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Messages - staehpj1

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Routes / Re: Katy Trail and Trans Am
« on: April 02, 2010, 01:51:25 pm »
Different strokes, but I thought the roads AC picked were really nice and wouldn't go out of my way to hit they Katy.  That said, I should qualify by saying that I am just generally averse to bike trails in general and have not ridden the Katy Trail.

Looking at the map, it shouldn't be hard to reroute to the Katy if you choose to.  I wouldn't though.

On the eastern end it should be easy to connect to the TA at Murphysboro.  On the western end it is pretty easy to just pick secondary roads in western Missouri and Eastern Kansas.

Routes / Re: Pacific Coast or new Sierra - Cascades route?
« on: April 01, 2010, 07:10:25 am »
One other consideration, since you mention you are new to touring. The coast route is a dream for a first tour. Seems like every SP has an HB site, they aren't that far apart, and services are relatively easy to obtain. I'm not sure that there are campgrounds/state parks in the volume and spacing you see on the coast in the inland areas. When you look at other routes, you can see how sweet the coast route is. Highly recommended for a first tour. And you won't be short of company.
I agree with all that, but on the other hand...  The inland route probably has more rural small town stops where finding a place to camp in a town park, church yard, or someone's yard is usually easy.

Oh, and I'd also like to recommend another discovery which has made cycling much more interesting for me: the book Infrastructure: A Field Guide to the Industrial Landscape by Brian Hayes.

It lets you recognize and understand all the working man-made objects you pass by, basically.
The problem I have with this book and field guides in general is that I am not willing to have the extra weight along.  With the advent of the Kindle and other ebook readers maybe I will carry field guides at some point in the future.  It would be nice to have this book, a whole array for field guides, and some novels to read.  I wonder how well the illustrations would come across on a kindle though.

We found no need to need to book ahead anywhere on the Trans America.  There were places where we called ahead the same day or the day before, but that was the exception.  The Adventure Cycling maps will give pretty good details and phone numbers for potential places to stay.

My understanding is that on the Pacific coast there are hiker/biker sites most places and no need to book ahead, but I only speak from personal experience on a small part of the coast, but the Kirkendall and Spring book listed hiker biker sites at pretty frequent intervals so I wouldn't worry.

Pete, I thought you already had the air caddy.
Yes I do.  I thought you were saying there were some hard cases in the $100 range that bike shop might stock.  If there were I might use them to get our bikes home at the end of our summer tour.

The air caddy worked great when I was starting and ending the same place (with a short Amtrak leg) and it happened that I had a cooperative friend living there, but it is a bit of a hassle to knock it down to ship ahead or home so I am less inclined to use it when the beginning and end of the tour are not the same.

I am still undecided what I am doing for the Sierra Cascades trip.  There is a chance we will travel via Amtrak.  In that case it is a no-brainer that we'll take the bikes on the train.  We may ship Amtrak Express if we fly out.  Still tossing around options...

General Discussion / Re: Trans Am bag question
« on: March 24, 2010, 10:41:47 am »
On our 2007 TA, I carried one kayaking sweater and wore a rain shell over it when cold.  I wore tights some of the time and could have put rain pants over them but never did.  The rain pants and jacket were real light coated nylon ones.  In camp sometimes I wore tights under some very light weight zip off leg pants.

If I were doing it again I would probably take a 20F bag in the Rockies and something lighter east of maybe Pueblo.

Clothes I would plan to be OK in the coldest temps likely if I put everything I was carrying on.  For me that means something like the following:
  • Cycling shorts (2 pair)
  • Cycling leg warmers and/or tights (1 pr)
  • Cycling jersey short sleeved (2)
  • Cycling gloves and thin liners
  • Cycling shoes
  • Socks (3 pr tech socks)
  • Helmet
  • Sunglasses (prescription)
  • Warm shirt (Immersion Research)
  • Tee shirt (1 Under Armor Heat Gear)
  • Bike hat
  • Long pants with zip off legs
  • Belt
  • Cap (thin skull cap)
  • Rain gear (cheap non-breathable Sierra Designs from REI)
  • Sandals (Crocs)
  • Running shorts

There are some fairly good containers that can be had for $100, perhaps less than the shipping cost.
Can you recommend some specific ones?

Routes / Re: Pacific Coast or new Sierra - Cascades route?
« on: March 23, 2010, 02:48:40 pm »
Given three weeks, a start in Seattle or Vancouver, and a finish in San Francisco I'd say just stick with the coast and save the Sierra Cascades for next year.

On the other hand...
Maybe consider taking the Sierra Cascades route to Sisters and then the TA to Florence and follow the coast south from there.  Three weeks is probably a bit tight on the time for that though.  Check the mileage and decide if that can work for you.

Gear Talk / Re: looking to start touring advice.
« on: March 22, 2010, 06:04:23 pm »
No need to custom build or change a bunch of stuff, at least in my opinion.  Any of the touring bikes on the market will do fine.  You could tour on your current bike if you want to.  Folks do custom builds because they like to do them, not because there is any real need to.

I rode what I think is the cheapest real touring bike on the market (Windsor Touring $599 delivered) coast to coast (4244 miles on the Trans America) as did my two companions.  We found it worked fine stock except we felt the stock gearing was too high so we spent $80 for a Sugino XD 600 crank.  The quality of all components was fine the gearing was just too high.  I also used that bike on my Santa Fe trail tour last Spring and plan to use it this Summer to do the Sierra Cascades route.

There are a number of bikes that are well suited to touring that are at a reasonable price point.  A few are the Novara Randonee, Windsor Touring, Long Haul Trucker, and a bunch of others.  All of them are fine stock if the gearing is suitable to the route you plan to ride.

BTW the Pacific coast is a great place to tour!  Enjoy it.

You have inspired me.  I think I will do the same thing for the Sierra Cascades Route once the maps are out.  It seems like a good way to preview the route and if going to the pages anyway creating a web page isn't that much extra effort.

General Discussion / Re: Bike Cover
« on: March 20, 2010, 02:20:03 pm »
Although extra weight, I like the Big Agnes, Big House 4 Tent and Vestibule. You can put your bikes in their. (sensor alarm on zipper) It protects against the rain, prying eyes, and if we have a disagreement, I can sleep in the vestibule not outside. (LOL) When we travel we like the room, especially on really rainy days. :D
Wow, you must really like a lot of space to be willing to carry 15+ pounds of tent and vestibule (16+ if you bought the footprint too).  Is that for two of you?

I carried a 9 or 10 pound tent for three of us on the Trans America and cursed at it's weight every single day!  A couple days in the Appalachians I felt like all I did was curse at the tent :)  If I were starting the same trip today, I would be willing to spend a good bit more and put up with a bit less space to lose a few pounds on the tent.  Since then, I have since decided that 30 pounds base gear was my limit including panniers and 20-25 is my goal.  That requires a much lighter tent for me.

Very nice.  Thanks for sharing.

General Discussion / Re: Bike Cover
« on: March 20, 2010, 11:32:02 am »
No cover here.  Just extra weight to carry that I don't need.

General Discussion / Re: Money money money!
« on: March 18, 2010, 12:15:07 pm »
A very rough rule of thumb is $1 per mile. If you do like a young man I met in Virginia and live out of dumpsters you can probably bring this down.
I am curious if you are credit card touring, camping, cooking, etc.  Also are you including airfare and other expenses than daily stuff.  $1 per mile seems really high unless it is moteling it the whole way or doing pretty low daily mileage.  I am not knocking it just curious what it is based on.

Good luck and have a great tour.

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