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Messages - staehpj1

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Gear Talk / Re: Trunk bag for Tubus Evo Cargo Rack
« on: July 07, 2015, 02:29:11 pm »
I never liked trunk bags much either.  I owned one and it sat pretty much unused for years after briefly trying it.  I think I might have actually given it away when I moved recently.  If just taking a a little extra clothing and stuff I am way more likely to throw on one small pannier.  A nashbar or performance waterproof front pannier is what I am most likely to grab and it typically goes on the back rack.  Alternately I might grab a small lightweight backpack like the REI Flash 18 or maybe the little Sea 2 Summit ultrasil daypack and ride one of the bikes without a rack.

General Discussion / Re: TransAmerica bike tour- travel East or West?
« on: July 05, 2015, 09:07:34 pm »
IMHO West to East will be easier if you are low on conditioning. East to West has more steeper climbs early on.
I found that to be true.  In fact I found the Appalachians to be the hardest part and the climbs out of the river valleys in the Ozarks were a challenge as well.

But I believe you will hook up and share the experience with more riders going east-west. This is from reading several journals and my experience as well.
I didn't notice that, but I have only done it W-E.  Not sure why that would be the case.  I am curious, care to elaborate?

General Discussion / Re: TransAmerica bike tour- travel East or West?
« on: July 05, 2015, 08:26:19 am »
I am planning a TransAmerica Self-supported bike tour with my wife in 2016. Which direction is optimal and why? We will do the middle of the country Adventure Cycling Route- I believe Astoria and Virginia Beach?!

There are quite a few possible factors to consider, but to me the most important are weather and which end is closest to home.

Wrt weather and direction of travel, basically if you go early in the season start in the east and avoid the heat and humidity there and the snow in the Rockies.  If you go later in the season starting in the west works well.

If you live near one end or the other, my preference is to fly to the far coast to start.  It is easy to know when you will start a tour, but knowing when you will finish is another matter.  That makes it easier to plan air travel for the start.  Also it is nice to have friends and family to meet at the end.

People often mention wind as a factor and suggest riding W-E because of the supposed prevailing westerlies.  That would make sense if you were traveling at 30,000' of altitude.  I wouldn't choose direction of travel for the TA based on the winds, but if I did I'd go east to west.  In the middle of the country the Trans America angles southeast and the surface winds in the Great Plains tend to be out of the SE in summer.

Routes / Re: Pacific Coast Highway on a road bike?
« on: July 02, 2015, 06:41:45 pm »
a stove isn't at all necessary if you're trying to pack light. Personally, the last thing I want to do at camp is spend an hour warming a can of beans, then have to clean up etc, although I've seen plenty of tourers that do it.

I'd agree that you can get by without cooking, and if that is what you prefer that is great, but...
I think you overstate the negatives.  My cooking gear weighs 7.1 ounces in its lightest form so it is possible to go light and still cook.  The beans sound kind of bleak, but I don't think I have resorted to a can of beans more than a very few times and when I did I heated them in the can, so almost no clean up.  For me taking the cooking gear is kind of automatic.

General Discussion / Re: What's an 'average' day?
« on: July 02, 2015, 07:06:24 am »
There has been some mention of mileage vs smelling the roses.  My experience is that it isn't an either or choice.  Some folks manage to chat up the locals, see the sites, and even do some side hikes while doing long miles.  Some do short miles, still miss a lot of the sights, don't talk to the locals, and hole up in their campsite or a motel room for most of their down time.

How well you see the sights and meet the folks has more to do with your openness to it than the mileage you ride unless you are racing RAAM or something.  I know that even on my longest day (142 miles including a mountain pass) I managed to take a lot of pictures, meet interesting local folks, observe the wildlife, enjoy the scenery, and even sit and relax a bit.

There are a lot of hours in the day and I find it more important how you use the time both on and off the bike than how much time you have.  I guess what I am saying is that being open to the experiences is more important than allowing extra time for them.

Routes / Re: Pacific Coast Highway on a road bike?
« on: July 01, 2015, 07:23:45 am »
Once you bring camping into the mix, packing light is not really feasible.
Not that I would ever go this light myself, but you should check out Pete's gear list:

His gear weights just 6 pounds, 9 ounces, and he takes a tarp, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, bivy sack, stove, pot, utensils. He even has a pillow, for Pete's sake.

Yes that is true and I find that I am pretty comfortable when packing very light and camping and cooking.  My actual trip weights have been a little higher than what was listed in that link since I often take a few luxuries, but I could go with that weight and be fine.  On the Southern Tier I was carrying 14 pounds of gear, but that included some heavier than necessary items that were later replaced and some luxury items including a fairly big camera with an extra telephoto lens.  I definitely could have easily left a few pounds of stuff home or taken some lighter items and still been very comfortable.

There are conditions where I don't like the bivy, but even when I take a tent I can still stay quite light.  If biting insects aren't a problem I usually cowboy camp anyway only climbing into the bivy if it gets cold and windy or it rains.  Trips where I think it will be hot, humid, and buggy every night I take a light tent, otherwise a bivy or a bug bivy work fine.

BTW, it doesn't have to be expensive to go ultralight since much of the reduction is done by eliminating things.  There are fewer items to buy and you need less luggage to carry them.  I can get by with a stuff sack under the saddle (or on the rear rack if using one), a stuff sack used as a bar roll, and maybe a tiny backpack.  I think my gear expenses are probably less than average, despite the fact that I splurge on a few items including a very good and somewhat expensive sleeping bag and sleeping pad.

Going fully self supported with a very light minimalist approach probably isn't for everyone, but it is definitely possible and for those suited to it comfortable.  Having done a good bit of it I doubt that I will go back to a much heavier style of packing.

General Discussion / Re: What's an 'average' day?
« on: June 30, 2015, 07:20:41 am »
Most of the folks that I know who planned longer daily mileages typically found that they averaged a bit less than they expected.

What is average may not really be meaningful to you, but I think that in the range of touring riders most fall in the 50-70 mile per day range.  A fair number are 10 miles per day on either side of that range, and just a few are farther outside that range in either direction.  Folks averaging 100 miles per day are fairly rare.

That said the terrain you picked sounds like it is pretty good for knocking out longer mileage.

One other thing...  I highly recommend open ended schedules.  Allow more time than you need and finish when you finish whether that is early or late.  Set schedules can be joy killers.  BTW, the same applies to budgets.  It keeps things stress free to have more time and money than you need.  It doesn't mean you have to use more of either, but having options is nice.

Routes / Re: Pacific Coast Highway on a road bike?
« on: June 28, 2015, 08:14:22 am »
It depends on how heavy or light you pack.  My preference would be to take less than 15 pounds of light backpacking gear and a road bike, but a minimalist style isn't for everyone.  You can go a bit heavier too, but I wouldn't go too heavy on a road bike.  If carrying a good bit more you might consider a trailer with your road bike.

In any case a lot of the coast is very hilly so be sure you have low enough gearing.

Is this trip a one time thing?  If so I definitely wouldn't buy a new bike just for it.

BTW, bikepacking bags or even just strapping on stuff sacks can work well for lighter loads.  Packing very light, you might manage with a roll under the handle bars and one under/behind the seat.

PS: John's numbers sound reasonable to me except, I would not worry as much about a carbon frame or fork.

Routes / Re: Ideas for a Musical Route
« on: June 25, 2015, 05:59:32 pm »
I am doing world travel this time around,  so just trying to figure out the U.S portion.

That sounds exciting.  I love the idea of a music themed tour.

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 ?

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