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Messages - staehpj1

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

General Discussion / Re: Cyclocross Bike for Southern Tier
« on: December 01, 2015, 11:23:22 am »
Would encourage you to give max consideration (you may well have done so already :- ) to going with a rig that has the most readily available components, per the earlier posts. 
This will give you the greatest liberty to pick and choose, get repaired (fastest w/ the lowest cash outlay), and then keep on moving when you have breakdowns.
Please be sure to weigh in your mind that even IF you are able to find a part .... unless you personally have the tech knowledge AND tools to do the repair, the bike shop may not always have the right bike tech scheduled for work at the time you need to get your ride fixed as fast as you would like.
Some good points there, but I will say that typically you can find a bike shop that can and will help. It may require hitching a ride to get there if you aren't on a supported tour like the OP is planning.  It is my experience that most shops will squeeze you in quickly if they know you are in the middle of a coast to coast tour.  So I agree, use common parts to avoid waiting for delivery, but don't get too over the top on carrying tools and spares.  Given that this tour is van supported I'd think the vendor would have a well stocked toolbox and some mechanical skills.

General Discussion / Re: Cyclocross Bike for Southern Tier
« on: November 30, 2015, 08:55:20 pm »
What exactly about your road bike won't meet your needs?
I wonder the same thing.  I'd take my road bike on that trip if it was my tour.  BTW, I'd probably run 25 mm gatorskins.

On the original questions:
1.  No reason why not but since you already have a road bike I'd take that.
2.  No real reason to use discs for this trip.  It will likely be dry the large majority of the way, there isn't that much demanding descending, and you won't be carrying much.  They will be fine, there just isn't much advantage.
3. No comment here.

I did the ST unsupported with UL gear, cooking and camping.  I used an old 1990 Cannondale Crit bike and had 23 mm Gatorskins half way and 25 mm the rest.  The 23 mm were bearable, but the 25 mm were nicer on the TX chip seal.  If there was room for them I might run 28 mm but I wouldn't change bikes just to make that happen.

Gear Talk / Re: Packs and pack weight for long tours
« on: November 19, 2015, 05:53:18 pm »
Not so, at least when you get east of the Mississipi. I'm a cider drinker too (the good stuff though), and my last two trips were an extended cider/IPA tasting tour. In moderation of course, maybe one or two every couple of nights.  There are a ton of great micro cideries on the eastern seaboard.

I lived in the mid Atlantic region for 64 years and never even knew there was such a thing as a cidery.  I guess I must have lived in a cave.  This post piqued my interest so I did some googling about it.  It looks like there are a quite a few in New England and they become less and less frequent as you go south.

Any way in New England it looks like you might find a few somewhere near whatever route you take, but I doubt you would find many by chance alone.  Further south they are quite scarce.

I'll have to add it to my list of things to look for and try.

Gear Talk / Re: Lightweight Slip-Jaw Pliers?
« on: November 17, 2015, 01:26:45 pm »
Avoid Harbor Freight and similar tool sources if you want quality.
Harbor Freight overall can be kind of hit or miss, but some of their Pittsburgh line and most of their Pittsburgh Professional line is pretty good.  I have  a couple sizes of their Groove Joint Pliers that have served well in fairly hard use for years.

OTOH, I have a hard time imagining carrying slip joint pilers on tour.

Would we be completely nuts to consider doing the ACA route down the coast this coming January? I'd love to hear from anyone who's done it at that time of year.
I think it would be doable, but the chance of cool or wet weather is fairly high.

General Discussion / Re: Getting out of Dulles Airport.
« on: November 12, 2015, 06:46:40 pm »
Sleeping in an airport usually is not a problem in my experience.  I have done it a number of times.  It isn't the most comfortable though.  I have not used Dulles much and never  slept there.

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