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Messages - staehpj1

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Gear Talk / Re: Straight up Noob bike/gear advice.
« on: September 05, 2014, 07:11:37 am »
Pick your gear first.  Then pick the bike and type of baggage that will best haul it.

Not sure how much you carried when backpacking, but you should be able to go lighter than 30-40 pounds.  Spares and tools can be pretty minimal (a pound or so including spare tubes).  Even in relatively remotes parts of the US you can typically stick out your thumb and catch a ride to the next town pretty easily.  I have done that a couple times and have ridden with others who did it a lot more and I think the longest wait for a ride was 20 minutes.

I'd suggest that you shoot for 20 pounds or less and for sure stay below 30 pounds or gear.  You can usually buy food daily so don't need to carry much.

If you are at all inclined toward going a bit minimal on the gear I suggest going really light 10-15 pound gear weight is fairly easy to achieve and I have not found any great loss of comfort or convenient.

I have done long and longish tours with loads ranging from 45 pounds down to 11 pounds or so (not counting food or water).  I found the lighter loads, lack of stuff to sort through and keep track of, and just simplicity of living with very limited items to deal with to be a joy.  I was able to maintain cooking and camping capability and comfort just as well with the lighter loads.

BTW, there are other choices besides a trailer or panniers.  Stuff sacks strapped on work well with lighter loads and there are also rackless "bikepacking" systems available if you are so inclined.

Gear Talk / Re: Does it make sense to replace just one tire with treadwear?
« on: September 01, 2014, 03:54:15 pm »
Have you ever had a front tire blowout while going downhill at speed?

Short answer...  yes.

Long answer...  In literally hundreds of thousands of miles of bicycling over a 55+ year period I have had sudden flats on the front and on the back some of them on fast descents.  Since the rear wheel carries more weight, far more flats were on the back than on the front, probably by a factor of 3 or 4 to 1.  None of them resulted in crashing, not that I haven't crashed quite a few times especially in my road racing and mountain bike racing days.  The crashes were never the result of a flat though, and the flats were generally not at all spectacular.

Besides, if I thought a tire was worn to where it was unacceptable risk on the front why would I run it on the rear wheel, especially since flats are far more common on the rear.  If I trust a tire, then I'll happily run it on either wheel.  If I don't trust it I won't run it at all.

Gear Talk / Re: Does it make sense to replace just one tire with treadwear?
« on: September 01, 2014, 06:15:10 am »
According to Sheldon the tire that is least likely to fail should be on the front. Sheldon's words on tire rotation are as follows: "The idea is to equalize the wear on the two tires, but this is a serious mistake, don't do it!"
I happily break that rule regularly.  I don't see it as all that likely to be a problem.  I never found handling in slippery conditions to be a problem with a more worn front tire and the rear tire is always more likely to fail even when the front is more worn due to the fact that it is carrying more weight.

I consider that rule to be mostly a case of over thinking things and looking for a problem that really doesn't exist.  It is one of very few issues where I disagree with Sheldon.

General Discussion / Re: Riding on the US Interstates
« on: August 26, 2014, 05:12:03 pm »
Many US states allow riding in the interstate.  None in the east but quite a few in the west.

Most folks have a strong preference for avoiding the interstates.  I kind of like riding on the interstate sometimes, but am not convinced that it is much if any safer due to having to cross merge areas at the intersections.

General Discussion / Re: Busiest ACA or other trail intersection?
« on: August 25, 2014, 02:00:05 pm »
Like any endeavor involving humans, there is the chance, maybe even a likelihood, that poor behaviors of the odd individual can ruin a good thing for the rest of us. I'll be curious about what Gillian has to say. I will try to contact her.
There was an article in Adventure Cycling.  My memory is foggy on the details but I think there may have been an open letter from her.  Here are a few things I recall about her, her hospitality, and her falling out with the cycling community.

1. She had a long history of offering hospitality to cyclists.  She was super nice to us when we stayed there and we greatly enjoyed our stay.
2. The time we stayed with her she had already hosted 80 cyclists that summer.
3. I recall that she had a wild fire sweep through and burn her house and outbuildings to the ground.  There was an outpouring of help from the cycling community with folks sending checks and I think there were folks that went and physically helped out.
4. Some time later (a few years maybe?) she reported that folks manners had gotten worse and worse and that guests were not cleaning up after themselves and expected too much in the way of hospitality.  She complained that they didn't offer to help by doing some work around the place.  I confess that I didn't either.  We did clean up after ourselves, thanked her, and tried to have generally good manners.  After the fire the three of us kicked in and sent her a check.  We think of her as a friend.

I had mixed feelings about the news of her stopping hosting cyclists, which she obviously had every right to do.  On one hand I was saddened that folks were rude and left her place a mess.  On the other I thought it odd that she expected folks to do things like work on the roof or what not.  I know that about the time we rolled into Ordway we were dog tired and the next in a hurry to make time.  The guests that have stayed with me have all been the same in that regard.  In general expecting much more than guests being thankful, polite, and cleaning up after themselves can only lead to disappointment.

General Discussion / Re: Busiest ACA or other trail intersection?
« on: August 25, 2014, 06:18:19 am »
You might consider how needed the service is in the location.  That might be more important that volume of bike traffic.

I'd say that somewhere on the Trans America would have enough tourist traffic and need.  I know that back when we did the TA somewhere like the home Gillian in Ordway had plenty of folks stop and it was an oasis to them.  I believe Gillian has since had a kind of falling out with the cycling community though and no longer hosts cyclists.  If it was me, and given your criteria, I'd pick a small town on the TA similar to Ordway.

You probably have quite a bit more bicycle traffic volume on the Pacific coast route than anywhere else I have toured.  The need might be less for most of it though because there are lots of great state parks with cheap hiker biker sites.  You might be able to attract a lot of folks there if you pick the right location though.

General Discussion / Re: Sour clothing - after washing!
« on: August 22, 2014, 03:59:20 pm »
I'm beginning to think that the recommendation for washing out at the end of the day and air drying is probably the best solution.  No more plastic bags loaded with unwashed clothes for me.

Yeah, when possible that is the way to go.  If you have to bag wet clothes try not to leave them wet too long.

Not for everyone, but I find that I am OK with very little in the way of clothing.  That way there is very little need to stow damp stuff.  I take one set of on bike clothes and one each of any other clothing article.  My off bike shorts (1 pr) are running shorts with a built in brief, so no underwear needed.  I carry tights (1 pr) for cool weather.  One tech tee is sometimes my only warm weather shirt.  For cooler weather I use a windbreaker over a pile shirt or a puffy shirt.  If it might be really cold I may take both, but not usually.

I find that I don't mind putting things on while they are still damp when needed and also find that going a few days without washing clothing isn't that bad.  Turning things inside out and hanging them out for an hour of sun does wonders for killing whatever grows there.

Routes / Re: before I'm 70
« on: August 20, 2014, 06:19:44 am »
Not too sure what to say about that route, since I don't know what your criteria was, but it looks like you are hitting a lot of urban areas that I would avoid.

In any case I doubt that the AC maps will cover much of that route.  The AC maps are narrow strip maps of particular routes.  I'd be more inclined to just pick from the AC routes rather than follow your route unless you have a special reason to prefer that route.

General Discussion / Re: Sour clothing - after washing!
« on: August 18, 2014, 03:03:00 pm »
Hot water wash and liquid Tide (I like Tide Sport)

I'm thinking about biking from Oklahoma City to San Fransisco next year, but I really don't know where to start as finding good routes or general travel issues I may not be aware of, as well as picking gear. I have a fairly cheap Raleigh right now that I ride everywhere (I don't own a car), but I don't know much about bikes and know nothing of long distance biking. Obviously I'll need a much better bike. I know I need to be getting into shape and familiarizing myself with far distances before doing this, which I will be doing this entire next year. I also know it will take about a month for me to get there at 50 miles a day, and I'm thinking about taking camping gear with me and just staying at campsites along the way. I don't know much else besides this though, and I'm figuring there's a lot I'm not considering... so any tips on this would be greatly appreciated. :)
A better bike isn't a slam dunk.  Pretty much any bike in good working order would be capable of the trip.

It is really easy to take too much stuff so I'd advise taking pretty minimal gear or at least carefully thinking out what you need trimming where you can.  Figure out your camping gear and clothing first, then decide what baggage is needed to carry it, then decide if the bike is up to the task or you need something else.  You will find that you actually need very little.  I personally find that it is really easy for excess gear to detract from the trip both from a weight perspective and a simplicity of life on the road perspective.

There is a lot of good info on the crazy guy site.  I have a couple articles there that might be helpful.

Routes / Re: Kentucky and Virginia trans am shortcuts
« on: August 16, 2014, 06:53:41 am »
Are you sure you counted right Pete?

 I figured the OP had moved on by a day or so by the time I read and posted.  I was counting from Burgin (perhaps incorrectly).  Also we did quite a bit of visiting with family and friends on that section and could have pushed harder, although some of the section was the hardest riding of the tour IMO.

Also I forgot that we were riding without baggage a few of those days, so that made a few days easier.

I still think it would be pretty doable.  I do hate a deadline or rigid schedule though.

Routes / Re: Kentucky and Virginia trans am shortcuts
« on: August 15, 2014, 08:25:12 am »
Not sure where I would trim, but you probably have enough time to make it without short cuts.  We weren't against a deadline and did that section in 12 days, so it should be doable with a little time to spare.

Our 12 day time was to the Yorktown, not to the ocean, but if you skip Williamsburg and Yorktown I think you can make easily.   From my notes of a ride that went to the ocean from the TA:

"We started with a ferry ride on the free Jamestown Scotland Ferry, and rode the nice rural Virginia roads until we got to Portsmouth. Some of the ride through Portsmouth as kind of seedy, but OK.

We rode the Elizabeth River Ferry across to Norfolk and proceeded through downtown Norfolk toward Virginia Beach. It was getting dark by then. Traffic was heavy and the roads pretty bad. We wished we had more/brighter lights as the cars whizzed by fast and close. We were a bit "white knuckled" until we got back to Lauren's house where we had a great dinner.

In the morning we rode to Sandbridge."

You would likely pick a different end point than Sandbridge.

General Discussion / Re: Cardboard Box for Bike as Checked Baggage
« on: August 05, 2014, 09:32:35 am »
I agree with briwasson.

I have to say that I am baffled by the problems a few folks reported about removing and reinstalling a RD.  I have removed mine for packing a number of times and it never took more than a few minutes to reinstall.  I never even had to touch the adjustment.  Shift the shifter to the loosest position and there is usually enough slack, but if there isn't as you mentioned just pop the end of the cable housing out of the braze-on on the chain stay.  That will allow all of the slack you need.  Then pop it back in once the derailleur in on.

I do think that it is smart to have done the operation before and be familiar with it before relying on doing it on tour.

Oh, and if adjusting a rear deraileur takes more than a couple minutes you should probably bone up on that as well.  The limit screws should not need to be touched once the bike has been set up properly for the first time.  So the only adjustment needed is cable length.  On most of my bikes that is most easily set by shifting the shifter to where the cable is loosest and with the chain on the correct cog adjust the cable so there is just a tiny bit of slack.  Worst case it might still need a 1/4 or 1/2 turn on the cable adjuster if it isn't already perfect.  If you have adjusters on the head tube you can even tweak that while riding.

General Discussion / Re: Difference on maps?
« on: August 03, 2014, 06:13:09 am »
We are just finishing the Lewis & Clark. The map panels have a elevation profile along with mileage chart. Also on the map it would show mileage between point byway of black dots. These features are not on the Subject maps.
Maybe a bit off topic, but the ODOT bicycle map of the coast is free and IMO easier to use while riding than the AC maps.   The mileage and countour are laid out in a very intuitive way that works great for this route. The AC maps have additional info that I liked having as reference material, but for on the bike I found the ODOT map much nicer.  So for the Oregon section I highly recommend picking one up.  Bike shops there generally have them.  If you re still in Astoria or about to go there I know that the bike shop there usually has them.

Gear Talk / Re: Best foot wear for touring?
« on: August 01, 2014, 04:53:04 pm »
YMMV, but with a decent set of hybrid pedals, you get used to clipping in very quickly. People often imagine they are hard if they haven't used them before (or perhaps if they use cheap pedals), but I have been using different hybrids for years and they work very, very well for me. I would never substitute for one or the other again, from my very positive experience.

Yes I admit that it is a very minor annoyance and I would consider hybrid pedals myself if I didn't find being clipped in more secure regardless of the surface conditions.  That may be at least in part because I spent quite a few years riding and racing on technical single track with clipless pedals.  I know that many riders do not share my preference.  So I am not knocking hybrid pedals like the ones that you recommended, they are certainly a plus for a lot of riders.  Anyone who wants the option of riding clipped out is likely to find them to be a good choice.

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