Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Messages - staehpj1

Pages: 1 2 3 [4] 5 6 ... 136
Routes / Re: Southern Tier Section 4 Map 56 and 57 and Beyond
« on: January 14, 2015, 07:11:49 am »
No you are not allowed to bicycle on the Freeway.
I don't think that is true for Texas.  I know that I have ridden quite a bit on I-10 and the cops riding by paid me no mind.  I have had lots of cops pass me by so if it is illegal (which I doubt) it isn't well enforced.  I found I-10 to be a good way to go for some of my crossing of Texas.  That said I do think I'd consider using US 90 more of the way if doing a ST again.

In Louisiana and eastward, interstates are off limits, but in Louisiana enforcement is spotty on that.  One cop there told us we'd be OK but advised that we get on and off at ramps to avoid bridges that usually didn't have a shoulder.  He had stopped us when we entered the state by bike.  He said it was illegal, but gave the advice above when we asked about a better route.  We didn't take his advice since there was a nice secondary road that paralleled the highway and we used that.

West of Texas on the ST I think we rode on the interstate some in all states we crossed except California and I think it was legal in all cases.  For sure cops went by and didn't bother us.

There may be specific sections of interstate there that are posted as off limits.

General Discussion / Re: Southern Tier Tour(self sustained) this fall
« on: January 13, 2015, 04:26:02 pm »
Completed my fifth STcrossing yesterday January 12, 2015,  2803 miles in 42 days of cycling and 63 days total.

I hope it was a great trip.

I'm planning on using the C&O and GAP as the first leg in my cross-country tour at the end of April. Can you expand on it a bit as to why it is so far down your list? Are there better alternatives for getting to Ohio?

I am generally just not inclined to use that type of route.  If you want to be away from traffic and on a relatively flat route it accomplishes that quite well.  It also has the advantage of not having to worry about where you will camp since there are hiker biker sites every several miles.  So it may work well for you and I am not knocking it.

It is just that I personally would rather be on regular surface roads and pass through small towns.  Also if going across the middle of the country again I'd be more inclined to take the Trans America again or take an improvised route that followed a similar path.  So I probably wouldn't be looking to get to Ohio either.

None of that should be taken as saying that you shouldn't use the C&O or head for Ohio.  It just isn't really my cup of tea. I'd rather ride a bit of the Blue Ridge Parkway and see SW Virginia, Kentucky and Missouri.  That would be harder though, and when we did it we went W-E so we'd be road hardened and in shape for the Appalachians (which on the TA were harder than anything we saw in The Cascades or Rockies on that route).

I will suggest that the C&O might be likely to be a muddy mess in April though.  I could imagine it being pretty unpleasant especially if on a touring bike or a road bike and I personally wouldn't want to ride a mountain bike for the rest of the trip.

Wow! $20 for the hiker biker sites seems expensive given what they are, mostly a small patch of grass with a nearby pump that is likely to have really bad tasting water.

The towpath is pretty far down on my list anyway despite living pretty close to it, but that fee would be enough to take it off my list entirely.

If this goes forward, I wonder if they will waive the fee for holders of NPS senior passes or other passes?

Routes / Re: Cycling through Zion National Park
« on: January 11, 2015, 10:34:37 am »
We're wondering if Kanab to Saint George is a doable distance in one day? I've been using mapmyride and google maps to look up distance/elevation but since you can't bike through the tunnel it gets messed up for this part of our trip.

Only you can say if the distance is suitable for you to do in a day.

On the tunnel issue, I will say that I have never found hitching a ride to be too difficult where it is necessary, especially in national parks.  It might be a little more difficult for two, but I can't imagine it would be a huge delay.  I have had to hitch a ride during a bike tour a couple times and been with others who needed to quite a few more times and the wait has never been long.  In the desert it seems folks are especially likely to stop.  In places where there are very few cars more of them will stop.

On backpacking trips in national parks I have usually had the first, second, or third car give me a lift.  It is a bit harder with a bike, but still I doubt it will be a big deal.  If in doubt get a very early start that day.

It looks like there is a visitor center near the tunnel, asking around there will probably score you a ride in quick order.

None of this is based on any personal experience with that particular route though so take it for what it is worth with that in mind.

General Discussion / Re: Useless advice/help
« on: January 10, 2015, 12:18:03 pm »
One thing I will say is that there are two groups of people that I have found very likely to give accurate road info.  Big rig truckers and a lesser extent farmers.

I have found that a car driver will likely say something like, "it is exactly 20 miles and pretty flat the whole way" where a trucker might say, "This is just a guess but I think it is about 31.2 miles.  The road descends a little for a couple miles and there is a big climb a couple miles before the end.  The rest is pretty flat and there is a kind of rough shoulder the whole way".

When I actually ride the route I usually find the car driver wrong and the trucker spot on.

General Discussion / Re: Trans Am bike: GT Peace Tour or Fuji Touring?
« on: January 09, 2015, 10:55:26 am »
"Windsor" is a house brand of Bikes Direct, a company that sells bikes mail-order.  Their prices can be very attractive and the bikes are generally well equipped for the money BUT the term "some assembly required" definitely applies.   You will hear a wide variety of experiences from customers varying from:

"Assembly was very easy, everything worked well right from the start and I'm very pleased".


"Assembly was a nightmare, nothing came adjusted properly, parts were missing and the wheels required complete retensioning and truing". 

The upshot of this is that if you buy from Bikes Direct you should either be a reasonably competent bike mechanic or plan to use some of your cost savings to have an LBS properly assemble and adjust the bike before you ride it.   

That is a fair summary.   I will add that I have assembled 7 bikes from Bikes Direct for myself or family and friends.  They were in exactly the same state as just about any bike is when received by the local bike shop.  Those who are competent mechanics should have no troubles.  If in doubt, pay a bike shop to do the setup and factor that in to the decision of which bike to buy.

You might also consider the Novara Randonee.  It's above the $1000 price right now, but REI will have a 20% off sale in March that'll get it down below that target.  Since I own a Randonee and a Fuji Touring, and I've ridden an LHT, I can tell you the Randonee is between the Fuji and the LHT.  The Randonee is a fair bit stiffer, and therefore more suited for a heavy load, than the Fuji.  The Randonee is also much closer to the ride of the Fuji than the "truckness" of the LHT.

(At least for the 2006 Fuji and 2009 Randonee models.  Some of the peripherals have changed since then, but the frame is pretty consistent from year to year on all touring bikes.)

I have had good luck with my MTB from REI and like it very well.  I think REI generally makes good component choices for the given price point.   I know folks who love their Randonees.  For more dirt road type touring there is the Safari.  I have a friend who rode his from Alaska to the tip of South America and he speaks highly of it.

General Discussion / Re: Trans Am bike: GT Peace Tour or Fuji Touring?
« on: January 09, 2015, 07:52:35 am »
Three of us each rode Windsor Touring bikes ($599 delivered) on the Trans America and a few other longish tours.  It is as far as I can tell a rebadged Fuji Touring.  We were all pretty happy with them.  So I feel like I can readily recommend the Fuji (or the Windsor Touring).

i have since gone to a more minimal packing style (8-14 pounds gear weight with camping and cooking capability) using ultralight backpacking practices and as a result ride a lighter sportier road bike.  That said if I wanted to pack 30-45 pounds of gear again I'd probably take the Windsor again.

I can't really compare the Fuji or Windsor to the Aurora or Peace Tour as I have not ridden them, but I have ridden an LHT and found that the word "Truck" in the name was way too appropriate to suit me.  Even if price were not an issue I wouldn't choose an LHT myself  Not knocking it for folks who like it, but it definitely didn't appeal to me.

General Discussion / Re: Useless advice/help
« on: January 08, 2015, 02:49:41 pm »
Like the time I came out of a cafe in Ellensburg WA and a passing stranger informed me my back tire was flat. Now I think there's a fair chance I would have noticed that on my own. I know the guy meant well but nevertheless I found it irritating and felt obliged to thank him for pointing out the obvious. Anybody else had a similar experience?

Yes I have and I considered it a nice thing for them to do.  I'd rather know sooner, rather than later, so I was genuinely grateful when I thanked them.  I remember a time when I was sitting killing time waiting at a coffee shop for a friend to break camp across the street and join me to start the ride for the day.  After waiting for 15 minutes for him, I discovered that I had a flat.  It would have been nice if someone had told me and I could have fixed it while I was waiting.

Gear Talk / Re: What lube to use for touring.
« on: January 07, 2015, 06:24:45 pm »
I'll try more frequent oiling and see if that makes a difference. I can live with oiling more but the cleaning razmtaz is insufferable.

It might be worth a try...  I get pretty good results with fairly frequent lubing and pretty much no cleaning.

I don't follow the directions on leaving the lube on for a few hours or overnight.  I apply fairly liberally spin the pedals for a minute, and wipe it off.

The only time I clean the chain more than that is in the rare case that I get it loaded up with sand and then I do as little as I can and still get the sand off.  Usually a low pressure water rinse or sometimes a WD40 rinse.  I try to let it dry before relubing.  Either way it is a rare event.

Routes / Re: Canada to Mexico through California
« on: January 07, 2015, 03:29:57 pm »
Thanks for the advice, it's not something that I have to contend with before, and I'm not sure that I know what to do about it now.

Is there anyway of telling which towns will/won't have water and supplies, or days of the week or holidays when everything will be shut?

If you were planning this, how would you handle the water situation?

The Adventure Cycling maps will usually give you most of the info you need and warn you about stuff like that.  You have to actually read it though.  Also asking local folks and cyclists going the other way about what is coming up is helpful, especially for when something you need has closed since the maps were updated.  On the SC we didn't see many other cyclists though.

I have sometimes called ahead and asked questions when in doubt.  If the town has a library, librarians are always helpful.  I have called small town stores or post offices as well.  The phone numbers for all services are typically on the AC maps if you are using them.

Oh, and if using the AC maps be sure to check the adenda online and probably print it out.

Gear Talk / Re: What lube to use for touring.
« on: January 07, 2015, 01:19:40 pm »
That surprises me.  It sounds like you change chains every 1500 miles or so and that cassettes only last you maybe 4,000 or 5,000 miles.  Is that correct or am I reading that wrong?  Is that with a steel cog cassette?  Aluminum? Something else?

Chains typically last me 10,000 miles or so (with very minimal care) and truth be told I have only rarely ever worn out a cassette, but some of them have certainly lasted me 20,000 miles or more, some of them probably a lot more.
No you're not reading it wrong. Good for you with the chain life thing. Can't be bothered myself. I use vanilla SRAM or Shimano cassettes whatever the LBS has in stock. Different strokes, different folks
Thanks for the clarification.  Whatever works I guess.

FWIW, the care my chains get is mostly sloshing on some lube and wiping it off with a napkin.  They very rarely get any cleaning beyond that.

Gear Talk / Re: What lube to use for touring.
« on: January 07, 2015, 12:46:19 pm »
Is there a special lube that stays clean that I'm not aware of?  Wax lubes stay clean but a person would have to reply it every day, is that what touring people do?  My experience with drip on wax lubes is that my chains get about 2/3rds LESS mileage on them before they are worn out, so replacing a chain once or twice going across country would be ridiculas too.

That has not been my experience.  I have not seen issues with shortened chain life and wax based lubes.  I generally get 10,000 miles or so with something like Boesheild T9 applied every few days and with pretty much no cleaning.

when I did the NT I replaced my chain twice. I look on chains as disposable and not worth the effort and mess of trying to make them last by cleaning etc. It's a 5 minute job replacing a chain like a SRAM that has a Quicklink if you know the trick for opening gummed up Quicklinks. And they aren't that expensive. I carry a Park CC-1 chain checker and replace them sooner rather than later to preserve the teeth on the cassette (generally I get 3 chains to a cassette another consumable)

That surprises me.  It sounds like you change chains every 1500 miles or so and that cassettes only last you maybe 4,000 or 5,000 miles.  Is that correct or am I reading that wrong?  Is that with a steel cog cassette?  Aluminum? Something else?

Chains typically last me 10,000 miles or so (with very minimal care) and truth be told I have only rarely ever worn out a cassette, but some of them have certainly lasted me 20,000 miles or more, some of them probably a lot more.

Routes / Re: Canada to Mexico through California
« on: January 07, 2015, 07:24:04 am »
That is a seriously difficult route.  Since you seem to understand the difficulties and are seriously preparing for them, it sounds like you are on the right track.  I would still suggest that it would be wise to build some flexibility into the plan in the form of extra time or alternate routing.

One thing that I suggest is to be careful about water availability.  There are some towns in the Sierras with no water, so plan for that and don't assume a town necessarily means there will be water.  This can be a real danger especially in 110F heat.

Not much you can do to prepare for it, but I seem to often wind up in forest fire smoke for days on end when I bike or backpack in the Sierras.  You might want to keep an eye on the smoke conditions and alter your route if that seems to make sense.

Routes / Re: Canada to Mexico through California
« on: January 03, 2015, 07:21:12 am »
The route makes sense on paper, but would really like some local advice about the best route between these towns, places to see, avoid and the does and don’ts – we don’t have Bears, Wolves, Rattlesnakes and Scorpions in England. 
I have ridden the SC between San Diego and Reno and also ridden down the PCH.  I will say that you have chosen a very tough route and are proposing a very ambitious pace.  I won't comment on whether you are biting off more than you can chew because I don't know you, but I will say that your route and pace would be too ambitious for 99% of the bike tourists I have met including myself.  It would be too much mileage for most folks on the coast and a lot of your route is MUCH more difficult.

Strong winds and steep climbs are likely to be combined with extreme heat some of the way any time after all the passes are cleared of snow.  We had 110F heat for some of that route and we were early enough in the season that a lot of facilities at Yosemite were not yet open after winter damage. 

As far as the "Bears, Wolves, Rattlesnakes and Scorpions", beyond using good sense with regard to food storage in bear country, I wouldn't worry much about critters.

My suggestion would be to try to allow a good bit of flexibility in your time table in case you find that the pace is a bit much.  100 mile days, some of them with over 5000' of climbing are tough in any case, but throw in a howling wind and/or some 100F+ heat and you may not find your proposed pace realistic.  Barring that you might leave open the option to stay on the coast more of the trip if necessary.

Another thing...  I am not one to usually take days off from riding when on tour, but Yosemite is well worth taking several days or a week to see and do some hiking.

Pages: 1 2 3 [4] 5 6 ... 136