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Messages - staehpj1

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Routes / Re: Going out West -- Bike Route Recommendation
« on: March 09, 2015, 11:13:49 am »
Does "after  graduation" mean a May-June start?  How much time do you have?  How set on that general route are you?  Timing can be tricky, but I'd try to avoid:
  • The heat of the southern route which that late in the season can be pretty unpleasant.
  • The headwinds of riding North up the coast are probably not something you want to deal with.  I'd think about arriving in Oregon first and heading down the coast.  That might mean riding North early in the trip.
  • Hitting mountain passes before they are open can be an issue.  It has been a light snow year for a lot of the country so some passes may open extra early, but I would check and keep an eye on conditions for the places you will cross the Rockies
Don't rule out starting somewhere other than home (assuming Austin is home).  Hopping on a plane or train may open lots of better options.  If you have interest in it, that could allow going coast to coast for not all that much more mileage.  If you are willing to ride in crazy hot conditions you could start in Oregon and ride home to Austin.  Personally I'd only consider the Southern Tier Late Fall through early to mid Spring though.

Routes / Re: New Rt 66 tour anyone ?
« on: February 27, 2015, 03:32:43 pm »
I don't have current plans, but am intrigued by it.

General Discussion / Re: Shipping bike to Astoria/ Logistics
« on: February 27, 2015, 01:52:27 pm »
I usually try to fly Southwest and check my bike as baggage most tours.  There is a $75 charge for the bike box and your other checked bag and carry on go for free.  For the TA we flew into Portland and the three of us rented a medium sized SUV to get to our start which was Florence.  On other tours I have often just ridden out of the airport.

Having your bike shipped to a bike shop, warmshowers host, or hotel can work well too, but I usually only do that on the way home.  Be aware that just going into a UPS or FedEx store will typically result in a crazy high shipping charge.  I have found that bike shops typically get enough cheaper rate that I can afford to pay them to box and ship the bike and have it still be cheaper than just the shipping if I go to UPS or FedEx myself.

There are also a few outfits that specialize in shipping bikes and are typically cheaper and easier than going directly to the carrier. and are two such businesses.

General Discussion / Re: Roll on service for Amtrak long haul routes
« on: February 23, 2015, 08:30:06 am »
I am curious as well.  From what little I have read it sounds like these racks are in the baggage car.  So you can still only use them if there is baggage service where ever you get on, change trains, and get off.  It also sounds like you will still pay the same fee and the only cost savings is not needing to buy the box.  For long trips getting to and from tours boxing the bike just isn't that big of a deal and the $15 savings on the box isn't that huge of a deal either.  In the grand scheme of a 3 day coast to coast train ride 15 minutes on each end to box or unbox the bike isn't that big of a deal.

I guess this is an improvement if they actually get it implemented, but it seems like a half measure.  It would be nice if instead of this they allowed walk on service with racks in the passenger cars on all rather than just some routes.  Then you could have access to your bike at any station.

Routes / Re: Primitive Camping on Pacific Coast Route
« on: February 20, 2015, 12:41:31 pm »
Although I have already purchased my flight to Seattle, it might be worth the lost $$ if the weather is going to be horrible.

You might check your airline's policy on the lost $$$.  You might not have to lose the money.  I have found that at least some airlines, while they won't give a refund on a non-refundable flight, they will give you a credit toward a different flight.  I have had good luck with that a couple years ago when a trip fell through due to family responsibilities.  The Southwest did require me to use the credit within a year of the date of the cancelled flight, if I remember correctly.  I think other airlines typically have a similar policy.

Routes / Re: Need to book ahead on Blue Ridge Parkway?
« on: February 20, 2015, 08:32:48 am »
I have not ridden the BRB or Skyline Drive other than a short chunk when doing the Trans America so I can't answer most of what you ask.

I will say that I have had good luck managing to find a way when campgrounds were full.  Sometimes I managed to find someone who was willing to share their site with me, sometimes the person in charge let me stay in a spot that wasn't officially a campsite, and when all that failed I always managed one way or another.

My understanding is that stealth camping is strongly discouraged in both parks, but there are frequently places where there is private land that isn't way down in the valley.  Some of it may be suitable for stealth camping.  I have not stealth camped there though so I can't say how good the prospects are.  If all else failed I would just hide well and camp illegally in the park.  I like wild camping, but am not big on stealth camping.  Still sometimes you just have to make do the best you can.

Edit:  Just to clarify... I'd only stealth camp there as a very last resort and ideally I would leave the park to do it.

Routes / Re: Primitive Camping on Pacific Coast Route
« on: February 20, 2015, 08:20:07 am »
If you are locked into the date, maybe you need to just hope for the best weather wise.  On the other hand you could consider a slightly different locale.  Maybe you could start farther south and continue on to some of the Baja peninsula, or possibly ride some of the Southern Tier?  You could consider making the call at the last minute depending on what the weather report looks like.

In any case I hope you have a great trip.

Routes / Re: Primitive Camping on Pacific Coast Route
« on: February 19, 2015, 05:48:50 pm »
The hiker biker sites in the state parks are already pretty cheap ($4-8 for most of them).  They also are nice because you can usually fall in with a group of folks on the same pace and camp with them every night.

Given your March start you may not meet many others though.  Also the parks may not be open yet.  Also I have heard that March is likely to be very wet on the coast and bad weather can bring strong winds out of the south.  Then there are mudslides.  You are fairly likely to have some issues with road work or road closure that time of year.

You can probably stealth camp but hiding in the rain in the middle of nowhere doesn't sound fun to me.  Can you possibly go later in the season?

Gear Talk / Re: New Rider who needs advice on tires
« on: February 18, 2015, 07:41:54 pm »
For touring I would strongly recommend the Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires.

I'd only agree if avoiding flats at all costs trumps everything else.  If you care about weight at all or ride feel I'd pass on the Marathon Plus.  We are not talking a little bit heavier or a little stiffer sidewall.  The Plus weighs more than twice as much as many other suitable touring tires and the sidewalls are super stiff.  Supple sidewalls have less rolling resistance and a better ride.

Personally I like Continental Gatorskins pretty well.

General Discussion / Re: Question About Minimum Stay Requirements
« on: February 09, 2015, 07:02:18 am »
I got curious about this and did a google search.  I found that there were more places with minimum stay requirements than I would have thought.  It looks like many are for holiday weekends only and others are for weekends only.  Maybe you can just avoid that type of campground on the weekends.  Probably worst case, but I guess you could pay for the minimum stay and leave early.

On most long tours, it shouldn't be too hard to just plan around staying in those places on the weekends.  I know that I have toured across the country a couple times and done some other long tours and never once run into that problem.  I guess that especially for weekend tours in a specific locale the choices might be more limited.

General Discussion / Re: Question About Minimum Stay Requirements
« on: February 08, 2015, 07:24:21 pm »
I'd say you're looking in the wrong places.
Or at least way different places than where I typically tour.  I am curious where that is a problem and at what kind of campgrounds.

General Discussion / Re: Question About Minimum Stay Requirements
« on: February 08, 2015, 10:06:26 am »
My wife and I are planning a tour and we're running into minimum stay requirements at some campgrounds. What has your experience been dealing with them? Do you find that most people are flexible when it comes to folks who are just passing through and need a place for the night? Do you have any tips and/or tricks for reserving for less than the minimum stay?

I guess it must depend on the locale and the type of places you stay, but I have never been told I had to stay a minimum stay.  I usually stay in places like town parks and so on, but do stop at the occasional campground.  What part of the country are you touring in? Most of the places I have toured are either usually fairly easy to camp for free or have hiker biker sites.

Gear Talk / Re: Too tight spokes causes wheel buckling.
« on: February 06, 2015, 10:23:22 am »
It's true but I have several spokes at close to zero tension with the rest being too tight. Generally I allow this for front wheels but not for the back.

I am tend to be one to run things until they break, but I'd probably replace a rim that is in that condition if I couldn't get it true with at least somewhat even tension.  If on tour, I'd probably wait until back home though.

General Discussion / Re: Traveling the Transam Supported by RV
« on: February 05, 2015, 10:20:32 am »
It may have helped that Don had experienced the western half of the trip on a bike before his accident.

I'd think that it is likely to be a pretty different thing for a cyclist on the disabled list driving or for a non cyclist being recruited to drive.  It seems like it would be just way less likely to stress the relationship and the driver way less likely to wind up unhappy and or bored and maybe even resentful or bitter.

General Discussion / Re: How picky are you?
« on: February 05, 2015, 07:25:39 am »
Any component which I suspect may not last the distance is replaced and put aside for local use.

I have done that to some extent, but have found a few problems with it at least for my personal situation.  First, on tours longer than some length you can't plan on everything lasting the whole way. And second, I found that for me stuff that came off when partially worn out never got used again and things like tires with a couple thousand miles of wear left in them would wind up going to waste, hanging in the shop for years until dry rotted.

It probably doesn't help that I don't ride all that much at home and generally do long tours.  So for me it seems to make more sense to just replace things as needed whether at home or on tour.

That said if something is really close to end of life I would probably replace it before a long tour.  For example, I wouldn't hesitate to start a coast to coast tour with tires that will make it half way but would probably replace them if they looked like they had less than a thousand miles left in them or were getting an excessive number of flats.

I have fitted inline cable adjusters near the shifters so I can fine-tune shifting as I ride.

I have bosses on the frame that have adjusters on some of my bikes and probably should add inline adjusters on the ones that don't.  I find the ones on the frame to be easier to adjust with one hand while riding, so I prefer those when available.

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