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Messages - staehpj1

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General Discussion / Re: Bike security when touring in the USA
« on: May 21, 2010, 10:51:47 am »
I tend to tour mostly in rural and small town areas in the US.  For that I would almost be willing to go without a lock.  I figure that a light cable lock is a reasonable compromise and I just resign myself to the fact that in larger cities I have to be extra careful and also accept some risk.

To me a heavy cable or U lock isn't an option and carrying both is just totally unacceptable.  Some of those cable locks are heavy and some U locks weigh over 4 pounds!  I strive to get my total gear including panniers below 30 pounds at most and hopefully to 25 pounds.  That makes carrying 6 pounds of locks a completely out of the question.

It helps that I don't ride a very expensive bike or use very expensive gear.  There is something nice about being able to afford to replace all of your gear if necessary.

General Discussion / Re: Rocky Mountains questions
« on: May 20, 2010, 07:24:14 pm »
As to the Camping Gaz, I'm not an expert about this, but I kind of think we *don't* have that product in the US.  You'll have to do your own homework.  There is a big out door store in Salt Lake City (and lots of other places) REI ( and camping stores in Jackson, so you might end up needing to buy a new stove here.
I have seen the Camping Gaz name on more than one type of cartridge, but mostly on the ones that have no fitting.  I have seen those and the snap on ones with that name on them in the US but only rarely.

General Discussion / Re: bears and food storage
« on: May 19, 2010, 12:34:43 pm »
+1 On that route, we found that bear boxes were generally available where needed.

General Discussion / Re: Accomodation in Portland
« on: May 18, 2010, 09:07:30 am »
This is my first post here so not sure how it works.  We are meeting in Portland to start Transam.  Looking for bike friendly accomodation (motel/hotel/guest house) to spend a few days sorting ourselves out as we are flying in from Australia and UK.  anyone have any suggestions/past experience of where we might stay or look for accomodation :-\ Big Rod
We stayed at the the TravelLodge which I think was on 82nd.  It was nice and they were accommodating.

Lots of stuff to see and do in Portland...

Get breakfast at Cameo's... this great if kind of weird place on 82nd.

For our arrival day there check out:

General Discussion / Re: Rocky Mountains questions
« on: May 18, 2010, 08:59:52 am »
1.- Are there "Camping Gas" in America? Camping gas is a kind of stove, very popular in Spain.

Would I be correct in guessing that you mean the gas cartridges for the stove?  If so there are several types sold in the US.

The most common are the ones that MSR and others sell that the stove connection screws on:

The next most common snap on and are a lot less commonly available.

Then there are the ones that puncture the cartridge.  They are sometimes called "Camping Gaz".  These might be fairly hard to find here.

Lots more info at

Routes / Re: Roads from San Francisco to Yosemite NP
« on: May 12, 2010, 12:35:01 pm »
You can also take BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) which is a regional train system, from San Francisco (it does go to the airport) across the bay - this is very easy and cheap, and the bike can go on the train (except during rush hour).  It costs just a few dollars to cross the bay.  You don't need a reservation, you buy the ticket at the station.  Here's the web site to learn more:

You can also get a ferry boat ride across the bay, but I've never done that - I think the adventure cycling route recommends that, but I would just take BART, it's so easy, and the trains run very frequently.
I have ridden the ferry and the Bart train and both were pretty easy to deal with even for us clueless out of towners.  We did not have our bikes along but in both cases saw others who did.

Occasionally you find a place where you can stay free (ACA maps tend to indicate them).
Depending on where you will be you can probably stay for free more than occasionally.   On the TA we stayed free about half the time and quite often paid less than $10 when we did pay (over a 73 day period).  Last Spring I never paid for a site on my 10 day tour, but did stay in $40 motel rooms several times.

Most small town parks are fine.  In the west if there are no signs that say it is prohibited I usually set up near the picnic pavilion.  Asking around in small towns will usually result is a spot to camp.  If there are police I ask them.  If there is a store clerk available, I ask if they think I will be run off (rather than actually asking permission).  I try to set up early so if I am going to get kicked out it will be early enough to find another spot.  I have not been run off yet.

It may be harder in the east, but in much of the west it is usually pretty easy to find a free spot to pitch a tent for the night.  At least that has been the case for me so far.

Gear Talk / Re: Kickstands?
« on: May 10, 2010, 12:33:47 pm »
"Do most people tour with kickstands?"
An extra pound or two just isn't worth it to me. 

The click stand is about 75 grams.  That would be less than 3 oz.  ;D

That may be true for the Click Stand, but it certainly isn't for some of the other options mentioned.

Gear Talk / Re: Will a racing saddle work for touring?
« on: May 10, 2010, 12:31:32 pm »
A lot depends on his riding position.  Will he use the same riding position that he uses for his other rides?  If so I would stick with the same saddle.

If he switches to a sit up and beg posture, he would probably be miserable with a racing saddle.

I would suggest he stick to his current saddle and do the former rather than the latter.  I personally think I would be miserable if I was forced to ride in the more upright postures many tourists adopt.

However, after the costs of my flight and buying the gear I'll need I'd like to keep my travelling expenses below $50 a day.  Does that sound do-able including perhaps a camp site with showers?  On that topic, how much do US campsites cost on average for cyclists.
I don't know how frugal you are or how resourceful at finding sites to camp, but $50 per days sounds like a lot of money to me.  I don't think I ever approached that even when I included several motel stays on my 10 day tour last spring and ate a lot or restaurant meals.

On the Trans America I averaged a lot less.

I don't often buy alcoholic beverages and eat mostly simple meals, but don't pinch every penny either.  My guess is that you can probably do just fine on $50 a day and not feel a financial pinch at all.

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.

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