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Messages - staehpj1

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General Discussion / Re: RI TO Key West tour
« on: April 19, 2009, 11:20:41 am »
Get a bike and panniers. Get maps. Go.
Seriously that is about it.  The Adventure Cycling Atlantic Coast route is what I would probably do.

Will you be camping? Cooking?  Have you toured before?  Are you an experienced camper?  Those would all affect my answers if you want more details.

Gear Talk / Re: I want to tour …cheeply
« on: April 16, 2009, 07:22:35 am »
Check the "Inexpensive Touring Gear" thread in the general discussion forum.

Gear Talk / Re: Does anybody bring a cooler on the tour?
« on: April 16, 2009, 07:19:27 am »
Nope, never done that and never seen anyone on the road with one.  For beer it would only keep it cold for a very short while unless you carried ice.  Drink your beer while it is still cold, drink it warm, or cool it in a mountain stream.

Gear Talk / Re: Inexpensive Touring Gear
« on: April 15, 2009, 12:20:30 pm »
Panniers for $250 is grose overkill in my mind.  The ATB Nashbar Panniers are listed as $19.99 right now and using the code "APRIL20" will get you another 20% off for a total of $15.99 before shipping ($6.99)  And that's for the pair!  2350 cubic inches, from Nashbar:

I like the waterproof ones from Nashbar or Performance better though,

I also like these:

Check for coupon codes for either place at:
for additional 10-20% off most of the time.

For Racks I like the Blackburn EX-1 on the back and on the front the Nashbar or Performance clones of the Blackburn Lowrider.

Tents and sleeping bags can go fairly low budget too.  Eureka has some nice low end tents and Slumberjack has some decent low end sleeping bags.  I would buy a nice sleeping pad though.  I like Thermarest.

Between the three of us we used all this stuff on the Trans America and found it all quite adequate.   Check our journal for more ideas of cheaper gear at:
See the packing lists and the "what worked and what didn't" section.

It is personal preference and either can work.  I bought a trailer, used it for one trip, hung it on the wall for a year, sold it.

I am of the opinion that weight is very important and that I can go lighter with panniers.  Then again if you select the heaviest racks and panniers a trailer can be lighter.  I am also of the opinion that flying with or shipping an trailer is a extra hassle.

I do wonder about going light by using a light bike and the extrawheel voyager.  It seems like an interesting option and would allow the weight and shipping issues to be optimized.

Gear Talk / Re: compact sleeping bag for mt. riding.
« on: April 06, 2009, 07:42:00 am »
Down is the best for this.  It only compresses so much and variation from bag to bag is not all that much for bags of similar warmth.  You can maximize compression by selecting a stuff sack that really has effective compression straps.

That said, I don't sweat bulk of items that much and just strap some of the more bulky items on top of the rack rather than try to squeeze everything in the panniers (I use smallish panniers).  For me the bag goes in the panniers, but the pad and tent go on top.  Weight is a way bigger factor than bulk IMO.

General Discussion / Re: Living on my bike
« on: April 06, 2009, 07:36:18 am »
Three of us had three very different experiences with regards to weight gain/loss on tour.  We all ate a lot, but one lost a lot of weight, one lost a moderate amount, and one gained a few pounds.  I ate maybe 5000 calories a day and still lost quite a bit the first 30-40 days and put a bit back on in the second half of the trip.  I found that for me it is just a matter of my body taking a while to adjust to life on the road. 

General Discussion / Re: East Coast -South
« on: April 06, 2009, 07:29:47 am »
Thanks for info....I hear the winds are more south in the summer, but north the rest of the time. Hopefully May is more like spring than summer winds.
On the east coast I wouldn't sweat the wind direction so much.  It isn't as big of a deal as it is on the west coast.

Time of day can be a big factor, so observe what the patterns are at the time and use them to your advantage.

General Discussion / Re: New to Touring
« on: April 03, 2009, 04:28:30 pm »
Trail condition varies widely depending on how the recent weather has been.  In wet periods it gets quite messy.

General Discussion / Re: New to Touring
« on: April 03, 2009, 08:12:12 am »
I just don't see how the XC fits here. The Fugi should serve you well for credit card touring. The LHT for self supported touring. OTOH, nothing at all wrong with stocking your stable with all three. No compromises at all that way.
Different strokes, but I can see the Cross Check working out very well for both long distance and shorter tours.  Going for a few extra bucks and getting the Travelers Check might be a good idea if you expect to fly with the bike.

Not sure why you think that the Cross Check won't accept fenders or a front rack.  It has enough clearance and all the attachment points except the mid fork braze on.  While less elegant, a plastic coated u-bolt easily replaces the mid fork mount at least with some racks.  I also doubt that most people will have heel clearance problems if they go with modest sized rear panniers.  Personally I think that 4 modest sized panniers is the way to go anyway.

As far as the LHT, not being a compromise...  That just isn't the case.  Any bike is a compromise, for some it may be more of a compromise than the Cross Check.  My guess is that it would be for the OP.

General Discussion / Re: Touring Wired, Wireless, Etc.
« on: April 03, 2009, 07:53:07 am »
I agree with Valygrl.

It is your call of course, but I know that once in the mountains a few days my opinion on what to carry changed drastically.  All kinds of stuff that seemed necessary, got boxed up and sent home.  I didn't pack all that heavy to start with but still sent several batches of stuff home.  I can tell you that getting rid of a few pounds makes a huge difference in the comfort of the trip.  iPod, GPS, and all kinds of other stuff went home early in the trip.  Clothes got cut to a minimum too as did lots on little comfort items.

The one big splurge I might make weight-wise is a DSLR, but only if photography was one of the primary reasons for the trip.  Memory cards are cheap and very light weight, so just take enough for all the pictures that you will take instead of carrying the laptop.  If it was me, I would forget the daily journal updates and photo uploads.  Do a quick journal entry only when you happen to have the opportunity without too much inconvenience.  Once in a while upload a picture or two.  You will be able to do this from a public library or host's home.  If it is once a week, two weeks, or even three weeks fine.

Keep a paper journal and transfer it to your online journal when you get home.

As I said, I would skip the laptop entirely, but if not at least go with something like the eepc.  I would also skip the Spot and the GPS.  If someone at home is super paranoid and was going to pay for it I might carry the Spot, but only if it would set some very worried family member's mind at ease.

Consider using twitter from your cell phone as your means for frequent updates to home, but don't promise daily contact to any one.  Cell service can be pretty spotty and pay phones are becoming extinct.  I know we went quite a while at times without calling or contacting home and it really annoyed my wife because I had lead her to expect daily updates before we left.

I know that for me the one of the single biggest factors in whether a trip is enjoyable is the load carried.  A few pounds make a huge difference IMO.  If in doubt about an item leave it home.  Once underway a while review each item and send anything that is iffy home.

Gear Talk / Re: How many people tour with non-touring bikes?
« on: April 01, 2009, 02:41:08 pm »
I will challenge your bet (in a friendly and respectful manor). :)

Lets say that you are designing a bike to accommodate 175lb rider.  Now add 60lb of  gear.  Things are now 30% over their design weight. And that 60 lbs is now cantilevered out by a rack.  And the connection method is not perfect--that gear moves about.  The racks are also fastened with clamps, because critereum bikes don't have drop outs.  I cannot begin to guess the physics of small spoke count radial laced wheel.  So there are all sorts of dynamics and moments at work here.  I will stick with the bags causing havoc on a sub $3000 bike, the kind of bike that you see on club rides or being raced by Cat 5 and Cat 4 racers. 
I think some of this boils down to what the rider is willing to accept, but I really think that excessive frame flexing or breakage are unlikely.

I agree that the racing wheels are not likely to be up to the task of loaded touring.  I also agree that lack of braze ons is a disadvantage.  The fact that gearing on the stock crit bike is inadequate for touring is a given.  The handling issues due to geometry are at least somewhat dependent on the rider's tolerance and preferences.

I can say that my older Cannondale crit bike is quite stiff as is my new fairly low end road bike, both more so than some touring bikes.  I wouldn't be worried in the least that the frame on either would be flexy or floppy with a reasonable touring load (60 pounds is a bit more gear than I consider reasonable, but I am still confident it would be OK).  I also would not be overly worried about frame breakage.  I know a couple guys who tour on similar bikes with good results.  I also met a few doing the TA who were well into their trip and seemed happy with their choices.

General Discussion / Re: biking across america with diabetes
« on: March 31, 2009, 10:55:17 am »
It probably depends on what you consider junk food, but I think for a cyclist riding longer distances there is probably a lot more room for deviation even for a diabetic.  As far as having to stop more often, why?  It is possible to stuff a couple days worth of snacks in your jersey pockets and lots of reasonably healthy food keeps well enough to pack a couple days lunches if needed including fresh fruits and veggies.

I am not a diabetic, but I think that there is a lot of stuff that while maybe not health food is readily available and no so bad.  I tend to have things like Jerky, fig newtons, fresh or dried fruits, nuts, and baked stuff in my jersey pocket.  As a diabetic he may need to be more selective, but given the rate he will be burning fuel he will probably have a lot more latitude than normal.  In a pannier I have lunch items like bagel pbj makings, hard boiled eggs, dried hummus, fresh fruits, fresh veggies (avacados, carrots, and cabbage kept well and worked for us), crackers, tortillas, foil packed tuna or salmon, hard cheeses, and canned chicken or other meat.  Once in a while for a change of pace we bought a sandwich in the morning for later in the day.

Gear Talk / Re: How many people tour with non-touring bikes?
« on: March 31, 2009, 10:18:06 am »
A criteum bike is just strong enough to support the weight of the rider (with some appropriate safety factor).  If you could hang bags on it, and the frame did not break, I'll bet it wiggles while you ride it.
I would take that bet.  Crit bikes are very stiff being designed for hard cornering and fast acceleration.

With the short wheel base, I would also bet that you hit the bags with your feet as you ride it.  I tried towing a Bob trailer with my critereum bike, and the handling was just to unstable for me.  Beside, the crouched over position would be tough to do day after day.  And now that I'm 51, I can hardly ride in that position for any extended period.

Touring bikes have a more upright (hence comfortable) riding position.  I don't know what all frame changes are made, but touring bikes are designed to handle all that weight and be stable.
Yes heel clearance might be a problem depending on the style, size, and position of the panniers.  Size of feet and position choices would be a factor as well.  Also as you say some will not like the responsive handling of a crit bike for touring, but I have seen folks do fine as well.  I don't see why being 51 is a big factor, I'll be 58 in June.

As far as position and comfort go.  I find road bike position (bars 4 or more inches below saddle) to be supremely comfortable on both long day rides and long tours.  This is especially true as rides get longer.  I never had a moments thought about raising the bars on my TA tour.  The more upright the the more weight on your saddle.  If you can achieve a riding posture with low bars that allows you to lean forward with most of your weight still supported by your legs it can be quite comfortable.  It requires good core strength and I think that it is difficult for some to achieve.  Obviously you want to ride with fairly relaxed arms and not too much weight on your hands.

Gear Talk / Re: Tough Touring Tire
« on: March 30, 2009, 12:44:25 pm »
Good luck.  I hope you find a choice that works well for you.

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