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Messages - staehpj1

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I was always disappointed that rack bolt patterns and light bot patterns never seem to be the same, but I have always been able to manage something using bolts, tywraps, or both.  Sometimes I have drilled on or more new holes in the bracket but most often improvised something with no drilling.

It is annoying that there isn't some kind of standard pattern routinely used for the holes in both that would allow most lights to bolt to most racks without any tinkering.

Routes / Re: Circuit Tour starting in Indiana
« on: December 19, 2014, 04:29:22 pm »
A number of places have already declared that they allow camping. On ACA routes, the maps will identify these places. If you go to one of them, you can certainly camp there. That would always be my first choice. Some are free. Some charge.

Using the AC maps for a while to pick places to stay is a good way to get a feel for what works and what doesn't.

I have set up in city parks without asking. It usually works fine.

Yeah they are some of my favorite places to camp.  It works best well away from either coast and in smaller towns.

This is a situation-by-situation thing, and you have to use your best judgement and experience. Watch out for hazards: sprinklers, dogs, bulls, falling trees, floods, etc. In all situations, leave no trace.

In much of the west anywhere green probably has sprinklers that come on in the middle of the night.

There are many articles on panniers vs. trailers on the web. A Google search will yield articles that address pretty-much all the pros and cons there are. A good measure of personal preference is also involved. For touring bikes, I think panniers work best. For non-touring bikes, a trailer would often be a better option.

My advice would be to pack light and skip the trailer.   You really need surprisingly little to camp and cook.

Routes / Re: Circuit Tour starting in Indiana
« on: December 19, 2014, 04:10:48 pm »
Pete, do you think your dislike of the Southern Tier has anything to do with your mileage on it?  If I'm not mistaken, you averaged more daily miles on that tour than on your other rides.  You found food and people (experienced off the bike) interesting, but scenery (most of which you presumably saw on the bike) dismal.  MIght you have enjoyed your trip more if you'd taken more time?

Fair question, but I don't think so.  I have given that some thought and I really just don't care much for the scenery there.  I much prefer forests, rivers and streams or maybe an ocean or lake shoreline.  Barring that farm land is even OK.   The view on the ST looked the same hour after hour and day after day for days on end for a good portion of the tour.  It was brown, dry, and featureless.  Travis (the guy I rode with much of the way) and I talked about where we might have taken more time and decided that we preferred to just blast through on that route.

Lest I paint too negative of a picture...  There were a few really beautiful views and most long tours have some boring scenery.  The ST just had a lot more really blah scenery than most places you could choose.

Of course that is only my take on it and I am sure some folks love the same scenery that I found to be uninspiring.

Don't get me wrong.  I liked the route OK and may even do it again.  I just found the scenery to be uninspiring most of the way and most suitable for just cranking out miles.

Routes / Re: Circuit Tour starting in Indiana
« on: December 17, 2014, 04:21:08 pm »
Has anyone followed ACA's maps before?
Since you are posting on the ACA site, I would guess that most of us have used ACA maps. They aren't the be-all and end-all, but they are useful. Having used a lot of them, I would state their pros and cons as follows:

  • They keep you on the safest roads in the area. Be advised, however, that not everybody would consider all the roads as "safe." The roads don't all have shoulders and they aren't all bike paths. But they are mostly on low-traffic roads.
  • They are very useful for finding campgrounds (and free places to stay), which of course is only useful if you are camping and/or willing to sleep on a couch.
  • Although they avoid big cities as much as they can, they are useful for safely getting you through one when necessary.
  • They save you a ton of planning time.
  • They generally show you where you can get food and water.
  • Many of the roads are incredibly gorgeous, and without the ACA maps, you may accidentally ride a busier and less-scenic road nearby.

  • If you have a particular starting and ending point in mind, they probably don't go there.
  • If you like to see big cities, they generally won't take you there.
  • If you want to (or have to because of construction) venture off route, they are useless.
  • They aren't kept up to date as well as I'd like, and you will sometimes find the information out-of-date.
  • They have more mistakes on them than you would think for a map used by a thousand people before you.
  • If you want the shortest or fastest or flattest route between two points, these maps are not that--not by a long shot.

That sums it up pretty well.  I'll add that they contain a lot of other info about services available.  They list locations and contact info just about anything you might look for while on tour.

Also be aware that they are strip maps and once you go off route a few miles they are pretty useless.

Routes / Re: Circuit Tour starting in Indiana
« on: December 17, 2014, 03:20:23 pm »
A lot of this depends on your daily mileage.  Patrick's 50 mile per day figure may be on the low side for a lot of riders especially once you are a bit road hardened.  I don't know your age, fitness level, how many hours per day you ride, or whether you take a lot of rest days off so I have no idea what your preferred daily mileage will be.

I don't know about the NT or east coast route as I have not ridden them.  The Pacific Coast is hilly and has lots of distractions so 50-55 miles is a pretty reasonable daily number for lots of folks there.  The ST being mostly flatter and emptier, I'd think many folks manage more like 80 miles per day there.  As a 60 something non athlete I averaged about 80 miles per day there.

My advice is to figure out your desired pace and work out the details based on that.  Your pace could easily be 20% more or less than the numbers I mentioned since folks vary by at least that much.

Just something to consider, but I find that after something the length of a coast to coast ride I find that I am ready to be home again.  A coast to coast ride would allow a lot more flexibility in scheduling.  Also I wouldn't rule out some travel by air, bus, or train at either end.  In the grand scheme of a multi-month trip a bit of travel at either end isn't a huge deal.

I'll also mention that The ST's biggest advantage is that you can do it in winter.  The scenery was kind of dismal much of the way in my opinion.  The food and people were interesting though.

Whatever you decide I hope you have a great trip.

Routes / Re: Circuit Tour starting in Indiana
« on: December 17, 2014, 12:34:23 pm »
I'd need to better understand your proposed route and preferred average daily mileage to answer very specifically.   A few things to consider are:
  • The Pacific Coast route is best done Southbound after the Spring rains up until and maybe including Fall if you are using it.
  • The Rockies in the North are best avoided until at least June
  • The ST will probably be miserably hot from mid Spring to mid Fall.

I really don't see it as likely that you can ride south on the west coast and not hit the ST when it is unbearably hot.  Your proposed start point and date don't sound optimum for most routes and timetables I can think of.

Would you consider a different start location and or date?  I think that an early Fall start from your proposed location might allow you to get over the Rockies before the snow is too bad, ride South on the PC, hit the ST when it is cool, and maybe get to the Northeast when the snow is done.

Alternately your proposed time starting from a different location might work well.

That is all very dependent or how much daily mileage you average.

In any case, if it was me, I'd go counterclockwise, look at my preferred pace, and play with start dates and locations to avoid extreme heat and snow in the various sections.

Gear Talk / Re: Rohloff Hubs
« on: December 17, 2014, 10:14:33 am »
Of course Heine doesn't like the Rohloff!
Not knocking those who like it, but it isn't hard to find reasons not to like it.

General Discussion / Re: Best Time to Leave
« on: December 16, 2014, 06:04:34 am »
Starting in the West, I'd base my start time on when McKenzie Pass looks like it will open the year you plan to go.  That varies from year to year, but I definitely wouldn't figure on earlier than June unless you know that it is a light snow year and the pass will be open.  It isn't too unusual for the opening date to be in July, sometimes even late July.

It is generally open to bicycles a couple weeks before it is open to cars and that is a great time to do it.  They plow out 1 lane and let melting take care of the other to save money.  Once 1 lane is open it can be ridden by bike.

Santiam Pass is a plowed year round alternate, but it would be a shame to miss McKenzie Pass.  It is a nice ride with great views and the lava fields and observatory on the top are pretty interesting.

As John said, if you must go early go E-W.

To get a better idea of what is likely check out past opening and closing dates at:

Routes / Re: Miami to Bakersfield, want'n to stay out of Texas
« on: December 14, 2014, 12:27:36 pm »
Have you started your tour yet?  If not, when are you going?  Going the other direction I found a Feb.-Mar. time frame worked well for me.  I'd advise that you try to go when it is cool, the ST would be terrible in the heat.  Also consider the length of the days they are really short in December.

I think if I were riding the ST again I might use US 90 a lot more than the Adventure Cycling maps show.  Much of US 90 is very nice.

Oh and I 'd try to avoid Houston, traffic was pretty awful there.

Routes / Re: Miami to Bakersfield, want'n to stay out of Texas
« on: December 14, 2014, 07:28:26 am »
Sure, but I doubt both the premise that "Texas police in small towns jack'n people up and rip'n them off" is a common occurrence and the notion that going into Oklahoma would be any better.  I have only toured a bit in Oklahoma, in the western part, but I doubt you will find it all that much different than Texas.

I found Texas to be a fine place to tour other than the fact that I found the scenery pretty uninspiring for the most part.  The food and the people were great. That is all true of most of the Southern Tier though.

I actually saw very few cops in Texas other than border patrol, but the ones I did meet were nice enough.  Border patrol never bothered me either despite my wild camping in plain sight.  The young guy who I rode with some of the time did attract more attention from the border patrol, probably because he is young and looks like he could be Hispanic.  They didn't really bother him much though.  They just stopped a few times and asked him where he was from and where he was going.  I don't think they ever even asked him for ID and they never delayed him more than a minute of so.

Gear Talk / Re: new Blackburn Outpost Front World Touring Rack
« on: December 13, 2014, 11:48:11 am »
Jenson has it for $99.99 and lists the weight as 1lb 14oz (with all mounting hardware).

Gear Talk / Re: How this forum works
« on: December 13, 2014, 11:42:02 am »
I have not seen that behavior here.  I open the site, it remembers me, and I am logged in.  I don't recall having to change any settings to achieve that behavior.

Food Talk / Re: vegetarian trek on the transamerica?
« on: December 09, 2014, 06:54:21 am »
Two different vegetarian friends handled it two different ways on the Trans America.

One a strict vegan managed by not eating in restaurants or accepting meals when staying with hosts.  In fact he mostly avoided staying with folks along the way.  He cooked all his own food or ate raw food.  He said it wasn't that hard with a little effort.

One decided before the tour that she would eat meat and animal products on the tour because she figured it would be hard to stay with hosts and not eat what was put in front of her.  She prepared by eating small amounts of meat in the weeks leading up to the tour so her stomach would be used to it.

Both were happy with their choices.  Personally I'd suggest the first approach if you find it to be a huge moral crime to eat meat and other animal products.  If you are willing to cheat a little anyway, which you seem to be, then maybe the second choice might be worth considering.  I know that for me, meeting the local folks and eating the local foods is a big part of a long tour.  Staying strictly vegan would definitely put a crimp on that IMO.

General Discussion / Re: Schwalbe Mondial vs Marathon Plus Tour
« on: December 04, 2014, 12:15:00 pm »
A bit heavy, yes. But we HAVE ridden over just about everything with no flats or other troubles!
That is the trade off I guess.  Me, I'd rather fix a flat once in a while than ride with tires that stiff and heavy.  Between the weight and the stiff sidewalls I couldn't stand the Pluses.  I found they sucked a good bit of the joy out of riding.  I took them off after a couple hundred miles, but if for you, flat resistance and long wear trump light weight and a lively ride I guess they are just the ticket.

Routes / Re: Southern Tier, highway 78 Glamis to Palo Verde, Ca
« on: November 20, 2014, 12:34:41 pm »
I never saw anything at all like Westinghouse describes on the ST, the SC, the PC, the TA, or any of my other tours.  I also think it would be pretty hard for trucks going in opposite directions to even manage to meet at the exact point the cyclist was at, even if they were in radio contact.  I just don't see this happening intentionally.

If we are talking about professional truck drivers in big rigs, I am especially doubtful both because they don't have time to mess around playing games and because I have generally as a group found them to be well behaved and skilled drivers.

I have seen the occasional yahoo in a pickup truck who intentionally passes too close, apparently intentionally, but that happens more often when at home than on tour.  It has been a very rare occurrence on tour in my experience.  Even at home it has become increasingly rare in recent years.

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