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Messages - staehpj1

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31
General Discussion / Re: First cross country tour-Help a guy out
« on: December 18, 2015, 10:46:00 am »
+1. And as John N notes, you have additional capacity for those situations where you might need to pack extra water and food. During a tour across PA last year I had to carry lunch, dinner and breakfast food as well as snacks because there was nothing on route to my destination and nothing for about 15 miles the next morning.
A lot of this depends on how much you are carrying.  I figure that 4 panniers start to make sense at somewhere above 30 pounds base gear weight (not counting food, water, or other consumables).

You do need to be able to carry enough to get by without resupply on some tours, so it is something to consider.  Still even with very minimal baggage I have always been able to jam everything I needed in even when my bags seemed pretty tightly packed already.  Worst case I have managed to carry 3 or 4 liters of water in jersey pockets.  That was a little bit much but you use water pretty quickly so it was only a hassle for a short while.  Taking along a little 2-1/2 ounce Sea2Summit backpack (or even a 12 ounce REI Flash 18) is a good solution for those rare days you need to go without services for a whole day and have some overflow.  I actually find I like to wear it most of the time on some tours to hold the items I want to carry with me when off the bike as well as the items I will want at rest stops.  I typically never have more than 2 pounds in it unless it is one of those all day and overnight without resupply days.  It is nice to have along for day hikes and grocery runs.

At 215 lbs. riding a 60cm LHT, the additional weight of a front rack and two Sport Packers panniers is a very small percentage increase. It's even smaller when you factor in the weight of everything else.
This line of thinking can be a bad idea IMO, at least if you want to pack light.  It is better too look at each decision based on the relative weights for that item only.  If you use percentage of total load as the measure of whether an items is too heavy it can yield huge weight increases.  There are many little choices and they add up even when each one is only a few ounces or even less.  The a major portion of cutting my base weight from 45 pounds to 15 or less was cutting an ounce or a few ounces here and there.  If you make 50 decisions that add only an ounce or two each you have added 5 or more pounds.

My advice is to carry what you need to be happy, but at the same time be diligent in weeding out unneeded items and heavier than necessary ones.  I think this is a good policy for everyone whether heavy, medium, light, or ultralight packers.

32
General Discussion / Re: First cross country tour-Help a guy out
« on: December 16, 2015, 06:37:49 am »
1. Sure, but it depends on your packing style.  I am not a fan of trunk bags, but some like them.  My suggestion is to worry about what you will carry first, what you will put it in next, and what bike to hang it on last.  Once you have your gear assembled you can better choose bags and bike.
2. I stopped carrying a dedicated GPS for on road touring.  I just didn't find it necessary.  Now that my phone has a GPS, I use it once in a while to reality check where I am or to find some needed service.

33
Routes / Re: Transam: solo or group ride? Has anyone done both?
« on: December 09, 2015, 01:43:18 pm »
staehpj1, thanks - you've confirmed what I suspected, that people on the busier routes run into each other fairly often along the way. That's good to hear. Point noted about the Pacific coast route - I hope to ride that myself some day.
If you do the PCH, you should go N-S.  Summer or early Fall are preferred.  If you are doing moderate mileage you will likely fall in with an impromptu group who camp together every evening.  I really enjoyed that.  Folks joined us and folks got out of synch, but a nice friendly group mostly stayed at the same pace.  I never rode with anyone else in the group very much but socializing in camp was really nice.

Thanks, I'll do that. I've heard good things about the "Hike/Bike" campsites - sounds like fun.
I think you will enjoy that.  I know that I had a great time hanging out with folks in the hiker biker sites on the PCH.

34
from Seattle  take the Mukilteo Clinton Ferry to Whdbey Island, ride the island north then take the San Juan ferry and tour the islands.
If you have time,  take the ferry to Victoria BC, another ferry takes you to Port Angeles from where you can return to Seattle.

You could also take the Victoria Clipper from Seattle to Victoria,( you can take you bike on the boat)  tour Victoria then the San Juan Islands, then Whidbey and return to Seattle.
Different strokes, but I'd head east of the mountains where it is likely to be drier that time of year.

35
You could go without a phone by using Skype
FWIW, most android phones work fine as wifi only devices.  Just yank the sim card in an old smart phone and go.  I would probably do that if travelling to a country where my cellular carrier didn't have service.

36
Gear Talk / Re: Suspension Forks
« on: December 08, 2015, 07:35:17 am »
No specific suggestion other than to be sure to pick one with a lock out.  There will be a lot of the time where the suspension would be an energy waster if not locked out.

37
For those of you who have blogged while on tour, what did you use?
Smart phone, occasional library computer, occasional host's computer, and if you rent rooms at all then motel computers too.

38
Gear Talk / Re: Water Filtration
« on: December 06, 2015, 08:32:30 am »
I agree with Pete, especially if you are touring on paved roads. Filters are great for the back-country, but not all that useful on roads. I carried three gallons through the Mojave Desert this summer. A filter would have been of no value. In general (with some exceptions), where there are surface water and roads, there are people and towns.

So far, for road touring, I have found at one exception where I found carrying a filter to be a great plus.  That was on the Sierra Cascades route where it was pretty remote and there were lots of ice cold snow melt streams.  The weather was hot and the ice cold water was great!  Also on that route I was able to carry less water a lot of places.

On most of my other tours the filter would have been useless.  The ST had pretty much no surface water for a very large portion of the trip and where there was there were also towns frequently enough.

39
Gear Talk / Re: Front and Rear Racks Recommendation
« on: December 04, 2015, 12:35:14 pm »
I have the Nashbar $19.99 front low rider rack on my touring bike right now.  Works good.  Blackburn EX-1 rear rack on the touring bike.  Its $35 on Amazon.  Think its less today than what I paid for it 23 years ago.  Have used these racks for hundreds or thousands of miles of loaded touring.
I have been really happy with the EX-1 too.  Great rack, decent price.

40
Routes / Re: Transam: solo or group ride? Has anyone done both?
« on: December 04, 2015, 11:18:14 am »
staehpj1, thanks - you've confirmed what I suspected, that people on the busier routes run into each other fairly often along the way. That's good to hear. Point noted about the Pacific coast route - I hope to ride that myself some day.
If you do the PCH, you should go N-S.  Summer or early Fall are preferred.  If you are doing moderate mileage you will likely fall in with an impromptu group who camp together every evening.  I really enjoyed that.  Folks joined us and folks got out of synch, but a nice friendly group mostly stayed at the same pace.  I never rode with anyone else in the group very much but socializing in camp was really nice.

41
Gear Talk / Re: Front and Rear Racks Recommendation
« on: December 04, 2015, 07:29:05 am »
Nashbar only has three front racks on their site: Blackburn Outpost Front Rack is 99.99 and the two Nashbar front racks are 12.99 and 19.99.  I am assuming that the two Nashbar racks are not good enough quality for a cross country trip.
The Nashbar lowrider type front rack is fine.  My group of three all used them on the Trans America without problems.  I continued to use mine for subsequent tours without any concerns.  I think it is a good choice if you need front racks.

I even like the little platform rack that mounts on cantilever brake bosses, but not for heavy loads.  I mounted one on the back of the bike for an ultralight tour where I only carried about 11 pounds of gear (plus any food, fuel, and water as needed) split between a bar roll, that little rack, and a tiny back pack.  I had everything I needed for camping and cooking and it worked out very well.

42
Routes / Re: Transam: solo or group ride? Has anyone done both?
« on: December 02, 2015, 08:42:43 pm »
I have not done a supported tour so I can't comment on that.

I will comment on riding solo or with a a companion or two.

On the TA I was riding with my daughter and one of her college room mates.  We met other riders fairly often and made some good friends.  We never rode with them but did camp with them with some regularity.

Other routes you meet more or less people.  On the Pacific coast it is very easy to make friends to ride or camp with.  On the ST, the SC, and the other routes I toured I met very few other tourists.

43
General Discussion / Re: Cyclocross Bike for Southern Tier
« on: December 02, 2015, 11:04:19 am »
The CAAD8 has a short wheel base racing geometry.  This means responsive (twitchy) steering and an aggressive posture.  I can see where that might be unsettling to some riders.
I can see that, but I don't see how a bike that he rides OK around home suddenly feels unsafe on a supported tour.  I guess he might be planning to carry a bunch of gear even though the tour is supported.  Perhaps it is the extra weight.

I generally feel safer with a more responsive bike, but I guess not everyone feels that way.

I can see where that would be fine and then rider ages out of that being fine.  I can also see where that would be fine for club and event rides but not I am going to cover 75 miles a day for the next 12 weeks.
Aging out?  Maybe.  We don't know the OPs age, but I have seen no sign of aging out in myself at almost 65.  In 10 years, maybe?

My thought was always that on a long tour is when I am most likely to be fully acclimated to the bike and most appreciate the more efficient posture.  Again, YMMV.

I think the bigger question is why the LHT will not do for a tour.
Everyone is different, to me the LHT is more of a tank than I would want even for heavy touring.  I'd rule it out entirely for me.  On the other hand for someone who feels uncomfortable and unsafe on a road bike, I'd think the LHT might make sense.

44
General Discussion / Re: Cyclocross Bike for Southern Tier
« on: December 02, 2015, 09:29:43 am »
You do not have bike problems, you have other problems.
I agree with Russ on most of his post.  I would quibble over the notion that it definitely isn't "bike problems", it could be poor fit and setup, which arguably are bike problems.  I guess something like a bad headset or a tweaked frame could also be possible, but it seems like a long shot.

Russ mentions other problems...  That can often be poor core strength, poor position on the bike, or just not enough time on the bike.  I can't say that any of that is your issue, but they are common problems.

As far as position on the bike, I really prefer an aggressive posture on the bike even for loaded touring, but it can be a bit much for some folks especially as they are starting out.  If that is your issue, I'd suggest starting with the bars pretty high and lowering them in increments as you log more and more miles.  Do it gradually and don't go beyond your comfort threshold, but do consider that with more time on the bike that threshold may change.

45
General Discussion / Re: Cyclocross Bike for Southern Tier
« on: December 01, 2015, 04:24:19 pm »
As to the one question on my existing road bike. Its a Cannondale CAAD8 and I've had it for about 10 years. It's aluminum with carbon fork. I rode it recently on the North Carolina Mountain to Coast ride and did NOT feel safe or comfortable.

Does it not fit properly?  I always found my road bike to be my most comfy bike on long rides and try to set up my other bikes to mimic the road bike's cockpit.  I have a hard time thinking of why it would feel unsafe or how a cyclo cross bike would feel safer.  Sorry if I am beating a dead horse, but your statement puzzles me a little.

In any case I hope you take a bike that works out well for you and you have a great trip.

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