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Messages - staehpj1

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General Discussion / Re: Bike shops near Seatac airport
« on: March 08, 2016, 09:18:04 am »
I prefer to fly with my bike and usually ride right out of the airport.  That works well if you fly a fairly bike friendly airline like Southwest.

That said, yes the light rail is a very handy way to get to downtown Seattle from Seatac.  There was a very friendly bike coop not too far from the hostel I stayed in in Seattle (Seattle City Hostel 2327 2nd Ave).  Not sure if they provide that service, but they were very nice to me when I stopped there.  If I remember correctly it was Bike Works at 3709 S Ferdinand St.

General Discussion / Re: Rain gear in the summer: Why carry it at all?
« on: March 06, 2016, 02:04:51 pm »
It depends on how you define rain gear.  I don't take "real" rain gear but find a water resistant shell mandatory.  I usually also take water resistant wind pants.  I have seen some cold rain and I didn't ever take the whole day off.  Shelter has not always been available.

My current water resistant wind shirt (The North Face Binary) weighs 3 ounces.  My water resistant wind pants weigh 3.5 ounces.  They both are among my most used items, are light, and pack small.  Especially since they are so small and light they are definitely not something I am likely to forgo on a coast to coast trip.

Food Talk / Re: Eating well on tour.
« on: March 04, 2016, 07:38:15 am »
I have usually found what I considered decent enough food on my trips.  Sometimes the choices were limited, but it was never too bad.  Even in gas station  mini-marts there is typically something better than those huge sausages on the rotisserie.  When pickings are slim, I might on occasion resort to having a granola bar or fig newtons, an apple or banana, and maybe a chocolate milk for a meal.

Fresh vegetables can be scarce a lot of the time, but canned, dried, or frozen ones are usually easy enough to come by.

I do like the idea of using a warm-shower host to keep the bike and take a bus etc to my reunion IF it looks like I will be delayed.
Depending on the location and distance, I find that a rental car sometimes works out to be fairly cheap and would allow you to take your bike and gear with you.   It also allows the option of seeing the sights a bit more on the side trip.

Routes / Re: TransAm Summer 2017
« on: February 29, 2016, 08:54:23 am »
ha ha.  I'm 51 with a left knee that's crap.  But at least it feels better when I ride.  Almost as though someone has shot it full of WD-40.  I can't walk very well.  I certainly can't run.  But I can ride.  In reality, and to be truthful to myself, I'd likely have to do it one way.  The out & back is the dream of a healthy young man.  When I retire........................................
My suggestion is to allow more time and more money than you need.  Then just ride the miles you feel like each day.  IMO, nothing sucks the joy out of a tour more than a rigid schedule.  Too tight budgets can be joy killers as well.  I am not saying you need to take a long time or spend a lot, but it will be more fun if neither of those is too limiting of a factor.

Routes / Re: TransAm Summer 2017
« on: February 29, 2016, 08:08:39 am »
So far as the thought of saving money, I guess I was looking for a reason to ride back.  That was my excuse.  I was kinda looking at this as MY version of RAAM, albeit, a slow one.
I suggest you either check out or consider doing it as more of a tour.  Personally I would advise the tour unless you really want to be competitive.

Routes / Re: TransAm Summer 2017
« on: February 27, 2016, 08:05:27 am »
The reason I thought an out and back would be better was due to cost.  For the cost of a plane ticket for me and my bike to fly back, I could ride back.
Given that you can get a flight on Southwest from Columbus,OH to the Portland, OR for $205 plus $75 for the bike, you really can't expect to save much money.  Also you are planning a long way in the future, so putting aside $280 for air travel should be pretty easy.

If you were doing it only for the challenge of doing the miles in that time, I could maybe see it, but to save money?  That sounds like a bad idea.

I'll add that it was kind of a grind doing the TA one way in 73 days.  It was fun but it wasn't like we felt like we were taking it especially easy.  I mat a few people on the TA who had planned to do 100+ mile day average and all of them eventually settled into something more like 80 MPD.

My advice, put aside a few bucks enjoy the ride and fly one way.

General Discussion / Re: Locks for a solo Trans-Am camping tour?
« on: February 19, 2016, 07:00:52 am »
I've toured and camped, but not solo.  Without that second set of eyes I wonder if there's a need for a mini U-lock instead of my traditional (and mostly symbolic) 3/16" featherweight cable and tiny padlock.  I'm planning an E-W ride starting near the end of May.
There definitely are a few places where risk of theft is higher on the TA.  My way of handling that was just to be more careful in those places rather than going with more lock.  In bigger more bike friendly towns (Eugene, Missoula, etc.) rather than taking a big heavy lock, I just don't leave my bike unattended.  I take my bike inside stores and am more likely to stay with hosts or get a room when in these towns.  I am a bit of a weight weenie so even a 2 pound mini u-lock is something I really want to avoid and some of the serious locks are a lot heavier than that.   If you don't mind the extra weight a mini u-lock might be an OK choice.

On the other hand...  If you are worried enough to carry a 2 to 4.5 pound lock, are you willing to leave all your gear on the bike.  If not maybe just not leaving your bike and gear unattended in higher risk places is a better answer.

Another factor might be how expensive your gear is and how risk tolerant you are.  I try to use a bike and gear that I can afford to replace and accept that at some point in my touring career it could possibly all go missing.  On a long tour like the TA I could replace everything and continue on, maybe with a few days delay.

Personally the later you go the more I'd lean toward going W-E.

Routes / Re: Sierra Cascades - total elevation gain?
« on: February 14, 2016, 09:06:24 am »
I am going to cycle this route from June - September. I was expecting it to be mountainous but for the first time I've actually added up the numbers for elevation gain in each of the five segments.

The number I have got is 235,000m. This can't be right, can it? Please tell me I have made a mistake.
I don't know the correct number, but I will say that the amount of climbing is pretty extreme and unlike any other route I have been on in that regard.

General Discussion / Re: State Park Camping
« on: February 14, 2016, 09:04:19 am »
I have found that in at least some places they squeezed me in even where there was no such policy.  In other cases I have asked around and found someone who was willing to let me share a site.  I sometimes met and hung out with some nice people that way.

General Discussion / Re: training for trans am westward
« on: February 14, 2016, 09:01:11 am »
Even for non athletes no training is necessary as long as you are in decent general health/fitness and have enough saddle time that your butt isn't going to kill you.  Even that isn't an absolute must if you are willing to take it easy the first 10 days or so.  The longer the tour the more true this is.

Gear Talk / Re: How to pack my sleeping bag
« on: February 05, 2016, 11:14:15 am »
The point about individual cold tolerance is well taken but most people are better served with a sleeping bag a bit too warm than a bit too cold.

On the other hand I think one reason people get cold is that they use too warm of a bag zipped all the way up too early in the night.  They sweat and then get cold as the temperature drops through the night.  The warmer bag can work, but you need to take a little more care in regulating it as the temperature drops.  I find I am a lot more comfortable if I have just enough bag.

My strategy is to be comfy in my bag in normal overnight temperatures and OK with all my warm clothing items either worn or draped over me for a record low.  I have rarely not seen frost at least some point during any of my long trips or backpacking trips and the odd colder night is not all that rare, but my Phantom 45 (EN 40) has worked out extremely well for me.

Gear Talk / Re: How to pack my sleeping bag
« on: February 04, 2016, 06:00:18 pm »
In my experience, a 20 degree sleeping bag is overkill.
No, a true 20 bag is not overkill even in the summer unless you are staying in the deep south and at low altitude.  I've experienced low 30's temperatures in mid-June in Ohio and high altitude can  produce low temperatures any time of year.

However, there are 20 degree bags and 20 degree bags with expensive ones being a lot lighter and easier to compress than cheap ones.
A lot depends on the bag, the rider, and how the bag is used.  The TA, the ST (winter), half of the SC, and a bunch of other routes with my 40 F bag.  I have also done some high altitude backpacking with it  I have used it comfortably down to the mid to upper teens F with a layer or two of clothing.  Others who camped right next to me were cold in much warmer bags at times I was comfy.  My point is that blanket statements don't work.  So saying something is or isn't overkill would need to take in a few of the specifics of the bag and the person using it.

Gear Talk / Re: How to pack my sleeping bag
« on: February 04, 2016, 07:32:29 am »
My bag is rated for 20degrees.  I did a forum search for recommendations on temp rating of bag for the transAm and that seemed to be the consensus so I ordered that rating

A few factors come into play on that choice:
1. Bags are very often not rated honestly.  When comparing, using the EN ratings is the way to go if the manufacturer gives them.
2. Users vary widely on how warm they sleep.
3. Supplementing with clothing can allow for comfort in lower temperatures.
4. Being in a tent or a bivy make the bag warmer.

I will say that for me your bag would be way more bag than I'd want on the TA.  I did the TA with a real cheap bag nominally rated at 32 F and was fine.

I did the ST with a good down 40 F (EN rating) bag (Mountain Hardwear Phantom 45) and was fine down to the 18 F low of the trip with tights, a warm pile sweater, and thick socks inside my bivy.  My bag weighs 1 pound 1 ounce and packs a little bigger than a large water bottle.  I love that bag and found it well worth the $280 I paid for it.  I apparently put out heat like a furnace though.

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