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Messages - staehpj1

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Routes / Re: Ideas for a Musical Route
« on: June 25, 2015, 05:43:59 pm »
What is route that does not get too secluded?
How long of a route are you looking for?

All the typical coast to coast routes have a lot of fairly remote country.  Still even on those you meet some really nice folks in the tiny towns they pass through and you could choose to go into bigger towns and cities more often if you want.  Both the Atlantic and Pacific coast routes will be more populated, but will still have more remote feeling sections than you might think.

The Crooked Road in rural Virginia has a music theme.  It would involve some difficult climbing though.  It is 333 miles long.  The Blues Highway runs from Chicago to New Orleans.  I have heard varying opinions on how suitable either might be for a bike tour, but at a glance both looked interesting to me.  You would need to do some research to see that they were suitable routes.

Either of those have a music theme that would likely make it easier to meet other musicians, neither is established as a bike touring route as far as I know.

Gear Talk / Re: Touring Bike Selection
« on: June 21, 2015, 06:53:22 am »
REI doesn't do much to fit a bike
That depends on the location.  In some REI locations the bike department is as good or better than the dedicated local bike shops.  At least that has been my impression.

Routes / Re: East 1/2 Transam - Late Summer - Hints?
« on: June 20, 2015, 07:59:41 am »
That sounds like a long time for Pueblo to Yorktown.  Over the whole TA I think we averaged 58 miles per day and took 30 days for that portion of the ride.  That was in part because we were able to average a good bit more per day on the Eastern half of the route.  We found that we knocked out a lot more miles per day in the plains.

Fall colors vary a lot from year to year but we have done trips the first week of October and found the colors to be at their peak at higher elevations in Virginia.  Not sure if that is typical most years or not, but I think it is very likely you will see some fall colors at least on the Blue Ridge Parkway portion.

On the city pools...  As John said, you will probably be through Kansas while they are open, but if not maybe the restrooms will still be open, not sure.  If they are, a sink bath isn't that bad :)

Gear Talk / Re: Gearing for Touring Bike
« on: June 20, 2015, 07:34:04 am »
There are lots of factors to consider and no one size fits all solutions.  How heavy you pack, what kind or terrain, what kind or RPM you prefer to spin, and at what point you would rather walk all should be factored in.  The gearing you have would be adequate for me on a pretty wide range of touring conditions and packing styles, but YMMV.

General Discussion / Re: New BOB trailer owner observations
« on: June 16, 2015, 09:39:43 pm »
Have a great trip.   Very cool taking your grandson.

General Discussion / Re: New BOB trailer owner observations
« on: June 16, 2015, 07:24:47 pm »
probably less than 40lbs.

Have you weighed it all?.  Less than 40 pounds seems pretty unlikely.  I can see what looks like 27 pounds of trailer, rack, bags, and chair and the panniers and dry bags look chock full. 

BoB 13.5 pounds
BoB Dry Sak 3.2 pounds
Panniers maybe 4 pounds?
Trunk bag maybe 2 pounds?
Chair maybe 2 pounds?
Rack maybe 1.5 pounds?
dry bag on top maybe 0.5 pounds?
bungees ?

General Discussion / Re: Has anyone biked the east coast?
« on: June 13, 2015, 07:17:20 am »
It is likely to be hot, but how hot will be the luck of the draw.  You probably are not looking at much 100 F weather though.  You will likely have a lot of riding in the 80s F.  All in all it probably won't be that bad.  If the weather is really hot, start early in the day and finish early.  Then ride a bit in the evening if you want to put in more miles.

Also as Pat said take the Outer Banks option if the weather is hot.

That is based on my experience living and riding in the East.  I have not ridden the East Coast route, since I much prefer to tour more in the West.

Have a great trip.

General Discussion / Re: Loaded Tour Bike Handling
« on: June 09, 2015, 07:02:25 am »
Why bar end? A few reasons I like and a bunch of others I find suspect.

1. No cables that limit your bar bag.
2. Allows tweaking the dérailleur position.
3. Allow you to dump the whole cassette in one motion. Ride the Appalachians and you'll know why this is good.

Once you get used to them, you'll realize that you don't need to move your hands much more than you do with STI--in some cases less.

There are a lot of factors at play so folks preferred choices are likely to be different and indeed mine are just about opposite yours in this case. 
1. I never had problems using a bar bag with brifters.  I just swept the cables into a position that kept them safe and out of the way.
2. The little half clicks on the front always worked well enough for me with brifters and the indexing generally is flawless on the back.
3. I find that brifters do big shifts plenty quickly.

I never found the location of bar ends convenient to me they always seemed awkward.  I wanted to like them, but they just didn't work out for me.  I find that with brifters in all the hand positions that I use much I either don't need to move my hands at all or have to move them an inch or maybe two.  Also I tended to bump bar ends with my knees and they tended to get bumped out of gear when parked.

I actually much prefer down tube shifters on bikes that don't have brifters and would even consider them if building up a new bike if it had a frame that supported down tube shifters.  Since I ride with fairly deep drops, low bars, and a smallish frame they are actually about the same height as bar ends would be on my bikes.  BTW the indexing works so well on my downtube shifters that I have never wanted or needed to use friction mode at all on the RD.

Bottom line, despite using nice Dura Ace shifters, I disliked bar ends enough that I took them off of my bike and never put them back.

Not suggesting that everyone will have the same experiences that I did with them, just suggesting that bar ends are not for everyone.

Gear Talk / Re: Front Rack Decisions
« on: June 07, 2015, 08:11:37 am »
After having cheap racks I will never own a cheap rack again. Welds popped and tubes cracked with next to no weight on them, note books for class...

I have the opposite experience.  After crossing the US a couple times as well as doing quite a few other longish tours with inexpensive racks and zero rack issues I will stick with moderately priced racks.  Really flimsy ones are a no go if carrying a lot, but a lot of folks lose sight of the fact that sometimes good enough is good enough.  I think that rear racks like the Axiom Streamliners or the Blackburn EX-1 are kind of in the sweet spot wrt reliability, capacity, and cost.  For front racks something like the Nashbar or Performance lowrider clones are dirt cheap and reliable.  So I personally will avoid the expense of really high dollar stuff like Tubus or even Surly.

In my experience racks are not an item with a high failure rate and in a pinch most failures could be patched up with sticks and bailing wire to get you to the next bike shop.

My experience has been in a range of touring from fairly heavy (45-50 pounds of gear) to ultralight using minimal U/L backpacking stuff (9-14 pounds of gear) so it may or may not apply to those who pack super heavy.

General Discussion / Re: Loaded Tour Bike Handling
« on: June 05, 2015, 05:57:45 pm »
I have found some of the bikes I have toured on took quite a bit of adjusting to riding with a load especially for standing climbing.  After a while the handling seemed fine and I couldn't figure how it ever could have been a problem.  The biggest adjustment was to the fully loaded bike I rode on my first tour (TransAmerica).

After riding coast to coast the bike felt really weird empty, but that adjustment only took a few minutes.

I also had issues with the criterium racer that I rode on the ST with a very light load.  At first I wondered if I had made a big mistake taking it.  A few days in I was loving it.

General Discussion / Re: Lengthy bike tour next year with dog
« on: June 04, 2015, 06:42:08 am »
I have a question about maps. I was looking at which ACA maps I would need for the entire trip, and the price tag came to $300 with membership prices. Is it just me, or does that seem awfully expensive (roughly $30 per month in maps)? Are there places (like on the Pacific Coast or out in the Arizona desert) where the route is fairly simply and I can make my own way? Is there much of a market to buy last years maps to cut my costs?

My suggestion is to start your trip using the free Oregon Coast Bike Route.  It is a very nice map, and in some ways actually nicer than the ACA ones.  It has less info on services available than the ACA maps, but that is less important on the coast than some places.

You can probably get by pretty well on the California coast with just a state map or maybe your smart phone for in town navigating.  Then I suggest buying some of the Southern Tier Maps and seeing what you think of them before buying all the maps for the trip.

I have usually found that the ACA maps have saved me more money than they have cost by listing a lot of services that I might not have known about otherwise, like free places to stay.  I suspect that is most true on well established ACA routes like the TA, NT, and ST.  I actually have found them to be a good value when they go places that I want to go.

If all you are after in the route itself, you can download the GPS data for the routes from AC, for free but the maps usefulness is really all the other info on them.  I really think that doing a few weeks using them on the ST portion of the trip will give you the best feel for whether the maps are for you.

BTW you mention the Arizona desert as a possible place to skip the maps.  I think you may find that the desert is the sort of place where knowing where all the services are is most important.  Info like which if any of the three tiny dots in the next 80 miles on the the state map have food or water available is one of the things the AC maps are most useful for.

I've looked online and the NPS website says average camping cost is around $25, do you know if we'd get a better rate being cyclists?
They'll charge you about $7 per person to stay in the hiker/biker site, which may be better or worse depending on how many of you there are.
When we were there with three in our group we got a regular site because it came out cheaper and was a nicer site.  That was 2007, though.

Routes / Re: Is the Lost Coast Alternate worth it ?
« on: June 01, 2015, 08:15:10 am »
I'd suggest deciding when you are there.  I found that there were more than enough good views and hills on the regular route and I saw no need to do the lost coast option, but you may feel differently.  No need to decide until you are there though.

I have very often not found "scenic" options on the AC maps to just be harder without actually being much more scenic.  They seem to equate lots of climbing on a poor road surface and scenic as the same thing.  For example I found the seven devils option to actually be less scenic.

I guess it also depends on how important getting away from traffic is to you.  For me that is a low priority.  If I really want to get off the beaten path I go backpacking.

Routes / Re: Southern tier in the summer time
« on: May 29, 2015, 07:40:35 am »
Whatever you choose to do, have a great trip.

BTW, just to temper my negative comments about the ST, I will add that I know a guy who has done the NT, TA, and ST and thought the ST was best.  He did say that he thought February was the time to do it though.

Routes / Re: Southern tier in the summer time
« on: May 29, 2015, 06:42:34 am »
I could tolerate it too, but would find it unpleasant.  The ST just doesn't have that much going for it that I would be willing to put up with the heat.  The scenery is pretty blah most of the time with a pretty view only pretty rarely.

It does have a few things going for it, besides being good for a winter tour.  It is the shortest and flattest coast to coast ride if that is a plus for you.  There is a nice variety of foods along the way (Mexican, Cajun, Barbecue, Seafood) and a lot of interesting people.

That said, I would rate the TA as a much better ride scenery wise and suspect the NT or some route strung together using other ACA routes would be as well.  There is nothing on the ST that compares to the beauty of the better sections of the TA at least to my eye.  I mostly remember the scenery west of Del Rio as day after day of drab brown land with no water and not much to distinguish one view from the next.  There were fairly nice views from the very limited number of passes, but they were a tiny portion of the ride and mostly not all that spectacular.

So, bottom line, I'd highly recommend considering doing the TA or the NT, maybe using some other options like the L&C if you want.  On the other hand, if you love 100 F heat and drab brown land you may love the ST in Summer.  Apparently some folks do.

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