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Messages - staehpj1

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Just one person's opinion, but...

With the TA maps I didn't find a GPS worth carrying.  I sent it home after a week.  The AC maps were easy enough to use that we felt no need to supplement them with anything but a state map picked up each time we entered a new state.  We did intentionally go off route once in a while using an alternate route that the AC maps did not cover and that was the only time the GPS would have been used.

On the 705, I don't think it is really a good design for touring.  Keeping it charged will be a hassle and the features aren't really there for touring.

Gear Talk / Re: new crankset
« on: February 10, 2009, 02:52:33 pm »
You might find that the less expensive Tiagra FD works better with that range of rings.  Never done it with 10 speed though.

Gear Talk / Re: big, wide feet need touring shoes
« on: February 10, 2009, 02:50:11 pm »
I love my Sidi Mega Bullet 2s.  They worked out fine for tours ranging from short to a TA (73 days).  They were fine for short hikes.  We seldom hiked more than 2-3 miles though.  We carried Crocs and wore them (off bike) for a change of pace part of the time and always in camp.  They were fine for short hikes too.

Sidi's in the Mega models are great for wide feet.  The Bullet 2 was my choice over the Dominator, because they are cheaper and I like the velcro closure better than the ratchet buckles any way.

General Discussion / Re: ‘Camping’: Is it really necessary?
« on: February 08, 2009, 07:16:06 pm »
I haven't done the NT, but the AC maps are pretty complete when it comes to listing available services.  I'd say if you are pretty sure about the trip the maps would answer your questions very well.  Hopefully some one here can give a better answer.

General Discussion / Re: ‘Camping’: Is it really necessary?
« on: February 05, 2009, 03:04:24 pm »
Crossing the US on the TA we never had trouble finding a place to camp with permission, but I can think of a lot of places that we didn't see motels.  Our preference was to stay with hosts first, at free camping spots next, at cheap campsites next, and KOA type places as a last resort.

I think there was at least one and probably a few places where the motels were 80-100 miles apart.  It may have been possible to cut the distance by modifying the route, but I am not sure.  It would require some long days at the least to avoid camping.  It is certainly possible though and folks have crossed the US without camping.

Gear Talk / Re: Which type of mini stove?
« on: February 02, 2009, 06:53:53 pm »
Here is the previous stove thread:
That thread said most of what I would add, but I will mention a few things.

On the TA we didn't find isobutane fuel from Pueblo Colorado until Kentucky and it wasn't easy to find there.  We stopped in dozens of places and wasted hours looking for it.  You can have someone mail it to you via general delivery (read the thread in the link above for postal requirements).

Regarding propane, both the stoves and the cartridges are too heavy to suit me.  They are readily available and rugged though.

Routes / Re: Southern Tier & Fuel for cooking advice please
« on: February 02, 2009, 06:43:54 pm »
Don't count on getting canister fuel along the way.  Either make arrangements for someone to mail it to you via general delivery or use something else. You can mail isobutane fuel via ground mail (domestic mail only). The package must have the following label attached on the address side of the package:
"Surface Mail Only
Consumer commodity

Alternately alcohol, gasoline, and white gas are generally available, but the white gas is often in gallons.  Someone mentioned sources for alcohol already, so I won't go into that.  I would probably take a pop can stove or a mini trangia if I was going solo.

General Discussion / Re: April too early? (Westbound TA)
« on: February 01, 2009, 05:17:37 pm »
You could probably get by, but I'd be inclined to wait until late April.

Gear Talk / Re: Where should the weight go?
« on: January 28, 2009, 07:44:59 am »
Personally I didn't see all that big of a difference in handling as long as I didn't do anything really stupid.  I try to get a good bit of weight up front to reduce the load on the rear wheel when using panniers.

Back when I used a trailer I just put everything in the trailer.  I prefer panniers though so I sold the trailer.

General Discussion / Re: Long distance cycling and supliments
« on: January 27, 2009, 06:32:25 pm »
Ha Ha!  We took Flintstones chewables on the Trans America!  I am not a big believer in supplements, but my daughter took them and handed me one each day.  I can't say the did or didn't help.

Gear Talk / Re: Drivetrain questions
« on: January 26, 2009, 12:08:44 pm »
Easiest and cheapest change is to replace the 28T chainring with a 24T.  It's a bigger % change than going from a 32 to a 34T rear cog and much less expensive than changing the cassette.
I agree.

Are you sure you don't already have a long cage rear derailleur?  Almost all bikes with triple cranks come with them and your current gearing would be very limited if your rear derailleur is now a short cage.
I agree here too.  It seems unlikely that you have an 11-32 and a triple and do not have a long cage RD already.

Routes / Re: Pennsylvania to Oregon
« on: January 26, 2009, 08:56:57 am »
Check out the Transam route on this site. Also google the DOT website in each of the states you will travel through. Many offer free road maps and some have state bicycle maps and routes.
I would second that.  the TransAmerica is a great route and the maps have a wealth of information including lots of free places to camp, contact info for libraries, post offices, stores, bike shops, motels, hostels, camp grounds, police, and so on.  Well worth the price.  You can buy the maps and just start riding with zero route planning or research on facilities.

Gear Talk / Re: Drivetrain questions
« on: January 26, 2009, 06:55:43 am »
I'm in the midst of upgrading my bike for a TA tour. I did consider buying a new one, but it was far too expensive. I've gotten to the point of looking at my gearing, and from the few thousand miles I've put on it on day trips I think I need some lower gearing. It's an 8 speed, and currently I'm running 28-38-48 up front and 11-12-14-16-18-21-26-32 on the rear. I was thinking of Sheldon Brown's custom cassette:13-15-17-19-21-23-26-34. Has anyone used these before? Does the combination work well for you? Should I also perhaps find a smaller front sprocket? Would it be worth it to upgrade my derailleur to a long cage version? I realize vastly different solutions work well for different people, but I was just wondering what everyone thinks about this topic.
There are personal variables, like your preferred speed and cadence, what you weigh, and how much you will be carrying.  Some folks like super low  or rather high gearing and some get by on less extreme combinations.  Three of us did the TA on bikes that came with  30/42/52T paired up with and 11-32.  We all replaced the crank with one that was 46-36-26.  One of us put a 24 on in place of the 26 before the start and another did the same in Missoula.  I did the Whole TA with the 46-36-26 and the 11-32.

I didn't feel the need for anything lower than the 26-32 in the Cascades or the Rockies.  There were a few places in the Appalachians where a 24 would have been nice and I have since installed one.  Still the 26 was "adequate".  Personally I used the 46-11 high gear a lot and would not have wanted to lower the top gear much if any lower.

Gear Talk / Re: Front Racks Low Rider vs Expedition Rack
« on: January 25, 2009, 10:00:32 am »
It is just personal preference, but I like low riders.  I don't see a need for a platform in the front.  I have a handlebar bag that puts enough weight up there without stacking more stuff on a platform.  I keep small but heavy stuff in the front panniers and lighter, but bulkier stuff in the rear panniers and on top of the rear rack.

I like the inexpensive low riders from Nashbar or Performance (Blackburn clone).  They are cheap light and sturdy.  The Tubus racks are nice and if money is no object you might go that route, but I would buy the cheap Performance or Nashbar ones again if I didn't have any.

I forget exactly which stores there were in Frisco and nearby by Silverthorne and Breckenridge, but you should have no trouble finding fuel there.  I think there are 3 or 4 hardware stores and a Walmart.  I am pretty sure that one of the bike shops had it was well.  Sorry I don't have addresses, but it should be easy to find some.

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