 2010, 02:50:48 pm »
Thank you both for responding to my query post. 

I will drop down to a 3 lb netbook (w/charger) and will be traveling in warmer weather so I do plan to reduce my packed weight considerably.  On the other hand the route will include ACA Western Express so I expect to need to carry a lot of water (at times) and more parts/tools than my previous experience.   

Yeah water can add up quickly and it isn't optional.

Before you start be sure about daily mileages and destinations since the WE is pretty remote.  I have not ridden it but I bet Credit Card touring will be a real challenge due to the distance between services.  It looked like it would be a challenge on the TA and the Western Express is reportedly much more remote.  I know that even on the TA there were some pretty long sections with nothing in the way of services.  I think there was one place where we were 80 miles between water stops.  The WE would probably be much worse.

Gear Talk / Re: front/rear pannier loading for credit card touring
« on: March 04, 2010, 12:27:13 pm »
How much weight and bulk are we talking about?  Maybe split the load between front panniers and your trunk bag?

Different strokes, but I would shoot for 10 to 15 pounds of gear if credit card touring and I would be inclined to pack it in small front panniers.

A six pound computer, wow!  Obviously it's your choice, but I think a net book is too much to carry.  My under 8 ounce Nokia N800 is about my limit and on a short tour I might leave it home.  A web enabled cell phone would be sufficient if it weren't for the monthly charges.

General Discussion / Re: My Idea
« on: March 04, 2010, 12:12:20 pm »
Don't do it alone.
I won't advise whether you should or shouldn't beyond saying that the young women that I have met who did an XC tour alone would disagree with Scott's advice.  If you can go with someone that can be a plus, but realize that a good portion of groups of two or more typically split up at some point any way.  You have to be really compatible or really committed to staying together to make it work.

Routes / Re: Biking for Local Food
« on: March 03, 2010, 12:32:08 pm »
maybe you could fill BOB trailer with dirt and grow the food as you'll get plenty of sunshine/rain/etc and won't go bad as fast? : ;D

Ha!  The visual I have in my head is priceless because I can see someone doing something like this if it hasn't been done already.

You could actually sprout your own sprouts as you go.

My idea of "local food" on tour is sampling the regional dishes that are available.  Seafood on the coast, grits or maybe biscuits and sausage gravy in the south, and so on.  Also I figure that eating some junk food or fast food won't kill me as long as I manage to get some decent variety.

General Discussion / Re: Roadside repair question...
« on: March 03, 2010, 07:43:22 am »
Harris Cyclery sells a portable mini-lockring tool that does what you want, it allows you to remove the lockring while the wheel is on the bike with no other tool.  Here is the URL reference:

Here is a reference for a DIY tool that does the same thing but, read the caveats before using it.  Used incorrectly or if the lockring is very tight it can damage your frame.

Harris also sells the Unior it costs less than half as much weighs less and works fine.

Routes / Re: Biking for Local Food
« on: March 02, 2010, 08:19:32 am »
Good luck with that.  We found that fresh produce sources were few and far between much of the time on the TA.  Many places you pass through only small towns for considerable distances.  In the little general stores fresh produce was extremely limited and generally not fresh at all.

I would rather make do with what is fairly readily available than carry a lot of food.  My advice is just enjoy what you find and consider it a bonus when you manage to get decent produce, local or otherwise.

The places on the TA where we saw a produce stand or someone selling produce off their tailgate we definitely took advantage of it, but they were few and far between.

General Discussion / Re: Passing other tourist riders
« on: March 01, 2010, 05:06:57 pm »
I also enjoy talking to the Harley riders - especially camping near them, guaranteed to entertain.
We found that generally the motorcyclists we met treated us as kindred spirits.  Quite a few times they shared cold water when we were out in the middle of nowhere.  We camped at a place where there was some kind of Harley rider get together in Jackson Hot Springs.  They were very friendly and we enjoyed meeting them.

In the rural West when passing on the road more often than not they waved.

Routes / Re: C&O canal to Pittsburgh via cumberland MD.
« on: February 28, 2010, 04:18:24 pm »
There are 4 of us planning a 7 day ride ( late May early June) and I am looking for any / all information from any one who has completed this MT bike ride.  We are avid roadies from AZ ( youngest 62 and oldest 71) so the 50+- miles per day will not be a problem, but we know little about the area and we are planing to be self contained and stay in Motels/ B7B each night.
Not to put too fine of a point on it but the C&O ends in Cumberland, so if going from Cumberland to Pittsburgh it is actually the Great Allegheny Passage you will be using.  So when looking for info look for GAP or great Allegheny Passage.  I have done the C&O but not the GAP so I can't help much.

General Discussion / Re: My Idea
« on: February 28, 2010, 10:38:44 am »
What do you want this trip to be?  What I would recommend is dependent on that.  For you, is it about a fast crossing, enjoying the scenery, meeting the people, something else?

Assuming a fast crossing isn't your primary goal, the Trans America route is awesome.  We met mostly friendly, kind, and generous people and saw lots of beautiful scenery.  The state parks are generally cheap and very nice most places.  In many places you will be able to camp for free in town parks, church yards, and other similar locations.  If you use the AC maps they will have lots of free places to stay listed and in most small towns just asking around will turn up others.  We only resorted to expensive campgrounds a couple times staying for free at least half the time.

On the TA you will meet other tourists and will be able to camp or ride with them some of the time if you want to.

Interestingly, we found that if you are an experienced camper and use an AC route, not much planning is required.  Get your gear together, get the maps, find your way to the starting point and start riding.  If you are not an experienced camper then some time spend figuring out what gear you need and how to use it is needed.

I would suggest reading some journals on the Crazy Guy on a Bike site  (  I think our 2007 Trans America journal ( is a good one for someone planning their first long distance tour to read since it is the story of three first timers.

Good luck on your trip.

General Discussion / Re: Passing other tourist riders
« on: February 28, 2010, 10:18:53 am »
Oh BTW...  I forgot to mention that talking to cyclists going the opposite direction is a great way to get or share info about the road ahead.  There were a few hosts and lots of must see stuff that we might not have known about had we not compared notes with folks going the other way.  There were also some hints about how to best cope with difficulties ahead.

Routes / Re: Direction and departure month on Southern Tier in winter
« on: February 27, 2010, 07:58:07 pm »
Please advise with your experience on using the ST in winter.  I am trying to decide which direction to go and what month is best to begin.  We can leave as early as Dec and plan to take about 3 months, but want to be finished by end of April. I don't mind some days of head wind, but don't want to fight it every day.  Also prefer not to freeze; we plan to camp when we can't find warmshowers or couchsurfing hosts.   Thanks!
One thing to remember... Daylight hours are shortest December 21 or so.  Daylight hours are much longer in late winter.  I have not done the ST, but an acquaintance who has said February is the best departure time.  I forget which direction he preferred.  I think it was W-E, but I am not sure.

Routes / Re: Is May 1 Too Early For W-E Transamerica Route Departure?
« on: February 27, 2010, 07:51:27 pm »
It is pretty early.   McKenzie pass is not open yet then most years.  That said you can use Santiam pass if McKenzie is closed.  Chances of cold and snow will be greatly increased with a start that early though.

Personally, I'd probably start in the east if starting then.  You would miss the worst heat and humidity in the southeast and the cold and snow in the Cascades and Rockies.

Prevailing winds on the TA are actually probably better for an E - W TA.  See the maps I posted in a previous thread at:

Where the wind matters most on the TA is in Eastern Colorado and Kansas and the TA goes SE there.  The prevailing summer winds are out of the SE there.

That said there are many factors and I wouldn't necessarily make the winds be the over-riding factor.

General Discussion / Re: Passing other tourist riders
« on: February 27, 2010, 01:57:02 pm »
May be a silly question but you know how things go through your head shortly before you leave on tour.
The big boss (wife) and I will start the Southern Tier in the next week.  We've read many journals about people seeing other riders along the routes that they travel and we were wondering, when seeing someone going the same direction as you it's easy to say hi or even talk,  but what is (for lack of a better term) protocol when seeing a rider going the opposite way.  I'm sure one doesn't stop and talk with every rider you see,  so how do you know when to stop and talk without interrupting their day.  Or can you just tell. TIA
I tend to pull off to the side and see if they stop to talk.  I think my body language makes it clear that I welcome the opportunity to chat, but I don't flag them down or anything.  If they do stop, great, if not that is fine too.  On the TA the majority of the time we talked at least a few minutes with almost all of the folks going the other way.  On other tours I haven't met many riders.

Routes / Re: New Sierra Cascade Route
« on: February 26, 2010, 04:31:09 pm »
I look forward to reading what others have to say about their experiences!
Yeah me too.  I guess we will find out how it goes in June.

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